Port Royal police department budget increases focus around personnel

emoody@beaufortgazette.comMay 8, 2013 

Port Royal Town Council met Wednesday to discuss the police department budget and for its voting meeting.

  • In other business, council:

  • Heard from Steven Geise of Millenarian Trading Co. about a jellyfish, shrimp and seafood fishing operation at the Port Royal shrimp docks.

  • Proclaimed May Foster Care Month.

  • Granted initial approval to changes in membership requirements for the Redevelopment Commission to allow up to two seats to be filled by people who neither live nor work in Port Royal. A second vote is required and is expected in June.

  • Attempted to present a $25,000 check to Dean Moss and David Tedder of the Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail. The check was locked up, so Mayor Sam Murray hand wrote an IOU.

  • Named the boardwalk in honor of former mayor and councilman Henry Robinson.

  • Tabled a final vote on a chain-free animal ordinance.

  • Proclaimed May 15 Peace Officers' Memorial Day in honor of officers killed in the line of duty.

The Port Royal Police Department's budget is expected to rise by $180,000 next fiscal year, a figure that doesn't include additional hires.

The costs come mainly from cost-of-living, retirement contribution and health insurance increases, according to a presentation at a town council budget workshop on Wednesday night.

Last week, officials and staff discussed courts, legislative and administrative costs.

This week, they focused on the police department.

A 2-percent cost-of-living increase for all employees is included in the $4.87 million draft budget. That increase would offset an anticipated 1.7-percent cost-of-living adjustment from the Social Security Administration. The amount the town contributes toward the state retirement system will increase from 12.3 percent to 12.86 percent, or an estimated $36,000, town officials said.

During the town's annual retreat in March, Police Chief Alan Beach said he wants to hire an additional officer every year for four years to keep up with population growth and to keep overtime costs down.

An additional hire would cost about $57,000 a year, he said Wednesday.

That hire was not included in the draft budget presented to council on Wednesday night, although the 2-percent COLA increase alone would take salaries from the $971,000 budgeted in 2012-13 to $1.075 million in 2013-14. That makes up the bulk of the $1,591,400 department budget in the draft document.

Last year's costs were lower than budgeted because staffing was not 100 percent, Beach said Wednesday. Salary and related costs are usually about $6,000 to $10,000 a year lower than anticipated because of turnover.

Scheduling changes to save money have also been discussed, along with purchases such as Tasers and vehicles. The department's aging fleet of vehicles runs up repair costs, and Beach said the repair budget for this year was depleted last month. According to the draft budget, $18,450 has been spent as of April 15 while $14,000 was budgeted.

The fiscal year ends June 30, and a new budget must be approved before the July 1 start of the new fiscal year.

Town manager Van Willis said talks about revenue for the town are expected to begin after expenses are discussed. He does not expect a tax increase will be needed, despite the ongoing county reassessment.

Related content

  1. Port Royal starts to discuss 2014 budget, May 2, 2013
  2. At annual retreat, Port Royal council looks to the future, March 23, 2013

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