Newberry City Council passed the first reading of the fiscal year 2018-19 budget Tuesday night, balanced at $66,751,454. No amendments were made to the budget following previous budget work sessions.

Hearing no one speak in favor or opposition to the budget during the public hearing Tuesday, Councilman Thomas Louis Boyd made a motion to accept first reading, followed by a second from Councilman Lemont Glasgow. Second and final reading of the budget will be held on Thursday, June 21 at 6 p.m.

City Manager Matt DeWitt told council that for FY2018-19 the city saw a proposed decrease in spending of $112,099 in the general fund, primarily by eliminating two replacement police vehicles originally budgeted.

Under the special funds summary, DeWitt said the line item had decreased by $1,289,314 due to the completion of the Oakland Tennis Complex. However, due to the construction of the recreation complex, that line item saw an increase of 755,680.

DeWitt said the city had signed a contract Tuesday with Wiley Easton Construction to move forward and he expected the project to break ground before the end of the summer.

Under the utility fund, the proposed budget has a two percent increase on minimum water and sewer meter rates. DeWitt said for a typical customer this averages out to a 50 cents increase on a monthly bill. Overall the utility budget, as compared to the last fiscal year, has decreased $2,773,745. Total funds requested for FY 2018-19 also decreased by $4,063,060.

The budget was balanced with no tax increase.

Recognitions

DeWitt, Mayor Foster Senn and Fire Chief Keith Minick recognized Ron Roberts Tuesday for his 20 years of service with the city. Roberts began his employment with the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant on April 6, 1998 and transferred to the fire department in February of 2009. He currently holds the position of Fire Engineer.

“Ron’s knowledge is instrumental to keep us going each day,” Minick said.

Two students were also recognized by council for their success in track endeavors. Tyler Duncan, Newberry High School student was recognized for being the 3A State Champion in the 3200 meter for the third year in a row and the State Champion in the 1600 meter.

McCallum Senn won the state champion in the 3200 meter for the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA). McCallum also finished second in the 1600 meter during the state competition.

Each student was presented with a proclamation for their achievements.

New Business

Under new business, council approved first reading of an ordinance to assign a fee schedule to Willowbrook Park Cabin as it is now available to rent to the public for events. The fees for the cabin would be $100 for non-city residents for a five hour period. City residents with a current utility bill would receive a $25 discount on that fee. Additional hours may be reserved at a maximum of three hours with a rate of $15 per hour for city residents and $20 for non-residents.

A deposit of $50 for damages is required with the rental fee and would be refundable when the key is returned and it has been determined that the cabin was left in satisfactory condition. The cost of booking the cabin would cover water, electricity, staff costs and the use of tables and chairs. Hours of use would mirror park hours.

The motion to accept the fees was made by Councilman Zebbie Goudelock and seconded by Glasgow.

Under old business, DeWitt presented council the final draft and overview of the vision planning session with Charles Weathers, of the Weathers Group consulting firm. The document covers the city’s vision derived from conversations within the community with citizens, as well as city staff and city council members and contains verbiage such as creating an environment for growth in Newberry, remaining good stewards of the public’s trust and resources and supporting quality of life improvement efforts.

A motion was made by Goudelock and seconded by Boyd to adopt the vision plan.

Other updates

  • DeWitt informed the community and council that the city was now putting all press releases, articles and announcements concerning the City of Newberry on their website. This information can be found by scrolling on the homepage beneath the city’s Twitter feed. Information will also continue to be posted to their various social media accounts. “We want to make sure if we are putting out information on the city that it remains publicly available,” DeWitt said.
  • Due to recent changes in law regarding authorization of mutual aid agreements between law enforcement agencies, the agreement with the city and Fairfield County Sheriff’s Department expired. Council approved the new agreement Tuesday.
  • DeWitt announced that the Water and Sewer crew in the utilities department had been named Team of the Year during the city’s annual employee appreciation luncheon last month and had been chosen based on their fantastic attitudes while working in sometimes undesirable conditions.
  • Councilman Boyd made a motion, seconded by Councilman Glasgow to appoint Anne Smith and reappoint Les Hipp and Luke McCormick to serve four-year terms on the Newberry Opera House Foundation board.
  • Councilman Goudelock made a motion, seconded by Councilman Edwin Wicker to reappoint Mark Senn for a term on the Planning Commission board to expire on July 10, 2021.

  Ron Roberts recognized for his 20 years of service. He is pictured with Fire Chief Keith Minick.

 Tyler Duncan, middle recognized for his success in track. He is pictured with Councilman Zebbie Goudelock and Mayor Foster Senn.

 McCallum Senn, middle recognized for his success in track. He is pictured with Councilman Zebbie Goudelock and Mayor Foster Senn.