HILTON HEAD, Sc. (WSAV) – After reviewing the county’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year, Beaufort County projects the Sheriff’s Office will cost them almost $2 million dollars more.
Sheriff PJ Tanner said the additional costs are not due to an increase in crime, but to state mandates such as vehicle replacement, maintenance, and the largest increase– in retirement benefits for officers.
“Retirement is going up dramatically after new state law in South Carolina… the burden is on the employee and employer,” said Tanner.
The town does not have its own police department. They contract 42 deputies through the county which is why their budget goes through county council. During the first quarter of 2017, the Hilton Head Sheriff’s Office responded to more than 17,000 calls for service.
Tanner said the additional $1.7 expected in their budget is not asking for any more staff, they are just projecting what it will cost with new state laws.
Hilton Head Town Manager said the increase came as a surprise to them. It was not factored into their recent budget plan that includes increases in business licenses and property taxes, so “they’re still trying to figure it out”.