Plans to Meet Needs of Laurens County

There was a lot of talk about numbers at last night’s Laurens County Council Meeting. County Administrator Jon Caime introduced his Fiscal Year 2019/2020 Budget to Council, along with a Long-Term Financial Plan and a Fiscal Year 2019/2020 Preliminary Long-Term Debt and Capital Plan. Caime told Council, “Our county now has a long-range Capital Improvement Plan that is much more costly than we can currently afford; however, we can take actions to start making positive progress on reducing our capital improvement plan backlog.” He added, “We have two top capital improvement plan projects identified by council and three more that need to be funded now.” Caime noted the county has an assumed current available general obligation bond capacity of $8,434,238.

County Council was also presented long-range needs for firefighting equipment for the county’s fire service starting with fiscal year 2021, with a budget of $3.5 million. Jon Caime discussed funding sources for a ten-year lease-purchase through two funds in a special purpose tax district for fire.

Public Works Director Dale Satterfield proposed a building plan for a county-owned transfer station. He noted overall savings with changes in that system. with a future estimated cost of $1,122,000 for the project.

Satterfield discussed savings to the county by using Greenville County’s Twin Chimneys Landfill for household garbage disposal. County Council gave a unanimous vote to proceed.

Laurens County Council also gave unanimous approval for $1,504,436 funding for the final phase of HVAC renovations at Hillcrest Square.

Council narrowly approved a request from Fire Director Greg Lindley to obtain bids for a new lease on fire apparatus, but not yet make the purchase on the $3.5 million project. Fire Director Greg Lindley said they’re looking to replace 18 firefighting units in 2020. He noted a plan to purchase fire equipment with dual capacities rather than separate items like engines and pumpers, which can reduce the total units needed in 2020 to 10, while maintaining what’s needed for ISO compliance.

Joe Wood noted council has yet to provide a new EMS administrative building, so this commitment to Fire Service seems unfair to EMS. Jon Caime reminded Councilman Wood that with the special purpose tax fund for fire, this vote has no bearing on the EMS Building. Council voted 4 to 3 in favor of obtaining bids only. The no votes were from Council members Carroll, Jones and Pitts.