Sumter County Council reviews financial report, discusses ARPA funds


Before Sumter County Council's regular meeting Tuesday, a special meeting was held to discuss the county's financial report and the American Rescue Plan Act.

Sumter County Finance Director Uvette Rogers provided council with a quarterly update on the county's general fund use from its current fiscal year budget.

The Sumter County fiscal year 2022 budget was approved in June, ready to begin on July 1. Rogers presented council with a general fund start amount of $56,743,721 in revenue with expenditures at $57,466,022, showing a $722,301 change in fund balance.

For three months, running from July 1 to Sept. 30, the county reported $4.7 million in revenue, equaling about 8% of the general funds, and $13.2 million in expenditures, equaling about 23% of the funds, being used out of the budget so far.

According to Rogers, the amount of funds used per category varied and will continue to vary throughout the year. For example, taxes, which only had 5% of its budget used so far, will see activity when tax collecting occurs in January 2022.

Councilman Charles Edens asked why recreation expenditures were 34%, which he thought was high.

Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon said the percentage came from summer sport activity, which was normal. He said recreation will drop in the winter and pick back up in the spring.

Edens also asked about transportation expenditures being at 30%, and Rogers said that was the Sumter County Airport activities that were happening early in the fiscal year.

"We're pretty much tracking where we expect to be," Mixon said.

Council also received an overview and update on the ARPA funds during the special meeting.

Sumter County was allocated $10 million in ARPA funds as a response to the COVID-19 public health emergency to offset revenue losses, bolster economic recovery and provide premium pay for essential workers.

Mixon reviewed current projects approved by council for phase one of the county's many phased allocations, which included funding new ambulances and power stretchers for Sumter County EMS, sheriff premium pay, EMS salary adjustments, lost revenue replacement, art gallery HVAC replacement, sheriff full-body scanning system, fire protection gear, coroner cooler and radios, library mobile match, museum COVID-19 budget request, art gallery COVID-19 budget request, Crystal Lakes shelter, three fire station HVAC replacements and community mini grants, all of which equal $5,755,138.

Just under $4.5 million remains uncommitted, but Mixon proposed council approve the county staff's phase two project request to fund the mobile home repair program for mobile homes 20 years and older, an EMS ambulance contract, premium pay for county employees and repairs to the county's Heise building, which houses the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. Phase two will equal $4,350,000.

Council unanimously approved the phase two projects.

"This money has both been a blessing and a curse," Mixon said to council. "It's a blessing certainly to have it, but then you've got all the work that goes around and trying to compare all this information and weigh out all the conversations and discussions."

Mixon also shared with council some future projects to consider with the next $10 million in ARPA funds predicted to come in May 2022.

These projects included broadband expansion; community center renovations in Shiloh, Rafting Creek and Delaine/School centers; more ambulances and power stretchers; water utility upgrades; landfill expansion; recycle center paving; county building renovations to the Sumter County Civic Center, Patriot Hall and Judicial Center; and other possible ideas from council members, including potential road renovations.

An executive session was held at the beginning of the meeting for information purposes. No action was taken.