Simpsonville sets budget for next year

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By Walt Reichert

The 2009-2010 fiscal year budget for the city of Simpsonville projects relatively flat growth in income and expenses, but a carryover of $450,000 from the current fiscal year makes the bottom line numbers rosier.

The city commission unanimously passed Tuesday a budget that projects revenues of just more than $1.3 million in 2009-2010 an increase of just less than 2 percent from 2008-09.

The budget projects a slight increase in revenue from the ad valorem tax, the franchise fee, garbage and sewer billing and the insurance tax. On the other hand revenue from occupational taxes are expected to drop from $260,000 this year to $240,000 next year. Though the city has gained jobs in the Kingbrook Industrial Park recently, it has lost and will lose more jobs with the closing of Leggett & Platt later this summer.

The city expects to spend $882,000 during the next fiscal year, about $26,000 more than this year, with general government, police and insurance expenses all expected to be up slightly.

  Sewer changes

Also at their meeting Tuesday, commissioners approved a bid from WHF, Inc. to build a sewer line and pump station to the Whitney M. Young Job Corps Center. The company's bid of $200,548 was the lowest among 15 bids received for the project. The Job Corps Center is paying for the sewer project.

Commissioner Vicky Wise, who represents the commission on the Sewer Board, said the city's comprehensive sewer board ordinance is nearly ready for approval by the commission. The ordinance will repeal the dozens of existing sewer ordinances and amendments passed during past years and replace them with a single document.

The new ordinance will increase residential tap-on fees from $1,500 to $3,000, and it also doubles the penalty – from 10 percent to 20 percent – for those who pay sewer bills late.

  Adult entertainment

The commission took first reading on an ordinance that updates the city's adult entertainment laws. About seven years ago, the commission passed an adult entertainment ordinance that places restrictions on where and how adult entertainment businesses can operate in Simpsonville. The new version of the ordinance merely makes a few changes based on recent court cases, Simpsonville City Administrator David B. Eaton said.

“The courts say we can't prohibit them, but we just want to make it as hard as possible for them to come here,” Eaton said.

The city of Shelbyville and Shelby County also have ordinances regulating adult entertainment businesses.

  Human Rights Commission

The commission also heard from representatives of the county's Human Rights Commission who suggested the panel adopt a model ordinance that spells out the purpose, membership requirements and duties of the commission.

The county and the two city governments recently revived a Human Rights Commission that had been moribund for the past decade. The newest incarnation of the commission has the right to hear cases of potential discrimination and decide on the merits. If the commission feels the complaint is legitimate, it can pass the case along to the state Human Rights Commission, which does have the power of enforcement.