Hartsville passes budget, bans e-cigs

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, slyles@newsandpress.net

Hartsville City Council held a special meeting June 16 to conduct a public hearing and final reading for the city’s 2015/16 fiscal year budgets. Council unanimously approved a general fund budget of about $9.2 million, water and sewer budget of $4 million, infrastructure fund budget of $604,300, solid waste fund budget of $1.2 million, and a hospitality fee fund budget of $903,600.

Other budgets approved under this all-inclusive Ordinance 4198, include an accommodations tax fund of $155,050, a debt service fund of $136,665, a storm water fund of $185,000, a recreation concessions fund of $84,000, and a splash pad fund of $122,600.

Also at this meeting, council amended the city’s smoking policy to prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes and similar “vaping” devices in designated smoke-free locations, such as public places and places of employment.

Bill Collins, owner of Vaping Masters on Darlington Ave. in Hartsville, asked council if the ban would interfere with customers sampling various vape liquid flavors inside his shop and city manager Natalie Zeigler assured him that such establishments are covered by the same exemption granted to cigar stores and tobacco shops.

Other agenda items up for public hearings and final readings included Ordinance 4199, amending the budget by $731,500 to account for the purchase of a Ferrara fire truck using unspent lease-purchase proceeds from the 2013/14 budget.

Ordinance 4202 adopts a fee schedule for the Piratesville splash pad, with daily tickets for kids and adults priced at $4 and $2, respectively, season passes for city residents at $30 (kids) and $15 (adults), and season passes for non-city residents at $40 (kids) and $20 (adults).

No. 4203 amends the budget to account for expenditures related to the Multi County Business Park and updates the city’s infrastructure fund budget from $2.8 million to $3.5 million.
Council also voted to distribute $89,037 in state-local accommodations tax revenue to several organizations and events that promote tourism. Key disbursements include: just over $30,000 total to Hartsville Tourism Office, $6,124 to Coker College, $6,000 to SC Junior Golf Foundation, and $5,000 to Hartsville Arts Council for Renofest.

Hospitality Tax monies totaling $18,000 were also distributed, with key disbursements of $6,500 to Renofest, $3,000 to Black Creek Arts Council, and $2,500 to the Southern Baseball Classic.

One late addition to the agenda, Resolution 06-15-08, gave approval to apply for a COPS Hiring Program grant to help defray the cost of salary and benefits for an additional Hartsville Police Department officer. This officer would serve as liaison for the STAND anti-drug program and help fulfill recommendations from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The grant, if received, would pay $105,724 of the $140,966 cost of salary and benefits over a three-year period, less the city’s required 25-percent match of $35,241. Council member Teresa Mack voted against this resolution.

Author: Duane Childers

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