New Surfside Town Council discusses budget for the first time

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Surfside Town Council held a budget workshop Thursday. It was the first meeting since Mayor Doug Samples was sworn in Tuesday. Council members Mary Beth Mabry and Randle Stephens are new to council as well.

The meeting lasted all day, and it had two main focuses: balance the budget and educate the new council members about the existing budget.

According to Mayor Samples, the town has been spending $600,000 more than it has brought in, in revenue.  Samples said this workshop will serve as a time to figure out where small cuts can be made in order to bring down that number.  Although spending is up, Samples said the city is in good standing.

"Frankly, we need to be able to pay as we go. That's what has kept the town in the good shape that it's in," Samples said.

A motion was passed at the meeting Thursday to eliminate the Deputy Administrator position. Samples said that position was only utilized during the most recent town council term.

Samples said there are two major areas of concern in which the town needs to focus: beach renourishment and storm water improvements. But, these changes could cost the town millions of dollars.

"The town has unmet needs. So what we want to do is we want to look at where the money is being spent, see where reductions can be made without affecting the quality of services," Samples said.

Samples addressed the topic of the Surfside Pier, a topic that has drawn much controversy in recent months.

"There's no question we've got to put some additional funds into the pier, if for no other reason than to meet the federal requirement for disability," Samples said.

Newly elected council member Randle Stephens said he expects the pier to be up and running soon.

"Once we get somebody in there that runs a restaurant and is family oriented, I think we'll start getting people back to the pier to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner," Stephens said.

Town Council has until June 30th to adopt a new budget. According to Samples, the council will meet at least one more time before that deadline to make further adjustments.

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