2014-06-16 / Local News

Recycling program discussion likely as county considers final budget action

By LARRY HILLIARD
Ledger Staff Writer

There hasn’t been much discussion during the first two readings of the county’s new fiscal year budget.

That might change today when council is expected to pass final reading of its $20.2 million spending plan.

Cherokee County Councilman Steven Blanton asked council to approve a measure on second reading that excluded council members from a year-end bonus. That proposal was taken as information. However, council’s decision to discontinue its curbside recycling program in favor of expanding the number of dropoff locations is expected to spark some debate today.

Currently, the county offers curbside recycling to between 20 and 30 percent of the county, mostly in the densely populated areas such as the City of Gaffney.

To continue curbside collection, the county must buy two curbside trucks estimated at $140,000 each and a $20,500 pickup truck. The money to purchase the three trucks has been eliminated from the budget proposal.

County Councilman Rufus Foster, whose district encompasses much of the city limits, said he intends to make a motion today to fund the curbside recycling capital equipment. Foster, however, said he has no idea if the motion will pass.

The budget does include $787,340.88 for capital items, including six new vehicles for the sheriff’s department, a baler for the recycling department and $200,000 in a contingency fund.

The budget contains funding for several new positions, including a worker to help maintain county buildings, two part-timers in the county’s 9-1-1 operations department, an employee to be shared by the treasurer and delinquent tax collector, and a new public works director.

The spending plan also includes a proposed wage scale for workers hired through a temporary employment agency.

The county employs about 40 temporary employees, however county officials have said they often leave for higher-paying jobs in the private sector.

In an effort to retain them, the budget has a 3-tier wage scale, ranging from $7.50 an hour for semiskilled workers to $9.50 for persons who have a valid commercial driver’s license. Skilled workers would earn $8.50 an hour under the plan, which does not include benefits.

The pay scale would cost $133,818.

In addition to the county budget, council also will consider final reading of the Peachtree Centre budget as well as the spending plans for six volunteer fire departments and the Gaffney Fire Protection Area.

Today’s meeting will begin at 5 p.m. in council chambers.

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