Spartanburg County is budgeting $200,000 to identify the cost and scope of building a new animal shelter, as an agreement with Greenville County Animal Care was extended past the June 30 deadline to continue accepting Spartanburg strays.
In 2011, Spartanburg County Council voted to separate from the Spartanburg Humane Society. Since then, strays from within the city limits have been taken in by the Humane Society, while strays from outside the city have been taken to the Greenville Shelter.
Eleven years later, Greenville Animal Care announced plans last month to end the agreement with Spartanburg County on June 30, due to its own space requirements.
Spartanburg prepares for the end of the pact:What’s next for Spartanburg as the county prepares for the end of the pact with Greenville County Animal Care
But Spartanburg County Council Chairman Manning Lynch said Friday the Greenville shelter has agreed to continue to take Spartanburg’s missteps past the deadline and help Spartanburg County plan its new refuge.
Greenville County spokesman Bob Mihalic confirmed Friday that the deadline has been extended indefinitely, calling it a “transitional phase.”
“Animal Care will do everything in their power to make this transition as smooth as possible,” Mihalic told the Herald-Journal. “Over the past decade, Greenville County Animal Care has had a wonderful relationship with the Spartanburg County Environmental Law Enforcement Department,”
Spartanburg County Administrator Cole Alverson said once the scope of the project is identified, he will present a proposal to the county council. No timeline was given.
Spartanburg County Budget Public Hearing
The $200,000 for shelter planning is part of the county’s proposed $265 million operating budget for 2022-23, which takes effect July 1.
A public hearing on the budget and the $204 million five-year capital improvement plan will be held shortly after the start of Monday’s County Council meeting at 5:15 p.m. in the County Council Chambers, 366 N Church St., Spartaburg.
The county council approved a first reading of the budget on Thursday. A second reading is scheduled for Monday after the public hearing. A third and final reading is scheduled for June 20.
Alverson said the new spending plan includes funding increases for roads and bridges, trails and a new dog park in Tyger River Park, as well as funds to identify affordable housing needs in the county.
“Growth in the county gives us the opportunity to do new things,” Alverson said Thursday. “We have seen a very strong real estate growth trend.”
The $265 million budget for 2022-23 is $25 million higher than the current budget of $240 million which expires June 30.
Salary increase for department employees
The general fund budget includes a 5% cost-of-living increase for county employees, adds 23 new positions and increases entry-level salaries for law enforcement, Alverson said.
After:Spartanburg County passes $240 million budget that spends more on roads than previous years
Overall, Alverson said the county’s finances are healthy due to growth in property tax revenue, building permit fees and fines, and a $1.1 million increase in public funds.
In contrast, he warned that Spartanburg — like most counties — faces “record inflation, rising fuel costs, supply chain disruptions and challenges in the labor market,” said Alverson.
The budget is posted on the county’s website here, and the capital improvement plan here:
Spartanburg County Budget Highlights
► Taxes: The property tax mileage rate will remain at 52.1 mills. Taxpayers will again see a debt service charge of $12 a year on their bills to pay off $30 million the county borrowed last year for road projects.
► Pay for the hikes: A 5% cost-of-living adjustment has been budgeted for the county’s workforce of nearly 1,500 employees, along with a 2.5% increase in the entry salary for law enforcement positions ( sheriff, detention and coroner’s office). Alverson said a 5% COLA doesn’t match the current inflation rate of 9%, but it’s more than the 3% employees received last year.
Spartanburg County Employee Salaries:Salary Database: Sheriff tops list of Spartanburg County employees earning $50,000 a year or more
Alverson said an 18.1% increase in health insurance rates spurred by pandemic-related costs — an increase of $400 per person — is planned by the SC Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA). However, there will be no increase in deductions from employee paychecks, he said.
Alverson said the PEBA may decide to increase deductibles and copayments sometime next year.
► New positions: Among the 23 new positions funded are four for roads and bridges, a transportation planner, two violent crime investigators from the sheriff’s office, two investigators from the coroner’s office, two property maintenance inspectors, a real estate specialist and three new site operators at Valley Falls collection center in Boiling Spring.
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► Trails: A $1.1 million increase in hospitality tax fund revenue will allow the county to spend more on trails and parks, Chief Financial Officer Lisa Benfield said.
► Roads and bridges: The new budget commits $10.8 million to road and bridge projects in 2022-23. Through 2027, the capital budget estimates spending $66 million on road and bridge projects in the county.
Spartanburg County Long Term Capital Projects
The proposed budget for capital projects for 2022-2023 is $57.5 million. The five-year capital budget plan is $204 million.
► Expansion of landfill: The capital budget estimates $10.7 million for the planning and construction of the county’s Wellford Landfill Phase 7 expansion, which will increase capacity through 2045, Benfield said.
► Dog park: Planning for the county’s second dog park in Boiling Springs is underway. The first dog park was due to open May 19 at Tyger River Park, 179 Dillard Road in Duncan.
► Gateway improvements: $250,000 has been budgeted for walkway improvement projects along roads that enter Spartanburg County. Benfield said the funds can be used to improve appearance through landscaping and removing destroyed buildings.
New city-county government complex
► Joint complex: Benfield said revenues from the capital sales tax approved by voters in 2017 will fund construction of the new $52.3 million government complex and parking lot.
Both will be built on West Broad Street, one block from Morgan Square, and will combine the existing functions of the County Administration Building and City Hall, except for the police and fire department, who will have their own new headquarters.
Namely: 7 projects:What to Know: 7 City of Spartanburg and County Government Construction Projects Underway
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