Myrtle Beach City Council talks tax increase to pay for new officers

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Myrtle Beach city leaders are discussing raising property taxes to pay for new public safety resources, in the wake of a crime spree on Ocean Boulevard.

Myrtle Beach City Council passed the first reading of next year’s budget on Tuesday. The city wants to hire 15 new officers over the next three years, along with two new code enforcement officers, and also support from other law enforcement agencies. All of the new officers will cost more than $800,000 in next year’s budget.

To cover the cost of the added officers and, city council is talking about raising property taxes next year to help cover this cost. Councilman Wayne Gray says the city is also looking at other ways to pay, without raising taxes. “For example, we spend $200,000 a year on sidewalks. We have a fund called a product fee development fund where we’ve appropriated hospitality fees and local ATAX money. And those are revenues that can be used to support this additional cost,” said Gray.

“For example, we spend $200,000 a year on sidewalks. We have a fund called a product fee development fund where we’ve appropriated hospitality fees and local ATAX money, and those are revenues that can be used to support this additional cost,” said Gray.

Council also discussed creating a Municipal Improvement District in downtown Myrtle Beach. The city would only raise taxes on business and property owners within that district. Some council members feel all city residents shouldn’t have to pay for resources that would mainly be used in a certain part of town.

“There needs to maybe be a larger discussion about dedicating resources to a particular area and having that area participate in that cost, as opposed to asking that to spread out that out over the entire city,” said Gray.

City Council will finalize the budget by June 30.