No tax increase in store with Horry County's proposed budget

No tax increase in store with Horry County's proposed budget

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County's proposed $393 million budget for FY16-17 includes no tax hikes or fee increases.

The county will use existing revenues to fund various improvements and new personnel, including four telecommunicators.

Horry County's telecommunicators received more than 250,000 calls in 2015 compared to 215,000 in 2010, which affects how quickly someone picks up the phone.

In 2010, 100 percent of calls were answered in five seconds compared to last year when 71 percent of calls were answered in ten seconds, Horry County Administrator Chris Eldridge said.

"It's been a challenge if you just think of technology. Every one of us has a cell phone now," he said. "You can have 20 people calling about the exact same event and it floods our 911 centers."

Current county employees will see higher salaries under the proposed budget. Employees can look forward to a one to five percent raise, or an average of three percent, based on merit.

"The department heads and the managers are well aware that the subject of fairness and accurately identifying and recording performance rests on their shoulders, so they're going to have to answer to any challenges to fairness," Horry County Human Resources Director Patrick Owens said.

The county is hoping to save money on employees' healthcare costs by opening a $750,000 on-site medical clinic for county employees to lower insurance claims.

"That's been spiraling," Horry County Finance Director Barry Spivey said. "It's hard for us to control, but this is a manner for us to address that on a long-term basis."

The budget passed its first reading Thursday afternoon with Councilman Tyler Servant opposing because he said he worries about the financial sustainability of the three percent average raise for employees.

Public input on the budget is scheduled for the Horry County Council meeting on May 17.

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