Georgetown County, SC (WCBD) – The Georgetown County PIO says the outlook for next year’s budget was grim as County Council received an update on May 14th. But they say it was a little less grim than it had been one week earlier.

A significant deficit in the general fund had narrowed to $803,000 from $917,000 a week earlier. We’re told it had started at just over $2 million.

The Georgetown County PIO says the Midway Fire Rescue budget had a deficit of $97,000, down from a starting point of $360,000. The Solid Waste budget is more than $1 million short, a result of needing to make some engineering changes to a landfill closed off 25 years ago due to new regulations. The law enforcement fund has a deficit of $628,000. The deficit for that fund actually increased over last week as a result of the cost of the hosting fee for the CAD system.

Officials say deficits are largely a result of rising costs in areas such as health care and worker’s compensation rates.

Council gave first reading to the budget at its regular meeting May 14. Between then and second reading on May 28, county officials will continue line by line reviews of the budget and attempt to further decrease the deficit. Whatever deficit remains will have to be covered from the $10 million unrestricted fund in the general fund budget.

The county has a self-imposed policy of maintaining at least $8 million in the fund for emergencies. Covering the deficit would not deplete the fund below $8 million.

The full budget will be published online after second reading for public review. Final reading is set for June 25.