Loris City Council

The City of Loris is one vote away from having a 2019-20 budget but not everyone on city council is in favor of the new spending plan.

During a special meeting July 11, council gave first reading approval to the $6.5 million budget.

The department expected to spend the most between within the next year is administration. According to the budget, more than $2.1 million is earmarked for that department.

This is an increase in the administrative department of $1.77 million over last year. The reason for such a major budget hike is because the upcoming repairs or replacement of the hurricane-damaged city hall is part of this department.

Administration is the only department with a budget of more than one million dollars. The police department ranks second with a budget of $936,087.

The budget for mayor and council is $44,506 which is an increase of $12,208. That is because of the previously reported 30-percent pay increase for the people in those positions.

If the budget is approved as currently written, the salary of Mayor Todd Harrelson will increase from $5,400 to $7,200 annually. Councilmembers will get an increase from $2,400 to $3,200 each year.

That is why Councilman Michael Suggs said he voted “no” to the budget’s first reading.

“I had so many people come to me about the proposed salary increase for council. They do not think it was appropriate. I also did not think it was a good idea,” Suggs, the only council member who voted “no”, said after the meeting. He has not said if he will turn down the pay increase he will receive.

The budget will get a final reading and vote during a special meeting at 6 p.m. July 25.

More Transparency

More of the city’s financial documents and minutes from meetings are now available on the Loris website -- www.cityoflorissc.com -- and more will be coming in the future, Mayor Todd Harrelson said during the meeting.

“We are researching software to get more of our stuff online,” Harrelson said.

Recently, the minutes from the years 2017, 2018 and 2019 have been added to the website.

“We are trying to get everything on there so we are as transparent as can be so you can go on our website and see what you need to see,” Harrelson said. “The software we have now is not what we need. We are trying to find exactly what we need.”

City Clerk Kenya Wright said the problem is currently every department in the city has a different software program and the goal is to find software that will be used by all departments.

“We need one program that everyone can use so things do not have to be imputed 10 different times,” Wright said.

The program now being used was purchased by the city in late 2016.

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