Horry County asks for public input on how to spend American Rescue Plan money

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County will receive millions of dollars in federal funding to help with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the county is asking for help from residents.

The county will get a total of $68 million as part of the American Rescue Plan. Now, the county wants help from the public on how to spend the money before making any final decisions.

“We got this giant pot of money, said resident Chuck Ottwell. “We do have many needs in our area.”

The first of two installment payments came earlier this year.

The county’s tentative framework shows the biggest chunk of money would provide economic support for the tourism, travel, or hospitality industries affected by the pandemic.

“We have some flexibility built in, guidelines from the federal government, but Horry County staff and council will make the decisions on the rest of it,” Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner said.

While county officials have the final say, people shared their thoughts on how the money should be spent.

“One way that it looks like that we can address negative economic impacts and affordable housing options is to invest in workforce housing,” said Jimmy Gray with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

10% of the funding is planned for services to disproportionately impacted communities. One proposal is a partnership with the county to help provide housing and care for people with autism and other intellectual disabilities.

“I ask for your help as a mother of a child with autism,” said Cheryl Bauerly, director with SOS Care Human Resources. “At least strongly consider our plea to be able to make this dream a reality for our young people and the people who would otherwise be homeless.”

County framework calls for 5% of the money to be distributed to government services providing public health. At the meeting, there was a call for bonuses for police and fire.

“Let’s take care of those who take care of us,” community activist Chad Caton said.

Horry County is still accepting public input through Tuesday by sending an email to arpa@horrycounty.org.

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