MB City Council approves budget; property taxes decrease

Myrtle Beach, SC - By A.J. Ross - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – After several months of hashing out the numbers, Myrtle Beach City Council members voted 4-3 in favor of the fiscal year 2010-2011 budget on Tuesday.

The highlights of the spending plan are no increased taxes, a hefty property tax break for homeowners, and a limited amount of funding for different local organizations such as the Coast RTA, Grand Strand Humane Society, and Myrtle Beach Housing Authority.

"It is an extremely tight budget for the City of Myrtle Beach," Mark Kruea, city spokesman, said.

With only $500,000 to spread around to different organizations seeking funding, Kruea says the council was limited in what they could do. The Grand Strand Humane Society was awarded $173,000, while the Coast RTA received $150,000, and the Myrtle Beach Housing Authority received $43,000.

Another hot topic the council debated for some time was the addition of a $3 parking fee at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.  Myrtle Beach residents would be exempt from the fee.

"Without raising some additional revenue, the Convention Center would be operating at a deficit," said Kruea. "We don't have the money this year to cover that sort of deficit."

Kruea says one of the bright spots within the budget is an 88 percent tax credit for Myrtle Beach homeowners.  The credit is being paid for through the ad tax, or tourism development fee, that went into effect last year.

"If you own your home inside the City of Myrtle Beach and live in that home, you'll get about an 88 percent tax credit on your city property taxes," Kruea said.

The tax break will reduce the millage rate for most homeowners from about 64.4 mils down to 7.3. It's an adjustment some homeowners like Johnny Hoffman say they couldn't be more happy about.

"I think it's a wonderful thing and I can't see anyone else not going along with that," Hoffman said.

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