Keeping money since 2013
City retains sales tax money, will fund equipment
Clinton City Council voted unanimously April 1 to once again keep 29% of the money from the one-cent Local Option Sales Tax.
Council has voted annually since 2013 to keep 29% of the LOST funds — the maximum amount allowed by state law — to fund needs in the Department of Public Safety (now the separate police and fire departments).
Between 1999 (the year LOST was implemented in Clinton) and 2013, 100% of the LOST funds was returned to property owners as a tax credit.
In information from City Manager Bill Ed Cannon to council, Cannon said the city identified in 2013 more than $3 million in capital needs in the DPS “to maintain operations at its current level and meet the requirements set forth before them to provide quality public safety services.”
At the time, city staff recommended by 29% of LOST funding be retained in the city’s general fund to be used only for: purchase of capital equipment for the DPS; funding training for DPS personnel; payment of lease payments for capital equipment purchased by DPS and financed multiple years.
LOST funds cannot be used to pay salaries or for other operating and maintenance costs other than training.
It was estimated that keeping part of the LOST funds would generate $2.7 million over 10 years.
“Adjustment of the LOST credit would impact our citizens since the credit would be reduced; however, by restricting the funds to public safety equipment and training expenditures, our citizens should be able to benefit from better public safety services with a minimal personal investment,” the information from Cannon said.
The resolution passed unanimously by council April 1 recognizes that DPS has since been split into the police and fire departments.
There was no indication how the LOST revenue would be split between the two departments.
Also at the April 1 meeting, Fire Chief Phillip Russell updated council on a mutual aid situation that happened March 17.
Russell said he received a request from the Union Fire Department regarding a large fire. Union needed large amounts of foam to fight the fire, which Clinton didn’t have.
Union officials told Russell their aerial firefighting devices were tied up fighting the fire and they asked Clinton to back them up.
Russell said he checked with the Laurens Fire Department, which agreed to provide backup in Clinton.
Clinton then responded with its aerial device (ladder truck), a captain and a firefighter engineer who, along with Russell, went to the Union fire station.
Luckily, the chief said, the equipment was not needed and Clinton had no fire calls during the incident.
“This was city to city and county to county mutual aid,” Russell said.
Council voted unanimously to approve a contract bid for water treatment chemicals for the next 36 months.
Council also voted to establish standards for the placement of small wireless facilities on city-owned rights of way.
Mayor Bob McLean said, without the standards, “they can put (the facilities) anywhere they want.”
Council received an update from Cannon on memberships on city boards and commissions. McLean asked for more information — when current terms expire, etc — before council makes any decisions on naming new members or keeping current members.