Budget concerns headline Kershaw County Sheriff's race

Published: Jun. 9, 2014 at 11:34 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 19, 2014 at 11:34 PM EDT
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For the second time since 2010, the two candidates vying to be Kershaw County Sheriff will go head to head.

Sheriff Jim Matthews will take on David Thomley in a rematch of their last faceoff. In 2010, Matthews defeated Thomley more than 2,300 votes. This time, Thomley says he's more organized and hungry.

While Matthews has prided himself on modernizing the department, cutting down crime and trying to keep roadways safe, his challenger is seeking change and looking to reallocate resources. It is that principle that both candidates have different views on.

"I want to build upon what we've already done and make it even better in the next term,"  Matthews said.

But Thomley believes the department should go in a different direction. It's his new perspective on how things should run and his hunger that have him in the race again.

"I want it more now than I did back in 2010," Thomley said, "because I see things that concern me more."

One of Thomley's concerns is the department's budget.

"I think a Sheriff's responsibility is to prepare a budget and maintain that budget and work inside that budget," Thomley said. "I disagree with going before Council and asking for repeated budget tax increases."

Matthews believes the resources are needed because response times are slow and deputies are stretched thin.

"We're greatly understaffed and that has got to be addressed," Matthews said. "It will require something unpopular and that's a tax increase."

Ideally, Matthews says he'd like two more deputies on the road per shift. However, that takes money. Thomley, on the other hand, believes restructuring resources could possibly save money.

Both candidates agree that combating drugs is key to cutting down on crime in the community. Although there are other things that Matthews and Thomley disagree about, they both agree that their disagreements are not personal.

"If the residents and the citizens of Kershaw County are happy with what they have and they vote him back in," Thomley said. "I'm okay with that."