PROSPERITY — Prosperity Town Council gathered for a special called meeting Tuesday to discuss preliminary numbers for the 2017-2018 fiscal year budget.
The numbers presented were numbers gathered as of March 31. Salary, utility and rent, court fines and recreation were the important issues that needed to be addressed within the budget.
As shown in the budget presented to Council, health insurance employer costs are showing an increase of 2.5 percent, which equates to a projected $311 per month or $3,732 a year. The fiscal year cost for health insurance totaled $153,000.
For the town’s general funds, the Town of Prosperity showed numbers of $84,000 and utility funds at $69,000.
“Utility, we don’t have any problem with. They are our funding mechanism. But on the town’s side, we will need to look at that. In addition to the health insurance going up, retirement, which is on the governor’s desk to sign, is going up 2 percent on employers,” said Town Administrator Karen Livingston.
For the South Carolina Retirement System, rates are going to be 13.56 percent and police will see a 16.24 percent increase. These rates will be paid off of everyone’s salary. This rate will increase annually 1 percent through 2022 and will max out at 18.56 percent for the South Carolina Retirement System and 21.24 percent for the police department.
“In the grand scheme of things, we’ve made a conscious effort to reward our employees by providing all of this to them 100 percent,” said Councilman Chad Hawkins.
“When somebody is trying to pay their increased light bill or their increased water bill, they don’t see it. Those are benefits for when they get old,” said Livingston.
From this year to the prior year health insurance is projected to cost $3,732 a year. Mayor Derek Underwood estimated that if the town does a 2 percent increase it would be right at $25,000 more a year for insurance, retirement and the two percent income. If the two percent income was taken away, the town would still be paying an estimated $14,000.
“A lot of people think that all this money goes towards roads and bridges. That money goes to the 2 percent for retirement and 2.5 percent for insurance. It comes out of the salaries and once everything after legislation comes out, what’s left over is what we can use to build roads and bridges with,” said Councilman Chad Hawkins.
From the Town of Prosperity’s utilities perspective, the 2 percent is $5,075.15, police $3,803 and admin is $16,076.97.
“One thing about the general fund we talk about every year is it’s not like a utility where you have a monthly income. A lot of this revenue is quarterly or annually. A lot of it usually doesn’t come in until June,” said Livingston. “Recreation is also a hot topic on here. We are currently contracted with Newberry County for their recreation services. Along with registration money coming in, we would also will be responsible for buying the uniforms and paying the umpires. The county reimburses all fields for umpires, so we would get a check for that.”
A lot of money is being put toward recreation and Livingston proposed finding someone to oversee that, possibly increasing Utility Department employment by one to maintain everything that the Town of Prosperity has going on.
“We do have a steady revenue stream from recreation. When we get our new ball fields, if we wanted to do a program where we rent the fields for travel ball we could go into that. But we would need somebody to coordinate and maintain that,” said Livingston.
The town also discussed looking into gathering numbers on what they have to work with in regards to recreation.
“We have to find out what the county is going to give us, how much revenue we’re bringing in for the teams, what it’s going to take and where the money is coming from,” said Underwood.
Livingston also proposed finding meters that would work for both electric and water, along with updating the meter reading software. She plans to get a quote on prices in the future.
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.