Horry County Council passed final reading on budget, includes small tax increase

Starting July 1st, taxpayers in Horry County will see a small change on their property tax bill.

The increase is 3 tenths of a mil, which basically breaks down to $1.20 on every $100,000 of property over a year. If you own a $200,000 home, that's about 20 cents a month.

About one hundred people turned out to the Horry County Council meeting Tuesday night.

Among them, many people who work for, or use Coast RTA. The tax increase is to fund half of the county's contribution to the public transit provider. Another $527,000 is coming from the county's general fund.

Coast RTA CEO, Myers Rollins, says this money will help them introduce new routes and increase frequency on a few exiting routes. Coast RTA can now afford to bring back a popular route they had to do away with.

"For the past year, a number of people have struggled. Veterans have struggled, students have struggled, employees that work at Market Common have struggled, and that's going to changed because we're going to reinstate service to market common area."

Rollins says Coast's RTA's ridership is up 36 percent from this time last year.

Coast RTA depends on grants from the federal, state, and local governments to stay up and running. Its operating costs run about $4.7 million, and the organization only generates about $1.47 million in revenues from contracts, fares, and passes. The other $3.46 million dollars to cover that difference comes by way of grants.

The budget passed with a 7-4 vote. Councilmen Worley,Allen, Prince and Foxworth were the dissenting votes.

"To say we're adopting a budget with a tax increase and blaming it on Coast is wrong," Foxworth said at the meeting.

In November, voters approved a referendum asking voters if Horry County should dedicate up to six tenths of a mill to the area's only public transit system. The referendum was a non-binding vote, and only meant to advise the Horry County Council about the wishes of the public.Many of the council members who voted against the increase tonight argued that the language of the referendum at the time was misleading.