The Budget & Revenue Division assists the County Administrator and Deputy Administrators in developing the County's annual operating and capital budgets.
The Budget Process is composed of five phases that take place throughout the fiscal year: Planning, Developing, Approval, Monitoring, and External Audit.
The budget process begins in September with the adoption of a Budget Calendar by County Council. The calendar identifies important dates and process mile stones. In January of each year, budget calls for departments that provide services to other departments begin. These budget calls are due in February. Budget training sessions for departments are held in December to guide the departments in the upcoming Budget instructions and guidelines provided by the County Administrator.
Departments prepare their requests and submit them to the Budget & Revenue Manager in February for analysis and review. Acting on preliminary recommendations resulting from the Chief Financial Officer’s review, final proposals are made by the County Administrator in May.
Budget Workshops are held in March, April, May and June for County Council to review the Administrator’s Proposed Budget and makes any changes they deem necessary. The County Council Approved Budget for the coming fiscal year is adopted by June 30th of the current year. South Carolina law requires a public hearing and three separate readings (votes) of the budget ordinance by County Council. In 2006, South Carolina’s General Assembly passed Section 6-1-320 to provide that the millage rate limitation may only be suspended and the millage rate increased upon a two-thirds vote by County Council and only for the following purposes:
1. The deficiency of the preceding year;
2. Any catastrophic event (natural disaster, severe weather event, act of God, act of terrorism, fire, war, or riot);
3. Compliance with a court order or decree;
4. Taxpayer closure due to circumstances outside the control of the governing body that decreases by 10% or more the amount of revenue payable to the taxable jurisdiction in the preceding year; or
5. Compliance with a regulation or statute enacted by the federal or state government after 06/07/06 for which no funds or means of obtaining funds are provided by the federal or state government.
If a tax is levied to pay for items 1 through 5, the amount of the tax must be listed on the tax statement as a separate surcharge and cannot be included with a general millage increase. Each surcharge must have an explanation of the reason for the surcharge.
During the fiscal year, both the Business Services Department and County Administrator's Office perform monthly reviews of revenues, expenditures, and interfund transfers.
During July through December, the County’s financial records for the fiscal year ended in June are audited by an external auditor. This audit allows for independent confirmation of the activity presented by the County in the audit. The audit must be presented to County Council by December 31 following the close of each fiscal year.
If budget adjustments are necessary, the head of the department may transfer funds within the “Operating” or “Capital” categories if approved by the County Administrator. The County Administrator is permitted, when it is in the best interest of the individual County departments or agencies, to transfer appropriations between departments (from one department to another department). In addition, County Council only, may approve budget transfers from the “Personnel” category to operating and/or capital categories.
The County follows Article X, Section 7 of the South Carolina Constitution and presents balanced budgets to County Council. A balanced budget means that disbursements (expenditures and transfers out) are not planned unless there are sufficient available resources from revenue, transfers in or fund balance. The operating budgets are not balanced by borrowing funds and obligating future resources.