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Council Still Looking to Fund Roads, Shave Budget

Anderson County Council members agreed finding money for roads and keeping taxes down are their chief goals while working on the fiscal year 2016-2017 budget Tuesday night. 

“We have been for years done a good job of operating Anderson County on a shoestring for the last few years,” said Anderson County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn. “But we have been putting off some things and, as (former County Councilman) Mr. Crowder used to say: ‘kicking the can down the road’” 

Dunn said capital projects such as a roof for the new Anderson County Courthouse, are among the major issues facing the county. 

He also said finding ways to retain county employees should be a priority.

“It’s our obligation to take care of our employees,” Dunn said. Dunn recently said that Anderson County is losing many good employees to neighboring counties due to low salaries. 

Dunn suggested that any savings in cutting the currently proposed budget be used to ease the 2.9-mill hike. One mill is designated to fulfill county obligations to Tri-County Technical College. A half-mill would be used for EMS, and the remainder for new positions, capital projects, vehicles for law enforcement and other growth-related county services. 

The chairman joined other council members is also calling for finding ways to acquire funds to maintain and repair county roads. 

“We are going to have to somehow determine some way to fund road maintenance and repair,” said Anderson County Councilman Ray Graham. “We need $7-8 million to basically maintain our roads.” 

Graham said while there is hope the new state money will provide some help, the county is still going to have to come up with a way to fund paving. 

He said a $10 vehicle tax, though not popular, could raise more than $2 million. 

“That’s about a quarter of what we truly need,” Graham said. “That won’t fund our roads.” 

“We are responsible for putting together a budget that is as lean as possible. But we have provide services and for economic development. We have to look at all options as far as the best direction to go for the county.”

“There are some tough decisions to be made.” 

Anderson County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson, also expressed concern about some of the increases in the currently proposed budget while the funding for road maintenance is still lacking. 

“We’ve still got a long way to go,” said Anderson County Councilman Ken Waters, who is chair of the finance committee. 

Also on Tuesday night, council: 

Made official tax incentives for Electrolux to implement at $228 million expansion at their Anderson facility. The expansion will include a number of capital projects and updates to the existing facility which employs nearly 1,500 employees with a $38-million payroll. The 20-year economic impact of the company's investment in the county will top $1.49 billion, said Anderson County Economic Development Director Burriss Nelson.  

Approved on first reading an ordinance to allow the transfer of authority to conduct municipal elections scheduled for November of odd-numbered years for the Town of Pendleton to the Anderson County Registration and Elections Board.

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