Horry County police could get more than $1 million in additional funding for officer pay and education – and cities like Myrtle Beach could be paying for it.
Last year, the county gave $2,055,000 to Coast RTA from its general fund, according to a county presentation.
During Wednesday’s County Council retreat, council members voted to ask staff to develop a proposal to take $6.58 from the $50 road fee assessed on vehicles and send it to Coast RTA, freeing up the $1,055,000 million in the general fund for Horry County police.
The $6.58 taken from the road fees equals about $2 million that the county could send to Coast RTA.
The general fund money would go to paying Horry County police officers more money depending on their education level. It would also reimburse officers for attaining higher levels of education, and then increasing each officer's pay accordingly.
Starting salary is currently $36,000, according to Chief Joe Hill with the county police.
“What it is going to do is pay the ones that we have more so we can retain more and not continue to lose police officers,” County Council Chair Mark Lazarus said.
“Last year we raised the road fee by $20,” said Lazarus, adding that 85 percent of road fee money goes to cities. “Nobody was ever anticipating that so it’s kind of a windfall.”
The lost road fee money would mean a loss of about six to eight miles of resurfacing, according to a county presentation.
Hill said he was supportive of the idea, but didn’t have a lot to say, because “it’s just a proposal.”
Once staff has developed a plan, it will still have to be passed by council during the budget cycle.