HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County moved one step closer to permanent road fees Tuesday night by passing the first-reading of an ordinance.

Councilman Mark Causey said the fee is needed in order to keep the roads maintained, whether that’s with resurfacing, paving or anything else.

Horry County currently charges $50 per year for registered vehicles in the county. The money is put into a road maintenance fund.

“The fee will remain $50,” Causey said. “If we were to lose that fee, I think it’s equal to about a $10 million a year, 10 mils a year increase in taxes to just recover from the loss of that, so very important that we get it corrected.”

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The county has continued to collect money but hasn’t been able to spend it since last July when a similar road fee in Greenville County was ruled unconstitutional by the South Carolina Supreme Court. The ordinance would make it so Horry County could use the funds again.

The Greenville County road fee was ruled unconstitutional after the court ruled that non-residents who don’t pay the fee get the same benefit as those who do pay the fee.

Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught said the fee benefits residents more than non-residents.

The ordinance will be up for a second reading at next month’s council meeting.

Council also passed the final reading to bring a $100 million solar farm to the Bucksport community. The 500-acre solar farm will be located along Highway 701 and would produce five megawatts of electricity each year, powering Bucksport and the rest of the county.

Pine Gate Renewables will partner with Santee Cooper to provide the power.