Some Pee Dee towns owe thousands in state fees
Wed, 21 May 2014 03:32:01 GMT —
The towns of Society Hill, Lamar, Clio and Sellers are more than 90 days delinquent in State Court Assessment Fees, according to the SC Treasurer's Office.
Society Hill owes nearly $90,000.
Officials with the State Treasurer's Office said the fees support the South Carolina judicial system, as well as numerous law enforcement agencies.
The Office withholds a portion of the municipalities' Local Government Fund (LGF) for not submitting the fees.
Society Hill Mayor Tommy Bradshaw said the town was already in debt when he took office in January. He added the town is selling its old cars to help pay down debts and get back on track.
"Your bills come first. The amount you owe people, rather it be the State Treasurer's Office for the assessments due to the state. Those things come first. We pay those and we should pay on them on time. And we're going to get back to a point where we do that, pay our bills first," said Mayor Bradshaw.
Towns are also required by state law to file yearly audits 13 months after the close of books for the fiscal year. The State Treasurer's Office says municipalities have to submit the audits to receive their share of the Local Government Fund and to provide accountability to ensure court fines are being remitted to the State for the judicial system and law enforcement agencies.
The State withholds 100% of Local Government Fund from towns and municipalities that fail to file their yearly audits.
The following towns haven't filed their yearly audits, according to the State Treasurer's Office.
Clio Fiscal Years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
McColl Fiscal Years 2011, 2012.
Sellers Fiscal Year 2012
Timmonsville Fiscal Year 2013
Timmonsville Mayor Darrick Jackson said he's working to get the audit filed as soon as possible.
He said the past few years have been hard for his small town.
Jackson added this year's budget of $747,000 is about the same as last year.
He said they've had to let the City of Florence take over its water and sewer services so they could make ends meet.
"We've been through very hard times lately, but it's a process that we have to go through, but I'm positive as to where we're headed, " said Mayor Jackson.
Jackson said the town was able to restore its police department .
Council was forced to shutdown the department in May of 2012 after finances hit rock bottom.
Officials in the small towns said if they can grow their tax bases, it will increase revenue.
Some municipalities plan to better market their community to make them more attractive to industries.