Proposed budget has no tax increase

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

PICKENS COUNTY — The proposed Pickens County fiscal year 2017 budget is now available online.
Pickens County Council members voted on first reading last week to adopt the $59.2 million budget. First reading is in title only.
The FY 2017 budget is an increase over last year’s $55.9 million budget.
Interim county administrator Tom Hendricks spoke briefly on the budget during last week’s council meeting.
The budget as proposed does not raise taxes, Hendricks said. It does provide for a 3 percent cost-of-living increase for county employees.
It also includes an anticipated 10 percent increase in health insurance expenses.
The budget creates several new positions, including two full-time mechanics for building and maintenance, two full-time mechanics for vehicle maintenance, two part-time firefighters at the Vineyards Fire Department, one full-time county attorney, one full-time operations assistant at Mile Creek Park, one part-time attendant at Hagood Mill, one full-time operator at the county landfill and two part-time paramedics.
The county had been contracting with local attorney Ken Roper for legal services.
The 2017 budget allocates $198,689 that will cover the county attorney’s salary and fringe benefits, as well as fees for outside legal services as needed.
Councilman Tom Ponder asked Roper to look into state law to determine what the county’s obligations are regarding funding for Tri-County Technical College.
“I always thought our obligation was maintenance and operation,” Ponder said. “I’d like Mr. Roper to look into that and make sure that’s what state law requires us to do.”
Budget provisos from previous years will remain in the 2017 budget, including a proviso from last year opposing the resettlement of Syrian refugees into Pickens County.
Smith introduced a resolution that would prevent any sitting council member from being considered as candidates for the Pickens County administrator position.
Smith said he wanted to address unfounded rumors in the community about council members vying for the position.
Budget work sessions for council will be scheduled at a later date. The proposed budget can be found online at
If adopted after three readings, the budget would take effect July 1.