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Sumter deputies continue their push for higher pay

Law enforcement warns of losing employees, possible shortage during meeting

BY SHELBIE GOULDING
shelbie@theitem.com
Posted 1/17/20

Almost half of the room was filled with Sumter County Sheriff's Office deputies during Sumter County Council's Tuesday meeting as they continued to request a pay increase.

For months, sheriff's office employees have attended county meetings, …

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Sumter deputies continue their push for higher pay

Law enforcement warns of losing employees, possible shortage during meeting

Posted

Almost half of the room was filled with Sumter County Sheriff's Office deputies during Sumter County Council's Tuesday meeting as they continued to request a pay increase.

For months, sheriff's office employees have attended county meetings, pushing for a salary boost for the department, saying they feel mistreated based on their current compensation.

During a council meeting on Nov. 14, 2019, Sheriff Anthony Dennis told council there were more than 25 employee vacancies in the sheriff's office and requested that council pull money from the county budget to increase the wages of local law enforcement.

During that meeting, council agreed to discuss an amendment adjustment, but no actions have been taken since.

Four deputies and two community members spoke in favor of the pay raise request during the public comments portion of the meeting. The deputies mentioned that they are consistently losing employees, and some have to work second jobs to make a living.

One deputy also mentioned that others will be forced to find other jobs if something doesn't change in their compensation, which will result in a deputy shortage in Sumter County.

Chairman Jim McCain said council members had been waiting for a plan for the pay increase from Dennis, which was sent Tuesday. Dennis did not attend Tuesday's meeting.

Rezoning requests include potential Dollar General, new donation bins for nonprofit drop-offs

Also on Tuesday, council unanimously approved the first readings of four land use matters and rezoning requests.

The first was a request to rezone two acres of agricultural conservation land to general commercial at 830 Race Track Road. The applicant is planning to build a Dollar General on the property, and the planning commission recommended approval as it supports Sumter's recently updated 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

The second request was for applicant Green Zone Recycling, as the county is looking to clean up and add regulations to donation bins across the county.

Though these donation bins help local organizations such as The Salvation Army, Goodwill and Sumter United Ministries, the placement and maintenance of the bins have become issues, said George McGregor, director of the Sumter City-County Planning Department.

The planning commission wants to recommend the bins are replaced with ones with a higher-quality design and better placement via the regulations. However, council agreed to look further into the issue to make sure it doesn't affect nonprofit organizations that can't afford to pay for donation bins.

The third request was for applicant Raymond Rhodes to add cemeteries not associated with a church to the Residential-15 district.

The fourth request was for the planning staff in reference to amending off-street parking requirements for non-residential land uses to reduce parking requirements for mini warehouse uses. The planning commission wants to change to five spaces or one space per 100 storage units.

Council also unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance authorizing the transfer of Hideaway Court to the adjoining property owners after one person spoke during its public hearing saying the property should be returned to who it belonged to in the first place.

County ordinances and rezoning requests require three readings to be passed for approval.