Results - June 8 North Myrtle Beach City Council Budget Workshop Results

City Council met in a June 8, 2:00 p.m. workshop session to discuss possible changes to the City’s proposed FY 2021 budget. The City’s fiscal year is July 1-June 30.

City Council does not vote at workshops.

The proposed budget that emerged from City Council’s February 24-25 budget retreat, held prior to the onset of the COVID-19 emergency, was $119 million. If Council adopts revisions proposed during the June 8 workshop, the budget would be about $89 million.

Proposed FY 2021 budget reductions include:

·     Freeze 41 full-time vacant and proposed employee positions, saving $2.5 million. 

·     Delay large water and sewer projects at least until FY 2022, saving $6.5 million.

·     Defer the 18th Avenue North Ocean Outfall project until October 2021, saving $9.5 million

·     Delay the start of construction of the combined emergency operations and data center west of the Intracoastal Waterway, saving $2 million.

·     Delay the placement of utilities underground in the Cherry Grove section as part of the Santee Cooper Underground Utilities Project, saving $1.75 million.

·     Defer construction of the expansion of the North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex, saving $8 million.

City Council discussed a proposed property tax increase of 7.9 mils to generate revenue to pay the short-term loan the City assumed prior to the onset of the COVID-19 emergency in order to purchase 95 acres of land for the expansion of the North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex.

The City’s current property tax rate is 37.1 mils and the proposed increase would bring the rate to 45 mils, still the lowest property tax rate for a full-service City in Horry County and among the lowest in South Carolina.

The millage increase would enable the City to pay the short-term loan of $4.5 million and existing bills for professional services rendered to prepare the project for bid. However, City Council would defer moving forward on construction of the project until revenues are more favorable.

When City Council passed the City’s current FY 2020 budget, it reduced the City’s millage rate by 6.1 mils from 43.2 mils to the current 37.1 mils in order to reflect the end of the eight-year bond issue with which the City purchased 162 acres and constructed the original Park & Sports Complex. Since opening in March 2014 and up to the onset of the COVID-19 emergency, the facility generated over $100 million in new, direct revenue for the North Myrtle Beach economy, primarily in the off-season.

The first reading of the proposed FY 2021 budget ordinance, which is also a public hearing, is scheduled for the June 15, 7:00 p.m. City Council meeting at City Hall.

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