Dickerson's fate in hands of jury

William O. Dickerson

Brad Nettles

MOUNT PLEASANT -- A pay hike for full-time employees is included in the new town budget up for discussion and a first vote Tuesday night.

The 3 percent merit pay raise would be for 530 employees if they meet performance standards.

No property tax increase is included in the proposed 2011-12 budget.

An uptick in revenues from business licenses, recreation fees and building permits, as well as cost-savings measures applied to road landscaping and health insurance made the pay increase possible, Town Administrator Eric DeMoura said.

"It looks like we're starting to come out of the recession," he said.

Employee pay has been frozen for the past two years. Workers got a Christmas bonus last year but the extra holiday pay is not included in the budget for fiscal year 2011-12, which starts July 1.

The pay increase is in a $76.4 million proposed budget. A public hearing on the spending plan will be held as part of the council meeting that starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

If the budget passes a first vote, final approval will be June 14.

The new spending plan cuts donations to some nonprofit groups. Two years ago, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, the Patriots Point Foundation, the South Carolina State Guard Foundation and the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry received a combined $95,000. In the new budget, those organizations receive nothing.

However, council on Tuesday will consider allocating $30,000 in hospitality tax funds in the current budget to the Patriots Point Foundation to help pay a consultant hired for a marketing study at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum.