Abbeville leaders have proposed a city-wide half-cent sales tax to benefit all city employees.
Abbeville Police Department says this will help in the possibility of increasing officer salaries and retainment of officers.
Abbeville City Officials along with city employees and concerned citizens met this week to discuss the possibility of pay raises.
Officials proposed a city half-cent sales tax for that.
Police Chief William Spearman spoke at the meeting and says this possible tax has been needed for a long time.
“This will help alleviate some of the problems we’re having with salaries and so that hopefully in the future we’ll be able to retain some of the well-trained officers that we have,” explained Chief Spearman.
Chief Spearman said in the past four years the department has lost 37 officers.
“We have 32 of these officers attended the police academy with us and by the time we do all the testing and everything, it cost us (an estimated $211,066.03) to hire those officers and have them leave to another agency,” added Chief Spearman.
“When you have to keep sending new officers through the academy to get the proper training for the officers you’re trying to retain because that can eat up my budget very quickly… And our officers go through as you can see a whole lot of testing to get a job that pays $20,000 a year,” said Chief Spearman.
News 10 asked, “Ultimately though, it’ll be the public’s decision?”
Chief Spearman responded, “It will be the public’s decision, but I think if they see we offer quality service and we are out there working that I think they will see their need and I think they will come through for us.”
Chief Spearman says his department has 34 officers on staff right now, but is supposed to have 39. He’s looking to hire an at least 5 more officers.
A decision on whether or not to make the sales tax official for the May election will be heard at the next Abbeville City Council meeting on February 5, 2019.