Police officers and firefighters to receive starting pay raises in Travelers Rest

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TRAVELERS REST, S.C. (WSPA) – Police officers and firefighter in Travelers Rest will receive big starting pay raises following a vote earlier this month.

Travelers Rest City Council unanimously voted on August 15 to extend raises to firefighters and law enforcement. It’s an increase that comes with a lot of support from tax payers.

Travelers Rest is right outside of Greenville and has a population of less than 5,000 people.

City officials said these raises are long over due and well deserved. 

For Janice Graves, her love and support for law enforcement runs into the family. She said son-in-law is a state trooper.

“They’re protecting our communities and our countries. We appreciate them, and they need everything that we can do to support them,” Graves said.

It’s a sentiment felt by Travelers Rest city council as they voted unanimously to give police officers and firefighters a pay increase.

“We are asking the community to support a $6 million tax increase that would help pay for the amount needed to support the raises,” Travelers Rest City Administrator Eric Vinson said.

For taxpayers like Graves, it’s money well spent. 

“I’m all for taxes going to appropriate causes, and I believe this is a good one,” Graves said.

Previously, the starting pay for police officers and firefighters was between $28,000-$29,000 per year. The new starting pay will be between $35,000-$38,000 per year.

“The pay was down in the $27,000, $28,000, $29,000 range, which was $6,000, $8,000, $10,000 off from what other cities were doing. We wanted to be comparable to them, and city council wanted us to be,” Ford said.

While public safety officials usually received cost of living increases, this raise is the biggest they’ve seen in years, Ford said.

“It helps us retain good people that have been loyal to the city. It also helps us recruit individuals and be able to be competitive with other agencies,” Travelers Rest Police Chief Benjamin Ford said.

There were two votes by city council along with public hearings. Both council and the public supported the pay raises. 

Travelers Rest City Council voted on August 15 to raise salaries. Those increases went into effect immediately. 

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