Fifth County Council work session on 2019-2020 budget scheduled for Tuesday  1

Aiken County Administrator Clay Killian, left foreground, talks to Aiken County Council Chairman Gary Bunker before a work session June 4 on the county's proposed 2019-2020 budget.

Aiken County Council will hold its fifth work session on the county’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2019-2020 at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers at the Aiken County Government Center.

“Hopefully, we will start the process of discussing fairly concrete amendments,” said County Council Chairman Gary Bunker.

Aiken County Council Administrator Clay Killian and his staff prepared the financial plan for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1.

They set both the revenue and expenditures for the 2019-2020 General Fund, which is used for day-to-day operating expenses, at $72,048,277.

The comparable figure for 2018-2019 was $68,216,665.

The proposed total budget for 2019-2020, including all funds, is $168,698,242.

Under the proposed financial plan, the millage rate used to calculate property taxes would increase from 68.5 mills to 71.6 mills.

In addition, budget recommendations include raising the county road maintenance fee by $5 per vehicle, from $20 to $25.

There also is an increase in the 911 landline tariff on telephones from 60 cents to $1 per month.

County Council will finalize the budget and can revise it.

Bunker has said he would like to make adjustments to it to prevent a property tax increase.

“I think there is a very good chance” that there won’t be an increase, he said.

The county road maintenance fee and the 911 landline tariff will “most likely, at this point,” be raised, Bunker added, but those increases are “still under discussion.”

County Council unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance that would establish the 2019-2020 financial plan June 4 during a meeting.

The fourth budget work session was held immediately afterward.

County Council has been reviewing the proposed financial plan’s revenues and expenditures, searching for places where costs can be cut.

During the June 4 budget work session, “we worked through the non-General Fund accounts with specific reference to the interfaces with the General Fund,” Bunker said. “What I mean by that is that there a variety of funds that inflow dollars into the General Fund and then, in turn, the General Fund outflows dollars to those other funds.

“I think there are a couple of things we can adjust,” he continued, “but we need to pull some strings on them and run them through the county administrator’s office. I can’t be real specific at this point. It would be premature.”

In addition, Bunker reported, County Council discussed some budget-related requests that had been received.

There also was “some general discussion” about possible amendments to the General Fund, he said, but they were “mostly tinkering-types of amendments.”

The third and final reading of the 2019-2020 budget ordinance is scheduled for County Council’s meeting June 18.

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