North Myrtle Beach leaders move forward with Cherry Grove Dredging project

North Myrtle Beach leaders move forward with Cherry Grove Dredging project

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Cherry Grove Dredging Project will move forward after North Myrtle Beach leaders approved an ordinance for a special assessment district at a meeting Monday.

Council voted in favor to authorize the establishment of the Cherry Grove Improvement District, providing for the financing of improvements.The vote means that the area is a Special Assessment District. 

The ordinance officially creates the Improvement District. According to city spokesperson Pat Dowling, the ordinance approves the "Assessment Roll," also giving a list of properties in the district and the dollar amount of  the assessment imposed on the property.

"The Assessment District is set up to be in place for 10 years or for the duration of the permit, but this city council will vote to issue a bond to accomplish one dredge. 

"They need to understand that as of Monday's vote some 700 properties are included in a Special Assessment District, and if council votes to issue a bond for the first dredge the will be liable to pay their share of that bond issued to pay off that bond and the city will be liable for its share of $800,000," explained Dowling. 

Leaders already agreed to pay $800,000 for each dredge, but the rest of the bill will be paid by property owners through a tax. 

"They will pay Horry County as part of their property tax bill each year, and it will be a line item and if somebody doesn't pay that portion of their bill then the county just as they do with property tax with anything they can put a lien on their home."

Those who have property on the canals could see their share as much as $2,400 each year for up to 10 years, as that's how long the the assessment district is set to be in place. Many taxpayers haven't been happy about footing the bill.

Many of those homeowners say they shouldn't have to pay for everything because like a road or beach project, everyone benefits.

But one Cherry Grove resident, Grant MacKinnon, attended Monday night's city council meeting to praise their efforts to come up with a resolution.

"It's something we see the need for, that's the bottom line. I mean we are residents, but most of the people there are not, this is their summer vacation homes, and they don't look past the end of their noses to see the benefits of the project," explained MacKinnon, who has lived in the Cherry Grove area for more than six years. 

Dowling said notice will be sent to owners to property in the District. The certified letter, which is scheduled to be mailed April 8, will give information about the Assessment District, it will also inform them of their assessment, and give information on how to appeal or object it. 

Dowling said those that want to object must send a letter to the city manager. 

Two hearings will take place in May in which a special panel will consider those submitted written objections or appeals.

Dowling said the hearings are not for the public, but only for those that have submitted written appeals.

In June, the regular city council will decide on each appeal.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.