CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The Horry County Council passed the first reading of the Fiscal Year 2015 budget last week at its annual Budget Retreat. Below is a news release detailing the items on next year's proposed $373 million budget for the 2015 Fiscal Year, which runs from July 1 to June 30:
Horry County Council Passes First Reading of FY2015 Budget
Conway, South Carolina – The Horry County Council passed first reading of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget at its annual Budget Retreat which was held April 10 & 11 at the C.B. Berry Community Center in Little River, SC.
The county's fiscal year runs July 1 to June 30, and the proposed FY 2015 Budget is $373 million. The budget includes no new taxes or fee increases, a two percent cost of living increase for county employees, and a one percent across the board reduction for all departments.
The county has a variety of funds that are used to track revenues and expenditures for different types of services, projects and activities.
State law directs the Horry County State Accommodations Tax (ATAX) funds received by a county or city that has a high concentration of tourism activity may be used to provide additional services including, but not limited to, law enforcement, traffic control, public facilities, and highway and street maintenance, as well as the continual promotion of tourism. The funds must be used to promote tourism and enlarge its economic benefits through advertising, promotion, and providing those facilities and services which enhance the ability of the county or city to attract and provide for tourists.
The ATAX fund is budgeted in FY 2015 to remain at the FY 2014 revenue budget level at $4,130,000. After subtracting the $25,000 and five percent General Fund components ($230,265 total), the balance is $3,900,035. After the state required 30 percent distribution for "advertising and promotion of tourism", the projected amount available for allocation is approximately $2,669,745. County Council also plans to carry over the $100,000 remaining in unspent FY 2014 ATAX funds for use in FY 2015. Based on council discussions at the Budget Retreat, the proposed allocation of ATAX funding for FY 2015 is as follows:
Horry County Police – Beach Patrol $1,100,000.00
Horry County Gov't. – Beach Cleanup Program $ 627,406.83
Horry County Gov't. – Roadside Litter Program $ 208,000.00
Horry County Gov't. – Beach Renourishment $ 510,000.00
Horry County Gov't. – Hwy. 501, 17, 544 (landscape) $ 46,500.00
American Heart Association (Beach Ride) $ 16,000.00
Arcadian Shore Dr. Comm. Assoc. (street lighting) $ 7,000.00
Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA $ 12,000.00
Garden City Beach Community Association:
Median Maintenance $ 82,350.00
Street Lights $ 16,000.00
Horry County Museum:
Quilt Gala $ 4,000.00
LW Paul Living History Farm $ 4,200.00
Little River Chamber of Commerce $ 83,700.00
Little River COC –"Blue Crab Festival" $ 9,300.00
Long Bay Symphony $ 5,000.00
North Myrtle Beach Area Historical Museum $ 10,000.00
Palmetto Studios Arts Alliance/Xcon World $ 5,000.00
South Strand Campground Assoc. $ 19,530.00
Horry County Museum Foundation $ 1,860.00
Also included in the budget is $1,055,000 for CoastRTA and $1.3 million for the Myrtle Regional Economic Development Corporation.
Horry County Council also approved $333,000 ($208,000 from ATAX and $125,000 from the General Fund) for a litter program that features three components: enforcement, litter pick-up and education. The program will include additional temporary employees for pick-up, equipment and materials. The Keep Horry
County Beautiful Committee will continue to educate and promote a litter free county and assist in community cleanups.
An updated five-year Capital Improvement Plan was approved for FY 2015 to FY 2019 totaling $109 million from various funding sources to include the General Fund, general obligation bonds, special funds, and other revenue sources. Projects include public safety technology improvements and equipment