CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County Council passed the second of three readings of their budget for the next fiscal year during their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday in Conway.
The vote was 10-2. The two council members who voted against it were Tyler Servant and Harold Worley.
The main highlights of the budget include a slight tax increase, good pay raises for county staff and bonuses for public safety staff.
Under the budget, all county employees would receive a 4.4% pay raise.
Public safety employees would receive bonuses based on how long they’ve been working with the county.
For example, if a police officer has been with Horry County Police Department for 10 years, they’d receive a $5,000 bonus. Officers with two years of experience would get a $1,000 raise.
The budget includes a tax increase in order to pay for public safety improvements, but county leaders said it’s a small enough increase to make it worth it.
“The majority of citizens don’t mind paying an extra fee or a small tax increase as long as they are getting a service that they want,” councilman Al Allen said.
For a $200,000 home, the tax increase will only be between $10 to $15 more per year.
Several fees will be increasing under the new budget should it pass, including casino boat fees, code re-inspection fees and code building permits.
Business license fees will also go up, but county leaders wanted to reassure the public the business license fees in unincorporated Horry County are significantly lower than in any of the municipalities within Horry County.
The budget needs to pass one more reading before the fiscal year starts in order to go into effect. Councilman Johnny Vaught said it will likely need some fine tuning before it passes a third and final reading.