A new levy rate increase in Berkeley County is aimed at helping out the Sheriff’s Department personnel, and giving them new tools to protect the community.
Of the county’s $28 million fiscal year budget, the Sheriff’s Department’s portion takes up about $7 million. Sheriff Curtis Keller said initially, the County Council didn’t include any of his funding requests, but they eventually negotiated on his top priorities.
Those included hiring an entry-level deputy to replace the one assigned to a new Circuit Court judge, and deputies that can assist in trips and special assignments. Lastly, the funding would allow for a deputy to be promoted to captain, helping share in the administrative duties of the department.
“It was a little discouraging to us that when we presented it to them, they just completely cut us out of the picture – didn’t give us anything,” Keller said. “It’s good now that I know that they are working with me, and they came back to me and said, ‘let’s talk this over and try to get it straightened out a little better.’ So, that’s what we did.”
The sheriff had also asked for 10 new patrol vehicles, but said that the County Council may revisit that issue at a later time.