Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Oconee County Board of Commissioners Approves FY 2011 Budget After Hearing

Darn Those Set-up Fees

On July 1, it will cost $50 to get a plumbing permit for a residential property here in Oconee County. It costs $40 now, if you happen to want or need one.

It will cost a resident of the county $90 per hour to rent the theater in the Civic Center on Hog Mountain road. Now it costs $80 for those who happen to need a theater.

It will cost $175 to rent the Heritage Park Pavilion main arena for an event set-up. At present, those people determined to set up their event at the Heritage Park Pavilion can do so for free.

It will cost $20 per person for a county swimming meet held under the auspices of the county. At present, there is no fee paid the county to be a part of such a swimming event.

If, come July, you are careless and lose you membership card for the fitness program at Veterans Park, you’ll have to pay $5 for a replacement. You get a replacement free now.

And if, starting on July 1, you want to purchase 2,000 gallons of water from the county because during the next 30 days you think you might want a drink, because you feel you’ll almost certainly need a shower, because you think your clothes are likely to need washing, or because your toilet already is calling out for a flush, you’ll pay $20.75.

At present, you pay $16.50.

None of these changes raised an eyebrow tonight at the Board of Commissioners meeting, which passed the proposed departmental fees–including the 25.8 percent increase in water rates--unanimously as part of the Fiscal Year 2011 budget. (Commissioner John Daniell--on vacation--was absent.)

County Finance Director Jeff Benko made no mention of the water fee increase when he discussed the Enterprise Fund budget, which is the budget for the Utility Department and which is in balance only because of the water rate increase and a parallel hefty increase in sewage fees.

He also didn’t mention the $5 charge for the membership card replacement. That money will end up in the general fund budget.

None of the commissioners mentioned the increase in water and sewer rates, which will affect the county’s 8,700 water customers and 1,200 sewage customers, when the matter came up for discussion.

No citizen spoke about plumbing, park set-up fees, lost membership cards–or water and sewer fees--when given a chance as part of the public hearing.

Because everyone was so quiet, the whole discussion and vote took only 4 minutes and 23 seconds.

As Benko said, he was glad the budget process had come to an end.

With hardly a whimper.

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