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County council calls special meeting for property tax increase proposal

County council will hear recommendations next week to raise county property taxes for recreation facilities and recycling, as well as the future of economic development funding.

The proposed property tax increases amount to 3.4 mils for recreation and 3.0 mils for waste management recycling — about $50 a year for homes valued at $200,000.

The discussion is planned for a rare second spring budget retreat in council chambers at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

Additionally, the council will examine spending by the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation — the same entity at the heart of a state law enforcement investigation into Council Chairman Johnny Gardner.

During his campaign last year, Gardner said he opposed funding the economic development entity, which operates on private and public funds.

Law enforcement investigated a taped conversation with Gardner, his aide, and economic development officials, in which Gardner’s aide proposed that Gardner’s campaign consultant be given a contract for tens of thousands of dollars to stave off future bad publicity for the corporation and its director, Sandy Davis.

Solicitor Jimmy Richardson determined the conversation did not amount to extortion, and no charges were filed. County administrator Chris Eldridge was later forced to resign for reporting the conversation to law enforcement.

In recent meetings, several council members have questioned whether public funding should continue, or whether the economic development agency should become a government-only agency without private dollars.

Also on the agenda, council will discuss moving forward with hospitality fee collections, increasing millage caps, a compensation study of public safety workers, and reinspection fees.