CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The big topic at Tuesday’s Horry County Council meeting was adding firefighters to Horry County Fire Rescue.
Council voted to apply for a grant from FEMA that would partially fund 30 new firefighters, but the other portion would be picked up by taxpayers.
Fire Chief Joseph Tanner said his goal is to have three firefighters on every vehicle. Right now, they have two. Tanner said the national standard is four.
Council members debated over whether applying for the grant would be the right move since it would come with a tax increase.
Some council members, like Tyler Servant, were against a tax increase of any kind.
“A vote for this is a vote for a tax increase,” Servant said. “No ifs, ands or buts about it.”
Others, like Danny Hardee, said adding firefighters is necessary.
“Yeah there’s districts that’s got big beautiful fire stations and all, but some of you councilmen need to get out here and look at what’s out here,” Hardee said. “Go and look at these 30-something-year-old buildings sitting there that’s about to fall down, and what I want you to do is say, ‘No tax increase. Y’all brought it up. I don’t give a damn.’ Because that’s basically what you’re saying.”
Council members wanted to look into the possibility of using hospitality tax money to help pay for the firefighters, but since that money is up in the air due to recent action from the cities of Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach and the town of Surfside Beach, they’re not sure that money will be available to use.
Council voted unanimously to approve the application for the grant, contingent upon whether they’ll be able to use the hospitality tax money to help pay for it.