City of Pickens on its way to balanced budget in 2011-12

PICKENS — The City of Pickens is well on its way to passing a balanced budget following the passage of the first reading of both the general fund and utilities budgets during Monday’s monthly Pickens city council meeting at city hall.

The general fund budget will see a 4.08 percent increase. The increase will be funded by a 4.41 millage increase if passed on its second reading in April. The utility fund budget will also see a $126,500 increase in the coming year.

Both budgets will be discussed further during council’s work session on March 21 at city hall.
Council also announced that the city is currently seeking funds from the South Carolina Recreational Trail Fund. City officials are seeking the grant to help provide money to go toward building an off-road bike trail. If approved, the city would get $100,000 in grant money if the city covers $25,000 in matching funds for the project.

“This is a very competitive grant,” city administrator Katherine Brackett told council.
In other business, council voted to add the Secona precinct to polling places for municipal elections. In the past, all city residents voted at Pickens city hall for municipal elections. The change stems from a mandatory rule by the Pickens County Election Commission that states when a city has more than 1,000 registered voters it must have two polling places.

Pickens Mayor David Owens said those who vote in Pickens II in county and state elections will now vote there for municipal elections as well.

Council then voted in the final reading to rezone parts of the south side of Secona Road and the east end of Dean Street from Neighborhood Business District to Residential.

Also chosen to serve on the City’s Village Renaissance Advisory Committee were Tommy Bray, Rodney Moon, Cathy Breazeale, Bonita Williams, Rosa Austin, Charlie Warth, Allen Temple, Allen Coleman and Norman Rentz. The committee will meet once a month to help develop goal and strategies to advise the mayor and council on the development of strategic five-year revitalization plan.

Council also honored Pickens Police Officer Bradley Smith for five years of service.