Horry County Council members talk millage increase with Myrtle B - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Horry County Council members talk millage increase with Myrtle Beach Tea Party

Horry County Chairman Mark Lazarus Horry County Chairman Mark Lazarus

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The day before Horry County Council members have to pass a budget that includes a possible tax increase, they're hearing feedback and answering questions about it from the Myrtle Beach Tea Party.

"This tax increase is wrong. It is wrong on so many levels," said Steven Hoffman, a member of the Myrtle Beach Tea Party. "We are in a terrible economy."

The Myrtle Beach Tea Party invited Councilman Al Allen to its meeting Monday night to explain the proposed millage increase and give members the opportunity to make comments before the final vote, which is Tuesday at 6 p.m.

"We are all from the north and we're all concerned about property tax," said Sharon Pollard, who recently moved to the county because of low tax rates just like many of her neighbors. "Property tax increase breeds property tax increase."

Right now, the proposed increase is 7.2 mills, which amounts to about $28 dollars per $100,000 of property.

The more than $13 million that would raise would go toward public safety including salary raises for law enforcement officers to be competitive with other areas and adding gang unit detectives to the police force as well as attorneys to the solicitor's office.

"If it is needed in order for us to take care of our communities then I don't see where we really have a choice," Allen said.

Council Chairman Mark Lazarus also spoke at the meeting. He said some of the original plans for the money, such as police body cameras, can be paid for with fund reserve instead of capital expenses. That would allow for a lower millage increase of 6.1 mills.

Lazarus said he'll end up paying $15,000 more in taxes as a property owner himself, but he said the millage increase is necessary for public safety.

There will be public comment Tuesday before the third and final reading of the budget.

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