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Kershaw town budget less than a year ago

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By Johnathan Ryan

KERSHAW – The town of Kershaw has good news to report. The town budget for 2008-09 is less than last year's.

Kershaw Town Council went over the town's proposed budget with Town Administrator Tony Starnes and voted unanimously to approve it on first reading May 12.

Mayor Tommy Baker commended Starnes' for his work to tighten up the budget.

"He (Starnes) has reduced expenses for the town of Kershaw," Baker said about the almost 2 percent drop in the proposed budget over last year's.

There is no expected change to the town's millage rate, and despite drops in most funds, money has been found for a 2 percent pay increase for all town employees and a full-time wastewater treatment plant operator position.

All town employees must pay 15 percent of their health insurance premiums in the coming fiscal year. The town has switched to a new plan that Starnes said will have better benefits than the previous one. While employees will pay a portion of the premiums, they will have lower deductibles and co-pays.

The new wastewater position caused a $35,000 increase in the wastewater budget over last year. Councilman Wade Hunter, who opposed the position several months ago, asked Starnes for an explanation. Starnes said it was to pay the salary of the plant operator.

About $35,000 is to be transferred from the water fund to the Kershaw Recreation Center fund to cover the center's shortfall last year. The center will receive $60,000 from the Leroy Springs Foundation, down from $80,000 the previous year.

"Hopefully, it (the recreation center) won't need anymore," Starnes said.

A $33,000 increase is slated for the fire department fund, when Kershaw starts payments on a new fire engine truck. The truck, which will cost about $400,000, is scheduled to be received in June.

Overall, the proposed 2008-09 budget stands at $2,824,710, a 1.95 percent decrease from last year.

The golf course's cost to the town has fallen from $419,000 to $403,000, with fewer expenses and overall "better management,' Starnes said.

Contact reporter Johnathan Ryan at jryan@thelancasternews.com or (803) 416-8416