MURRELLS INLET, SC (WBTW) – Voters said “No” on Tuesday on a special referendum to increase funding for the Murrells Inlet Garden City Fire Department.
According to George Oldroyd, chair of the Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire District Board of Directors the unofficial results of the referendum are 1,116 against and 587 in favor.
The referendum proposed increasing the property tax millage. According to the Murrells Inlet Garden City Professional Fire Fighter’s Association, the millage increase from 14 to 19 mills would bring in about $1.2 million for the department.
Oldroyd tells News13, the number of calls the department receives is increasing as growth in the district continues to rise. He says though neighboring agencies do mutual aide with the MIGC Fire Department, response times will increase without the passage of the referendum due to the increased amount of time it takes for a neighboring agency to get to a call outside their district.
There are a number of people who opposed the referendum.
Three South Carolina leaders, Senator Stephen Goldfinch, Representative Lee Hewitt and Representative Russell Fry, signed a letter urging the board to release information about spending.
The letter states according to previous audits, there was an overspending of more than $2 million dollars and urges the board to wait for an audit of 2018 before voting to increase the millage.