SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Due to recent natural disasters like hurricanes Hermine and Matthew, the Surfside Beach Town Council is now looking to construct a budget to fund improvements to the town's stormwater infrastructure.
At Thursday's town council meeting, members discussed possibly implementing a new tax fee on the community.
In the past, storm infrastructure was funded through a percentage of the millage on a property tax increase.
However, that percentage went to the general fund to be used wherever there was a shortfall. It was not specifically set aside for flood damage.
The proposed tax fee will explicitly allocate funds directly to the repair of that stormwater infrastructure.
John Adair, public works director, said the tax fee - estimated to cost about $64.00 per single family home per year - would be worth it.
"It's inevitable that you're going to have tide cycles," Adair said. "You're going to have tropical storms and if our stormwater infrastructure isn't resilient enough, isn't hard enough to withstand that, then you're going to have a lot of upstream flooding, a lot of property damage.".
Adair believes it is necessary to dedicate an amount of money specifically for stormwater infrastructure.
"Stormwater improvements will be paid for on the front end or on the back end," he said. "You can do it reactively and wait until everything collapses on you after a hurricane, or you can start plugging into these projects now."
The council did not make a decision Tuesday, but is expected to have one at the public workshop on Feb. 13.
Many other finance and budget decisions were made at the meeting, but according to Mayor Bob Childs, stormwater infrastructure damage was most important.
"The problems we have now, those issues we have to deal with, that's for sure," Childs said. "That's not something we'll put it off until the next year. We have to complete those at this point."