Horry County Council Tax Explosion

By Paul Gable

Horry County Council is spending your tax dollars like a bunch of drunken sailors making a port call.

The council voted 6-5 to amend the FY 2016 budget to include a countywide tax increase of 7.2 mils for the general fund, to increase the business license fees and to raise the road fee to $50 for every vehicle registered in the county.

Council chairman Mark Lazarus was joined by council members Al Allen, Bill Howard, Johnny Vaught, Gary Loftus, and James Frazier in voting yes for the tax increase.

This is an increase of 20% on general fund operating millage and 67% on the vehicle road fee. The increase of 7.2 mils for the general fund is the maximum limit allowed by state law or council probably would have gone higher.

This comes on top of a 6 mil tax increase (50%) for the fire fund in all the unincorporated areas of the county approved two years ago.

And not that many years before, council added 3 mils (100%) to the waste recycling fee in the unincorporated areas of the county.

It used to be if you lived in the city you could expect fairly routine tax increases, albeit for a higher level of services. Now, that holds true for tax increases in the unincorporated areas of Horry County just not for the level of services.

To paraphrase former Republican senator Everett Dirksen, a few mils here, a few mils there, pretty soon it adds up to real money.

Of course, Dirksen was speaking against federal tax and spend programs.

In Horry County, it’s the Republicans who have proudly become the tax and spend party.

Those who promised in last year’s election to “oppose new taxes” (Lazarus), “keep property taxes low” (Vaught) and “decrease the size of government” (Howard) or who stood with the ‘Taxed Enough Already’ party when running for county chairman in 2013 (Allen) have quickly forgotten those promises.

Regardless of what you may have heard from the council dais Tuesday night about reserve funds and the like, this latest tax increase was to quiet the whining of county employees, especially those in the public safety division, who are complaining about being underpaid and have been lobbying council members for a pay increase.

But here’s what I don’t get. According to the county’s own briefing documents, $93,256,000 will be spent for the pay and benefits of the 1,631 county employees paid from the general fund in FY 2016.

Dividing $93,256,000 by 1,631 equals $57,177 in pay and benefits per employee.

Of course, every employee is not paid the same, but $57,177 is the average employee pay.

In Horry County, $57,177 per year in pay and benefits is not being underpaid.

Many of the taxpayers who will be charged these increased taxes and fees earn a helluva lot less per year.

I promise you none of the council members who own businesses and voted to raise taxes are guaranteeing their employees an average of $57,177 per year in pay and benefits.

When it comes to reaching into their pockets to pay employees the opening is very small.

Now that county staff understand just how easily six members of this council can be intimidated  into reaching into your pocket to raise taxes the tax explosion is just beginning.

Let the Horry County Council Members know how you feel.

Mark Lazarus

Mark Lazarus – Voted for Tax Increase

Chairman

Term Expires: 12/31/2018
Office: (843) 915-5120
P.O. Box 1236
Conway, SC 29528
chairman@horrycounty.org


Harold Worley

Harold Worley – Voted against Tax Increase

District 1

Term Expires: 12/31/2018
Office: (843) 249-1436
2859 Hwy. 111
Little River, SC 29566
countycouncil@horrycounty.orgwww.haroldworley.com


Bill Howard

Bill Howard – Voted for Tax Increase

District 2

Term Expires: 12/31/2018
Office: (843) 421-2035
PO Box 1236
Conway, SC 29528
howardb@horrycounty.org


Marion Foxworth

Marion Foxworth – Voted against Tax Increase

District 3

Term Expires: 12/31/2016
Office: (843) 602-9111
305 North Oak Street
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
marionfoxworth@gmail.com


Gary Loftus

Gary Loftus – Voted for Tax Increase

District 4   Read Bio

Term Expires: 12/31/2016
1551 Deer Park Lane
Surfside Beach, SC 29575
loftusg@horrycounty.org


Tyler Servant

Tyler Servant – Voted against Tax Increase

District 5

Term Expires: 12/31/2018
Phone: (843) 421-7250
213 S. Ocean Blvd.
Surfside Beach, SC 29575
servantt@horrycounty.org


Vacant

District 6


James Frazier

James R. Frazier – Voted for Tax Increase

District 7   Read Bio

Term Expires: 12/31/2018
Home: (843) 397-5423 – Cell: (843) 450-7960
725 Bucksport Road
Conway, SC 29527
countycouncil@horrycounty.org


Johnny Vaught

Johnny Vaught – Voted for Tax Increase

District 8

Term Expires: 12/31/2018
Phone: (843) 602-5241
PO Box 1236
Conway, SC 29528
jvaught@horrycounty.org


W. Paul Prince

W. Paul Prince Vice Chairman – Voted against Tax Increase

District 9   Read Bio

Term Expires: 12/31/2016
Home: (843) 756-8916 – Cell: (843) 450-3585
1020 Virginia Drive
Loris, SC 29569
princep@horrycounty.org


Jody Prince

Jody Prince – Voted against Tax Increase

District 10

Term Expires: 12/31/2016
Cell: (843) 283-8451
3090 Graceland Road
Loris, SC 29569
jody@jodyprince.com


Al Allen

Al Allen – Voted for Tax Increase

District 11   Read Bio

Term Expires: 12/31/2018
Office: (843) 358-0100 – Cell: (843) 602-9243
150 Shanda Lane
Aynor, SC 29511
flyallen2@yahoo.com

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