Horry County Council Considering Mental Health Referendum

By Paul Gable

Horry County Council is considering asking the county’s voters advice on long term funding for Waccamaw Center for Mental Health.

A state created organization, the state has failed in its obligation to provide all the needed funding for the center.

Sen. Ray Cleary (R-Dist.34) spoke to the Horry County Council Administration Committee last Friday outlining a possible referendum question for county voters to consider in the November 2014 general election.

Cleary acknowledged that state government is not funding mental health services to the level it should. In order to potentially overcome this problem and provide the local mental health services needed, Cleary was successful in passing an amendment to state law that says any millage dedicated to mental health services will not be counted toward a county’s general fund millage cap.

The amendment allows up to .6 mill (six-tenths of a mill) to be dedicated by a county for mental health services. This amounts to slightly over $1 million in Horry County.

If Horry County is going to present this alternative to the voters in an advisory referendum on the November ballot, county council must take action at its August 12, 2014 meeting.

Council is expected to consider, at its August 12th regular meeting, a resolution placing an advisory referendum question on the November 2014 ballot for the voters to consider providing long term funding for necessary mental health services within the county.

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