Town employees will receive a 3 percent pay raise after the Cheraw Town Council on Tuesday passed the second and final reading of its general operating budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year.
“I will proudly say that this is a nine-and a-half-million-dollar budget.” Mayor Andy Ingram said following the motion’s passing. “In this budget there is no tax increase, there are no fee increases and I am proud to say we are able to give our employees a 3 percent raise.”
The town also passed Ordinance 2012-02, which authorizes town staff to purchase property surrounding the Cheraw Community Center.
The town purchased property on Second Street from P.W. Owens for $24,000. Cheraw also purchased property on Second and Evans streets from Carolyn Cole Green for $60,000 and purchased a lot off Powe Street for $5,000 from Darell and Sandra Sowell.
Ingram said the cost of purchasing these properties will come from the town’s local accommodation tax fund, and that revenue for the fund comes from local hotels, not from the town’s general fund. The property will serve as overflow parking for the community center.
The town is also in the process of implementing an incentive program for local businesses. Though the program has not yet been finalized, it could offer breaks on fees and taxes such as the local accommodation tax and building fees.
HEAD START AT 50
Bernice Linton of Chesterfield-Marlboro Economic Opportunity Center Head Start addressed the council. Linton told the council a little about the services provided by Head Start, which will approach its 50th anniversary in October.
“We currently serve 506 children in Chesterfield Marlboro counties,” Linton said. “We have four centers in Chesterfield County. Cheraw serves 134 children, Ruby serves 37 children, McBee serves 14, Pageland serves 93. In Marlboro County we have two centers — the one in Blenheim serves 171, the one in McColl serves 57.”
Linton said Head Start is not fully funded by the federal government. Linton said federal funding covers about 80 percent of Head Start’s budget. The rest, she said, comes from donations.
“That’s why we encourage everyone to come out and volunteer,” Linton said. “We love Head Start. We want you all to become familiar with Head Start.”
Reach reporter Randy Garner at 843-537-5261 and follow him on Twitter @CherawChronicle.