2012-06-06 / Front Page

Council takes mere seconds to pass first budget reading

By LARRY HILLIARD
Ledger Staff Writer

In sharp contrast to its lengthy budget workshop, it took Cherokee County Council only a few seconds to pass first reading of its 2012-2013 budget Monday.

At its workshop three weeks ago, council members spent an hour in debate about whether to plug a $2 million shortfall in its proposed $18.5 million budget by withdrawing from its local option sales tax proceeds or by approving a tax hike.

On Monday, there was no talk of a tax hike. In fact, there was no mention of any specifics regarding the budget at all.

Council chairman Tim Spencer simply asked for a motion to pass first reading of the budget, which passed unanimously.

Following the meeting, councilman Charles Mathis said council still has the opportunity to make changes on second and third readings. Second reading is scheduled for June 18, with third reading slated for June 25.

Spencer said he’s hoping there will be no tax hike passed on second or third reading, but added, “We’re still looking at the figures.”

The $18,407,881 county operating budget contains no tax hike, no employee raises and no capital expenditures. The budget takes $2 million from the local option sales tax proceeds to plug the revenue shortfall.

Cherokee County Interim Administrator Ben Clary described the budget as a near “duplicate” of the current year’s fiscal plan.

The new fiscal year budgetrepresentsa4percent decrease from the current budget. That was achieved by eliminating positions council never intended to fill.

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