Beaufort city manager to present new budget to city council

WTOC News: By Jessica Knight: May 19, 2015

BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) -It’s not easy to balance a budget when your expenses are $700,000 more than your projected revenue.

But tonight, Beaufort’s city manager will present a balanced budget to the city council, along with his plan for the next year.

Officials said all the departments have found ways to trim their budgets and maintain the same level of service, which doesn’t leave any room for growth right now. The city’s budget pays to maintain things people need and use every day, like parks, police and fire services, and other public works.

Property taxes and fees on business licenses are responsible for some of the revenue to cover those costs. City Manager Bill Prokop has suggested a public service fee might be a solution to the shortfall.

But Mayor Billy Keyserling said he thinks it’s unlikely they will implement such a fee just yet.

“I do not believe he will move forward with the notion that he floated of a fee for public safety, but that he will scrunch and figure ways to stay within our revenue with no tax increase,” he said.

Keyserling said a public service fee could be a future option as a source for revenue, but he does not expect it to be considered tonight. City leaders are also looking at the many nonprofit agencies that do not pay property taxes or business licenses in the city.

Keyserling said that there is $1 million dollars in revenue that the city is not collecting due to their nonprofit status. So there could be changes over the next year, but for now we expect a balanced budget that is squeezing every bit out of revenue currently available.

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