Myrtle Beach City Council considers tax increase to help fund pu - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Myrtle Beach City Council considers tax increase to help fund public safety improvements

The city of Myrtle Beach wants to beef up the police department by adding 15 officers over the course of the next three years (Source: Amy Lipman) The city of Myrtle Beach wants to beef up the police department by adding 15 officers over the course of the next three years (Source: Amy Lipman)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The original fiscal year 2018 budget proposed in March didn’t include a tax increase, but the budget as proposed right now does suggest raising millage in order to fund additions to the Myrtle Beach Police Department.

Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen has proposed adding five more police officers to the department every year for the next three years. The proposal came soon after several shootings in April.

“I don’t know if it was solely that reason. That certainly brought to fruition the need to discuss additional officers,” Councilman Wayne Gray said. “We’ve outlined a plan for five and five and five over the next three years. We may try to accelerate that.”

Those five officers alone will cost nearly $500,000 next fiscal year.

Add some other proposals on top of that, such as two code enforcement officers and contracting with outside agencies, and the total proposal to beef up public safety costs more than $800,000.

Various ways are proposed to fund this, including a $5 charge for Carolina Country Music Fest tickets and a millage increase of 1.4 mills.

“If we’ve got money sitting in a fund because we want to look at doing another project a year or two or three from now, but the priority in front of us is funding law enforcement, then let’s use that money today to pay for law enforcement,” Gray said.

The budget, including the millage increase, passed first reading with only Gray voting against it.

However, Pedersen plans to come back to council at the next meeting with more funding ideas to try to eliminate the need for a millage increase.

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