New deputies, 2-mill tax increase, 1 percent merit raise OK’d in York County’s new budget

Posted June 18, 2013 12:31 am | Filed under Featured, Local News

County staff packed York County Council chambers Monday in support of pay increases for county employees. Andrew Kiel/WRHI

After months of debate — and before a standing-room-only crowd Monday night, York County Council approved next year’s budget that calls for a half-mill increase towards the county’s general fund and a 1.5-mill increase towards paying down the county debt.

Sheriff’s Deputies packed council chambers, an outside hallway and an overflow room in support of a three percent raise for county staff, a measure that was ultimately cut back to one percent.

York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant had requested 16 new deputies for the next fiscal year but only received four. Bryant says the lack of manpower is affecting quality of life in York County.

The one percent raise will be distributed as a pay-for-performance merit raise, while the budget also includes funding for state mandated positions in the public defender’s office and an additional employee to process passports for the Clerk of Court’s Office.

But York County Sheriff’s Office attorney Kris Jordan, one of a dozen who addressed council, saying it’s time the county employees’ needs be taken into consideration.

After a first motion to raise taxes by a full 2.5 mills failed, council voted 4-3 to approve the half-mill increase for operations and a 1.5-mill increase towards debt service, with council members Blackwell, Chappell, Cox and Williams in the majority.

Councilman Michael Johnson was one of three voting to reject next year’s budget that calls for pulling nearly ten million dollars from reserves.

The tax increase, which amounts to approximately three percent, would add $8 annually in property taxes to a $100,000 home and cost a business with a $500,000 property an additional $45 per year.