By Annie Rigby
The Loris City Council met on Monday, June 29, at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at city hall. Due to COVID-19 pandemic the Special Council Meeting is open to the public and press via Zoom, the social media outlet through the App or dial in to attend the meeting. Mayor Todd Harrelson stated in last week’s meeting that social distancing was a priority, only council members and city staff are able to meet in person.
Present at the meeting were council members Joan Gause, Lewis Hardee, Terrence Hardee, Carroll D. Padgett, Jr., Mike Suggs, Jan Vescovi and Mayor Todd Harrelson. Department heads present were Brandon Harrelson and LPD Chief Gary Buley. Also present were Kenneth Moss, city attorney; Keith Massey and Amanda Causey acting clerk.
Again the Zoom meeting was inaudible through computer and phone connection and with a blip in the internet connection the press depended upon those present in the meeting to provide verbal confirmation of why the budget was rejected for the third time since introduced to council.
The second reading of the Ordinance 07-20, an Ordinance to adopt the budget for the city of Loris, South Carolina for Fiscal year 2020-21, ending June 30, 2020 was not accepted by council.
The amount of $75,000 was added to the budget for city administrator salary for when they hire someone permanently to the position.
Dennis Drozdak stated on Tuesday, June 30, that the budget was rejected because of a line item word change on a line item Expenditures to say Fund Balance. He said, “The budget does not have to match exact on the expenditures verses the revenue, as long as the revenue is a larger number than the expenditures.” He explained, “Revenue minus the Fund Balance add to the budget; Surplus equals Fund Balance.”
Drozdak said the first reading is a budget basis as a starting point but is not the ending point. He said, “You know you’re going to make corrections, additions and deletions; the budget except for the expenditures is not going to come out to the penny, we’re probably going to have more property taxes than we thought because we are growing here.” He said when looking at building permits and tap fees we’re getting more people.
The first reading of an Ordinance to adopt the existing budget as a Stop Gap Measure until a budget for the 2020-21 Fiscal year is created. No date has been set for the second reading of this ordinance.
Drozdak is excited about exploring new avenues; he stated he has created an accounting instruction manual to help Jenna Winborne to utilize in learning the system. He said it’s not just paying the bill but to allocate the costs to the department, that’s the difficult part especially when working with PEBA Health Insurance as an example, breaking it down by department and then by employee.
He stated that payroll is done by a third party ADP they pay the wages then we have to put them into the Nicholson software separately. Drozdak said that he created and wrote a program in Excel for the expenditures for the health insurance, FICA and PEBA for the allocations in departments. He also created an Excel program for the budget, next year they can drop in numbers and it will create the budget for 2021-22.
Drozdak is returning to Columbia where he has purchased a new home and wants to spend more time with his family and projects around the house. He said he might find a part-time job working in the field he is most familiar with to create programs for budgeting a couple of days a week. He will be working on projects around the house building cabinets and shelves for his home.
Drozdak said on Saturday, July 11, at the Loris Sports Complex (The recreation center) to showcase baseball tournament/softball tournament will have college scouts present observing the players. He said, “This is an event you wouldn’t want to miss. Tier One sponsors this event and actually recruit teams and 32 teams will participate brining in about 1,000 people.” He said this past weekend’s baseball tournament of 21 teams that brought in nearly 800 people which included players, coaches, families; he said when the teams check in they are given a wristband to everyone who attends the games allowing them to get an accurate account of people attending. Drozdak said, “Other than just the financial aspect the benefit is families were together, they set up a tent and with family and friends spending time together.” He said he will return to Loris to attend this event due to the excitement of number of teams and people coming in as well as the college scouts being present.
In retrospect Drozdak stated he has enjoyed his time spent in Loris working with the mayor and setting up the accounting system to assist in calculating the expenditures and revenues. He will miss the people and the job, but said it is time for him to enjoy some time off to play golf and to meet people in the community he lives in.
Mayor Todd Harrelson said, “Dennis was an answer to my prayers to have someone come in who knows what they are doing and accomplish the tasks needed to get the city back on track.” He said, “I don’t think we could have had anybody more perfect to the job, and I wish he would stay.” Harrelson stated that everything Drozdak has done has been major, he said, “he’s got us on the right track to where we need to be, the city we should be and to provide the service to the citizens here; he has helped us to line up the stars as you could say.” He’s been a benefit, a godsend, I hate to see him go and I hope he visits often.” Sportourism was Drozdak’s idea bringing in teams and revenue through baseball and softball tournaments. Harrelson said, I mentioned to a news station that his (Drozdak) management style didn’t suit all of council.”
Jenna Winborne said Drozdak has been great to work with. She said, “He’s more than a boss, he is a teacher and has taught me more accounting than I do in my classes ever did.” She said she feels he has done a great job here and is proud of all the work he has put in for the city. She said, “The changes he made to the recreation department where the city will benefit for years to come.” She continued, “I have enjoyed working with him the past year and will miss working with him.”