Firefighters/paramedics, rescue vehicle in first reading of West Columbia budget

Brian Carter addressing West Columbia City Council.

The City of West Columbia passed first reading of its 2018-19 fiscal year budget last Tuesday.

“This has been a long process the city has gone through,” said City Administrator Brian Carter.
A general fund budget of $16,126,000 was approved along with a water-sewer budget of $17,150,000.

Carter said department directors began submitting budget proposals months ago, and the city workshops to consider funding requests.
If final reading is passed on June 18, the budget would fund three additional firefighters for the city. The new firefighters would also be trained as paramedics.

The budget also includes money for a new rescue vehicle. Currently, the West Columbia Fire Department responds to accident calls with ladder trucks that incur high maintenance and repair costs. Purchasing a smaller rescue vehicle would reduce costs,” Carter said.

The budget also includes funding for the West Columbia Police Department’s recruitment and retention program.
The budget contains a millage increase of 3.5. That amounts to a property tax increase of about $14.07 annually on a home valued at $100,000, said Carter.

Some of the other specifics of the budget include a 3 percent merit increase for some city employees and 1 percent increase in state retirement plan costs as mandated by the S.C. Legislature. There is also an 8 percent increase in insurance costs.

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