Deputies ask Florence County Council to provide more money for raises
FLORENCE, S.C. – Several Florence County sheriff’s deputies and detention center employees asked the Florence County Council on Thursday to reconsider the pay raise option in the county’s budget for the next fiscal year.
Sheriff Kenney Boone requested that several officers address the council regarding the raise proposal. Boone had other commitments and was unable to attend Thursday morning’s meeting.
The proposed raise as in the first reading of the budget includes a raise totaling $650,000 for entry-level deputy positions. The raise was one of three options presented to the Justice and Public Safety Committee after Boone requested raises at the November 2018 meeting of the council. The other two options were a $2.3 million increase proposed by Boone funded by a tax increase that would be difficult to implement or a lower salary increase which would total around $1 million.
The Justice and Public Safety Committee voted to proceed with the $650,000 option. Later, in March, the county’s Administration and Finance Committee recommended approval of the budget with the $650,000 option.
The deputies and detention center employees asked that the county council include the $2.3 million option in the budget.
Several council members said the county is unable to proceed with that option because of limited funds. The local government fund provided by the state is not funded the way the council believes it should be and Act 388 from 2006 limits how much the county can raise its property tax rates.
Council Vice Chairman Willard Dorriety said the county was unable to use funds from the capital project sales taxes or tourism money on the salaries.
County Administrator K.G. “Rusty” Smith said Thursday that the budget includes the maximum property tax increase, 1.5 mills, allowable under Act 388. All of that money, he added, would be going to the sheriff’s office raises.
The council did, however, vote to include a fourth option on the second reading of the budget using the $650,000 plan to raise salaries for deputies and detention center employees.
The second reading of the budget is scheduled for the May meeting of the council.
In other matters on Tuesday, the council heard from Jody Hardee of the Johnsonville Rescue Squad who requested that the council include funds for the rescue squad to serve as a backup to Florence County EMS when the EMS service takes over ambulance responses on July 1.
Smith has said that at 7 a.m. on July 1, the county EMS will take over providing emergency services to the Johnsonville and southeastern Florence County areas at the request of the city of Johnsonville and the residents of that area. He said the county would staff two crews and two ambulances for the area.
Smith said the county was looking for a permanent home for the crews and ambulances. He said the current location of the Johnsonville Rescue Squad would be an ideal temporary location but if needed, the county was prepared to use the fire station.
The county’s plan eventually calls for the construction of two EMS stations one on US 378 and one in Johnsonville.
He added that the county would love to have the services of any qualified person to serve the area.
The council took no action on the matter Thursday.
In other action, the council:
>> Heard a presentation from Gloria McClary and Mackenzie Clementson of the Durant Children’s Center on sexual assault awareness.
>> Approved a proclamations designating the week of April 14-20 as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week and designating April as Fair Housing Month.
>> Approved upon third reading an ordinance amending the county’s zoning code relating to billboards.
>> Approved upon second reading an ordinance zoning property between West Lucas Street, Interstate 95, North Douglas Street and the city limits of Florence.
>> Conducted the first reading of seven ordinances including the county budget and tax rates.
>> Appointed Danny Brown to serve on the Commission for Litter Prevention and Beautification and Richard “Stan” McGill to serve on the Museum Board.
>> Authorized the county administrator to execute a lease agreement with Pee Dee Electric Cooperative to provide power to the new Timmonsville EMS station.
>> Approved three lease agreements regarding ball fields.
>>Approved a change order in a contract with Palmetto Corporation in the amount of $363,746.50 for the paving of Pecan Grove Road.
>> Declared two ambulances as surplus property and authorized their disposal via GovDeals.
>> Awarded a contract for reclamation and cement paving of Trotter Road to Palmetto Corporation of Florence in the amount of $133,758.75.
>> Authorized two budget-neutral salary increases in the sheriff’s office.
>> Declared 14 guns from the sheriff’s office surplus property so the weapons can be traded for newer weapons at Lawmen’s of Raleigh.
>> Approved the location of a first responder memorial at the Florence County Judicial Center.
>> Approved a change order in a contract with Palmetto Corporation in the amount of $93,170.18 for the resurfacing of Ervin Street.
>> Approved the expenditure of up to $21,000 to place road stone on Purvishire Road.
>> Approved the expenditure of up to $43,050 to pay for road stone for Tiger Road.
>> Approved the expenditure of up to $1,500 for batting cages for the Coward Athletic Complex.