MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A proposal that would increase the salaries of certified and non-certified Myrtle Beach police officers has been presented to city council, according to a press release from Mark Kruea with the City of Myrtle Beach.
The proposal was presented to city council by Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen. The plan addresses the dual needs of recruitment and retention for police personnel by bringing police compensation in line with, and ultimately ahead of, the city's competing law enforcement agencies.
"With the climate nationally for police officer retention and recruitment and the demand locally to fill new and vacant police positions, we must be competitive in the marketplace," Pedersen said. "This market rate adjustment will allow us to boost our retention of current officers and recruit new officers more effectively." The proposal would increase current officers' salaries a few percentage points each year to compensate for increased workloads as well as an incentive to remain with the department beyond five years. The market rate adjustment begins with the January 12 pay period.
At that time, all city staff will receive a 1.75 % salary adjustment and be eligible for merit increases of up to 5% based on performance. Under the new step plan, MBPD's certified staff will also receive the 1.75 %, plus a 3% merit increase in addition to market rate salary adjustment of 5%.
The rate salary adjustment will be effective for only sworn officers, detention officers and telecommunications officers; this does not include the department's other administrative and non-sworn staff. Staring January 12, 2018 the proposal would pay uncertified officers a starting a salary of $40,000. Upon graduating from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, officers would receive a starting salary of $44,000; first class officers' beginning salary would also climb to $46,000.
The Myrtle Beach City Council has indicated support for the market rate adjustment as part of its larger plan to expand the police department by 10 additional staff members per year, during the next seven years. Existing revenues will cover the increased cost in this year's budget, but the step plan will require a three-mill tax increase in the 2018-19 fiscal year budget, which begins in July. Property taxes are expected to increase 4% if the proposal is approved. City council is expected to vote on the measure January 9. If approved, the proposal could take effect January 12.