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Johnston Town Council Gives First Approval to Budget, Two New Police Cars Included

By Anne Waits
web posted May 15, 2014

JOHNSTON The Johnston Town Council gave itself a round of applause Monday night after it managed to pull off a way to purchase two police cars with only $6,000 coming out of the 2014-30125 budget and without a tax increase.

The police department has been looking at cars for awhile, and has come up with not only one--but two-- 2013 models they are interested in buying. The first car costs $20,850,72. At last month's meeting, Council talked about ways they could save by using money from the current budget designated for other purposes. Monday night, Council member Tyra Miller told Council, "We're factoring in three ways to attempt to purchase police cars. First, there's an account from years ago that we've held onto to help with health insurance that's no longer needed. That's $12,004. Then, there's $9,981 in capital reserve, That takes care of the first car. We can outright pay for this car without touching anything."

However, she mentioned, the police department would like to have two cars this year. The second car they have found totals $20,547.

Miller said they could pay for the second car the following way:
"There will be $1,000 left over from the first one, Then, there is $8,000 allotted for recreation which we talked about last time. We found out this could come out of hospitality, so we don't need a recreation fund. The police department is under budget this year. The rest could come out of savings.This would only leave $6.000 in taxes to come out of next year's budget."

Miller then made the motion to purchase two police cars using money left from the 2013-2014 Budget and it was seconded and approved unanimously by Council.
They then dealt with the matter of the new budget. Mayor Terrence Culbreath went over the budget in detail with Council. Town Clerk/Treasurer Frances Quarles said the main increases were for retirement and workman's comp. Miller asked why the non-departmental went up and Quarles said that it was a line item. There was more money going out than coming in and they allotted the money for unforeseen expenses such as repairs.

Council then passed on first reading a $921,769 budget as amended (because of the $12,004) with a 2 percent increase over last year's.

In other business, Council: 1. Heard public comments from Georgia Mason who asked that the police patrol her area more often and from Mrs. Dandy on Butler Street who had a concern about a lot that needed to be cleaned 2. Approved the April 14, 2014 Minutes and the April 2014 Financial Report; 3. Agreed to accept the lowest bid out of four bids to replace the roof on the Medical Building; 4. Approved the use of the Municipal Parking Lot on June 7, 2014 for the Peachtree 23 Yard Sale; 5. Approved $250 for advertising for the Peachtree 23 Yard Sale from the Hospitality Tax Fund; and 6. Unanimously re-appointed Betty Edwards to Edgefield County Recreation Committee.

The Fire Department Committee reported there were six calls during the month of April.

Under the Mayor's Report, Culbreath reported that the Peach Blossom Festival was a big success, including the Clean-up Campaign beforehand.

Following executive session, Council voted to extend one police officer's salary up to the normal range.

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