A $1.1 million increase in the city’s budget was approved by Conway City Council this past week, increasing the total to $46.9 million.

City Administrator Adam Emrick said one of the reasons the city needs the additional money is to pay architects who are designing a new Conway City Hall. He said work is moving along faster than they thought it would and they could have a full set of construction plans by the end of the fiscal year, which will be June 30, 2020.

The faster work caused the city to need an additional $500,000 in this year’s budget, Emrick said. The city had $150,000 in its FY 2018-19 budget that wasn’t spent that will be applied to the new building’s design cost. That left a need for $350,000 from the fund balance. In addition to that, there is another $100,000 already in this year’s budget.

All of the money for the increases was transferred from the city’s fund balance and was placed in the General Fund that stands now at $26.5 million.

Money was also needed to fund four new positions.

Two of the new positions will go to current city employees, planner Mary Catherine Hyman and grants coordinator John Rogers, who have both been tapped to become assistant administrators.

Both will earn $84,983, with the city’s cost increasing to $118,976 when benefits are added. The salary tops out at $135,443, making them the two highest paid city employees behind City Administrator Adam Emrick.

Rogers’ new title is deputy city administrator/grants & special projects director and Hyman’s new title is deputy city administrator/planning & development director.

The move will force the city to hire another planner at a minimum salary of $58,119. Emrick also says the city needs a new property maintenance inspector at a minimum salary of $37,579, a solid waste heavy equipment operatorand grants coordinator.

The increase also includes $300,000 for property the city hopes to buy, $28,000 for a new vehicle for the Building and Planning Department to share and $130,000 for Main Street Bridge lighting, a transfer from the 2018-2019 budget.

Emrick said recent growth in Conway is putting stress on his staff, especially on sanitation workers.

New salary schedule

Conway City Council approved a new pay scale for its employees this past week with 264 full-time employees. That’s up from 221 in 216. Adding the seven council members and 34 part-time employees increases the number to 305, up from 260 in 2016.

The least amount of money any full-time employee can earn now is $26,205. That’s for custodians, part-time custodian, streets trades workers and utility trades workers, who all top out at $39,307.

Two of council’s biggest concerns in its new salary schedule were policemen and firemen.

A firefighter 1 trainee starts now at $33,445, topping out at $50,167. This salary jumps $1,000 when the firefighter is certified and another $1,000 if the firefighter becomes a driver/operator. Other fire salaries are: fire engineer, $37,579-$56,368; fire sergeant, $42,223-$65,446; administrative fire lieutenant, $44,757-$69,373; fire captain, $50,763-$78,683; assistant fire chief/risk manager, $62,187-$96,390; fire chief/emergency manager, $77,628-$120,323.

The fire department has positions for one administrative assistant, one administrative lieutenant, one assistant fire chief/risk manager, three captains, one fire chief/emergency manager, nine firefighters 1, nine fire engineers, three lieutenants, six sergeants, one training coordinator/captain and seven occasional part-time firefighters.

A police officer trainee will start now at $37,579 and top out at $56,368, the same as a part-time police officer and a part-time victims advocate. Once the trainee goes on the road his salary increases to $38,579.

Other police salaries are senior police officer, $39,833-$59,750, increasing to $40,833 for a senior master police officer; police corporal and police detective, $47,442-$73,535; police sergeant, $50,763-$78,683; police lieutenant, $54,317-$84,191; police captain, $62,187-$96,390; and police chief, $77,628-$120,323.

The police department now has positions for one captain, six corporals, one crime scene investigator, five detectives, three lieutenants, one chief, 31 police officers and seven sergeants, which comes to 55 certified officers.

It also has positions for one administrative assistant, one executive assistant, five community service officers, two records clerks, one records supervisor/senior records clerk, one part-time victims advocate and two part-time police officers.

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I'm the editor of the Horry Independent, a weekly newspaper in Conway, South Carolina. I cover city hall and courts, among many other subjects. Know of a good story? Call me at 843-488-7241.

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