Myrtle Beach property taxes set to increase as part of $292 million proposed budget
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - With the fiscal year set to begin July 1, the Myrtle Beach city council is voting on a budget nearing the $300 million range.
That budget would cover more downtown development and add more public safety positions to keep people safe, but also cost taxpayers a little extra.
“I don’t think the city council ever welcomes the idea of a property tax increase, but in order to accomplish all we needed to do this year, they did need to raise property taxes,” said Myrtle Beach Spokesperson Mark Kruea. “Frankly, to get everything in this $292 million budget with just a ten mill property tax increase is amazing they managed to do that.”
According to a graph produced by the city staff, a ten mill increase will likely mean around $100 more a year for someone owning a $250,000 home.
It would mean even more to businesses.
For a commercial space valued at about a million bucks, it would be a $600 increase on property taxes.
The city staff reports a homeowner of a $250,000 home only paid $189 in property taxes last year.
So $100 would be more than a 50% increase.
But, the city staff shows Myrtle Beach’s millage rate is still pretty low compared to neighboring cities.
It’s less than Spartanburg and Columbia, but the increase would push it ahead of Greenville and Charleston.
All that extra cash will help cover a proposed budget nearing $300 million.
$64 million which is dedicated to capital improvement projects.
”A lot of that is water and sewer lines, we’re upgrading the system,” said Kruea. “Some of it will go to the Arts and Innovation District to continue the work we’ve done there. The performing arts theater is part of that project list as well. It’s really the brick and mortar things we do to make this city available and provide resources to people.”
$16 million is dedicated to the Arts and Innovation District.
A lot of that will go toward re-opening an old theater on 8th Avenue North, which closed down a few decades ago.
The 300-seat theater project was presented to the city council back in October of 2020, and the façade came down in December 2020 with a tentative completion date in 2022 or 23, but it’s stalled a bit since then.
It’s finally getting some money thrown into it with this new budget, with the eventual hope to see Coastal Carolina University filling it with its theater productions.
The budget also pays for 47 new positions in the city, 83% of which are dedicated to public safety.
The majority of the positions will head to the police department - 25 new officers will join the force next year.
They’ll have plenty of new equipment to go along with it - the council also agreed to help pay for 76 new bulletproof vests.
Ocean Rescue will grow as well, three new lieutenants will join that team to man another truck on the beach.
A cybersecurity analyst, beautification team and code enforcement officers are also paid for.
A new team will join the city as well - the budget covers three opioid outreach members.
“We have a drug problem,” said Kruea. “Not just Myrtle Beach, but nationally. A lot of that is tied to the opioid issue that exists. People are addicted to those kinds of drugs. The three opioid positions will provide some relief, some drug prevention activities.”
Just a few months ago, South Carolina and major opioid manufacturers reached a settlement in regards to the climbing number of overdoses.
These new positions will be paid for by the money the city received from that lawsuit.
The city council passed a first reading of the proposed budget Tuesday, with one final reading scheduled in two weeks.
If passed, it will take effect July 1.
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