Horry County Council looking for more funding for recreation

Horry council looking to generate recreation funds

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Horry County leaders are looking at ways to generate more funding for recreational assets, as the county will be at a $400,000 deficit for recreation funding by the end of the current budget year.

This isn’t news to county leaders, though. It’s something they have been looking at for some time. Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught said they’re exploring some options to either generate more funding or avoid operating at a deficit.

If the county continues to operate on the budget they’re on now, they’ll have to cut some programs and cease maintaining certain facilities to offset the costs.

“All of our outdoor programs will be cut back. The maintenance will be deferred on all the buildings that needed just routine maintenance and that kind of thing,” said Vaught, “We’ll have to cut back on a lot of our part-time positions. We’ll have to cut back on a lot of our full-time positions.”

Some options for generating more funding were presented to council at a planning retreat earlier this week. A majority of those options involve a millage increase for property taxes.

Several council members said they’re concerned about raising taxes.

“We increased some fees but that still hasn’t absorbed enough for what the cost is just running these facilities. So, council has a hard decision to make to look at. You know, do you reduce the services we’re providing? Do you raise taxes or, you know, what do we do to balance that budget?” said Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus.

Council, however, wants to find ways to generate more funding without raising taxes. They instructed staff to look into ways to allocate money from the hospitality tax toward recreation.

Vaught used the example of lighting the fields. If the county lights the fields so teams are able to play at night, then they’ll be able to host state or local tournaments.

According to Vaught, that could fall under tourism and the money could then go toward the recreation fund.

Lazarus said council will have to decide what to do for the next budget year.

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