DARLINGTON, S.C. — The newest budget for Darlington County includes a 1% raise for county employees.
The Darlington County Council voted Monday to approve the second reading of ordinance No. 20-02, which establishes the county's property tax rates for the coming fiscal year and allocates the revenues derived from the property taxes.
Marion Charles Stewart III, the county administrator, confirmed the ordinance included a 1% raise for county employees after a question by Councilman Albert Davis.
Davis asked Stewart what the county could do to increase the raise for employees to at least match last year's 2%.
Stewart displayed a chart showing the annual raises for Darlington County employees in his answer.
He indicated that there were times that the county employees went three years without a raise and that employees have received raises for the past three or so years.
Stewart added that the raise was deliberately kept smaller this year because of the threat posed by the potential for economic turmoil caused by the shutdowns implemented to prevent COVID-19 patients from overwhelming hospitals and a potential second wave of shutdowns this fall.
He said that if the economic conditions return to normal, the county could revisit the issue during its mid-year budget update in January. If, he continued, the county were to include a raise now, it could be forced to make cuts to include the raise if funds are not available as a result of economic conditions.
The proposed budget also includes the spending of $39.94 million, including $23.92 million in the general fund, $4.89 million in the emergency services fund, $2.83 million in the environmental services fund, $2.49 million in the fire district fund, $1.78 million in the road service fund, $1.53 million in the library fund and $1.26 million in the airport fund.
The county will collect revenues via property tax millages of 70.7359 mills for the general fund, 14.3851 mills each for the Hartsville fire protection fund and the county fire district fund, 6.3282 mills for the library fund and 2.6996 for the environmental service fund.
The ordinance probably will be up for a third and final reading at a special called Darlington County Council meeting at 6 p.m. on June 29.
Also, the council voted to approve the second reading of an ordinance designating an agency in the county for drug abuse planning programs and for related appropriations, the first reading of an ordinance establishing a special source revenue agreement between the county and Sonoco Products, a resolution adding a sponsor affiliate to a fee-in-lieu of taxes agreement with Polyquest, LLC, the reappointment of Sean Austin to the board of assessment appeals, the appointment of Ann Weaver to the parks and recreation commission and the appointment of Terry Gainey to the Pee Dee Workforce Development Board.