Bamberg, South Carolina (August 2022) – Returning from the 2022 South Carolina Association of Counties Annual Conference & Institute of Government earlier this month, Bamberg County Administrator Joey R. Preston was able to report to county officials that Bamberg was the only county in the state to adopt a millage reduction during this year’s budget season.
"Every budget season brings its own set of challenges and opportunities," noted Preston. "Every county in the state is required to report their millage rate and with that information we were able to determine that, Bamberg County was the only county in the state to enact a tax decrease. With inflation creating more economic challenges for hardworking families nationwide, Bamberg County has delivered a responsible budget plan to offer tax relief, make smart investments and provide financial stability."
The approved budget, which began on July 1, included a decrease in property taxes by 3.5 mills. The FY23 budget provides funding for the design and construction of a new fire station in the Holman’s Bridge community, which will result in lower fire insurance premiums for nearby residents. To support public safety efforts, the budget funds an updated camera system at the county detention center and the hiring of additional emergency services personnel.
"I am not surprised that Bamberg County was the only county in the state that enacted a tax cut this budget year, while continuing our support of key infrastructure investments such as the ongoing construction of our health and human services complex in the old hospital,” Council Chairman Spencer Donaldson said. "It's still true that our County has a lot of competing needs that can't all be met at once. This budget delivers on improvements for public safety, community resources, government services, and expanded support of Denmark Technical College. This new budget demonstrates our commitment to stepping up for the everyday people of this county."
"A decade ago, our county was facing a $2 million budget deficit, and on the brink of bankruptcy. We are slowly recovering from the most severe public health crisis in that our state, country and the world has seen in the last century. It is crucial that we prioritize families by providing them with much needed and deserved relief to ensure Bamberg County’s growth," Councilman Larry Haynes said.
The budget mirrors the County Council’s vision - Bamberg County will be a community where citizens can feel safe, raise their families, obtain quality education and employment, and thrive in a community with an exceptional quality of life.
The budget also funds the support of essential agencies, including: Cheese and Cracker Box, Citizens Against Sexual Assault, Mary Ann Morris Animal Shelter, Bamberg County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs, and the ABBE Library System. The Council also approved new agency funding for Shop Her Closest Outreach Ministries and Bamberg County Family and Community Leaders.
"We are continuing our practice of responsible budgeting while helping those who need help the most," said Dr. Jonathan Goodman, Vice Chairman of the Bamberg County Council. "The 2023 County Budget maintains and improves vital County services, continues investment in the County’s infrastructure and other capital improvements and protects the County’s A credit rating. We should be proud to be the only county in South Carolina that passed a tax cut for its citizens this year."
The county’s FY23 budget includes funding for 800 megahertz radios, a project which would be broken up into two phases. Phase One would include providing the radios for the dispatch, sheriff and code enforcement departments, with Phase Two to include the fire service department. Several other amenities approved were, but are not limited to, new computers in the offices of the clerk of court, assessor, clerk to council and litter control, and a $5,000 increase in funding to all nine county fire stations.
Copies of the County budget are available on the Bamberg County website at www.bambergcounty.sc.gov
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