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County Council 2018-19 budget set for approval

The Laurens County Council voted Tuesday for a continuance on approval of the 2018-19 county budget to allow the required publication of legal notices on the public hearing related to the budget.

But Laurens County Administrator Jon Caime said the budget is ready for a final vote from council, which is scheduled for its July 24 meeting. Notices of the third-and-final reading of the budget must be published and posted at least 15 days before it can be finalized, according to state law.

Last year, as the county’s budget processes changed somewhat under Caime, the council’s budget work sessions went past the July 1 deadline. That’s not the case this year.

“We have no more budget sessions,” Caime said. “Last year was a major restructure of the budget – a financial re-engineering that was by design.”

The $22,971,322 budget has been finalized and will need at least four votes from council members to pass. The finalized budget includes $231,000 more than the initial budget proposed by Caime to council when the process began.

Caime said the budget is balanced and will require no tax increases for county residents.

The 2018-19 fiscal year budget for Laurens County includes more than $300,000 to bring the salaries of rank-and-file county employees into line with other counties in the Upstate.

“This was Phase 2 of the process,” Caime said. “We had to make some important and costly decisions – we’re finally addressing employee compensation, and we finally have a long-range capital plan.”

Caime said Phase 3 of his budgeting process is to be enacted next year, and that will include “a hard look” at the county’s fund balance.

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