On Monday, June 19, City Council approved a $38.1 million budget for Fiscal Year 2024 that maintains service delivery without increasing property taxes. The budget includes $1.2 million for police vehicles, radios and building improvements; $415,974 for the resurfacing of city-owned roads; $403,000 for new firefighter gear, cascade system, repairs and other equipment; $325,000 for security and safety improvements at the Mauldin Cultural Center and grounds; $115,000 for Public Works equipment and vehicles; and a merit pool that allows supervisors to award an average of 3% merit increase to City employees.
The budget also includes a sewer maintenance fee increase for both residential and commercial customers — the first such increase since FY2014 — that will allow the City to offset the rising cost of service delivery and continue to maintain and upgrade sewer infrastructure.
Under the new fee structure, residential sewer customers will see a flat monthly fee of $11.50 starting July 1, which will replace the City’s current two-tiered fee system of $5.43 for less than 2,700 gallons per month (gpm) used and $10.19 for more than 2,700 gpm used. The new flat fee will be reflected in August bills. Commercial customers will see a sewer maintenance fee increase of 15% across all meter types.
“We’re proud to pass a balanced budget that maintains service delivery and makes strategic reinvestments in our community without raising property taxes,” Mayor Terry Merritt said. “Many thanks go out to City staff for carefully crafting a budget that meets the needs of our growing City and facilitates future growth in alignment with City Council’s priorities, despite rising costs across the board.”
The $38.1 million budget figure is a 16.1% decrease from the $45.4 million budget in FY2023 due to the City intending to borrow less money for major capital projects in the new fiscal year and no additional American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money expected from the federal government.
The City has managed to control spending despite a variety of financial challenges including persistently high inflation, higher property and casualty insurance rates, pension costs, and utility rates that have resulted in an increase in personnel costs, operational and maintenance costs, and costs for capital acquisition.
General Fund expenditures total $19 million, an increase of 13% year over year, primarily driven by inflation, increased utility rates and programmatic expenses aimed at accomplishing specific City Council goals.
“This budget seeks to maximize the utility of every dollar received and spent while achieving results for the residents of our City,” Mayor Merritt said. “We remain committed to building a vibrant community focused on healthy living, safety and well-being, economic prosperity and development, strategic reinvestment, and infrastructure improvements.”
Other budget highlights include the following:
- The City continues to see strong revenues across several funds as the local economy picks up steam. As part of one of the fastest growing areas of the state, Mauldin is poised for continued rapid growth over the next several years. Two significant contributions to this growth will be Bridgeway Station, slated to open its first phase in fall of 2023, and Maverick Yards, a mixed-use development scheduled for completion in late 2024. Both of these projects will increase business license revenue and hospitality tax revenue for the City and become a catalyst for future economic and residential growth.
- Business License Revenue collection has seen tremendous growth over the last five fiscal years; between FY2017 and FY2022, collections increased from $3.7 million to over $6 million, more than a 60% increase.
- Between FY2017 and FY2022, the City experienced a 20% increase in property tax revenues from $6.5 million to $7.8 million, and the City’s revenues will continue to grow through residential development projects in FY2024 and beyond. Mauldin continues to see a strong population boom resulting in a 3.59% population increase in 2023 (as measured by 2022 data). Area builders expect to build more than 1,500 homes over the next 24 months, leading to a larger, more stable tax base.
- With strong demand for housing, an aggressive annexation plan, and new residential and commercial projects scheduled for development in FY2024 and beyond, all indicators point to continued growth and greater year-over-year increases in these key revenue streams.
The new fiscal year begins on July 1, 2023. For more information on the budget, visit the City’s finance page at cityofmauldin.org/finance.