Wednesday, October 9, 2013
The Town of Moncks Corner does not like drama.
Especially when preparing its budget for the coming fiscal year.
“We presented our new 2013-2014 budget to council in June and it passed its two required meetings by August,” said Town Administrator Marc Hehn.
The process was drama free.
Any debate or discussion about what should stay and what should go was handled quietly and respectfully. The $5.85 million budget went into effect on Oct. 1 without any need for continuances.
“The way we do this is we have more than one budget meeting,” said Moncks Corner Mayor Bill Peagler. “We schedule the meetings so that everybody can attend. Holding budget meetings with department heads at 10 in the morning when every member of council is at work is not conducive to a smoothly developed budget.”
Included in the new fiscal year budget was the provision for a 2 percent merit increase to go into effect in April 2014 following a mid-year budget review.
“The funds are designated for a merit raise for town employees,” said Lisa Hancock, town accountant. “It is not a cost of living increase. The funds are used at the discretion of department heads and are performance based increases.”
Hancock added that if funds are not available after the April mid-year review, the 2-percent raises would not occur. An additional $28,595 is needed for the merit increases.
Also included in the FY 2013-2014 budget is $1.98 million for completion of Phase I of the Moncks Corner Regional Recreation Complex; equipment for the Moncks Corner Fire Department; funds for the proposed Moncks Corner Fire Station in Foxbank; and four new patrol cars for the Moncks Corner Police Department.
The mayor said that he is pleased with the progress of the Regional Recreation Complex but as he told the Berkeley County Legislative Delegation, the facility is not just a benefit to the town of Moncks Corner, but to Berkeley County as well.
“I asked them to think outside the box when it came to finding funds for this complex,” he said. “This is something that will bring revenue countywide. We don’t have enough space in our hotels and restaurants here so when we host tournaments people will also be eating and staying in hotels in Goose Creek and Summerville as well.”
With the dry weather, construction has begun on the new concession stand and press box and has continued on the four ball fields.
“Obviously it’s moving forward and is accelerating with the dry weather,” Peagler said. “I’d rather have had the first phase completed in August so it wouldn’t push against the start of the 2014 season, but just to see it advancing is very satisfying.”
Peagler added the town’s budget philosophy is simple - keep the taxpayers happy.
“We are a conservative council, myself and members of council, and we relay that philosophy to our department heads so we can produce a budget that makes the best economical use of the taxpayers’ money,” he said. “After all, they are our customers and we need to keep our customers happy.”