Horry County Council, during its fall budget retreat on Friday, will hear that the county collected nearly $4 million more than expected in its general fund in fiscal year 2014 and spent $9.3 million less than expected during the same year.
Barry Spivey, the county’s finance director, said according to unaudited figures, the county collected about $130 million in its general fund in fiscal year 2014, which ran from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014. That’s about $3.8 million more than budgeted.
“There were two main areas that were the largest contributors to our revenue increase,” Spivey said. “If you add the three line items together from the real property, vehicles and personal property, we had roughly $1.5 million in additional tax revenue come in over our budget for last year.
“In addition to that, we have our economically sensitive revenues, hospitality fees, the [Register of Deeds], business licenses and building permits, contributed to just under $1.5 million, as well. We did have a couple of areas that were under budget.”
Some of the areas under budget were magistrate’s fines and fees, which were under by about $336,000 because more time is being served in jail than money paid in fines, Spivey said. Also, master in equity fees were down $500,000 from what was expected because of a decrease in foreclosure cases, he said.
Horry County used to collect more than $400,000 for housing federal prisoners, and in 2014 it collected a little more than $250,000, which Spivey said reflected a new trend at the federal courts level.
“The [U.S.] Marshall Service has cut down the number of prisoners they are housing,” Spivey said. “My understanding is the district attorney is more focused on corruption-based cases than the drug-type cases they have tried in the past and they have less people that they are actually housing.”
As for the county’s general fund expenses in 2014, it is expected to see a $1.5 million dip in budgeted salary expenses, which included expected overtime expenses, lower-than-projected health insurance expenses, and about $1.4 million in public works projects that will carry over into 2015.
Frugal spending — to the tune of $9.3 million — coupled with higher budgeted numbers, a savings of $3.8 million, account for significant savings for the county.
“That is about a $13 million improvement from what we anticipated in our budget,” Spivey said.