Saluda County sheriff fighting for higher salaries for deputies
SALUDA COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - The Saluda County sheriff is telling his county council members and community that he has a serious problem on his hands.
The sheriff says his force is shrinking right before his eyes and he needs help to fix the problem.
Saluda County Sheriff Josh Price says about 25 percent of his force is gone, leaving to take higher-paying jobs.
He says about half of the ones still with the department are working a second job to support their families.
Eleven years as a deputy and the last three years as Saluda County Sheriff, Josh Price says “This is my home. To serve in law enforcement you have to want to help others and that’s what my job is all about helping people.”
In a packed room on Tuesday, June 13, Sheriff Price went before the county council to ask for more money for his department. He says in the last two years, seven of his twenty-seven deputies have left to take higher-paying jobs in other municipalities or jobs like state patrol.
Sheriff Josh Price says, “We are seeing other agencies are paying higher salaries and they’re coming in recruiting our employees because we can’t offer the kind of salaries our surrounding counties do.”
Price says the council did bump up some starting salaries. But did not give money for pay increases across the board for dispatch, patrol, and deputies working in the jail.
The Sheriff adds, “Since I have took office, salaries have been a priority. I’ve had multiple meetings, warning, the county council if we do not step up our pay and pay the men and women who risk their lives every day to keep us safe and give them the salary they deserve we are slowly losing employees, and that’s what is finally starting to happen.”
Council members heard his request but did nothing.
Price says, “I would ask county council to reconsider the budget, special projects that they have already planned that maybe are not a need but are a want for the county. I would like to see an emphasis put on law enforcement in Saluda County. Let’s pay our men and women what they deserve.”
Recently a resolution was passed for a referendum to up the millage rate, which means raising taxes.
It would be for a new EMS and fire service building and to expand the sheriff’s office.
If it passes, Chairman of the County Council Jim Moore says people who own a home that cost one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, their tax increase would be under 500 bucks a year.
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