Staff and budget cuts are a growing concern for South Carolina emergency managers as the height of another hurricane season approaches.
Derrec Becker of the State Emergency Management Division said Thursday that within the last 18 months, the agency has lost a third of its staff and now has only 61 employees. And he says in the worst case, there could be more cuts.
"It gives us concern as it does every other state agency facing these severe, drastic budget cuts," he said. "When we look at our ability to be able to respond to a hurricane, we're having to do a lot more with a lot less."
He added that the agency has also lost almost $1 million in state funding.
The impact of that is doubled, he said, because much federal funding requires a 50-50 state match. The agency's operating budget now is about just under $1.4 million, he said.