HORRY COUNTY S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County Council Tuesday night passed an ordinance that makes road maintenance fees permanent.

A $6.50 regional transportation fee will now be included in the $50 road maintenance fee. In the original ordinance, the transportation fee was separate from the registration fee.

Horry County Attorney Arrigo Carotti recommended the fees be folded into the same ordinance to receive better results.

“There is an additional benefit that is exclusively those of the payer and not the general public,” he said. “Lower vehicle operating costs result from better road conditions and improvements as a result of the road maintenance fee.”

Lumping the transportation fee with the vehicle registration fee is an effort to ensure it is constitutional. The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled a similar ordinance in Greenville County unconstitutional in 2021. Carotti urged that both fees are important.

“We use that money and have been using that money to pave and maintain over 1,500 miles of roads the county is responsible for, so the public can have safe access to the main thoroughfares,” said Carotti.

During Tuesday’s council meeting, council members also heard public input about a development requested to be built near West Perry Road across from Carolina Forest. Residents are concerned that the new development could impact flooding because of the wetlands.

“I don’t have a problem with the development at all, just do it in a central way that protects us and the wetlands,” Horry County resident Sebastian Davis said.

Another resident affected by the development wanted the council to ensure current flooding problems were addressed properly before the new development begins construction.

“I am concerned that any future flooding might result in a redrawing of flood maps, resulting in diminished property value of sharability and marketability of our homes,” Clark Lane said.

After hearing public input, and not having Councilman Johnny Vaught in attendance, the ordinance was deferred and the next reading of this ordinance will be the considered the third one, with no public input. That could change if Vaught wants to hear public input.

The council’s next meeting will be May 17.