County council to hear second reading of $30.2 million budget

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By Jenny Hartley

Lancaster County Council will consider second reading of the county’s 2008-2009 budget at Monday night's meeting.The new budget is $30.2 million, up 5 percent from last year and in its current form, includes no tax increase.Council voted 5-2 on first reading of the budget May 5, with Councilmen Fred Thomas and Kersey voting against it.County Administrator Steve Willis recommended the addition of six new employees to staff the new Indian Land library at a cost of $233,000, another $200,000 to staff new recreation centers at Edenmoor and Buford, and a new Emergency Medical Services station in Indian Land.County officials are unsure of how much funding they will receive from the state right now. Willis is advocating for a tax increase, although the budget in its current form does not include one.Willis is also advocating that council raise employees’ pay according to the classification and compensation plan recently released to county staff.County Council made no changes to the budget at its May 5 meeting, instead voting on it to get it on the floor for discussion.Councilman Wayne Kersey told Willis to cut back on the budget, while Councilman Fred Thomas was concerned that too much cutting back will lead to a decrease in the quality of services the county provides.The budget requires three readings to become final. The council will hold another meeting on May 22 to work on the budget.Continental Tire vote on agenda, tooCounty Council will vote on second reading Monday night on incentives for a developer that will lease a building to Continental Tire for its headquarters.MacMillan Investments will receive the incentives for developing a site in MacMillan Business Park on S.C. 160 for that purpose. The company will move 300 employees from Charlotte to the new Indian Land location next year when the building is finished.Some County Council members say they would like to question Continental Tire officials and hear from former employees who were laid off when the tire manufacturer closed a Charlotte plant a few years ago before voting on second reading.MacMillan Investments – not Continental Tire – will receive a 95 percent rebate on property taxes for its first year in the county and a 65 percent rebate the second year.Former Continental Tire plant employees who live in Lancaster have called The Lancaster News the past few months to express their displeasure over the company relocating its headquarters here.Rick Faulkenberry of Kershaw worked at Continental Tire for 34 years before he lost his job there. He said it’s costing the families of some former workers $1,600 a month for insurance. Other former employees who didn’t have 30 years time with the company received no severance pay.Faulkenberry said he feels like it would be a “grave mistake” to allow Continental Tire to move here.“This company has not done us any justice,” Faulkenberry said. “I don’t see how this is beneficial to our area. They took all our jobs and went overseas with them.”County officials in favor of Continental Tire moving here say it helped save about 130 jobs for people who live in York or Lancaster counties. Those workers may have lost their jobs had the company moved out of the Carolinas.County Council meets at 6 p.m. in chambers on the second floor of the County Administration Building, 101 N. Main St. For details, call 285-1565.

– Contact senior reporter Jenny Hartley at 283-1151