Results - City of North Myrtle Beach FY 2019 Budget Retreat

The North Myrtle Beach City Council held its fiscal year 2019 budget retreat meeting February 26-27 at Santee Cooper’s Wampee Conference Center in Pinopolis, SC. 

No final decisions were made regarding the budget.

The city’s fiscal year is July 1-June 30.

The proposed FY 2019 budget involves 16 separate funds with significant interrelations and transfers between the various funds. 

The proposed FY 2019 budget is $96.2 million, about $8 million less than the FY 2018 budget.

First reading of the proposed FY 2019 budget ordinance is tentatively scheduled for theApril 16 City Council meeting.

Potential Property Tax Increase

City Council discussed a proposed property tax increase of between 1 and 2 mills.

The proposed increase is driven by the need for more funding for capital improvement projects; funding a state retirement system-mandated $260,000 increase in the city’s contribution for police and fire retirement funding for FY 2019 (other City employees are not part of the state retirement system); increases in health insurance; and a 4% pay increase for all full-time employees.

In North Myrtle Beach, 1-mill of property tax equals about $375,000 in revenue. A 1-mill property tax increase on a $350,000 home would amount to an increase of $14 annually and a 2-mill property tax increase on a $350,000 home would amount to an increase of $28 annually.

The current North Myrtle Beach property tax rate is 41.3 mills, the lowest in Horry County and one of the lowest in South Carolina. An increase of 1 or 2 mills would increase the property tax rate to 42.3 mills or 43.3 mills, still the lowest in Horry County.

Additionally, 6.2 mills of the city’s current 41.3 mills property tax rate goes to pay down the land purchase/construction bond on the 162-acre North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex. The bond debt will be retired in calendar year 2019 and the city’s property tax rate will then be reduced6.2 mills in FY 2020 to reflect a projected property tax rate of 37.2 mills.

It is interesting to note that in 1986 the City’s property tax rate was 71 mills. Over a period of 32 years, the City’s property tax rate hasdecreased 29.7 mills.

Proposed Adjustment of Business License Fee

City Council reviewed a proposed increase in business license fees.

The City has not adjusted its business license fees since 1986.

The proposal is to adjust business license fees by25% of the differencebetween North Myrtle Beach rates and Myrtle Beach rates.

Example: In the “Building, Auto Parts & Clothing” business license category, the current Myrtle Beach base rate is $105 and the current North Myrtle Beach base rate is $35. The difference between the two rates is $70. 25% of $70=$17.50. Thus, the proposed North Myrtle Beach base rate for this category would change from $35 to a proposed $52.50, still lower than the Myrtle Beach base rate of $105.

Proposed Adjustments of Sewer Base Rate and Volume Charge

Proposed adjustments to the sewer base rate and volume charge would bring sewage revenue in line with sewage expenses. For about 12,660 of the City’s sewer customers, the base rate on a ¾-inch meter would go from $6.32 to a proposed $8.00, plus 7-cents per gallon for 10,000 gallons. The total proposed adjustment would be about $2.38 for the first 10,000 gallons on a ¾-inch meter. Larger meter sizes could realize larger adjustments.

Proposed Solid Waste Fee Adjustment

A $2 per month pass-through-fee increase from the Horry County Solid Waste Authority that the City has delayed passing on to its customers for the past couple of years is included in the proposed FY 2019 budget. A proposed $1 per month fee increase would enable the City to create a long-term program to fund the replacement of roll-out containers as they age out.


-- The proposed FY 2019 Budget includes continuation of localized drainage projects based on priorities established in 2017 by City Council. The $2 million worth of projects extend over several years.

-- Significant proposed water and sewer improvement projects include rehabilitation of the Cherry Grove Water Tank ($1.2 million), improvements to the wastewater treatment plant ($875,000), and sewer pump replacements ($300,000).

-- Continuation of the Cherry Grove Dredging Project is budgeted for FY 2019. Continued payment on the 5-year bond issue for the accomplished first dredge continues, and work will occur on marsh and oyster bed mitigation required as part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredging permit.

-- Proposed transportation improvement priorities include intersection improvements at 2nd Avenue North & Highway 17, and secondary road resurfacing projects. A proposed multipurpose path for Little River Neck Road would currently require a 50/50 funding commitment between the City of North Myrtle Beach and Horry County.

-- The City has accomplished 5.3 miles of underground utility conversion and the FY 2019 budget proposes design and construction of another mile.

-- Replacement of City equipment would continue on a pay-as-you-go basis.

-- Funding for future beach renourishment would come from a portion of the state accommodations tax revenue.

-- City Council reviewed about $3.9 million in proposed FY 2019 accommodations tax revenue expenditures.

City Council also discussed several non-budget items.

Plastic Bag Ban: During a recent City Council meeting, several residents spoke to Council of their desire to see the provision and/or use of plastic bags banned within the city limits. It was determined that the issue be put on the agenda for a future meeting of The Coastal Alliance, which is made up of Horry County and municipal governments. It would be of benefit to the public if all governments within Horry County could find common ground on the issue, as opposed to having different laws within different jurisdictions.

Temporary Business Tents: Some businesses have asked the City to change its ordinance governing the use of temporary tents employed outside qualifying businesses for the sale or display of merchandise. Currently, a qualifying business may set up such a tent for seven days each quarter for a total of 28 days each year, however, they would prefer to have a longer use period during the more active tourism months. Council members asked the city manager and city attorney to create an ordinance for consideration that would allow qualifying businesses to set up temporary tents two times annually, each for a period of 14 days. The two periods would not run concurrently but would be separated by at least 30 days.

Music on Main Concerts:Some businesses on Main Street asked the City to move its Music on Main concerts from Main Street to the Horseshoe on Main Street (oceanfront), so that people can better access their businesses. City Council agreed to move a couple of the Music on Main concerts to the Horseshoe on a trial basis.

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