LORIS, SC (WBTW) – After some recent contentious meetings, city council passed this year’s $6.5 million budget.
In the last four years, the city has faced major challenges like Hurricane Florence and the death of Mayor Henry Nichols in February.
“We’ve had three mayors,” said city clerk and treasurer Kenya Wright. “We’ve had two clerk/treasurers. We lost city hall, we lost documents. We’ve gone through a lot.”
This year’s budget, which council passed 4-1 Thursday evening, is one way the city is looking to the future. Council also passed an extension to last year’s budget to cover expenses between July 1 and now.
The budget includes $1,774,823 to repair city hall. It was damaged during Florence and most departments have shared space in the public safety building ever since.
The budget also includes an additional $12,208 for the mayor and council to fund 30% raises for them. The city says the mayor and council members have not gotten raises in about three decades.
While not in the budget, another main project is to get all city departments on the same software. Each department uses different software, which the city says makes communication tough.
Some residents say it’s frustrating to see this system fail less than three years after it was bought for $25,000.
“If that was a bad purchase, then we need to make sure that our council is no longer making bad purchases,” said Kimberly Rudelitch of Loris.
While new software would likely cost another $25,000, Mayor Todd Harrelson says one unified system will make the city more efficient and improve transparency by increasing online access to public records for residents.
“(The current software) will not do what we need it to do,” Mayor Harrelson said. “I want everybody to feel like they’re getting what they’re paying for in Loris.”
Mayor Harrelson also says the city is still looking for a permanent replacement for administrator Damon Kempski, who resigned July 1.