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Simpsonville's budgets $1 million flush

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Savings coming on mall sewer, sidewalk projects, too

By Steve Doyle

SIMPSONVILLE – If you are a resident of this city, take heart: Your city coffers are in good shape as a new fiscal year gets under way.

The Simpsonville City Commission on Wednesday passed on first reading a budget amendment for fiscal 2012-13 that shows the city performed better than expected and, despite spending significantly on public works projects and adding a new department, will finish with more than $1 million in the bank.

Those pluses were split almost equally between the city’s general operating fund – which required no amendment, so close were its final numbers – and its sewer fund. The city took in 6 percent more than its goal for the year and spent about 4 percent less than planned, all that including $220,000 in capital projects for its sidewalk project and the completion of refurbishment of its gymnasium.

The sewer fund benefited by a nearly 400 percent increase in sewer tap-on fees, most notably the Brown Forman warehouse that opened in Kingbrook Industrial Park. And despite spending about $40,000 on a SCADA computer monitoring system for its pump stations, the fund grew by about 7.5 percent, to a $520,380 cash balance. The road and parks funds ended the year with only slight variances to budget.

“It was a great year for a small city financially,” Simpsonville City Administrator David Eaton said in presenting the budget amendment. “The numbers came out really strong.”

 

Sewer and sidewalk savings

Those positive numbers are a good indicator for the city as it moves forward, too, with projects to completed by Thanksgiving: its downtown sidewalk project (finally, officials say) and the sewer expansion to serve the parcels south of Interstate 64 where the Outlet Shoppes of Louisville are being built by Horizon Group Properties.

On the latter, Eaton reported that he and Mayor Steve Eden had signed documents to refinance the bank loan the city is using to finance the $360,000 project and said the new terms would save the city about $12,000.

He said the money is sitting in a bank account on which the city is paying only interest and that the final withdrawal doesn’t have to be made until Oct. 18. The city has yet to bid the project, although engineer David Derrick said he expects the state to OK bid requests by the end of July, which would allow bids to be sought and selected by the first of September.

“When we get the actual bid, if the cost is less, then you can borrow less,” Eaton said.

He said Derrick estimates construction to be about 30 to 60 days, which would deliver the line by Thanksgiving, or about the same time the sidewalks for the fist phase of the Village Center Project should be completed.

The city is saving money on that project, Eaton said, by ordering some of the products through its means rather than having the contractor acquire them and being billed. That includes the custom benches, lampposts and other accoutrements that will be placed along the south side of U.S. 60 between Old Veechdale Road and Fairview Drive.

He said that would knock about $90,000 off the cost of the project and save the city about $50,000.

“Everything is being built specifically for your specifications,” Eaton said.

He also said the contractor, Bluegrass Contracting Corp. of Lexington, estimated that, although the contract called for 120 days, it could be done in 90.

 

Also at the meeting, commissioners:

  • Approved on recommendation of City Clerk Debbie Batliner the purchase from Raytech Services a new telephone system for the city. She said the change would add a new line, provide business continuity access and save the city between $280 and $300 a month in fees for an Internet-based service. Commissioners agreed to a 2-year contract, and Batliner said that this system would save enough money to allow her to push ahead with her 2-year plan to purchase a cloud backup system for city records.
  • Approved on first reading an ordinance to supplement its code of ordinances for the fiscal year.  “It was a busy year, so we decided to go ahead and do it again,” Batliner said.
  • Heard from Eaton that Police Chief Chip Minnis would receive final applications by Friday for a new police officer and would begin doing interviews. “We hope that by mid-to-late-August to have a fifth police officer on board,” Eaton said.
  • Heard from Eden a thank you to Parks Director Chris Truelock for the success of the city’s first Red, White & Boom celebration for July 4th, which was delayed until July 12 because of rain. “We told Chris our dream was to have a 4th of July event, and he truly pulled it off,” Eden said. “I was concerned about attendance because it was a week later. Everyone, parks, police, public works, did a great job. I don’t know how you top that next year.”