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Lafayette County 2022 budget approved
LafCo Courthouse

DARLINGTON – Finance Committee chairman Scott Pedley read off a statement about the proposed 2022 budget to the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors at their budget hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 9.

Pedley stated there was a “great deal of deliberation and consideration” on the subject of the budget and “deliberations were lively and never without value”.

They approved the 2022 total real estate property tax levy at $8,786,673 (a 1.3 percent increase over the 2021 real estate tax levy) with an equalized value of $1,317,375,400 for a mill rate of $6.6721 per $1,000 tax valuation, a decrease of 6.4 over the 2021 mill rate. The total expenditures are projected at $53,919,213 with total revenues at $43,203,781.

Pedley touched on the “very significant increase in spending” in the 5% across the board wage increase for nearly all full time county staff members and some part time staff.

“This comes with a high price tag,” Pedley said. “Some may ask how can we afford it? Our financial position is fundamentally sound.”

He believes that the wage increases of this level are “a vital important to Lafayette County government to effectively deliver the services we are mostly statutorily required to provide to our citizens.”

The turn over rate in employees for the county is expensive and costly not only in wages but also the knowledge those employees had in their position and having other employees take the time out of their work schedule to try and orientate a new employee.

“We have been overly tight fisted in the past about wage increases. That effect has resulted in a fund balance that is impressive,” Pedley said.

He said the increase will cause difficulties later on but the county can afford it now and want to make it happen.

The budget included borrowing up to $1,167,000 for Law Enforcement squad fleet purchases ($117,000), Fair cooler compressor ($14,500), AC upgrades, fleet vehicle, windows/shade, sheriff’s department roof and building purchase ($555,000) and Highway Department capital asset purchase ($480,000).

The budget was approved without any objections.