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Florence County Council OKs $76.05M budget

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FLORENCE, S.C. — Florence County employees will receive raises for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

The Florence County Council unanimously approved the $76.05 million 2022-23 general fund budget at Thursday’s meeting. The budget included employee raises and a small millage rate increase for county taxpayers.

Full-time Florence County employees will receive a $3,000 cost-of-living increase. Florence County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center employees will receive a $5,000 cost-of-living adjustment.

In addition to the cost-of-living adjustments, all full-time employees will receive a one-time stipend of $2,000. Eligible part-time employees, who work at least 28 hours a week, will receive a $2,250 stipend.

Florence County experienced about 200 job openings in the 2021-22 fiscal year, which resulted in a $1.8 million surplus, which is being used to fund the one-time, $2,000 stipend.

“We have a balanced budget, but we were able to have the opportunity to give back to our employees this year in several areas. Every one of us up here are delighted we were able to do that,” County Council Chairman Willard Dorriety Jr. said. “We wish we could do more, but we’ve done everything we could do. I hope it helps with the morale of the work force we have.”

Florence County has great employees, he said, and deserve the pay raises and stipends. The pay increases also will make the county more competitive in the job market, and help it replace employees who left during the Great Resignation during the pandemic.

“We hope it improves our retention rate,” he said.

Florence County hasn’t been able to upgrade employee salaries in the past because of South Carolina’s Act 388, which tied city and county millage rate increases to the Consumer Price Index and population growth.

Florence County’s population hasn’t seen significant growth. Inflation caused by the pandemic, supply shortages and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine increase the Consumer Price Index, which allowed the county to increase its millage rate by 3.79 mills.

The county’s millage rate will increase from 80.6 to 84.4 mills. However, its debt service millage will decrease from 14.9 to 13.6. Taxpayers will see their county taxes increase by 2.49 mills.

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