Nearly all Williamsburg County employees will see a cut in pay. County council voted unanimously on the decision during a July 20, virtual meeting. Special service employees will not see a cut, nor will elected officials’ salaries be affected. Employees currently on furlough will not return to work until November.
County Supervisor Tiffany Wright said the cuts were needed to meet budget shortfalls. Council was presented with another option which would permanently reduce staff by dismissing those currently on furlough and reducing the operating budget. The current budget, which is a continuance of the 2019-2020 budget has, so far, been cut approximately $3.4 million or %15.
However, those cuts won't happen due in part by the Sheriff's Office volunteering to reduced its budget by $110,649.13. A July 29, press release issued by the Media & Marketing Team explained. "Understanding the impact that salary reductions would have on the Williamsburg County Government team, we wanted to exhaust all avenues of finding funding to supplement the loss of revenue predicted for the 2020/2021 budget season.
There were unclaimed reimbursement funds associated with the response cost incurred by Williamsburg County Government for Hurricane Irma/2017 and Hurricane Dorian/2019. Williamsburg County had $277,101.50 of unclaimed funds from Hurricane Irma and $263,354.68 of unclaimed funds from Hurricane Dorian.
The predicted cost reduction of the budget was $651,105.31. A combined total of unclaimed funds from the storms gave us a total of $540,456.18, which still left the budget with a shortage of $110,649.13 to be supplemented. The Sheriff’s Office made up the $110,649.13 by reducing its budget to offset the funding shortage.
Understanding that this does influence the response of the Sheriff’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office, along with County Government, wanted to protect their employees, who are essential in all aspects of the County Government being able to serve the citizens of this great County. In other words, no one will undergo a reduction in salary under the Continuing Resolution."
Council members will not see a change in salary because, Wright said, by law they can’t cut their salaries as they have already paid a percentage of their salaries for the term. However, Wright said council cut 15% from every line item in their budget and were also willing to cut their salaries.
Council members across the state make an average $16,000 to $17,000 per year with some larger counties paying over $20,000. Williamsburg County council members' salary is $14,796. They are also currently allotted $7,226 for training and travel and $5,750 in discretionary funds.