Sumter County gets clean audit, OKs plans for veterans memorial park

BY ADRIENNE SARVIS
adrienne@theitem.com
Posted 1/11/18

Sumter County received an unmodified opinion - clean audit - for its 2017 financial reporting and was applauded by the auditing company, Webster Roger LLP, for turning in its financial report months earlier than in past years.

According to the …

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Sumter County gets clean audit, OKs plans for veterans memorial park

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Sumter County received an unmodified opinion - clean audit - for its 2017 financial reporting and was applauded by the auditing company, Webster Roger LLP, for turning in its financial report months earlier than in past years.

According to the audit report, the county collected about $51.8 million in revenues and spent approximately $51 million, leaving a more than $800,000 difference.

Sumter County Council passed a balanced budget of $49.39 million in June 2016.

A detailed look into the county's 2017 budget will be included in Friday's edition.

Later, council approved first reading of an ordinance to amend the 2017 budget to add automated spillway gates, valued at $265,000, to the Second Mill Pond dam reconstruction project.

The current spillway gates were installed in the early '90s, county administrator Gary Mixon said.

Automated spillway gates are a much safer system that will hopefully prevent flooding such as occurred in 2015, he said.

In the same ordinance, county council approved the transfer of $500,000 from the county's hospitality fund to go toward the construction of a veterans memorial park on Broad Street Extension adjoining Shaw Air Force Base.

The park will be a joint project between the county, city and base, Mixon said.

Some adjustments have been made to the previous plans for the park, including the placement of a Tuskegee Airmen P-51 plane.

Sumter City Council will soon vote on contributing matching funds for the project, Mixon said, and the state may contribute about $200,000.

The amendment requires two more votes before it is adopted.

County council also heard from Chris McKinney, executive director of Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments, about the organization's plans going forward this year.

McKinney joined the organization in October and said he is ready to continue Santee-Lynches' mission to serve the four counties in its region: Sumter, Clarendon, Lee and Kershaw.

The purpose of Santee-Lynches is to solve problems for cities and counties, he said, but sometimes those problems don't end at county lines.

Santee-Lynches assists local governments and organizations receive grants for projects and initiatives such as removing blighted housing and assisting elderly members of society, he said.

McKinney said he would also like to see Santee-Lynches implement strategies to encourage young people to remain in Sumter after they finish school.