Pine Ridge amending budget, spending federal rescue funds

Posted 2/22/23

At its regular Feb. 14 meeting, Pine Ridge Town Council moved to amend its 2022-23 budget, including reallocating funds that had been sitting in an account since 2018.

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Pine Ridge amending budget, spending federal rescue funds


At its regular Feb. 14 meeting, Pine Ridge Town Council moved to amend its 2022-23 budget, including reallocating funds that had been sitting in an account since 2018.

The town had a little more than $3,000, which was left over when Pine Ridge through its 60th anniversary celebration five years ago, which would be reallocated to other uses if the amended budget, which passed unanimously first reading, goes into effect.

The mid-year reshuffling of the budget is a standard practice for the small town south of Cayce and Springdale with West Columbia mailing addresses.

“Years ago, we had an auditor that suggested we do mid-year adjustments to further affirm our budget,” Mayor Daniel Davis said, “and if there were any items that were either under-predicted or over-predicted, we could deal with those on the front end. So every year, in January or February, we go through this process.”

Council held a public hearing, during which nobody spoke for or against the amended budget, prior to taking its first reading vote.

Total revenues on the amended budget jumped from nearly $750,000 to more than $1 million, mostly as a result of adding the town’s second tranche of American Rescue Plan funds. The funds, which totaled nearly $292,000, weren’t included on the initial budget, Davis said, because the town wasn’t sure how much it would get when it was passed.

The change in expenses mostly matches the increase in income, with $1,166 in net income expected under the revised budget.

The most substantial increase in expenditures came in the realm of town buildings and maintenance, which saw a jump from $18,500 to $40,000, with the mayor explaining that one of the expenses Pine Ridge has recently incurred was replacing ceiling tiles in Town Hall.

“Some of those, because of leaks or just aging, were falling down,” Davis said. “The ones that we have now should last longer and they will help with the acoustics of the building.”

The other big increases in expenditures were a total of nearly $10,000 in new equipment costs (which the mayor explained as being partially driven by upgrading technology and software) and $3,500 in tech support (which Davis explained as being driven by the need to train members of the town government on the new software) and the addition of holiday expenses ($3,550 for the annual tree lighting and parade and $10,200 for snowflake decorations).

Gas and oil also saw a substantial uptick, from $12,500 to $17,200, and the town cleanup that is scheduled for May 20 was allocated $3,500 that wasn’t on the initial budget.

“We really wanted to try to beat this up a little bit and have a little more than just the cleanup,” Council Member Melissa Lewie said of the volunteer event that goes from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. “[Police Chief Frankie] Neeley has been working on [getting] some military vehicles. And we worked on the food truck, which council approved last time, so we have a food truck and a couple other things that we're working on that we're going to finalize.”

A revenue issue that Davis cited was a lack of arrests in the town, which means the town doesn’t collect bond funds.

Chief Neeley said that his department is making arrests, but county magistrates have assigned those offenders personal recognizance bonds, which don’t require the defendants to pay the bond amount so long as they appear in court.

“I don't have an issue with that on the on the municipal type charge or small traffic validation,” the chief said, “but we've had serious charges that we made in the month of December and in January, where county magistrate gave that individual a PR bond, didn't even give us an opportunity for cash or surety bond.”

A new expense that council voted on after discussing the budget was an upgrade to council chambers to allow for professional recording and live-streaming of meetings. At present, the meetings are streamed via the town administrator’s phone.

“Once COVID came, not only Pine Ridge, but other entities began to use other mediums to make sure that the citizens stayed informed,” Davis said. “We want to continue doing that, but we want to do it in a bit more professional manner.”

Council unanimously approved the nearly $8,000 expense.


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