HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — July 1 means the start of a new budget cycle for local governments and several changes for the next fiscal year.
In Conway and Myrtle Beach, July 1 brings increased property taxes. Conway increased its millage by 7%, meaning an increase in property taxes of $40 for the owner of a $200,000 home.
Myrtle Beach increased property taxes on both residential and commercial properties by 10 mills, meaning the owner of a $200,000 home would pay an additional $80 in property taxes each year.
Michael Smith, a Myrtle Beach homeowner, said increasing taxes are “inevitable.”
“For a lot of who have moved down from northern states, these property taxes are still very, very reasonable,” Smith said.
“As long as it’s definitely going to the police and fire departments and we’re funding those people properly, then I’m OK,” Smith added.
Myrtle Beach police officers got pay bumps of roughly 12%, with the base salary for officers now close to $48,000 each year — an increase close to $6,000. Firefighters got smaller increases. The city said firefighters received bigger pay bumps last year.
The average salary increase for the nearly 1,000 city employees on July 1 was roughly 9%.
Florence City Council voted for 3% pay increases for employees, Conway increased pay by 7% for qualifying employees and Horry County increased pay for employees between 5% and 10%.
Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught said the pay raises are also a reward for loyalty throughout the pandemic.
“Staff and administration and everybody had really worked their butts off to not let any services get canceled,” Vaught said.
Vaught said the local governments are often competing for the same pool of workers.
“We felt like we had to stay competitive, and it turned out we had money that we didn’t really count on to be able to put in to the budget from growth,” Vaught said.
Vaught said the county’s growth surplus that allowed for salary increases was roughly $17 million.
July 1 also brought increases in parking meter rates in Myrtle Beach, the first time in seven years the city has raised rates.
One family on vacation from Indianapolis, Indiana, said the higher rates are just one of many increasing costs these days. David Humphreys said the higher rates were not going to keep him and his family from the beach.
“Seems pretty easier,” Humphreys said. “It’s more centrally located. More closer. We don’t have to worry about looking for the car, so we’re with it. We’re out here having a good time, so that’s all that matters to us.”