Lexington County Sitting On $75.7 Million Cash Reserve

YET ITS “LEADERS” DESPERATELY NEED A TAX HIKE? Lexington County, S.C. – which is attempting to raise sales and property taxes on its residents via a public referendum this fall – is sitting on $75.7 million in unspent funds. That’s up by nearly $10 million from the previous year. And yet…


Lexington County, S.C. – which is attempting to raise sales and property taxes on its residents via a public referendum this fall – is sitting on $75.7 million in unspent funds. That’s up by nearly $10 million from the previous year.

And yet county leaders still say they need $400 million in “Pennies for Progress?”

According to budget documents obtained by FITS, Lexington County has been sitting on an upper eight-figure budget surplus for several years – money over and above its annual budget of roughly $112 million.

Government apologists say it makes good fiscal sense for the county’s leaders to maintain a fund balance, and we would agree with them – if we were talking about a private company.  But Lexington County isn’t a private company, it’s a local government – one with a guaranteed income stream each year.

Anyway … amidst all the whining and moaning about the urgent need for Lexington’s $400 million tax hike, no one (except us) is pointing out that the county’s budget (and reserve funds) have been slowly growing in recent years.

Lexington isn’t alone, either.  Other South Carolina counties have also been padding their reserve accounts in recent years.  In York County, for example, the close of the 2013 fiscal year saw a $4 million increase in its reserve account – from $64.8 million to $68.9 million.  Meanwhile in Greenville County, the cash reserve climbed from $52.2 million to $55.5 million from FY 2012 to FY 2013.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Lexington County’s reserve account was at $66.5 million.

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Just another guy September 9, 2014 at 8:59 am

I always hate this argument Will. That money they have is required to keep their bond rating. If they kept a zero bank account, they would be screwed if anything came up unexpected. Is that too much to keep on hand, I don’t know. But they do need money on hand just like you need to keep money in a savings account.

SC Political Digest September 9, 2014 at 9:01 am

A lot difference in $66.5 million and 0. Especially for a town w/ a $25 million annual budget.

Just another guy September 9, 2014 at 9:06 am

What is the budget for the County? Also, what are they having to keep on hand to pay for bonds when they come due? (This is the county level, not town level according to the article) Many bonds require a sinking fund to pay off when the bonds come due.

SC Political Digest September 9, 2014 at 9:11 am

Sorry: I don’t usually read much of FITS’ crap. I looked at the photo of the Town sign. And don’t disagree with some level of reserves, you are right about bond rating.

I have a feeling RJ is paying FITS in the penny tax thing, in LexCo. It’s the only reason FITS is on the right side of it. (against the penny tax.) Anti-penny tax, because they have been foolish already (begging for RichCo to love them) is reason to oppose the penny tax.

Will Folks aka Sic September 9, 2014 at 9:14 am

That’s always it. I’m getting paid. Make sure to tell my wife where that check is ok???

SC Political Digest September 9, 2014 at 11:22 am

I hope you get it right just on instinct. We need much more of that, since it is line (I think) with the majority of the people. If you”re not getting paid, please accept my apologies.

Squishy123 September 9, 2014 at 12:10 pm

“Sorry: I don’t usually read much of FITS’ crap.”

For not reading much, you sure do make up for it in the number of posts here.

CNSYD September 9, 2014 at 9:20 am

Stop the logic! Sic Willie don’t need no stinkin’ logic!

vicupstate September 9, 2014 at 9:00 am

The Lexington and York reserves seem high, but the Greenville one seems about right, given the fact it has double the population of the other two.

costello September 9, 2014 at 10:54 am

Beaufort County is actually laying people off so it can continue to increase its slush account … er fund balance. They want to get their discretionary fund balance from $20 million to $30-some million.

Fat Boy Slim September 9, 2014 at 12:27 pm

York County “leaders” are pushing for a $60,000,000 bond referendum. They are all self styled “conservative Republicans” that have never met a dollar of someone else’s money that they didn’t want to spend. The high Sheriff wants an unneeded second jail. The second jail would be in the form of a $40,000,000 boondoggle to stoke his ego and give him something to have named after him. Much larger population and land area counties make due with one jail. Vote NO for more tax dollars for politicians that already have $68,900,000 of taxpayer money!

Just another guy September 9, 2014 at 12:59 pm

DO you know why they need a second jail? It is because Family Court Judges could care less what the population is and throw any dead beat dad (Or mom) who has back child support in Jail. That means there is no room for criminals so bonds are set low so these people can get out to make room for these dead beats. They really need to build a second prison just for dead beats, but without all the technology and such. Build it cheap I guess.

Thomas September 9, 2014 at 12:27 pm

These tax increases are the SC Establishment’s answer to Obamacare cost increases and are nothing but a bail-in for the 450,000 plus state and local government public worker’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield healthcare policies and coverage for their children to age 26.

L I'll Be September 9, 2014 at 1:54 pm

They need that money to continue spending (lining some pockets) on Town signs, rocks and water falls…………not sure if fence came with it…………with price tag over $600,000!

TheGoodstuff September 9, 2014 at 1:55 pm

I have never needed a bond to pay my way through life. I pay as I go and have never had the leisure of seeing a sustainable income like Lexington County has year after year. Just keep taking money from the citizens and we will be able to build great big office buildings in the middle of town soon. Oh, wait I think we already did something that dumb.

Soft Sigh from Hell September 9, 2014 at 5:15 pm

I simply do not believe that ~76 million dollars was left not misspent by Frazier, Metts, Knots, et al. I simply do not believe it.

Him Dellman September 9, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Lexington County raises property taxes nearly every year and then there is this. This referendum is nothing more than a slush fund for school districts and municipalities.


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