UNION COUNTY — Reductions in federal and state funding and potential increases in the price of insurance, fuel, and utilities will all be factors in the development of the 2013-2014 county budget.
Earlier this month, Union County Council voted to approve first reading by title only of the proposed budget and this week council held its first budget work session and will have its next session on Tuesday.
“We had the first budget workshop this week and we looked at every department head and elected official’s requests,” Union County Tommy Sinclair said Friday. “We’re going to have a short budget work session on Tuesday to look at outside agencies such as the museum. We’ll also make a preliminary assessment of expected revenue.”
That assessment will include the impact of reduced outside funding and increased costs.
“We know, for example, that some federal money is going to be reduced,” Sinclair said. “We know that the state allocation to local governments will remain below mandated levels. We have preliminary indications of increased insurance costs, fuel costs, and utility costs and we’re still looking at how we can best fit county services to revenues.”
By law, the county is required to produce a balanced budget and Sinclair said council will do that despite increased insurance, fuel, and utility costs and reductions in state and federal funding.
“We’ll continue the process of matching revenue to service needs,” Sinclair said. “We’ll produce a balanced budget.”
Sinclair said that the continued decline in outside funding and increased costs demonstrates the limits of government and why non-governmental agencies and public/private partnerships are so important. He made this point Thursday morning during the presentation of a check for $60,000 from the Timken Family Foundation of Canton, Ohio, to the Miracle League of Union County and later that day during a luncheon announcing the formation of the Union County NonProfit Partnership Center by the United Way of the Piedmont, the Alzheimer’s Association, American Red Cross, and Able South Carolina.
“Government cannot be all things to all people,” Sinclair said. “That’s why I like these public/private partnerships like the ones that helped the Miracle League and formed the Partnership Center. They provide services that government cannot and they demonstrate the strength of the community.”
In 2012, the Timken Family Foundation gave the league a $25,000 grant to help cover the cost of modifying Field #1 at the Timken Sports Complex so it can be used by special need athletes to play baseball. The grant was accompanied by a challenge to the league and the people of Union County to raise $60,000 before August of this year and the foundation would match it with another $60,000. The money was raised and the matching amount was donated to the league by the foundation. Within the space of less than a year, the league has raised $233,788.31 of the $250,000 needed to finance the modification of the field and construction is projected to begin by mid-July.
The Partnership Center, located in the Union County Health Department, was formed to give the United Way, Alzheimer’s Association, American Red Cross, and Able South Carolina a physical presence in Union County. The organizations will share the space as they provide the various services they offer and will begin operating out of the center on April 10.
In both cases, the agencies involved are using facilities and/or space provided by the county. Council voted in 2012 to donate Field #1 to the league and earlier this month gave the league permission to begin modifying the field. The space for the Partnership Center was provided by the county after a United Way official informed Sinclair of their desire to establish a physical presence in Union County.
Council’s next budget work session will be held Tuesday at 4 p.m. in the Conference Room of the Union County Annex.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.