CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – For more than a year now, new leadership with the Horry County Police Department has requested more money for officer pay raises and to help with retention.
In Wednesday’s county budget retreat meeting, county leaders said they think they have an answer.
For the last few years, Horry County has been giving more than a million dollars to Coast RTA to help them with different needs. Horry County Council Chair Mark Lazarus says he’d like to take money from the county’s Road Fee to use towards Coast RTA.
Last year, the county increased the road fee – the fee you pay on your car each year in the county.
“At the time, I didn’t realize that legislation actually says for public transportation, the best way, or only way, to provide funding for it is through road fee money,” said Lazarus.
Lazarus says they’d like to use a portion of that road fee to give to Coast RTA, and that would free up more than $1.5 million to put towards public safety each year. He says that money could go towards salaries and continuing education for Horry County Police Officers, and he’s hoping that would help them keep and recruit more officers.
“We’re losing too many. Every time we gain, we lose three. So, what we want to do is be able to pay our public safety people more money and base it off of education, experience and those types of things. I think we’d have a better workforce, we’ll have a better police force, and they’ll stay here with us longer,” said Lazarus.
The plan is still preliminary, and the council will still have to vote on the change at their spring budget retreat.
Police Chief Joseph Hill says it looks promising for his department but wanted to wait to talk on camera until he knows this is approved by the full council.
Lazarus says pulling funds from the road fee would impact road pavement projects, with about six to eight fewer miles of resurfacing or three fewer miles of dirt road paving the county. Exactly which roads would be impacted was not released.