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Horry Co. committee recommends tax hike to improve public safety

Horry County is considering using a pay scale for public safety employees. (Source: WMBF News)
Horry County is considering using a pay scale for public safety employees. (Source: WMBF News)
Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 4:40 PM EDT
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - The Horry County Public Safety Committee is recommending the county raise property taxes to improve public safety.

As the county works through its budget for the upcoming fiscal year, members of the county’s public safety committee voted to recommend a 4.8 millage increase to fund public safety improvements.

The vote came after the heads of the county’s public safety departments laid out plans to increase staff and for equipment purchases.

The total cost of these requests, according to documents provided to the public safety committee, is nearly $10 million.

In addition to equipment purchases, the money would pay for additional staff for the county’s sheriff office, J. Reuben Long Detention Center, police department, solicitor’s office, coroner’s office and EMS.

In total the funding requests would pay for an additional 92 county employees, including five new police officers, 12 new EMTS and 14 new firefighters, according to information from the county.

Officials with Horry County Fire Rescue said so far its average daily call volume for 2021 is up 16% compared to the past four years, topping an average of 186 calls per day.

Councilman Bill Howard, a member of the public safety committee, made the motion after saying he’s “not scared” to raise taxes.

“Our public safety is not where it needs to be, our public works is not where it needs to be. We have flooding, we have ditches, we have roads, we have all this that is not efficient,” Howard said.

The committee’s recommendation will now go to the county administrator’s office to be included in the county’s overall budget proposal, which council members will vote on later in the year.

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