Greenville growth generating more revenue, city estimates surplus

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The City of Greenville is estimating a surplus of cash in its reserve fund for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Property taxes and business licenses are the primary revenue for the City of Greenville, growing the General Fund every year. That money is used to keep the city operating smoothly.

“As the city grows, new things are built and property values increase [so] our revenue is increasing,” Interim Assistant City Manager Matt Efird told 7News.

In recent years, the city has seen a surplus of revenue that’s been used for a number of on-going projects.

“City council has done appropriations for affordable housing,” Efird said.

Other times the surplus has been used on a big one-time expense. For example when it relocated the state-of-the-art Public Works Complex to Fairforest Way.

Efird says the facility was partially funded by the city’s reserve fund surplus. “We took a significant portion of cash from the General Fund Reserve, that surplus, in order to issue less debt.” He said.

On Wednesday, Efird sat down with our crew to explain where the surplus is coming from. He says the city policy requires 20 percent of revenue be set aside into a reserve fund.

For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, that starts in July, the total cost to operate the city will be $97,252,725.

The city estimates it’ll have $24,320,696 in the reserve fund by June 2020. City leaders are required to keep 20 percent of that in the reserve fund, or about $19,041,433.

“We do that for a number of reasons,” Efird says. “It helps with our credit rating. Greenville is the only Triple-A across the board city in South Carolina. Having a healthy fund balance avoids having to borrow money for short-term purposes.”

Efird says that leaves a surplus of $5,279,263 in the reserve fund, known as the unrestricted fund. That money can be allocated for a number of things.

“It’s available so when we have things like a new fire station construction [project], that’s not going to happen next year, but in two years. We will have some cash available, so we are not going to have to issue debt to pray for the cost of the whole station,” Efird told 7News.

Next year’s fiscal budget has not been passed yet. It’ll go before city council for a second reading on June 10, 2019. 

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