Myrtle Beach considering fees, cuts to balance budget

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Greg Argos - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach City officials are considering cutting Chapin Memorial Library hours, increasing fees for picking up your garbage, even lowering funds for replacing police vehicles in an attempt to try to balance the 2010-11 fiscal year budget.

The cuts would save some $5.4 million and prevent the city from raising taxes.

"At some point, you have to give," said Dorothy Huggins, who's lived in Myrtle Beach since the 1940s. Huggins says she understands why the city is cutting some services and raising fees. "I think the best thing and the fairest thing is for all of us to give up something."

Though city officials say nothing has been decided and the changes are just suggestions, Huggins hopes they don't slash too much.

The service cuts and additional fees won't just help balance the budget. Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes says they'll also free up money, which would lead to extra patrols right on the boardwalk.

"We've got to make sure that our tourist and all of our visitors come in and all of our local residents come in to enjoy the boardwalk don't have to worry about crime," Rhodes said.

However, before the mayor can worry about crime, he says he has to focus on money.

"The one thing we will do is balance our budget," he said. "We will do what we have to make sure it balances."

Though that means probably city service cuts, Huggins has some advice for council so this doesn't happen again in the future: "The whole bottom line is quit spending the money," she said.

The city is also considering implementing a hiring freeze on 13 open positions, cutting back on recreation programs, and charging everyone $3 to park at the Convention Center. City spokesman Mark Kruea says these are all just suggestions, since the budget has not officially been set.

Copyright 2010 WMBF News. All rights reserved.