MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The focus for day one of the Myrtle Beach budge retreat was how to pay for public safety.
Officials say 23 percent of the city’s entire budget will go toward public safety, and a three mill property tax increase will cover the cost. Myrtle Beach leaders decided on the increase – which equates to about a $1 increase per $50,000 of house value – to cover the cost of the retention plan and step salary increase for Myrtle Beach police officers.
A little more than half of the $1.2 million from the COPS Hiring Program grant, which was awarded to the Myrtle Beach Police Department in November, is included in the city’s budget. That $679,000 will fund the hiring of 10 more officers and their necessary equipment.
A plan developed by the city in October revealed Myrtle Beach’s dependency on state funding to pay for more officers. In Monday’s budget retreat meeting, officials confirmed state funding for police officers hasn’t happened, but leaders remain confident that that state will provide roughly $1 million for public safety to be used year round.
The city reports there are only four vacancies within the Myrtle Beach Police Department, compared to nearly 20 vacancies this time last year.
The budget retreat continues Tuesday with a special meeting by Myrtle Beach City Council.