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The Town of Winnsboro will be seeing cuts and not replacing employees who have retired or resigned in the upcoming fiscal year, according to Mayor John Dumas.

Dumas offered his remarks during his explanation of Winnsboro’s proposed 2020-21 fiscal year budget in Monday’s regular May Town Council meeting.

Council members introduced the budget and may formally adopt it at their June meeting. The proposed general budget projects capital revenues including the transfer from sales tax fund totaling $3.1 million and would yield a slim $23,535 surplus. Winnsboro’s net position was down 47.6 percent from last year’s budget.

Dumas attributed the downturn to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 is having a toil on us and our economy,” Dumas said. “It is having a toil on local stores and other merchants here in town, and therefore our tax funds and revenue are going to be being reduced. Our budget had to be reduced, and our spending will have to be reduced.”

Dumas warned Town Council members and officials there would be “changes” in the upcoming fiscal year which begins July 1.

“You are going to see possible changes,” Dumas said. “There are some things that are not going to be covered that were covered last year. We are also going to have some cuts that are going to take place for us to be able to sustain and make it through the fiscal year.”

In a separate proposed sales-tax budget, Winnsboro expects to collect nearly $2.5 million in sales tax for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Besides sales tax, Winnsboro officials budgeted $277,380 in property taxes and $250,000 in licenses for next year.

General budget expenditures amounted to $3.1 million.

Largest expenditure listed in the general budget was general government, totaling $849,880, an increase of 10.03 percent from last year. According to the proposed budget, Winnsboro will spend nearly $200,000 in administrative salaries and $164,737 in general insurance.

The police department budgeted spending at $551,500, down 10 percent, and the street department is up 27 percent with nearly $600,000 in expenditures. The recreation department was cut 87 percent with only $7,300 in expenditures in the 2020-21 general budget.

“Winnsboro will not replace any lost employees until we get back on track,” Dumas said.

In other business, a Winnsboro resident expressed concerned after he found bullet holes in the walls of his home near Gum Street after a standoff between a Winnsboro police officer and a suspect who fled from the officer.

According to Winnsboro Police Chief Will Pierce, the suspect allegedly pulled a gun on the officer after being cornered in front of a home while being involved in a vehicle chase. When the officer saw the suspect exit his car and point a gun at him, the officer fired his pistol, possibly hitting the home.

The resident asked Town Council members what gave “any man” the right to discharge a firearm in a Winnsboro neighborhood.

Pierce answered his question.

“To answer your question what gives an officer the right to discharge his firearm in the city limits? When a man points a gun at him. That gives him the right. I am not going to get a phone call saying one of my officers got killed because he did not defend himself. My officers have the right to defend themselves.”

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