Florence County Council introduce $57.8M budget

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – There is so much construction going on in Florence County, they are having a hard time keeping people to work on the roads. County council took a look at the budget Thursday, they hope to change that.

Council hopes to use the 1 million dollar increase to give pay raises to under paid departments like public works.

Florence county council approved three economic development expansions expected to bring more than 200 jobs to the county.

Chairman Kent Caudle says growth in the county and an increase in state taxes, means more money in the budget.

“A lot of it comes with growth and income though people reinvesting buying things property tax values are up. There will be a few minor adjustments in fees,” said Caudle.

Council introduced the 2017- 2018 budget of $57.8 million dollars. About $1.3 million dollars more than last year’s budget.

“We’ve quite frankly had some departments that are underpaid, “said Caudle.

The County Public Works is one department spends a lot of money to train employees but the salaries are not competitive.

Caudle explained, ”We seem to be a training ground. As soon as we get them trained they seem to go elsewhere. We don’t want to lose them. It takes a lot of money to train employees.”

Next year’s projected budget for public works will increase about $68 thousand dollars. Director Carlyle Greg says the pay increase will help keep workers in the county.

“I have 805 square miles I have to cover and a little over 550 miles of roads. I can’t go it with vacant slots,” said Greg.

Right now the department has 4 openings and 47 positions. Greg explains most of the public works crews make between $10 and $17 dollars an hour. But with a private construction company they can make $18- $22 dollars each hour.

“The public works department has been underpaid for a long time and we are going to adjust that. As we did with the Sheriff’s Office,” Caudle explained. “Florence is a great place to live and we want it to be a great place to work.”

Florence County Council will continue to discuss the budget at the next county council meeting.