Midlands sheriff says budget increase would help him keep deputies

Updated: Jan. 23, 2017 at 12:16 PM EST
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ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A Midlands sheriff is making a plea to his county council for more money to help keep deputies who are leaving for higher paying jobs at neighboring sheriff's departments.

Sheriff Leroy Ravenell says his deputies deserve a raise and his department needs better funding.

"Not many law enforcement officers or deputies here are complaining about what they do," Ravenell said. "They love what they do but they need to be compensated for that."

Last week, Ravenell told the Orangeburg County Council about his concerns. He says the increase is especially for deputies, but it is for the clerical staff as well.

"We're starting off with probably $27,000 to $29,000 a year, which is not a good salary," Ravenell said. "I have deputies here with degrees that can go 12 to 15 miles up the road and make $10,000 to $15,000 more."

Ravenell is seeking a 15 percent increase across the board.

Orangeburg County administrator Harold Young said the council would love to approve the Sheriff's request, but they have a lot to consider before saying

"The budget has been tight and it's been tight for a while," Young said. "The local government fund has not been fully funded In the past five or six years, and we then we have to keep mindful of the taxpayers that we don't over tax them."

Young said the council has given the department a bump in pay over the past three years.

In 2013, the department had an overall budget of $6.2 million. In 2014, that budget increased to $6.5 million. In 2015, the budget increased again to $6.9 million, and this year the department is expected to receive $7 million.

"Our general fund budget is roughly $35 million and the sheriff's department is already one of the largest pieces of that budget," Young said. "So we definitely try to do what we can to try and give more to our law enforcement community but we can only do what our general fund can sustain."

Young said the council will prepare the new budget in March.

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