The Simpsonville City Council voted on Tuesday night to raise the Public Works fee in Simpsonville from $34-$167 a year. The vote came in as the first reading of an amendment to the existing Public Works Fee Ordinance. The purpose of the ordinance would be to create a cash flow to be able to keep up with funding sanitation and resurfacing. According to City Administrator, Dianna Gracely, “The city is $3 million behind on resurfacing needs. The Public Works fee will allow the establishment of a Special Source Revenue Fund for public works. It would enable funds to be allocated specifically for sanitation and re-surfacing/stormwater improvements.”
The ordinance was discussed in the Committee of the Whole and then brought to Council on Tuesday night for first reading. Neighboring communities have also increased their Public Works fees. Fountain Inn raised theirs to $154 annually, Greer is at $175 annually and Greenville charges $15.50 per month on the water bill.
If approved on second reading, the fee will be added to Simpsonville homeowner’s County tax bill next year. Estimates have the city of Simpsonville serving just over 7,000 homes. Doing the simple math, that would equal approximately $1,169,000 additional dollars for Public works. The next Council business meeting is scheduled for December 11.
In other business, the Council voted on second reading to pass an ordinance that requires a super majority of Council, rather than a simple majority, on all personnel issues relating to the hiring or firing of the Administrator or Department Heads. The ordinance was introduced in committee and passed first reading with little discussion by a vote of 7-0.
According to Steve Pelissier, the Director of the Appalachian Council of Governments, “the move by the Simpsonville Council was very rare but probably legal. I have worked with many organizations over the years and I have never seen an ordinance of this type adopted. An ordinance like this could be changed in the future with just a simple majority”. Simpsonville operates under the Council/Mayor form of Government that allows for simple majority rule.
Former Simpsonville City Council member Sylvia Lockaby said, “I think this was just their way of wanting to protect or get rid of who ever they want.”
Simpsonville’s city council has already done this before but the money went into the General Fund and they were able to give themselves raises at the end of the year with the surplus. Is there any provision to allocate 100% of the money for 100% only sanitation and resurfacing/stormwater improvements?