County Council set to hear  third  and final reading of ordinance to establish new fiscal  year budget 1

Aiken County Council  Chairman Gary Bunker, left, talks to Councilwoman Camille Furgiuele about the county's fiscal year 2019-2020 budget.

If everything goes as scheduled, Aiken County Council will put the finishing touches on the county’s fiscal year 2019-2020 budget Tuesday.

The third and final reading of an ordinance that would establish the financial plan is on the agenda for the panel’s 7 p.m. meeting at the Aiken County Government Center.

The new fiscal year starts July 1.

County Administrator Clay Killian and his staff prepared a proposed budget for 2019-2020 that includes a property tax increase.

The millage rate used to calculate the levy would go up from 68.5 mills to 71.6 mills.

That would generate an estimated $2,036,700 for the county.

But during County Council’s fifth budget work session, which was held June 11, the panel discussed several amendments to the proposed budget.

One would eliminate the property tax increase and provide pay raises of at least 1% for all county employees.

Emergency Medical Services and Aiken County detention center workers, along with dispatchers, would receive raises of 4%.

By law, the county must have a balanced budget.

County Council Chairman Gary Bunker said that requirement could be met without a property tax hike by paying for some 2019-2020 budget items with Capital Project Sales Tax funds.

The amendment Bunker crafted also recommends covering the costs of other items with money from the county’s projected surplus for fiscal year 2018-2019.

In addition, the amendment factors in cost savings from a recent county reorganization at the administrative level and the county’s “partial self-funding of health insurance,” Bunker said.

Another aspect of the amendment involves tapping into revenue streams that Killian and his staff don’t have in their proposed budget.

The 2019-2020 budget draft sets both the revenue and expenditures for the General Fund, which is used for the county’s day-to-day operating expenses, at $72,048,277.

Bunker said his amendment would reduce those figures by $410,791 apiece.

The proposed total budget, including all funds, is $168,698,242 for both revenues and expenditures.

Also on the agenda for Tuesday’s County Council meeting are the third and final readings of two ordinances dealing with tiny home issues.

One of the ordinances would set a minimum size for residences located in a Residential Single-Family Conservation (RC) zoning district.

Such structures could have no less than 750 square feet of heated living area.

There would be no size minimum in the county’s other zoning districts.

The other ordinance would restrict the location of future recreational vehicle parks and campgrounds to the Rural Community (RUC), Rural Development (RUD) and Urban Development (UD) zoning districts.

Currently, parks and campgrounds are allowed in several other zoning districts in the county.

Tiny homes on wheels would be restricted to the RUC, RUD and UD zoning districts because they would be considered recreational vehicles under the county’s Code of Ordinances.

Existing recreational vehicle parks, campgrounds and tiny homes on wheels not located in the RUC, RUD and UD zoning districts would be allowed to remain in their locations.

In addition Tuesday, County Council will consider the third and final reading of an ordinance that would change the zoning for an approximately 20-acre parcel at 414 Wire Road in Aiken from Residential Multifamily Development (RD) and UD to Agricultural Preservation (AP).

The Government Center is at 1930 University Parkway in Aiken.

County Council will meet in Council Chambers, which is on the third floor of the Government Center.

​Dede Biles is the Aiken County government, business and horse industry reporter for the Aiken Standard. Follow her on Twitter @DBethBiles.