It’s been 12 years since the Town of Fort Mill raised taxes on residents.
Make it 13.
The council voted Monday night to keep tax rates the same, approving unanimously a $80.3 million budget for 2019-20 that includes several capital projects to match the town’s growth, including a 25-acre athletic complex and major additions to Walter Elisha Park.
A final vote on the budget will come Sept. 23.
“It’s an exciting budget for us,” Mayor Guynn Savage said after the meeting. “We are impatient. We want to do good things for the community, but they require a lot of planning in the forefront, years of planning and collecting of funds so that we don’t have to raise taxes. So we are as excited as children to be able to provide new and exciting things for the community.”
The $80.3 million budget is a 34 percent increase over last year’s budget.
While residents won’t see an increase in taxes, they will see a 7.5% increase in water and sewer rates as the town passed on the costs of higher fees for getting water from Rock Hill.
“We purchase water from Rock Hill because we don’t have a water plant,” the mayor said. “We are just like anyone else, if you go to Walmart and you want to get a loaf of bread, you have to pay the price of the going rate.”
The town is funding its overall budget mostly with gross revenues (43%), general fund monies (27.6%), capital projects funds (17.7%) and other smaller revenues, such as money from hospitality taxes, accommodation taxes and impact fees.
Property tax revenue is up in the town by over $1 million with higher dollars coming in from garbage revenue and state equipment rentals, among others, said Chantay Bouler, Finance Director.
Where is the money going? Almost 60 percent of budgeted items are going for capital outlays with only 20 percent paying for personnel and another 20 percent paying for operating costs.
A few highlights from the budget:
• $6.6 million for Banks Athletic Park
• $2.5 million for recreation facilities improvements
• $1 million for improvements at Walter Elisha Park
• $1.6 million for amphitheater at Walter Elisha Park
• $1.9 million for Fire Station #2
• $2.2 million for a Bass Street Water Tank
• $449,000 for new machine and equipment
• $399,000 for 12 new vehicles
• $80,000 for a Downtown Master Plan
• $50,000 for Wayfinder Signage
• $50,000 for a new website.