You Paid For It: COVID costs for local cities and counties

Total pandemic spending by local municipalities nears $5 million
Updated: Jun. 30, 2020 at 6:24 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Expenses are tallying up for local governments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Personal Protective Equipment such as masks, gloves and face shield are some of the top expenses for our local counties and cities during the ongoing crisis.

They're also paying for overtime, extra cleaning, thermometers and community signage to keep employees and citizens safe But it does come at a cost to their budgets.

James Island, Kiawah, Hollywood, Edisto and McClellanville all tell us they've spent less than $7,000 each.

Goose Creek estimates expenses stand about $25,000. Folly Beach says costs have tallied more than $80,000 in pandemic expenses.

The City of Charleston has spent more than a quarter million dollars so far.

All together, Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley, Georgetown and Williamsburg county governments have spent around $4.5 million dollars on pandemic costs, the highest in Charleston and Dorchester counties.

While state and federal grants may help reimburse local governments for much of these costs, they can’t necessarily make up for lost revenue to the economy during the high season.

Edisto Beach, for example, estimates a $194,159 loss of revenue.

The following municipalities have not yet provided the information requested: Williamsburg County, Seabrook Island, Hanahan, North Charleston, Walterboro, Summerville, Mt. Pleasant, Meggett, Awendaw and Kingstree.

The City of Georgetown asked us to file a formal FOIA request for the information and that request is still pending.

Summary of expenditure details provided by cities and counties:

Goose Creek

~ $25,000 - PPE and extra cleaning supplies in multiple departments.

$86,000 - Public Works Department lost billing revenue

James Island

$1,954 - Supplies such as hand washing stations, PPE and signage

Kiawah Island

~ $3,000 - primarily PPE


$546 - Thermometer, masks, hand sanitizer and other supplies

$8,892- Loss of income

Edisto Beach

$5,307 - PPE and other materials; overtime ($955)

$194,159 - Estimated loss of revenue

City of Charleston

$269,479 - Uniforms and protective clothing; Cleaning and janitorial supplies; Sneeze guards; Signs, equipment and community outreach.

Folly Beach

~$80,300 - Overtime ($12,000); Sick time paid ($4,300); Covid-related contractors, supplies and equipment.


$6,120 - Supplies such as cleaning products, masks and gloves; safety measures such as clear panel at front desk.

10% lower - Estimate on revenue loss 2019/2020 fiscal year

15% lower - Estimate on revenue loss 2020/2021 fiscal year

Dorchester County

$1,730,934 - Overtime ($1.37M); PE ($104,773); waiving credit card fees, telecommuting infrastructure, facility changes to reopen, and security guards.

Colleton County

$159,122 - Janitorial, loss of fees, paid leave, PPE, remote worker costs, technology.

Berkeley County

~$150,000 according to recent county council presentation

Charleston County

$2,418,000 - PPE ($2.17M); Remote work technology, janitorial costs and disinfecting facilities, testing supplies, thermometers and building preparation efforts for citizen safety.


~$50,000 - PPE

*Overtime costs still being tallied but not expected to be very high.

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