HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County has taken $35,000 of library general fund money, and reallocated it from the city to the county for library improvements. The resolution to do so passed county council Tuesday night.
The money will pay for a slew of improvements to Horry County Memorial Library branches. The county has more than a dozen branches. The library interim director said the majority of the money will pay for more books, library website training and panic buttons for those who do not already have one.
County councilman Johnny Vaught said the improvements wouldn't be happening if the county didn't decide to withhold the money from Myrtle Beach's Chapin Memorial Library. This came after county residents had to pay for a library card, while city resident do not.
"When people say 'well, I have to pay to use the library,' and we're funding part of the library's operations...then our constituents have every right to come back and say 'I'm paying for services I'm not getting." You know? And we feel very strongly about that too," Vaught said.
The money that used to go to Chapin Memorial Library to support operations is from the county's general library fund, which comes from county tax dollars. The library decision came after another of, what the county considers, 'snubs' against county residents having the same access to city organizations, like the Chapin Memorial Library, and parking.
"We pledged $35,000 a year to help them defray costs, you know, and then we found out that was going on. And we said, you know, that was just another instance of county people paying for services they're not getting, really because that's what it amounts to. Because that's part of the library fund...and so we decided to withdraw that," Vaught said.
The county gave $35,000 to the Chapin Memorial Library annually. But, when the City of Myrtle Beach decided to charge county residents to park, many people weren't happy.
County council has heard those frustrations, and since a compromise was not reached, the county decided to look closely at what and how county residents benefited from city organizations the county was giving money to. One of those organizations being Chapin Memorial Library.