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Richland County Council adopts $1.24B operating budget — what to know

Jason Thomas //June 24, 2024//

Registration is open for the inaugural 803 Day celebration to be held on Saturday, Aug. 3, which will include a host of activities in the Midlands area. (Photos/DepositPhotos)

Registration is open for the inaugural 803 Day celebration to be held on Saturday, Aug. 3, which will include a host of activities in the Midlands area. (Photos/DepositPhotos)

Registration is open for the inaugural 803 Day celebration to be held on Saturday, Aug. 3, which will include a host of activities in the Midlands area. (Photos/DepositPhotos)

Registration is open for the inaugural 803 Day celebration to be held on Saturday, Aug. 3, which will include a host of activities in the Midlands area. (Photos/DepositPhotos)

Richland County Council adopts $1.24B operating budget — what to know

Jason Thomas //June 24, 2024//

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During its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, June 18, Richland County Council passed the county’s budget for fiscal year 2024-25 on third reading, according to a news release.

County Council uses the budget to oversee the delivery of services, programs and resources, the release stated. Council held first reading of the budget May 7, followed by a public hearing on May 23 and a second reading of the budget June 4. The new budget takes effect Monday, July 1.

“Richland County Council and staff have put a considerable amount of time and effort toward ensuring that all county functions and services are funded in the most appropriate and adequate manner,” said Council Chair Jesica Mackey, District 9, in the release. “As we enter fiscal year 2025, my colleagues and I are certain that the agreed upon allocation of funding will serve the best interests of Richland County and our residents and communities.”

The FY2025 operating budget totals $1.24 billion, a 6.3% increase over the current FY2024 budget, according to the release. The operating budget invests in council priorities and funds the county’s vital partners, including local school districts and other entities designated as millage agencies.

Also included in Richland County’s operating budget is the county’s general fund, the release stated. The general fund supports county operations and makes up $231.63 million of the full operating budget, a 5.7% increase over the prior year.

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Highlights of the FY2025 budget include:

  • $6.54 million to outside agencies, including competitive grants funded by the state accommodations tax and local hospitality taxes, as well as neighborhood improvement and conservation commission grants
  • $6.22 million to complete capital projects, including improvements to the county’s Judicial Center, Administration Building and Health Department facilities
  • $1.81 million toward Community Impact Grants, which financially support organizations and agencies that implement community-based programs and services throughout the county
  • An 8% increase in law enforcement funding over FY2024
  • $7.7 million to implement the second phase of a class and compensation restructuring for regular full-time employees
  • $80,000 for leadership training, supervisory training, and employment liability training through Richland County University
  • No health insurance premium increase for employees, despite an 11.8% increase in state health insurance employer premiums
  • Eight new general fund-supported positions approved, and a total of eight new positions supported by Special Revenue and Enterprise Funds approved
  • $4 million for affordable housing in the county (carried over from FY2024)
  • 4% sewer rate increase
  • 10% volumetric water rate increase
  • 4.75% curbside collection rate increase
  • 4.75% landfill rate increase

The above figures represent efforts to achieve six broad goals included in Richland County’s strategic plan, the release stated.

“Richland County consistently strives to set a standard of excellence as we work to achieve the strategic goals set forth by County Council,” said County Administrator Leonardo Brown in the release. “The county is committed to fiscal responsibility, which could not be achieved without the dedication and due diligence of council and staff. These investments will afford the county and our residents continued growth and success.”

Residents are encouraged to review the recommended Budget Book for fiscal year 2025, which details the annual budget, on the county’s website by navigating to the Budget & Grants Management webpage.