County Council approves amended budget that includes 10 percent raise for EMS employees 1

Aiken County Councilwoman Camille Furgiuele listens Tuesday during County Council's meeting at the Aiken County Government Center.

Aiken County’s emergency medical services employees will receive a 10% increase in their pay beginning in January of next year.

That raise is included in an ordinance to amend the county’s 2019-2020 fiscal year budget that County Council unanimously approved Tuesday night during its meeting at the Aiken County Government Center.

Eight of the panel’s nine members were present. County Council Chairman Gary Bunker said Chuck Smith, who represents District 4, was in Nashville, Tennessee, on a business trip.

When County Council gave final approval to the 2019-2020 budget in June, it included a 4% raise for EMS workers. The budget amendment ordinance passed Tuesday adds 10% on top of that.

County Administrator Clay Killian told County Council earlier this month during a special meeting that the county needed to increase the pay for EMS employees because many of them are leaving to take jobs that offer more money. It is difficult to replace them, and sometimes EMS stations have to be closed temporarily because of a lack of personnel. 

The budget amendment ordinance also increased the holiday bonus for full-time county employees from $400 to $800 and included adjustments made by the Midland Valley Fire District to its fees after some people complained they were too high.

Several amendments to the 2019-2020 budget were made during Tuesday’s meeting and among them was the addition of 13,810.50 to the Aiken County Veterans Affairs Office budget to hire two new part-time employees.

Another amendment approved by County Council on Tuesday was to accept a grant from the state of South Carolina of $142,029 that would allow resource officers to be hired at Leavelle McCampbell Middle School, New Ellenton Middle STEAM Magnet School and A.L. Corbett Middle School. That money will be added to the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office operating budget.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, County Council unanimously approved a resolution to rename the Government Center in honor of the late Ronnie Young who died in May.

Young was the longest-serving chairman ever for County Council. His tenure began in 1994 and continued until 2017.

At the time of his death, Young was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.

A Republican, he represented District 84.

County Council also unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance that would repeal a 2018 ordinance that authorized the sale of the old County Council Building to Martin Buckley and Lucy Knowles for $200,000 “as is.”

The deal “just fell through,” County Council Chairman Gary Bunker told the Aiken Standard on Monday. “We’re putting it (the building) back up for sale.”

The structure, which is on a 1.58-acre parcel on Richland Avenue West, used to be part of the former Aiken County Government Complex.

That parcel is separate from the one on which the old Aiken County Hospital is located.

In other action Tuesday, County Council unanimously approved the following:

• A resolution that authorizes an agreement with Motorola Solutions Inc. to install computer-aided dispatch, records management system and automated field reporting mobile software for the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office. The cost is $1,057,423.

• A resolution that authorizes an agreement with RoundTower to update and upgrade the county’s core server for the Information Technology Department. The cost is $980,661.15.

• The third and final reading of an ordinance to close DeMedicis Boulevard in Warrenville to through truck traffic.

​Dede Biles is the Aiken County government, business and horse industry reporter for the Aiken Standard. Follow her on Twitter @DBethBiles.