Council gives first reading on water rate increase ordinance

By Melissa Rollins, Editor,

During its June 5 meeting, Darlington City Council passed second reading of its 2018-2019 Fiscal Year budget. They also passed first reading on two ordinances relating to increases in the city’s millage rate and the water/sewer rates. The city has not raised millage rates since 2008.

“By law, council has the ability to go back those three years plus this year,” City Manager Howard Garland said. “If you multiply all of those CPI increases by our millage, which is 125, …you get 6.4125 mils. You multiply that by $17, 450 (the value of a City of Darlington mil).”

Council chose to approve the first reading of the ordinance to do an increase of the maximum 6.4125 mils, which raises the millage by $111,898.

Darlington Mayor Gloria Hines and Howard Nettles. Photo by Melissa Rollins

Garland said that when the millage was increased in 2008 it went from 121 to 125.
“Our millage rate has increased,” Garland said. “It was worth $14,000 the last time we took a serious look at that.”

The second ordinance to receive first reading put a three percent increase on both water and sewer rates for residents inside the city limits. Both fees go from a flat $9 to $9.27. Anyone outside of the city limits is subject to a five percent increase on both fees, going up to $23.07 and $24.96, respectively. The increases will bring in estimated additional revenue of $58,000.

There will be a public hearing on the budget, including the millage increase, on June 28 at 6 p.m. A special council meeting will follow at 6:30 p.m.

Council passed second reading of an annual ordinance relating to business licenses for people operating in the City of Darlington. The ordinance, 2018-10, reads in part:

“Be It Ordered And Ordained by the City of Darlington in Council assembled this 5th Day of June, 2018

Section 1: That under and by virtue of the authority delegated by the provisions and requirements of the Constitution of the State of South Carolina, 1895, and amendments thereto, and the statutory laws of South Carolina made and enacted in accordance therewith, and the amendments thereto, and for the purpose of raising revenue to pay the principal and interest on the outstanding bonded and other indebtedness of the City of Darlington, to create and maintain a sinking fund as required by law, and to defray all costs and expenses for corporate and other purposes as may be necessary from the first day of January, 2018 to the first day of January, 2019, there shall be and hereby are, levied and imposed charges and/or taxes as hereinafter provided. That every person, firm, company or corporation engaged in any business, trade or profession (except teachers and ministers of the Gospel), hereinafter mentioned, shall obtain, during the month of January, 2018 a license therefore before entering upon such calling, business, profession or occupation as hereinafter provided.”

Speaking outside of his capacity as city manager, Garland addressed council and the community regarding the passing of Bobby Ross.

“We had a passing of a Darlingtonia recently; his name was Bobby Ross,” Garland said. “He was a friend to many. If you didn’t know him, he loved Darlington and wanted what was best for Darlington. For over 20 years he has espoused something called the Darlington Central Park South, which would be a walking, hiking and biking trail that would encompass the entire city of Darlington. Since Mr. Ross has passed now I just don’t want folks to forget his dream of bringing our town together through a walking, hiking and biking trail. I would hope that mayor and council, whether it’s this mayor and council or a future mayor and council, would name part, or all, of that trail for Mr. Ross.”

During the meeting, Mayor Gloria Hines presented Howard Nettles from Genesis Health Care with a key to the city for all of his work helping to beautify the city.

Author: Rachel Howell

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