on June 1, 2007 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Hendricks’ imprint fading from budget

WALHALLA — Tom Hendricks is gone and so are a few of the budget suggestions he had made.

As County Council closes in on a second reading of the proposed budget next Tuesday and a public hearing on June 12, several of the final numbers are beginning to reflect the council’s wishes more than those of the former administrator.

Hendricks quit abruptly May 24, storming out of an executive session of the council and calling his wife to pick him up. He has not answered phone calls to explain his departure and council members have said they don’t know what sparked the sudden resignation.

Hendricks was planning to retire soon. Officials have said his leaving is unrelated to the hiring of Moncks Corner Administrator Dale Surrett as the next administrator.

Hendricks left just as the budget he proposed was being finalized.

This week, Interim Administrator and Finance Director Phyllis Lombard made public the changes the Budget Committee has made since it began dissecting the spending plan several weeks ago.

Most recently the committee agreed to reassign four employees in finance, procurement, delinquent taxes and the rock quarry to registration and elections, building maintenance, the assessor’s office and the road department. The changes will save the county $77,786.

Some of that gain, however, was given back when the committee agreed to retain the deputy auditor, a $49,497 position Hendricks had recommended cutting.

The former administrator had also suggested the county hire him an assistant. That $87,668 position was cut Tuesday.

The committee had long ago recommended reinstating $55,000 in charity medical funding Hendricks had cut and they also eliminated an information technology worker is his proposed plan, saving $43,000.

The committee has recommended paying a number of merit raises Hendricks had been holding back on. Those totaled $26,610. In his initial budget presentation, Hendricks referred to many of the merit raises as “gifts.”

The committee has suggested cutting two full-time fire positions from the general fund at a savings of $83,648, but has included $350,000 in hoped-for grant funds. Reinstatement of federal road funds allowed the committee to make some last-minute adjustments, establishing contingency fuel funds totaling $150,000, as well as a contingency electrical fund of $50,000.

Hendricks had not provided full-time funding for the legislative delegation’s coordinator. Budgeters have reinstated $20,861 to assure full-time status.

Currently, the general fund budget calls for revenues and expenses of $41.9 million. That compares to $40.2 million this year and a Hendricks’ recommended budget of $41.6 million.

Latest assessment numbers suggest that budget will require a levy of 64.3 mills, a two-mill reduction from just a week ago. That reduction became possible as the value of a mill rose $6,153 to $447,774 over that short period of time. The final value of a mill will not be known until some time in August after which the millage will be set for fall tax bills.