CLOVER — Clover town leaders have approved 2013-14 budgets that include renovations on a new town hall site, improvements at New Centre Park and a 3 percent cost of living raise for employees.
The Town Council last month approved a $4.6 million general fund budget for the year that began July 1, with no increase in property taxes and no increase in fees. They also approved a $607,000 capital budget that includes $242,000 for renovations of the former Wachovia bank building on Bethel Street, purchased earlier this year for a new town hall, and for renovations of the existing town hall.
The capital budget also includes $255,000 for work at the towns New Centre Park on Memorial Drive, said Town Manager Allison Harvey. That will include clearing on the road frontage and overflow parking, Harvey said.
The budget, balanced by using $302,450 from the towns fund balance, an undesignated savings account, was approved in a 5-2 vote, with council members Wes Spurrier and Jay Dover voting against it.
Spurrier said he believes the amount used from the fund balance is too large. I understand the need to dip into savings at times, but this is a larger chunk than weve budgeted in the past, said Spurrier.
Spurrier also said Harvey does a great job at being conservative with the budget and spending less fund balance than what is budgeted. However, I think we should have taken a closer look at expenses and made some tougher decisions than simply throwing savings at the budget.
Dover also voiced a concern about the amount of fund balance money used.
On Monday, the council approved $60,000 for a 3 percent cost of living raise for town employees. Spurrier and Dover voted against the plan and instead supported a 1.5 percent cost of living raise.
The $60,000 had already been budgeted, said Councilman Todd Blanton, who argued that employees deserve a 3 percent raise. However, Spurrier said the council should wait until later this year, when a compensation study is finished, to decide how to use the remaining 1.5 percent of the salary money.
Harvey said that of the $302,450 budgeted from the fund balance, about $127,000 will subsidize the water and sewer fund and $120,000 will go to the general fund to cover miscellaneous expenses. Another $55,000 was budgeted for the purchase of a parking lot that is not likely to happen, she said.
She said the budget also includes the hiring of a school resource officer for the Clover school districts Blue Eagle Academy, an alternative school. She said the officer will be employed by the town, which will be reimbursed for expenses by the school district.
The council also approved a contract to spend up to $7,800 for architect Darrell Watts of DWW Architects in Fort Mill. Watts will prepare preliminary drawings for renovations of the 2,257-square-foot former Wachovia building at 116 Bethel St. and the current town hall.
The council purchased the former Wachovia building for $171,000 in February. Harvey said Watts will meet with the town staff to determine needs for both spaces before preparing the drawings.
After the preliminary drawings are approved, she said, the town will have an agreement to seek construction drawings. Harvey said she expects the space to be ready for the town to occupy in early 2014.