HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County council passed its budget for the next fiscal year at its meeting Tuesday night, and it does include some tax increases for people living here.

The budget is nearly $780 million and includes a two-and-a-half million tax increase to the general fund, as well as a $0.5 million increase to both the county’s fire and recreation funds.

However, one councilman in particular was strongly against those increases.

“If you’re not going to vote for it, then let’s take your stuff out,” councilman Danny Hardee said. “Why should the taxpayers pay for your stuff if you’re going to vote no against it?”

County council passed an amendment to the budget ordinance that said any councilmember who votes against the budget will lose their district’s expense and community benefits fund.

The measure passed by everyone except councilman Tyler Servant.

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“I’ve never believed in taxpayer dollars going to charities and 501c3’s, so tonight I made a motion to send my money to a more deserving cause, which is public safety,” Servant said.

Servant first made a motion for the entire county to get rid of both of those funds. When that failed, he made another motion to use the money from his own two funds for the public safety department, which passed.

“If you’re not serious about cutting waste, then you’re going to continue to have a community benefit fund in the budget,” Servant said.

However, most of the councilmembers support the community benefit fund.

“Each councilman has his own district to help people and do things or whatever,” Hardee said. “There are some people that are just born that don’t have to worry about it. They can do anything they want, anytime they want. But there’s a lot of people in this county, especially on the western side, they’re just not in that class.”

The $778 million budget includes a $2,500 pay increase for county employees earning less than $50,000, as well as a 5% increase for those earning more than $50,000.

The budget will also add 159 new positions and spend nearly $60 million on capital improvement projects.

“Well, with the inflation we’ve had this year, it left us with a 3.5 mill, that we had to do or let things go lacking; not build a fire station, not buy an ambulance, you know, so we had no option,” Hardee said.

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Claire Purnell is a multimedia journalist at News13. Claire is from Louisville, Kentucky. Claire joined the News13 team in January 2023 after graduating from the University of Colorado-Boulder in December 2022. Follow Claire on Twitter and read more of her work here.

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