LAKE CITY, S.C. (WBTW) — Lake City City Council members unanimously approved a plan Tuesday night that officials hope will enable the city to recruit and retain first responders by providing them money for housing.

The “public service housing recruitment resolution” allows the city to give new first responder employees $5,000 toward their housing if they commit to working for 10 years. If they choose to leave during those 10 years, the amount would be prorated.

Police Chief Jody Cooper said his goal is to put law enforcement back into the community.

Mayor Lovith Anderson, Jr. said the city hasn’t had anything like this in his 16 years as mayor.

“The fireman that lives down the street from you and next door, guess who the kids play with? If the policeman is always stopping through or riding his bike in the neighborhood, who do they stop and communicate with? It gives us open lines of communication and people can grow closer,” Anderson said.

He added that the incentive is about the recruitment and retention of police officers and firefighters and having them live and work in the community.

William Hall, the city’s interim administrator, said the city has a plan in place to implement the program. Before the meeting, he said he believed that council would adopt the resolution.

“I’ve already had a few words with some of our council members,” he said. “And they think it’s a wonderful idea that we are enthusiastic about it, and I’m hoping that that enthusiasm goes all the way down the line and we get a 100% confirmation on that resolution, because I think it will be beneficial all around, for not just our first responders, but also the community at large.”

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