It’s Your Money: Taxpayers contribute $4 million to local college

It’s Your Money: Taxpayers contribute $4 million to local college

CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Horry-Georgetown Technical College received a little more than $4 million from taxpayers in 2019.

A portion of the property taxes paid by homeowners in Horry and Georgetown counties is allocated for the college.

“Without this taxpayer support, colleges like Horry-Georgetown simply cannot exist or if we do exist the students would pay exorbitantly higher rates," explained Harold Hawley, the vice president of finance administration.

Hawley said HGTC currently is the second most affordable college in South Carolina.

The college uses contributions from the counties to maintain existing buildings and infrastructure across its three campuses.

“Everything from roof systems to HVAC to the equipment in classrooms, etc.," Hawley said. "Just a plethora of projects and ongoing maintenance that is required to keep the facilities not only operational but also at a quality level that we aspire to which is to be the best in the state.”

The college is required by state law to use property taxes in this way.

Hawley said this year the college is operating on a $48 million budget . Less than 10% of the budget is funded by Horry and Georgetown county taxpayers, around $4 million.

The counties mileage rate isn’t the only funding fueling the college.

Annually, HGTC receives around $5.5 million dollars from the penny tax, a tax paid largely by tourists to fund facility expansion and enhancement.

The penny tax proceeds have assisted in constructing a culinary building and an advanced manufacturing center. This year, the tax will contribute to an $8 million renovation project to the Grand Strand Campus.

“We respect the contribution that taxpayers make towards education and to that end, we endeavor every day to get the best value for the monies through whether it’s the penny tax or the local appropriations,” Hawley said.

Hawley said salaries account for 70% of the college’s expense and that’s where a majority of the $20 million tuition fees go.

The college is expecting the following projects in the next year:

  • Construction a world-calls Advance Manufacturing Center on its Georgetown County campus
  • Upgrades to the exterior of Georgetown campus
  • Renovating the Grand Strand campus to try to get more life out of the buildings by improving infrastructure, mitigating flood damage and hurricane damage, expanding parking and modernizing facilities.

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