Vehicle Fees Increase for Road Repair

A third budget session for the upcoming fiscal year was held by Laurens County Council Tuesday evening.

Council narrowly voted to raise the annual road fee residents pay for their vehicles. As approved for the budget this week, the fee per vehicle each year will go from $15 to $25. Council members Patterson, Pitts and Wood cast no votes. Public Works Director Dale Satterfield asked for the fee hike, explaining that the condition of the county’s roads and bridges requires over a million dollars in repairs. He said this hike in the annual road fee will help finance a proposed chip-and-seal program for repairing county roads.

County Council unanimously approved a request from 911 Director Joey Avery for $275,000 for the Emergency Communications Department to purchase specialized computers for emergency vehicles and specialized lifts to help get patients placed in emergency vehicles that will help employees avoid injury. When this was approved, Avery responded, “This is a huge step for us.”

County Council approved a request from Andy Howard Director of Parks and Recreation, for an amount up to $100,000 for “Welcome to Laurens County” Signs at two interstate exits serving as gateways into the county. Joe Wood cast the only “no” vote, saying he felt the expense was unnecessary and the money should be spent on more important matters like the roads.

Other items approved as of Tuesday’s budget workshop were $17,000 for a Joanna sidewalk project, $25,000 for the Future Scholars Fund, $35,000 for the Laurens County Museum and a $12,000 increase in the $47,500 budgeted amount for the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce.

In follow-up discussion from last week’s regular County Council meeting, Joe Wood questioned the financial impact of transferring Animal Control officers under control of the Sheriff. He questioned whether the $8,000 budgeted for training affected employees to be able to carry firearms would be sufficient for that purpose.