City of Denmark finances finish the year in the black

Despite a shortfall in property tax revenue and money from the state, the City of Denmark finished the year with a surplus. City of Denmark Finance Director Rusty Munoz informed council members at their July 18, meeting that despite a decrease in property tax revenue of 20.7 percent and a decrease in money from the state (Intergovernmental) of 8.1 percent the City finished the fiscal year July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011 with a positive general fund balance of $40,294.30.

The City’s water and sewer fund account recorded total revenues in excess of expenses of $322,928.42 for the year. “I commend the managers of the city’s resources for maintaining a positive fund balance,” Mayor Gerald Wright said.

Also during the meeting:

• Police Chief Leroy Grimes reported the department created 95 case files from June 20 through July 18. Cases included DUS, vehicle collision, simple assault, assault and battery, CDV, disorderly conduct to name a few.

• Fire Chief Charles Breland reported the department responded to 11 total calls since the last meeting including: two structure fires, four automobile fires and one downed power line. Fire department personnel attended a training/business meeting during the month. The department is averaging four members per fire call and a total of 26 members are in the department.

• Council members approved a bid from Sherman Painters of Bamberg for $5,200 to do painting work on the outside of the City Hall building. Council members selected Sherman Painters over Barnwell-based G. O'Berry Painting whose bid was said to be “vague.”

• In the mayor’s report; Mayor Gerald Wright reported: The intersection of Highways 78 & 321 project is “still awhile off” and is a “slow moving process.” Mayor Wright noted S.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) officials think the project can be a “model project.” Under ongoing projects, he noted on the yet to be built Denmark Library, “Progress is being made” adding, “specific steps must be taken.” The mayor noted the city’s summer recreation program for youth was expanded over last year and has had “some positive impact on the youth.” The Mayor noted that the Denmark Health Center has offered free health screenings for the last two weekends with nine people taking advantage of the program the first weekend and only one person the following Saturday. “We need to get the word out,” Wright said. The Mayor noted the second annual Julius Daniels Blues Festival is planned for October.

• Councilmember the Rev. Rufus Jamison noted the city needed to consider putting covers on the top of lawn mowers for “for the health and well being” of the city’s employees. Council members authorized City Administrator Heyward Robinson to check with the city’s employees to get their feelings on the matter.

• Council member Hope Long-Weldon noted the flooding in front of the fire department after a heavy rain. Mayor Wright said that DOT officials were advised of the problem and with the construction of the new library the problem “will be addressed.”

During the Public Comments portion of the meeting:

• Denmark resident Loretta Stackhouse asked council members about the problem of dilapidated buildings in the city. “How can the city help?” she asked. Stackhouse also reminded council members to remember the new hours for the library “in your give and take” with library officials.

• In responding to the lack of people taking advantage of the free screening at the health clinic, Denmark resident Vic Whetstone wanted to know how the screenings were publicized and who was eligible for the screenings. Whetstone, a former radio station operator, suggested public service announcements be put on the radio. It was noted that anyone is eligible for the health screenings at the health center.