Town may lose police chief due to budget shortfall

LINCOLNVILLE, SC (WCSC) - A small town may lose its police chief because the mayor says there isn't enough money to pay him.

The Town of Lincolnville, located in Dorchester County, is home to about 1,100 people. Mayor Tyrone Aiken says the town is working with a budget shortfall, which is forcing him to propose changes and cuts.

Aiken says he is looking at a $53,000 savings by doing away with the full-time Lincolnville police chief position.

"My opinion, I think we need at least one police officer to keep the area clean and patrolled, also for speeders, to ticket, the money would bring more revenue into the Town of Lincolnville," resident Shawn Salley said.

Aiken says eliminating the police chief doesn't mean the town won't have police protection. Two part-time sworn officers would continue to volunteer.

Aiken says that the sheriff's sffice could provide extra deputies and he is looking into using state constables.

One Linconville council member says that cuts to the Headstart program, which was housed in the same building as the town all for the past 20 years, has hurt the town's budget. The council member said that Headstart helped pay the bills.

Aiken says Headstart paid the town rent and shared utility expenses. He says when the program moved out in June, it was a loss of about $35,000 for Lincolnville's fiscal year budget. The mayor has a proposed budget of a little more than $300,000.

Aiken says he hopes the cut to the police department is only a temporary one. He says the cut would not affect the fire department, as the entire force is volunteer.

The next town council meeting is Wednesday, Aug. 3, at 7 p.m.

It will be the first reading of the proposed budget, and the public is welcome to come and give their input.

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