WHAT YOUR GOVERNMENT IS DOING: SUMTER COUNTY COUNCIL

Sumter County gets clean audit with drop in revenues

BY ADRIENNE SARVIS
adrienne@theitem.com
Posted 1/24/19

Sumter County spent $4.2 million more than it earned in 2018 but remains in a surplus, according to auditors who presented their 2017-2018 budget review during the Sumter County Council meeting Tuesday.

Webster Rogers LLP's unmodified opinion did …

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WHAT YOUR GOVERNMENT IS DOING: SUMTER COUNTY COUNCIL

Sumter County gets clean audit with drop in revenues

Posted

Sumter County spent $4.2 million more than it earned in 2018 but remains in a surplus, according to auditors who presented their 2017-2018 budget review during the Sumter County Council meeting Tuesday.

Webster Rogers LLP's unmodified opinion did not find any discrepancies in the county's financial reporting.

Partner Chuck Talbert said the team of external auditors issued a clean report for the county's financial statements for the previous fiscal year after no material weaknesses in documents and other materials could be found.

During the past fiscal year, the county's expenses exceeded its revenue by $4,188,857 with total revenues recorded at $83,673,995 and $87,862,852 in total expenditures. The financial report also states the county spent about $7 million more for public safety in the fiscal year ending 2018 compared to the $26,319,551 spent in previous fiscal year.

Other areas of expenses were less than the previous fiscal year except for public utilities.

The county also saw a drop in total revenue between 2018 and 2017 with significant decreases in capital grants and contributions and property taxes with the county bringing in $5.6 million less in fiscal year ending 2018.

Despite those losses, the county ended the year with a $15.8 million surplus in unassigned funds, which are available for spending at the government's discretion.

County Administrator Gary Mixon said the result of the audit is the culmination of three to four months of work, and he thanked Webster Rogers and county staff for their work during the process.

Subdivision proposed near Sumter airport

Reading: Second of three

Agenda item: A request to rezone 46.99 acres at 2320 Beckwood Road from agricultural conservation to residential-15 for the potential development of a single-family home subdivision.

Background: Residential-15 zoning districts require a minimum of 15,000-square-foot lots though the lots may be slightly larger, Sumter Planning Department Director George McGregor said.

The property has frontage on Beckwood and West Brewington roads, he said, which is near the Sumter Airport, and there is a residential-15 subdivision, Beckwood Shires, located to the south of the proposed subdivision property.

Planning staff recommended approval of the request, and the Sumter Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of this request during its meeting on Dec. 19, 2018.

Public hearing: Several residents in the area, including inhabitants of Beckwood Shires, said they are concerned about how the new subdivision would affect their property values and increase traffic on West Brewington Road. They were also concerned about the condition of Beckwood Road.

Residents also asked that council consider making an appeal to South Carolina Department of Transportation to have a traffic light installed at the intersection of Beckwood Road and U.S. 521.

Tyler Dunlap, a partner with the applicant, said the group developed Beckwood Shires and intends to build more than 60 stick-built houses that will be comparable to the houses in the other subdivision. The starting size of the houses will be about 1,800 square feet, he said.

"I can assure you it's not going to hurt your values," Dunlap said to residents who live near the development site.

McGregor said the subdivision plan is less than the county's threshold for a traffic study but that the applicant is required to get an encroachment permit from DOT so the state will be aware of the development on the roads.

Discussion: Councilman Artie Baker made a motion to give second reading approval provided the county request a traffic light at Beckwood Road and Thomas Sumter Highway, and Councilwoman Vivian Fleming-McGhaney seconded.

Vote: Unanimous approval