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City budget passes first reading

Walterboro City Council has given its official first reading of the city’s budget, now with plans to adopt the budget by June.
City council met during a regularly-scheduled council meeting on Tuesday, May 2nd. During that meeting, council voted on the first reading. According to city Manager Jeff Molinari, council is slated to give a final reading to the budget at its June 6th council meeting. The estimated $7.16 million budget has no increases for Walterboro taxpayers.
Part of the city’s budget breakdown is $714,337 that is being requested for the city’s parks department. Additionally, there is $1.37 million requested for Walterboro’s Fire Department; $156,217 for the city’s Tourism Department; and $201,732 that is being requested for the city’s Judicial Department.
Based on proposed numbers, the Walterboro Police Department will likely operate on roughly $2.6 million. Also, included in the budget is a requested $117,000 for planning and development; $900,000 for Public Works; and $554,000 for the finance department.
Included in the budget is $204,000 for Walterboro City Council and $341,319 for the city manager’s budget. Most of these particular budget costs are going to pay for personnel costs. However, neither the city’s Mayor or City Council members requested a pay raise from last year’s budget.
The budget also includes plans to renovate the city’s downtown area waterfall. Molinari says city leaders are still considering several options in how to add a water purification system to the waterfall.
Before council is set to cast its second vote on the budget, however, city council leaders have also announced a special May 9th executive session to discuss Molinari’s contract. There is also a special-called city council meeting slated for May 16th for council to discuss its plans for the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary Discover Center. Tentative plans have the Discovery Center to be built at 100 S. Jefferies Boulevard, inside the current empty building at the corner of South Jefferies Boulevard and Hampton Street. That property would be used for the center’s parking, a future outdoor entertainment venue and as the main entrance and educational building for the sanctuary.

According to interviews with city leaders, the incoming new Discovery Center would likely include both static (fake) and live animal exhibits and information on the area’s native plants and animals. There would also likely be a retail space for sanctuary guests, which would include school groups.

Heather Walters (1098 Posts)