Thursday, February 13, 2014
While Berkeley County Supervisor Dan Davis applauded the county’s hard work in weathering the storm of the recent recession to emerge in “very, very good financial shape,” he did express concern at what he called the recent “reckless spending of County Council.”
Davis spoke at a Berkeley Chamber of Commerce-sponsored State of the County address at the Redbank Club in Goose Creek on Friday, Feb. 7.
As part of the supervisor’s remarks about presenting a balanced budget to county council during his past eight years in office, Davis expressed concern about what he called “a trend toward reckless spending.”
“The last seven budgets have been balanced budgets,” he said. “But the last budget I’m afraid to say has been very reckless. We are not operating under a balanced budget.
“It wasn’t the budget I presented but it’s the budget that was passed.”
Davis said he is concerned that council is reverting to “old reckless spending ways.”
“We’re starting to revert to that reckless spending and it concerns me that we’re getting away from a balanced budget scenario,” he said.
Davis and a faction of county council members have been at odds for most of the supervisor’s two terms of office.
At Friday’s Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting, the only county council member to attend was Jack Schurlknight, a Davis supporter and former Finance Committee Chairman.
The supervisor expressed optimism that Berkeley County had weathered the storm of difficult times.
“Today, I can tell you, our finances for Berkeley County are very, very good,” Davis said in his opening remarks. “We’ve worked very hard through some difficult situations to correct those things that happened in difficult times.”
Davis said the keys to sound financial government is a strong fund balance and a low debt ratio, two factors that he said were out of control when he took office seven years ago.
“In 2007 we were told to correct our fund balance. It was very low, but over the years we have corrected that and last year I was able to report that we had a very healthy fund balance,” he said. Davis said Berkeley County’s debt ratio in 2006 stood at 65 percent.
“Today our debt ratio is about 40 percent,” he said. “I’d like to get that a little lower, but it’s a very healthy debt ratio.”
Former Chamber of Commerce President Bill McCall said in his introduction of Davis that at one time Berkeley County was the poorest county in the state.
“And here we are today the fasted growing county in the state and the 35th fastest growing county in the country, McCall said.
“These things don’t happen all by themselves. You have to have hard workers. You have to have resources. You have to have leadership. All those things are necessary.”
Davis went on to say he enjoyed giving the annual State of the County addresses.
“This is my seventh such address and I’ve enjoyed each one better than the one before,” he said. “Over the last several years while we’ve been in recession, a lot of things have taken place behind the scenes. We’ve not been sitting on our laurels waiting for better times. We’ve been doing a lot.”