Responding to a virus
The City of Clinton, Clinton Family YMCA, and Presbyterian College.
City budget balances with 12% water hike
The City of Clinton will increase property taxes to the level of inflation in order to balance its $7 million general fund. Also, the city will use 29% of the money generated by a local sales tax for a fund to replenish police and fire equipment.
A water rate increase and a small sewer fee increase are proposed to balance a $24 million utility fund. The City of Clinton provides electricity, water, sewer, and sanitation services in the corporate limits and to a limited area around the city.
Combined, the budget is just over $31.3 million - it was $29.86 million in 2017.
City Council discussed the budget document May 12 during a work session-style meeting. There will be no changes in inspection and planning fees; fines and forfeitures amounts are projected down based on last year’s trend.
Council was told District 56 has received a $180,000 grant to assist with additional Resources Officers in schools.
The Police Department’s budget will increase by $312,195, and the Fire Department’s budget will increase by $88,600.
Salaries are being reallocated in the Public Works Department, leading to a $123,678 decrease in the streets budget and $56,865 decrease in parks, recreation, library and cemetery. A $400,000 Recreation allocation last year is $0 in the proposed budget (the city has recreation land on Hwy 56).
A 12% increase in water rates and fees is the major driver in the $24,164,532 Utility Fund. The sewer increase will be about 2% (no electrical increase, garbage fees $1 per cart).
The city proposes to spend $42,000 more next year in cyber-security (office of city manager: information technology). Other IT line items show decreases.
The city proposes to transfer $1,385,224 from the electrical fund to the general fund - a decrease of $20,113 from this year’s figure. Employees will receive a 2% cost-of-living raise.
The City of Clinton’s budget requires two readings, and a public hearing, to be adopted by the council. The next regular meeting will be June 1.
To re-open, after a mandated shutdown announced by Gov. Henry McMaster, the Clinton Family YMCA has announced several facility changes. Also, Presbyterian College has announced its intention to re-open, after a voluntary shutdown, this summer in preparation for face-to-face instruction in the fall.
PC’s intention was announced by its Provost, Dr. Don Raber.
In a statement, the Clinton Y said these will be its “Phase I Changes in Facilities”:
-- Members must maintain minimum of 6 feet distance.
--Controlled access to the facilities through one entrance.
-- No guests will be permitted. Facility use will only be for members during YMCA Phase I. No Y to Y reciprocity.
-- Staff and members will have temperature taken immediately upon entering the facility. Temperature should be recorded for the employee and the member for the purpose of contact tracing.
-- Temperature must be below 100.4 degrees in order to be allowed to enter, work or participate in activities at the YMCA.
-- Staff will be encouraged to wear personal protective equipment (masks and gloves).
-- Time will be limited on all cardio equipment.
-- Only every other cardio equipment will be used. Members & Staff must disinfect equipment before and after use.
-- Members must wash hands before and after working out with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
-- Group exercise classes will be limited in class type, class size and distancing. Gym capacity limited to 5 people per 1,000 square feet or 20% capacity (whichever is less). Limit class size (even if the space permits) to 10 participants to decrease people congregating before and after class, regardless of the building size.
-- Gym open only for walking; NO basketball play permitted.
-- Locker rooms will be open but showers will not be available. No towel service – members may bring & leave with their own towels.
-- Use Wet Wipes/Medical grade cleaning products only to disinfect cardio equipment, no towels available.
-- No use of the spa, saunas or steam rooms, as a minimum safe distance of 6 feet cannot be maintained.
Increased signage throughout the building to encourage social distance, hand-washing and remind members to disinfect equipment.
-- Child Watch may reopen in YMCA Phase II.
-- Coffee station will not be available. Lounge area will not be available.
-- No rental of the social meeting room during Phase I.
Laurens to Clinton reciprocity will not be offered during Phase I. The Clinton YMCA indoor swimming pool will open Tuesday, May 26, for limited lap swim only by scheduled appointment and time frame.
“We will continue to review these guidelines regularly and communicate changes through email, our website and social media to meet federal, state and local guidelines. We will continue providing virtual resources for our members who are still sheltering at home,” the statement said. The Y opened on Monday.
In the Presbyterian College statement posted on-line, Raber said, “PC remains committed to providing the best possible experience — consistent with our mission, for everyone in our community — from brand new students in the class of 2024 to longtime staff, faculty, and friends of PC,” Raber wrote in an email. Retiring President Bob Staton highlighted at the end of April that college officials would assess the necessary preparation to be successful for the fall semester and the 2020-2021 academic year in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The work of that group is now well underway to develop operational plans, aligned with guidance from health officials, for opening PC this fall,” Raber said. “Together, we are examining needs for physical distancing in classroom spaces as we plan for fall courses, ways to deliver particular experiences remotely where appropriate while maintaining in-person connections, options for gathering people in both residential facilities and athletic venues, requirements for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, and other procedures necessary for operating the campus under different scenarios.
“Many factors are under consideration in each area on campus, and our top priority always will be the safety and health of our community in a highly uncertain environment.
We continue to monitor the world around us, and we will not hesitate to be flexible when circumstances require that of us.
“We intend to have students, staff, and faculty on campus this fall, but things may not look exactly like you might expect as we develop and implement our plans. I want to assure you, though, that we will provide the best information we have as it develops.” No opening date was announced.