SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Since the City of Myrtle Beach approved significant pay raises for its offers in January, other agencies around the Grand Strand are responding.
On Thursday, Surfside Beach Police Chief Kenneth Hofmann presented a plan to the town council to help the department be more competitive with salaries at other agencies.
“It’s an attempt to address the concerns, moving forward, of police staffing and compensation in regards to the changes with the Myrtle Beach Police Department plan,” Hofmann told the council at its annual Visioning Meeting. “That is a big concern for us from a recruiting and retention point of view.”
Hofmann did a comprehensive evaluation of salaries at other local agencies like Myrtle Beach Police, Horry County Police, Conway Police, Georgetown Police, Isle of Palms Police and Pawleys Island Police.
Of those, he said Surfside Beach had lower pay than all agencies expect for the City of Georgetown. Hofmann recommended an adjustment to all Surfside Beach Police Department pay scales so they can be competitive in the market.
Here’s the breakdown he presented between Surfside Beach and Myrtle Beach.
SBPD / MBPD (starting salary)
Uncertified Officer: $33,000 / $40,000
Certified Officer: $35, 370 / $44,000
Proposed increase (starting salary)
Uncertified Officer: $36,300
Certified Officer: $40,000
Hofmann said these raises would hopefully make “the Surfside Beach Police Department competitive in the market to recruit and retain qualified, skilled officers.” He added a request for one-time bonuses with leftover money from the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Hofmann would like to give $2,500 bonuses to all Class 1 certified officer and $1,500 bonuses to all Class 2 and civilian full-time employees.
The proposal still needs to be approved by council but most members seemed to agree that raises are needed. However, the proposal did spark discussion on how to come up with the money to implement the raises.
“We’re going to have challenges in finding the money to do this,” said Councilwoman Julie Samples. “And I don’t mind a tax increase for public safety. I really don’t. What better to use it for? But I want to have that discussion.”
Councilman David Pellegrino said he would like to look at how the town can get more revenue sources.
“We still have big decisions when it comes to the budget. I didn’t say I would support any tax increases but I do support that we have to do something here,” he added.
Councilman Randle Stevens said he has no problem with the proposal but didn’t specifically address tax increases.
“This seems like a step in the right direction,” he said. “We have to retain people.”
The interim administrator of the town, Jim Duckett, said he doesn’t want to leave the fire department out when talking about public safety and anticipates similar issues to arise if Horry County takes steps to raise firefighter/EMT pay.
The council still has to vote on Hofmann’s proposal and then find out how to pay for the raises. The town will have a budget meeting in early May.
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