Goose Creek Releases Historic Budget Plans | New

The Town of Goose Creek has proposed the largest budget in its history. The budget of $77 million is about 20% higher than last year. Leaders at the September 14 council meeting said it was not because money was wasted, but because of economic gains and pro-business efforts.

There is no doubt that the town of Goose Creek is growing with nearly 50,000 residents and new businesses growing, budgets will inevitably become larger.

“It’s actually true that our budget only increased by 20%, or so, and it did so because of business growth and economic development,” Mayor Habib said at the meeting. “Our budget, while yes, has increased, it has increased as one would expect.”

City leaders have worked and met over the past few months to prepare what they believe is needed for 2023. And it won’t raise taxes. Mayor Habib said property taxes will be lower for residents in the coming year.

It includes six new staff positions in the city for police, human resources and sanitation. Six new police vehicles, an 18% increase in insurance benefits for employees, and a general 5% increase in the cost of living for all city staff.

But one council member isn’t comfortable with the whole recipe. Council member Gayla McSwain spoke out on salary increases for all employees. She said the 5% increase should go to the lowest paid staff and then the increase should be adjusted downward for those earning higher salaries in the city.

“Let’s say, for example, that a person who earns $25,000 a year enjoys a 5% increase in the cost of living compared to a person who earns $100,000 a year and enjoys a 5% increase in the cost of living. There is a substantial difference between the two because it is based on a percentage,” McSwain said during the meeting.

Habib accused McSwain of devaluing the city’s management staff. And said high turnover rates and the competitive labor market have already forced pay increases for much of the lower-paid staff.

McSwain argued that those at the top of the pay scale working for the city are paid very well and that this will eventually need to be adjusted or capped.

McSwain was the only no to vote at the Sept. 14 meeting. This is the first reading of the budget, further public comment and discussion on the budget will take place at the October 11 council meeting.

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