Greenville County, South Carolina

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Transparency grading process

Greenville County is one of 46 counties in South Carolina. As of the 2010 census, its population was 451,225 making it the most populous county in the state. It is included in the Greenville–Mauldin–Easley Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its county seat is the city of Greenville.

Website evaluation

See also: Evaluation of South Carolina county websites

Last rated on May 7, 2012.

The good

  • Council members listed with contact information.[1]
  • Meeting schedule[2], agendas[3], and minutes posted.[4]
  • Millage rates are posted.[5] Local tax info provided.[6]
  • Building permits details and forms[7], along with zoning ordinances, are provided.[8]
  • Financial audit available.[9]
  • Budget is published.[10]
  • Public records requests can me made online, and County's policy is posted.[11]
  • Bids are posted.[12]
  • You can search public records online and the Register of Deeds serves as the Public Information Officer for the county.[13]
  • Department contact information is provided, but heads of departments and e-mails are not listed.[14]

The bad

Budget

The County's biennium budget for FY 2012 and FY 2013 totals $372,596,160.[15]

FUNDS ADOPTED BUDGET FY2010 ADOPTED BUDGET FY2011 PROPOSED BUDGET FY2012 PROPOSED BUDGET FY2013
GENERAL FUND $130,569,661 $132,663,396 $128,191,849 $131,646,023
SPECIAL REVENUE $25,359,914 $25,168,127 $19,860,330 $20,008,960
DEBT SERVICE $19,839,615 $20,040,184 $19,593,692 $17,178,390
ENTERPRISE $21,569,478 $20,919,723 $17,338,509 $18,778,407
TOTAL BUDGET $197,338,668 $198,791,430 $184,984,380 $187,611,780
Percent Change -6.95% 1.42%

The County's bases property valuation is estimated at $1.876 billion, a growth of 3% over the previous year. 60.95% of the County's budgeted revenue comes from the local ad valorem property tax.[15]

Public employees

Elected officials

The County is governed by a 12 member County Council. Members are:[1]

Name District
Butch Kirven, Chairman District 27
Bob Taylor, Vice-Chairman District 22
Joseph Baldwin District 18
Jim Burns District 21
Sid Cates District 20
Joe Dill District 17
Lottie Gibson District 25
Willis Meadows District 19
Xanthene Norris District 21
Fred Payne District 28
Dan Rawls District 26
Liz Seman District 24

Administrative officials

The current County Administrator is Joseph Kernell. Kernell was appointed by the County Council in January, 2004. The Administrator oversees the day-to-day operations of the county government, and carries out the directives of the County Council. The Administrator is also responsible for the annual budget. Kernell had previously served as County Administrator for St. Charles County, Missouri.[16]

A county organizational chart can be found here.

Salaries

A database maintained by the Journal Watchdog includes both administrative and elected officials' salaries. Elected officials' salaries are:[17]

Name Salary
Butch Kirven, Chairman $27,470.97
Bob Taylor, Vice-Chairman $24,037.14
All other members $22,898.71

The database lists 15 employees earning more than $100,000. The county's top five highest administrative salaries are:[18]

Name Salary
Joseph M. Kernell County Administrator $192,147.00
Mark W. Tollison County Attorney $147,467.00
Joseph F. Hansley Deputy County Administrator $136,832.00
Stephen D. Loftis Sheriff $128,861.00
Charles B. Simmons, Jr. Master in Equity $128,620.00

Pensions

Taxes

60.95% of the County's budgeted revenue comes from the ad valorem property tax.[15] Millage sheets can be found here.

Transparency & public records

Freedom of Information Act requests can be filed online here, with the County Attorney's office.

Lobbying

In 2005, Greenville County reported $20,000 spent on lobbying.[19]

External links

News

Council meeting - low transparency

Greenville County Council meeting attendees are allowed three minutes to address “current agenda items” at the beginning of each council meeting. However, if the agenda item has had a previous “public hearing,” residents are not allowed to comment, no matter how long it has been since the item was mentioned. If the text amendment to an ordinance had no input or input from only one individual in the hearing, residents are still not allowed to comment at another meeting.

The only way to learn if an agenda item is in this category is by reviewing the list before the meeting starts. The agenda transcript doesn’t include information on items that are exempt from comment so residents must contact council members before the reading and vote to make their feelings known on matters.[20]

References