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Greenville city budget passes reading, work continues at Unity Park

Molly Hulsey //May 19, 2020//

Greenville city budget passes reading, work continues at Unity Park

Molly Hulsey //May 19, 2020//

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The city of Greenville’s $101 million fiscal year 2021 budget was approved during a first reading and public hearing Monday night without any increases on taxes or fees.

General fund revenue is expected to reach an estimated $95 million, but reserve funds will bridge a $6 million deficit for one-time expenses following the COVID-19 economic shutdown, according to a news release.

“Our budget is going to reflect that we’re in a sound position,” Mayor Knox White said on May 14 before the first reading of the budget was approved. “We’re not furloughing or cutting staff. We’re not expecting that in police, fire (departments) or public works. We’re also not even reducing our budget for many of our neighborhood amenity projects such as sidewalk construction.”

He added that road paving and trail blazing will continue, although last week he said the timeline for some capital projects funded by hospitality taxes will need to be reassessed or delayed.

“We’re actually in pretty good shape and fortunate we had a good reserve fund,” White said.

While White had said on May 14 that work at Unity Park would be slowed by the pandemic, landscaping and site preparation will proceed as scheduled due to a $5 million investment in project according to Monday's release.

“Unity Park, for example, we have a bunch of infrastructure and construction under way right now if you go on the site — it’s a big construction site — that’s not stopping. But in terms of what we do next on Unity Park depends on how we feel about the hospitality tax,” he had said last week, adding that capital projects may be delayed but none would be cancelled.

To expediate recovery measures, the city will defer capital and rolling-stock purchases until the third or fourth quarter, defer capital improvement projects based off new funding until later in the year and delay new compensation adjustments except for employees receiving a promised one-year performance evaluation, according to the release.

The budget will prioritize affordable housing, public safety and first responders, economic development, continued infrastructure improvements and daily services.

“Our operation budget is in really great shape considering the circumstances. I think next year might be the bigger challenge, but we can begin to plan for that,” White said.

Specific allocations include:

  • $3.75 million for wastewater system rehabilitation
  • $3.5 million for bridges as the Swamp Rabbit Trail expands
  • $1.3 million stormwater improvement projects
  • $1 million for additional sidewalk construction
  • $1 million for street resurfacing
  • $750,000 for economic development and recovery initiatives
  • $500,000 for affordable housing
  • $500,000 for intersection safety improvements
  • $200,000 for public safety cameras