Kevin Toole, North Augusta City Council member

North Augusta City Council member Kevin Toole speaks during North Augusta City Council member.

North Augustans will see no property tax increase in 2020, but the city is increasing its wastewater charges and construction permit fees for next year.

North Augusta City Council officially adopted the budget for fiscal year 2020 on Monday evening and three related ordinances.

An ordinance officially adopting the budget passed unanimously on a vote of 6-0. City Council member Pat Carpenter was not present and did not vote Monday evening.

The budget for 2020 increased 8.41% across all funds from 2019, coming to a total of $48.5 million.

A second ordinance levying the annual property tax also passed unanimously. The millage rate for property taxes did not increase in the 2020 budget, staying at 73.5 mills. The value of a mill for 2020 is $102,722, a 3.64% increase from 2019.

The allocation of the mills in the budget has changed.

“The millage rate remains the same at 73.5,” said Mayor Bob Pettit during the meeting. “But within that millage rate, an additional 0.5 mills is being added to the Capital Projects Fund revenue, and that makes 1.5 mills that are going to the Capital Project Fund.”

The other 72 mills will be allocated to the General Fund. In the 2019 budget, 72.5 mills went to the General Fund and 1 mill went to the Capital Projects Fund.

A third ordinance establishes wastewater service charges by amending the city code.

The increase adds 14.2 cents per 1,000 gallons.

Pettit said during the meeting that the increase is directly related to the operations of the Horse Creek Wastewater Treatment Plan.

“Twelve cents of this is an increase assessed on the city for debt service incurred by Aiken County for that treatment plant upgrade, 2.5 cents of this increase reflects an increase in the O&M charge implemented July 1, 2019. That portion of the increase for O&M expense was absorbed by the city for the second half of 2019,” Pettit said.

The fourth budget related ordinance passed unanimously and increased the construction permit fee schedule.

All fourth ordinances passed unanimously on the third reading. A public hearing was held prior to the meeting, but no citizens came forward with comments on the budget.

Other City Council actions:

  • Council passed the third and final reading of an ordinance amending the signage provisions in the North Augusta Development Code. The reading passed 5-1, with Pettit opposed. He said during the Nov. 18 meeting that his concern is that the code is “not reflective enough of the opportunities that we want to present to our businesses.”
  • Council unanimously passed the first two of three readings of an ordinance that would annex around 1.03 acres of property at 1001 Reams Road. There will be a third and final reading of the ordinance in the future.
  • Council passed 4-2 a resolution authorizing funding worth around $2.6 million for the amphitheater at Riverside Village. The funding includes $100,000 for a non-performance fountain. In favor of the resolution were Pettit, Bob Brooks, Fletcher Dickert and David McGhee. Eric Presnell and Kevin Toole were opposed.

Follow Lindsey on Twitter at @LindseyNHodges. 

Lindsey is the North Augusta reporter at the Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star. She graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2017, and grew up in Hodges, SC.