Myrtle Beach City Council gives final approval for $292 million new budget
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach City Council gave the final approval on Tuesday to its $292 million budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
Fox Simons, the city manager, said the new budget addresses a lot of their priorities, such as public safety, economic development and infrastructure.
It includes 10 new police officer positions, salary raises for firefighters, as well as the development of the Arts and Innovation District in downtown Myrtle Beach.
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The city also created a new position for a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director.
Property taxes will not go up in the new budget. However, there is a stormwater fee increase.
The city said it’s necessary to keep up with the continued growth and finance new stormwater management projects.
The new budget also reinstates a lot of items put on pause last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had to defer a lot of capital maintenance like police cars and extend the life of ambulances that we were able to address in this budget,” Simons said.
City councilmembers also gave city administrators approval to receive nearly $7.9 million dollars through the American Rescue Plan during the meeting.
The city will receive $3.9 million of the federal funding now and the other half in 2022.
Part of the money is going toward providing bonuses to well-deserved staff as a way to thank them for their hard work during the pandemic.
Employees hired before the end of 2020 will get a 3% bonus. Those hired this year between January 1 and March 31 will receive 1.5%. Simons said employees will receive the bonuses at end of this month.
The rest of the money will help recover the economic loss from the pandemic.
“We’re a tourism-based economy,” Simons said. “We didn’t have people staying in the hotels. We took a massive hit in terms of accommodation taxes and hospitality taxes so the revenue will go to help adjust those losses.”
The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce also presented its first-quarter marketing report of 2021 to the city council.
CEO Karen Riordan said $2.5 million was spent from the city’s tourism development fee.
Most of the money went mostly toward new television commercials, as well as digital and golf marketing.
The chamber also spent around $240,000 from the accommodations tax collections.
You’ll also start to see the chamber’s new “We Are The Beach” campaign around the city.
This includes murals, flagpole banners, sidewalk stamps, and more.
“This is the first time really in about 10 years in which we’ve overhauled all of the branding elements that we’ll be using for all of 2021,” Riordan said.
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