MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The new Myrtle Beach City Council members have now finished with employee orientation and say they’re ready to get to work at the first of the year, but with major announcements in the last few weeks on what some would consider controversial issues in the city, News13 wanted to know where the new members stand.

In the last few weeks, we’ve told you the City of  Myrtle Beach wanted to increase pay for police officers, which could mean increasing taxes. We’ve also told you a controversial plan to build a library and children’s museum in downtown Myrtle Beach was put on hold.

New council member Gregg Smith says through it all, he plans to push for more transparency in the city.

“People are concerned that they don’t know what’s going on with the city, and you know, there’s some easy things that we can do to help people understand what’s happening,” said Smith.

He joins a council that’s been pushed to provide change, especially for public safety. News13 asked Smith if he’d be on board with the plan to pay police more money if that means an increase in taxes.

“I would be on board with that as long as we’re looking to make sure that that’s the only way to increase the police officers because I think the number one priority is increasing the pay and funding the police officers so we can have enough to keep us safe,” said Smith.

New council member Jackie Vereen says she also agrees with an increase for public safety because it’s what people told her they wanted when she was running for council.

“I don’t think the citizens will have a problem with a small increase, but I do think that we need to look at our budget, we need to go through line items and cut out whatever fat we can to also increase more money to not only retain the officers we’ve got, but have competitive wages to attract more officers,” said Vereen.

Safety is also what both members say they’ll push for when it comes to redeveloping the Superblock area of Myrtle Beach, but Vereen says she’s ready to look a other options besides a library and children’s museum.

“I don’t think we need to just focus on one thing. I think we need to have several things to be able to pick from. Diversity is key here. We’ve got to get this right, and we can’t rush into it, and so we need several ideas to be brought to the table,” said Vereen.

Smith says the city needs to move forward with a plan for the area, but he’d like to see the community contribute ideas.

“What I think needs to happen is a large investment to start the redevelopment of the area, and whether that’s a library or children’s museum, I’m not sure, but I think the city needs to take the lead and start something down there to increase the area and make it a better place for everyone,” said Smith.

Both Vereen and Smith were at the city’s Downtown Redevelopment Corporation meeting last week where we told you city leaders asked for community input on what they’d like to see happen in downtown Myrtle Beach.

That’s what both Vereen and Smith they want to see more of moving forward – more community involvement and more transparency from city government.