Recreation, recycling in danger of cuts in 2019-20 Horry County budget

Grand Strand

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Significant cuts to recreation programs could be in store for next year’s Horry County budget.

The county has more than 30 public parks and recreation centers, but the future of many locations is in jeopardy due to the financial condition of the county’s parks and recreation department.

“It’s in dire straits right now and if we can’t figure out how to plug some of those holes, we’re going to be in trouble come next year,” said Horry County Council chair Johnny Gardner.

During Friday’s budget retreat, parks and rec told county council that major cuts may be needed. Those include laying off some employees, stopping maintenance of some parks and even closing the Carolina Forest Recreation Center.

The rec center only opened in 2012.

“That center is closer to other agencies that can fill the void,” Gardner said.

Another budget problem for the county is waste management and recycling, which the county says can’t cover its annual costs with what it makes.

“They can get by this year, but next year will be very hard for them to get by unless we can fix some things this year,” said Gardner.

While county council passed first of three readings of the 2019-20 budget Friday, Gardner says it’s far from finished because each department’s budget will be reassessed during committee meetings this month.

“It’s either spend less or get more revenue and we don’t want to raise taxes unless we absolutely have to,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of hard work to do.”

County council must pass a final budget by the end of June.

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