Public may speak on county's proposed budget Monday

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By Jenny Hartley

County Council's budget talks are expected to continue Monday night.

Council has second reading of the 2008-09 budget on its agenda. It held a special meeting May 22 to discuss the proposed $30.2 million budget, which includes increases for new personnel for three new buildings – the Indian Land Library, the new recreation center in the Edenmoor subdivision and the Buford recreation center.

Council discussed cutting several outside agencies from its budget this year: Counseling Services of Lancaster, $11,000; Chester-Lancaster Disabilities and Special Needs Board, $5,000; Catawba Mental Health, $6,000; Palmetto Citizens Against Sexual Assault, $25,000; Lancaster County Council of the Arts, $8,000; The Listening Center, $18,000; Communities in Schools, $10,000; Learning Institute for Tomorrow, $18,000; Southside Literacy Program, $6,000; and Lancaster County Council on Aging, $30,000.

County Administrator Steve Willis has recommended a 3.5-mill tax increase, which equals about $14 on a $100,000 home.

Council will hold a public hearing about the budget Monday. Willis said council will likely not vote on second reading Monday night. Council will hold a special meeting June 12 to discuss the budget, and vote on second reading then. Third and final reading of the budget is scheduled for June 30. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

Fire station land

Although the Pleasant Valley Volunteer Fire Department is still looking for land to build a new station near its existing one on S.C. 160, it has now found land for a second station in the future.

Council will vote on obtaining the land, based on the recommendations of the Pleasant Valley Fire District board.

The fire department's existing station will be destroyed when the second phase of the S.C. 160 widening project begins. The department is still looking for land to replace that station.

But Pleasant Valley Fire Department has plans for a second station, and a landowner is asking $80,000 for a site at Harrisburg and Barberville roads. The land is worth much more than that, Willis said, but the landowner is willing to take the balance as a charitable contribution.

Other agenda items

Other public hearings on the agenda are: a fee-in-lieu of taxes agreement for MacMillan Investments, which is building and leasing a building to Continental Tire for its headquarters; a joint county industrial park between Lancaster and Chesterfield counties; and an infrastructure credit agreement between the county and BMB Steering Innovations.

Council has two economic development issues set for a vote on Monday's agenda. Council will vote on an inducement resolution for Project Waffle, a code name for the $75 million expansion at Duracell.

It will also consider first reading to convey 17 acres of property at Lancaster Business Park to ADEVCO Project.

Council will begin its meeting at 5:30 p.m. with a closed session to discuss an economic development matter. Another closed session will be held at the end of the meeting to discuss a contractual matter.

Council's regular meeting begins at 6 p.m. in chambers on the second floor of the County Administration Building, 101 N. Main St. For details, call 285-1565.