Coronavirus reduces Horry County’s proposed budget by $22 million, government applies for federal aid

Grand Strand

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Horry County’s 2020-21 budget is moving forward, although it has been significantly reduced due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tourists are returning to the Grand Strand in the middle of the pandemic, but Horry County still lost out on millions for the last two months. That’s caused next year’s proposed budget to drop from about $481 million to about $459 million.

Horry County Council voted 10-2 and passed second reading of it at a virtual meeting Tuesday night. Council must pass next year’s budget one more time before the end of June.

It calls for postponing business license fees, which were raised last year to help fund the parks and recreation department.

“This is the right thing to do for the business community,” said Harold Worley, a council member representing North Myrtle Beach. “This will really help those folks.”

The proposed budget would also delay funding for a planned $22 million terminal expansion at Myrtle Beach International Airport.

“Long term, this is a valuable asset, valuable addition to our airport operation, but the recommendation currently is that we delay this for a more favorable financial environment,” said Barry Spivey, assistant county administrator for administration.

Spivey says the county is also looking for federal help by applying for $24 million from the CARES Act in pandemic relief.

“Approximately half of that would related to payroll-related items,” he said.

Council chair Johnny Gardner says the next council meeting is expected to be held in person for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

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