The Orangeburg Department of Public Safety has been reaccredited for another three years.

The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies says the department has reached the “gold standard” for public safety agencies, according to ODPS Interim Chief Charles Austin.

“I think it speaks volumes about this agency, this city,” he said.

Austin discussed the achievement with Orangeburg City Council on Tuesday during the body’s regularly scheduled meeting.

Austin thanked the city and ODPS staff for the work they’ve done.

“They are indicative of the level of commitment we receive on a daily basis to go above and beyond to ensure that we provide quality services for our community,” he said.

“CALEA accreditation is a continuous process and serves as a foundation for a successful, well-managed, transparent, community-focused public safety agency,” Austin told council, reading about the recognition. “To this end, an agency must maintain its accredited status by remaining in compliance with CALEA standards at all times.”

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Austin said this means, “every day, 24/7, 365 days a year, our goal is to ensure that we represent this city at the highest standard.”

Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler said, “We want to accept this accreditation by our public safety department with pride and joy.”

He thanked the individuals in the department for “keeping us safe every day.”

CALEA reaccredits the law enforcement division of ODPS. The ODPS fire division is accredited separately.

Assessors review records and interview agency personnel and community members. They review 458 standards for compliance.

According to CALEA, the accreditation process provides objective evidence of an agency’s commitment to excellence in leadership, resource management and service delivery.

ODPS first became CALEA accredited in 2003 after several years of preparation. The agency is required to pass the intensive inspection every three years to maintain its accreditation.

City Administrator Sidney Evering thanked ODPS employees for their service to the city.

In other matters:

• Marc Wood of Sheheen, Hancock & Godwin said the city received about 38% of its projected revenues through March. That’s below the 50% optimal amount, as the city is about halfway through its fiscal year.

“The fire contracts went out late and so I would expect April and May that the revenues should get more in line with the budget,” Wood said.

Wood said the city’s expenditures are about in line with where they should be, as the city has made about 54% of its budgeted expenditures.

Wood said the city has received about $9 million in revenues and has about $12.4 million in expenses.

“The main reason that expenditures are more is that we already expended the money for the fire trucks that we are going to do a capital lease on,” Wood said. “Once that capital lease closes either by the end of this month or the first of June, we will have recouped about $2.9 million of that money back.”

“I just didn’t want you all to be alarmed when you saw the negative number on the income statement,” Wood continued.

“The revenue will be coming in. It is just a timing difference. We had to pay for the fire trucks but financing, we have not received the money back yet,” he said.

Wood said this will leave the city about $600,000 in the red, but he says a lot of that deficit is due to the fact that city’s fire contracts went out late.

“There was a delay in the fire contracts going out,” Evering said. “We changed software, changed systems, so there was a delay there, but fire contracts have gone out and collections have been coming in since April.”

Wood said the April report should show a cut into the city’s $600,000 deficit.

Wood said he will be providing a monthly report going forward.

Councilman Jerry Hannah asked that city council see the reports early so members can review them.

Councilman Bernard Haire asked where the city is in the process of hiring a finance director. Evering said he would discuss the matter in executive session since it is a personnel matter.

Haire asked if that means the city council will have to wait a couple more weeks before the matter can be put on the agenda. Evering said he would be glad to discuss the matter with Haire personally.

• Council unanimously voted to cancel its July 5 and July 19 regular council meetings due to budget workshops.

• Council tabled a resolution recognizing June 19 (Juneteenth) as an official city holiday. The matter was tabled in order to better determine the financial impact of the holiday on city operations.

Juneteenth National Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans. Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday last year.

• Council received as information the DPU budget calendar for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

Council will have a goal setting retreat with DPU from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, May 12, and a budget workshop from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, June 16. Both meetings will be held in the city gym.

The first reading of the budget will be held Aug. 2, the second reading and public hearing Aug. 16, and the third and final reading Sept. 6. The city’s fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

• Council recognized honesty as the Community of Character trait for the month of May and asked all Orangeburg residents to instill the trait in their lives.

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