Horry County leaders take close look at staffing, revenue sources during budget retreat

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CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) – Horry County held its fall budget retreat Thursday and county officials gave a sweeping look at where the county stands on several ongoing efforts- everything from road projects to staffing.

The updates came before council members began to plan for the next fiscal year’s budget.

Assistant county administrator Barry Spivey painted overall a pretty positive picture of the county’s finances. Areas like hospitality and building permits have seen significant growth recently, thanks to economic incentives and pent-up demand following COVID-19 lockdowns.

One big concern that came up several times during the retreat was the rising inflation and how that will impact the county’s expenditures in the future.

Spivey said he can’t count on some of the high hospitality numbers to recur, since this past year has been an anomaly in many ways.

“I can’t say that that is a trend I can count on in my next year budget as well,” Spivey said. “It think it if I use an inflated number of today and budget for it next year and it doesn’t occur, I’ve committed those to real people. And that presents a very fiscally challenging situation if we don’t temper ourselves.”

The county also discussed recent hiring efforts, and says it’s made a dent on the number of vacancies over the past several months.

Looking ahead though, assistant administrator for public safety Randy Webster made requests for future positions, including many at the police department, jail, EMS and more.

“As an example, with the solicitor’s office, to keep up with the demand, we’re always behind,” Webster said. “Every house that goes up, we get further behind. Our resources get stretched even further throughout the county.”

At the retreat, a first reading of a proposed budget amendment ordinance for the current fiscal year was referred to full council.

A proposed timeline for Ride IV was also presented. The first step in the proposal would be forming a committee in the spring.

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