Concerns about State Retirement

By: By Charles Warner - [email protected]
Supervisor Frank Hart

UNION COUNTY — The construction of the new Bonham Fire Station and improvements at the Union County Jail, technological upgrades, the State Retirement fund and council’s Economic Interest reports were among the subjects of Supervisor Frank Hart’s “Supervisor’s Report” to Union County Council.

At each meeting of Union County Council, council receives the Supervisor’s Report, a review of the activities of county government presented by the county supervisor. The most recent Supervisor’s Report was presented at the March meeting of council on Tuesday, March 14, by Supervisor Frank Hart who briefed council on subjects that included capital improvements, new technology, financial issues, and government policies.

State Retirement

In his report, Hart expressed concerns about the State Retirement System.

Funds go into the State Retirement System from employer contributions, employee contributions and investment returns. Hart said the Retirement System had been figuring about 7.5% on returns from investments but it has actually been coming in around 4.9% creating a deficit. He said plans are to lower this to 7.2% but that is not enough.

Hart said the State Retirement System is proposing to raise the employer contributions by 2% at an estimated cost to the county of $166,000. He said they want to raise it by one percent each year for the next five years which would mean an increase of roughly $80,000 a year. Hart said the county is looking at over a half a million dollars in added expense over the course of the next five years. He added that the employee contributions will also be increasing.


Hart stated that IT is working on getting the server upgrades to the AS400 completed. He said they are working on implementation of a Purchase Order and receiver process in procurement targeting July of 2017 to implement in one department to begin with. The goal would be to expand this to include all the departments.

Hart said IT is also working on an electronic time tracking system which would track and report employee time, figure their hours automatically to be imported into the payroll system which then would be checked for any issues. They are looking at doing trials on the system in August.

Hart said IT is also working on an ORI for the Detention Center as they are required by law before the release of an inmate to run a criminal background check to make sure there are no warrants against that individual. He said that cyber security continues to be an issue and SLED has required the County to do dual authentication which they hope to have done soon.

In addition, Hart said the Building Department is using a new software system called City Force where the clerk schedules the inspection and the inspection is done to determine if they do or do not pass inspection. He said department personnel will also take pictures of the inspection and then it is all uploaded into the system to provide better records and documentation. Hart said the department is in the process of updating the condemnation process based on the IPMC. He said they are going to be accepting electronic plans rather than paper plans.

Capital Projects

Hart said that the members of council had an update on each of the current capital projects they are looking at. He said some are already approved projects that are underway and some are in the early conceptual stages. The projects are the Bonham Fire Department, EMS renovations, Union County Stadium renovation, Timken Sports Complex renovation, road construction for additional access to the Union County Jail to address some of the security issues, and a county office complex.

Community Indicators Project

Hart also spoke about the Community Indicators Project. He said they are working with Upstate Workforce Investment Board and have kicked off the Public Health Task Force who had adopted the Eat Smart Move More initiative. Hart said that Paige Rogers with DHEC is the committee chair and will be at the April council meeting to present an update. He also asked council members to attend the meeting on April 18 at 8:30 a.m. at the SC Works Office to see what they are doing, adding that they are working to kick off the Education Task Force.

Planning Commission

Hart said that the Planning Commission has held multiple meetings and have developed three focus groups which are land use, economic development, and transportation; community facilities, housing, and population; and natural resources and cultural resources. He asked each council member to identify an area they would like to participate in and asked them to attend their next meeting on March 29 at 5:30 p.m. at the Annex Building.

Policy Updates

Hart said he had talked with all the elected officials and discussed the personnel policy which they plan to update. He stated the Procurement Policy is being updated through Catawba Regional Council of Governments.

Auditing Firm

Hart stated council would have to select a new auditing firm to handle the audit of the county financial records. He said they would be contacting agencies to make presentations.

Economic Interest

Hart also reminded council members their Statement of Economic Interest report was due by Thursday, March 30.

Supervisor Frank Hart Frank Hart
Hart presents Supervisor’s Report to council

By Charles Warner

[email protected]

Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.

Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.