Final approval of county budget on council agenda

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By Jenny Hartley

County Council is slated to vote on third and final reading of its proposed $30.9 million budget on Monday night.

The budget includes a tax increase, equal to $14 added to the tax bill for a $100,000 home.

The tax increase includes funds for county agencies such as Palmetto Citizens Against Sexual Assault, Lancaster County Council on Aging, Learning Institute for Tomorrow, Lancaster County Council of the Arts and Southside Literacy.

The increase will also give a 2.85 percent raise to county employees, some of which earn minimum salaries below market rate, according to a recent study of county salaries.

Included in the budget are new employees for the Del Webb Library at Indian Land, new recreation centers at Edenmoor in Indian Land and Buford and a new Indian Land EMS station.

Council members hope they will be able to amend the budget later in the summer with more funding from home and lot sales in the county in 2007, and with money from building permit fees. That funding could pay for more sheriff's deputies and capital projects.

Council will hold a public hearing on amending last year's budget at the beginning of Monday's meeting.

Sales tax ordinance

First reading of an ordinance concerning the capital project sales tax is also on Monday's agenda.

Voters will have the chance during the November election to vote on a proposed 1 percent sales tax for the county. Proceeds from the tax will pay to build a new Lancaster courthouse and possibly other capital projects.

The tax would be collected for seven years, and go into effect in May 2009 if approved by voters.

A commission is working now to write a ballot question for the referendum.

The ordinance council will consider Monday establishes the referendum. It will require three readings to become final.

Council's meeting Monday begins at 6 p.m. in council chambers at the County Administration Building