Double-digit raises for the Charleston County auditor, clerk of court, coroner, treasurer and register of mesne conveyance were approved Thursday in a vote by members of the Council Finance Committee.
An independent consultant recommended the salary hikes after reviewing how much other counties paid elected officials in the same positions.
Council will consider whether to approve the raises next Tuesday. They would take effect on July 1 when the county’s new budget year begins.
Proposed pay raises for the elected positions are: auditor, 34 percent to $108,736; clerk of court, 22 percent to $131,543; coroner, 24 percent to $112,477; treasurer, 26 percent to $124,131; register of mesne conveyance, 12 percent to $116,965.
Councilman Joe Qualey voted no. Council members Vic Rawl and Henry Darby were absent. The other six members voted yes. The Finance Committee includes all Council members.
County Auditor Peter Tecklenburg noted that the raises were recommended by a county consultant who reviewed salaries of comparable positions locally and in the region.
“I think the outside consultant’s report identifies how significant the disparities are both inside and outside of Charleston County,” he said in an email.
The new budget includes a 9.8 percent property tax-rate hike that council will vote on next Tuesday. If approved, it would increase the tax bill by 10 percent to $178 on a home valued for tax purposes at $100,000.
The property tax rate increase is not related to the recommended salary increases, Tecklenburg noted.
A budget summary shows the proposed 10 percent tax-rate increase would raise $10.5 million for libraries and $5.1 million for more public safety personnel. In a November bond referendum, voters approved $108 million for library system capital improvements. The $10.5 million in new property tax revenue for libraries will be used to pay debt on the bonds. Two new libraries will be built, three will be replaced and other branches will be renovated.
The $5.1 million in new property-tax revenue for public safety will pay for 51 new EMS staffers, 24 new Sheriff’s Office employees and body cameras for sheriff’s deputies.
The Finance Committee decided against longevity pay and a re-election bonus for the five elected officials. They are eligible for cost-of-living increases and merit pay.
The proposed new salaries for the elected officials follow this year’s pay increases for County Council, which went up by 44 percent. The increase for the chairman was 50 percent following a vote by council last year.
Summey said the budget reflects county growth. Some 43 people move here to become new residents every day. As a result, there is increasing demand for services.
A 2016-17 budget summary shows a 4 percent increase in appropriations to $464 million for the new budget year starting next month. Full-time employees will increase 3 percent to 2,553. Spending on personnel, which is the biggest part of the county general fund, would increase 2 percent to $122.8 million.
Reach Prentiss Findlay at 937-5711