County millage projections to be adjusted

Kevin Boozer Staff Writer

October 18, 2013

WINNSBORO — The millage projections for Fairfield County that were approved in May will be adjusted, following unanimous approval of an amendment ordering the action during this week’s Fairfield County Council meeting.

The amendment applies recommendations that came from an assessment of county finances related to Local Option Sales Tax.

Interim County Administrator Milton Pope said the millage calculations for the county needed to be changed and the findings showed the county needed to stop using LOST funds to adjust millage rates early in the tax bill process.

Pope said the millage sheet would be corrected within a week and the LOST amount will be placed as a total credit. Pope said county financial staff took an average of money received over the past seven years and that came to just over $800,000 in the carryover fund.

The county plans to show excess LOST calculations as committed fund balance for that year. The state does not require that action but Pope said that will help from a transparency and communication standpoint.

He reminded the public during Monday’s meeting that the study of the county LOST funds found all money accounted for and that the average for the amount of money the county receives from the State Treasurer’s Office was an estimate.

Pope also requested a vote on an amendment to the county’s reimbursement procedure be deferred to a later meeting, noting that staff needs to work out more details. He said the changes will include a mileage log and for council members to turn in receipts for reimbursement for supplies and job-related expenses.

He noted the county check register is posted online as is the information on LOST.

In other business, Tiffany Harrison, county director of economic development, said the closing took place Oct. 11 to sell the Perry Ellis building to Element Electronics.

She said Element Electronics is hiring a human resources director and the county will let people know of job opportunities when the company reaches that point. Fairfield County partnered with Chester and York for an I-77 Alliance to promote the area and attract jobs.

At its Oct. 3 board meeting, Harrison, Pope, Councilman David Brown and Council Chairman David Ferguson attended. Harrison also announced the county partnered with Lang Mekra on a $1.5 million project to create 25 jobs over the next five years.

Council discussed funding for purchasing property for a mini park in Mikel Trapp’s district to replace the park off Road 99 that the county closed in November 2012.

At that time, the county procurement department said the county could not pay the landowner’s price for the land. Trapp approved closing the park in his district provided county council assure him another park would be placed nearby in his district.

According to Ferguson, former county administrator Phil Hinely decided to use bond funds for the mini-park project and council was made aware of that decision. However, Pope recommended council fund the purchase from the capital the county currently has on hand in its budget.

Then, at a later date, once council determines the procedure for spending the $500,000 per district, council could vote to use money from the bond to repay that $15,000.