County passes second reading of ’14-’15 budget

By Ben Robinson, Courier Staff

PICKENS — As interim county administrator Ralph Guarino presented the proposed county budget for 2014-15 at Monday night’s county council meeting, he warned that some may not be pleased.

“We had to make some cuts that were not popular,” Guarino said, “just to balance the budget.”

The budget was balanced, though county council will have to adjust the budget when it becomes clear how much of a contribution will be made from state money.

Those adjustments will be discussed at council work sessions May 28 and May 29.

A version of the state budget that is currently going through the senate may require local governments to make up $300,000, reports say.

The proposed budget includes no tax increase. It also includes a proposed 3 percent pay increase for county employees.

Guarino also announced that Billy Crawford has been hired as the new director at Hagood Mill historical site, which has resumed its schedule of being open Wednesday through Saturday every week.

Councilman Tom Ponder said he was proud of the Dacusville community for making use of its new community center, including a recent concert by a local band. Councilman Neil Smith spoke highly of a comedian who appeared at the concert and joked that he lived so far up in the mountains he had to go to town just to go hunting.

Coroner Kandy Kelley also spoke to council, thanking them for hiring a part-time assistant for the coroner’s office. She said she has come to rely upon her assistant more and more. Kelley requested that her assistant be increased to full time, freeing her to investigate cases and perform other duties of the county coroner.

Kelley said just moving the employee to 36 hours would help, and the employee could perform office duties for other county departments if needed.