Aiken sheriff asks county council to raise deputies' salaries

Aiken County Sheriff's Office asking County Council for a raise

AIKEN, SC (WFXG) - Aiken County Council promised a room full of sheriff's office employees Tuesday they would try to raise salaries by 20 percent.

Currently, a deputy sheriff's starting salary is around $31,000, while right next door in North Augusta, officers typically start around $41,000.

Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt said the numbers make turnover high. According to Sheriff Hunt, uniform patrol officer turnover each year is around 20 percent, while turnover for dispatchers and employees working in the jail are in the high 30s.

He asked county council to consider the raise to cut down on the number of people leaving after the department has paid to train them.

Council members said they know things need to change, but they're concerned with where the money will come from. Hunt proposed a millage rate, which is the rate property taxes are charged based on property value.

He wants council to make a law enforcement millage of 4 mils.

"That would generate about 2.3 million dollars," Hunt said, "And allow us to give lowest grade employees a 20 percent increase. We could also give a smaller increase to employees who have been here for a while."

He said competitive salaries will keep more people, attract more people, fund performance evaluations and help start a career path program.

Council will meet next Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the government center. Officials said a budget for the 2014-2015 has to be decided on by July 1.

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