Rincon set to OK smaller FY15 budgets

Rincon City Council is set to approve a budget for its coming fiscal year that is smaller than its current operating plan.

Council members approved smaller general fund, special purpose local option sales tax, fire and rescue fund, Lost Plantation Golf Course and utility fund budgets Monday. The grand total of the budgets for fiscal year 2014, which ends Dec. 31, was $11.85 million. For the coming FY15, which begins Jan. 1, the total is $10.9 million.

The city’s general fund budget is shrinking from $4.288 million to $4.185 million. Last year, the city carried forward nearly $640,000 in reserves. The city has dipped into its reserves to complete projects such as Macomber Park expansion and Fort Howard Road resurfacing.

“We’ve spent about $5 million over the last three years,” City Manager Wesley Corbitt said.

But the council and staff want to start replenishing the reserves, starting with FY15. The city is anticipating $3.05 million from taxes and related revenues, after projecting $2.87 million for the current fiscal year. The city does not levy a property tax, and council members agreed earlier this year to continue Rincon’s stance of no millage rate.

Among the expenditures, the city council line item is growing from around $273,000 to nearly $485,000. The bulk of the bump, Corbitt said, is a result of legal costs and a city investment in economic development. City council members’ pay isn’t going up.

“Insurance is a lot of it,” he said of the hike in spending. “Insurance went way up.”

Court administrative costs are expected to jump from $58,000 to more than $141,000. Building and zoning is going from approximately $258,000 in spending to more than $325,000, and the increase is tied to professional fees, Corbitt explained.

Public works spending will go from $658,000 to about $788,000, while recreation spending under the general fund will fall from $1.42 million to more than $757,000.

Rincon’s special purpose local option sales tax spending will fall from $1.7 million to $1.3 million. Though the city expects to collect more in SPLOST — going from $852,000 to $980,000 — it will bring forward about $500,000 less in SPLOST reserves.

The city’s total revenue went from $9.4 million in 2013 to $9.15 million in 2014 and is expected to be $9.6 million in 2015. Total expenditures went from $11.25 million in 2013 to $11.4 million in 2014. Total expenditures for 2015 are projected at $9.5 million. That will allow the city to add $171,171 to its reserves.

“Based on this, we’ll be putting money back into our coffers a little bit,” Corbitt said.

The city also has budgeted $550,000 for its next phase of water-sewer upgrades. Corbitt said the city is hoping to get grant money for the next phase.

While the millage rate will remain at 0, the rollback rate increased from 5.2 to 6.3. The city’s digest has shrunk from $274.5 million to $238.5 million. The millage rate is based on the city’s local option sales tax proceeds, and it is rolled back 100 percent.

Council members are expected to give final passage to the FY15 budget at their meeting Monday.

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