HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County’s government budget will increase by $15 million to reach $220 million for its 2023 fiscal year, according to information presented Thursday morning at the Horry County Council’s spring budget retreat.

Administration told the board that 2023’s budget is the most difficult it’s dealt with due to inflation. The budget does not include a tax or fee increase. Due to the growing real estate market, administration believes the government will be in good shape with revenue.

Property taxes make up the county’s largest revenue source, at 61%, according to information presented Thursday.

The county expects that 2024’s budget will be even bigger as more people continue to move to the area. To keep up with growth and maintain the existing level of service, the county would need to add 94 new employees each year for the next five years.

County employees are set to receive a 5% raise. Full-time employees will receive a one-time $1,500 payment. Part-time employees will receive $750.

The council also heard about the need to add more public safety positions.

“Growth is coming, we know that,” Randy Webster, associate county administrator for the public safety department, told the council. “It’s just coming too fast.”

Webster reminded the council that the area is a tourist-based county, meaning it sees large population boosts during the summer. He said the county has also seen new challenges with mental health issues.

The county is set to graduate 58 firefighters Friday night, which is expected to help with growth.

Council members discussed crime, stating that it’s moving to the west of the Intracoastal Waterway as development continues.

More roads are also needed to accommodate the population boom.

The county needs to add between six and eight lane miles per year to roads, according to David Gilreath, the assistant county administrator for infrastructure and regulation.

He said that inflation has caused an increase in the price of supplies, fuel and vehicle maintenance.

The council also heard updates on the construction of a new emergency operations center and a rebuild of a Longs fire station.

The council passed the budget’s first reading late Thursday afternoon. It will require two more readings that will take place at later council meetings.