City Council approves first reading of 2016 budget, agrees to fund police body cameras
Council to take up final passage of budget at next meeting, June 22
Spartanburg City Council gave the city's $35.9 million fiscal year 2016 budget first approval at their meeting on Monday in a 6-0 vote (Council member Sterling Anderson was absent from the meeting). The budget includes no tax or fee increases, with staff projecting a modest 4 percent increase in projected general fund revenues. New expenditures include a 2 percent cost-of-living pay increase for city employees, a 10 percent increase for the city's medical insurance fund, $60,504 for mandatory increases in the city's contribution to the state retirement system, $220,000 for building facilities maintenance, and $30,000 for 85 tasers for police officers.
During the public hearing on the budget, Spartanburg NAACP President Monier Abusaft urged Council to add funding for police body cameras to the budget, a move that City Manager Ed Memmott had said would require cuts to other areas of funding, adding that the state is considering providing funding for the cameras. During Council discussion, Mayor Junie White spoke in favor of finding a way to provide the $180,000 needed to purchase body cameras in the event state funding does not materialize, after which Council agreed in a 6-0 vote to direct staff to create a plan to fund the cameras. That plan will be presented to Council at their next meeting on June 22.
For more on Monday's meeting, see the full video and roundup of our live tweets below.