HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Utility bills could soon be going up in Horry County and local leaders want to know why. The Horry County Solid Waste Authority recently announced it would have to raise the cost to remove waste by nearly 40 percent.
The Solid Waste Authority says the current cost to dispose waste is $29 per ton, which hasn't been raised in 18 years and is one of the lowest in the state. But after a recent study, they were told that cost would need to go up to $39 per ton and the effects could trickle down to everyone.
"That's the unknown or the answer that we can't give to our constituents, whether it be the resident, who's probably going to see an increase on their utility bill or their trash pickup fees or to the businesses," said Myrtle Beach City Councilman Wayne Gray. "That just doesn't seem like good fiscal management."
The chairman of the Horry County Solid Waste Authority along with leaders from every municipality hammered out the details on how such a jump in cost could have happened. Leaders say while the county has always had one of the lowest costs when it comes to removing trash, it won't make this raise any easier to swallow.
"Our citizens probably don't realize what a bargain they have been getting, and maybe that's our fault for not educating them," said North Myrtle Beach Mayor, Marilyn Hatley.
Hatley urged the solid waste authority not to make such a dramatic increase all at once, afraid that it would cause too much of a burden on the tax payer.
"You cannot hit people all at one time with everything you do or you need. And that's why we don't raise taxes as much as we need to, not that we'd like to, but that we need to," Hatley said.
The waste authority went over several options, one which would spread the total cost needed over the span of three years. Myrtle Beach Councilman Wayne Gray says no matter which way you spin it, the money has to come from somewhere.
"The conversation is, lets not do that all at once. Let's do ten this year. Let's do two next year, and then two in year three. So that's kind of it, and it's just a matter of that's what we need and we hope that you guys accept it." Gray said.
Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus says the raise in cost is not yet set in stone and will likely be voted on at the next budget retreat in March.