City Council approves 2011 Budget, downtown security cameras

CHARELSTON, SC (WCSC) – In their last meeting of the year, the Charleston City Council passed the 2011 budget Tuesday. The $146 million budget is the lowest it has been in the past three years.

The money vote passed on a 9-3 vote.

The budget was passed without tax increases and current city employees will not be granted raises this year. Charleston's hiring freeze is still in effect. Although the budget was ratified, not everyone agrees with the Mayor's spending.

"Were spending more than what we got coming in," says District 11 representative Tim Mallard. "We're not being fiscally conservative enough. The projections we have for the money coming in are way down than what's actually coming in."

Horse mounted patrols downtown is an area the budget was able to scale back, eliminating it completely. But just as patrols are cut back, security may get tighter downtown. The council also approved security cameras in the King and Market Street corridors.

Police Chief Greg Mullen says the security cameras will act in real time and send footage to police headquarters to help response times and identification accuracy. The cameras will be set to record 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Chief Mullen believes this will only help secure downtown Charleston.

"Not only will we have the officers that are working in those areas but now they'll have the coverage of the additional cameras that will be able to feed them in real time so hopefully they'll be able to respond quicker with more information," Mullen says.

Victoria Middleton, a concerned resident, says the camera surveillance "impose on civil liberties and privacy."

The Council members also approved electric car charging booths.

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