Port Royal council OKs $4.8-million budget without a tax increase

emoody@beaufortgazette.comJune 13, 2012 

Port Royal residents won't pay higher taxes next year as part of the $4.8 million budget town council approved unanimously during its meeting Wednesday night.

The budget for fiscal year 2012-13, which begins July 1, includes a 3 percent cost-of-living increase for employees; an estimated 6.79 percent health insurance premium increase; and an increase for contributions to employees' state retirement plans.

Town manager Van Willis said the spending plan is comparable to last year.

No one in the audience spoke about the budget, prompting Councilman Joe Lee to quip that the silence was "because we didn't increase taxes. And we didn't decrease any services."

Greater concern was focused on a resolution calling on local, state and federal officials to avoid the sequestration process that would mean automatic military budget cuts of $600 billion over 10 years. Beaufort County Council and local municipalities have approved the resolution or are considering it.

"Sequestration, if allowed to occur, will make deep, unacceptable cuts across the board to our nation's military, impairing our ability to defend our citizens," the resolution read.

With Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Beaufort Naval Hospital and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort nearby, cuts could be disastrous, Councilman Vernon Deloach said. The three installations inject $1.2 billion annually into the county's economy and provide 8,700 military and civilian jobs, according to the resolution.

"I know there's plenty of things that need to be cut out, but you can't just cut it across the board," Deloach said. "You have to have some common sense about it or else you're not going to have anything."

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeonPortRoyal.

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Port Royal council discusses budget, annexations, rezonings, June 6, 2012

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