Horry County, MB councils mull budget cuts

Horry County, SC - By Kyle Grainger - bio | email

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Both Horry County Council and Myrtle Beach City Council will meet later this week to iron out where to make cuts to balance the budget.

Horry County Interim Administrator John Weaver has prepared a balanced budget that he'll present to county council members on Thursday at their budget retreat. Weaver's current budget doesn't call for funding of Coast RTA, holds nearly 100 positions open through the county and doesn't purchase any major capital equipment.

For Coast RTA, that means having to go without $500,000 Horry County Council gave to them last year.

Bus riders like Craig Hernandez worry less money could mean route cuts. He uses the bus daily to get where he needs to go.

"To get to work, hospital, shopping, things of that nature," said Hernandez.  "It would mess up a lot of people, it really would. Because a lot of people take the bus you know to get to work."

Horry County spokesperson Lisa Bourcier says the county is bringing in less money from a number of areas and that's why the cuts are necessary.

"With the economy like a business, we have the money not coming in like it's supposed to," said Bourcier. "Again, one of our major contributors is building permits and since construction has slowed over the past couple of years, we feel that pinch with the revenues coming in."

She reminds residents that all of this could change if council decides to put funding for the Coast RTA back in the budget for next year. It's something council will work out this week at retreat.

"This is the administrator's budget that is being presented to county council. Once he presents it to them, it's their budget. Again, they will massage it and decide what they believe are the priorities for next year," added Bourcier.

There are also money problems in Myrtle Beach, with Myrtle Beach City leaders expecting cuts to services throughout the city. City spokesperson Mark Kruea says for example, some recreation centers may close one or two days a week to make up lost revenue.

There are several projects on the table for Myrtle Beach city leaders, like the Withers Swash District Improvement Plan, but leaders say it'll be tough to get those projects started this year without a tax increase.

"We're going to have to cut back on some services," said Mayor John Rhodes. "That's what the budget retreat is all about - to look and see what that is that we're going to have to cut back on and then we're going to have to inform the public."

Neither the county or city are planning tax increases at this point.

"People don't want to raise taxes, you know, and if you don't want to raise taxes, then there is no other way for a city or a county or a state to get income to run the operations. This city is a business," added Rhodes.

Myrtle Beach city leaders will travel to Pinopolis on Wednesday for a three-day budget retreat. Horry County Council will meet in Little River on Thursday and Friday for discussions.

Both have to have a balanced budget passed by June 30.

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