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County employees to get $8.3 million in raises, residents get tax hikes

Generous raises for county employees totaling $8.3 million means residents and businesses will have to fork over more money in property taxes and fees to pay for it.

Horry County Council will cast their final vote on the raises included in the budget at their regular meeting Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in Conway.

The proposed $533 million budget takes effect July 1.

In the current budget, more than half is already spent on public safety.

“The growth is going to public safety, so it will increase the public safety share,” said Barry Spivey, county finance director.

The county needs to raise an additional $4.3 million to cover those raises going to employees in the fire and police departments.

First, those employees will see their salary increase by $500 for every year of continuous service for a maximum of 10 years, or $5,000, Spivey said.

That’s a one time salary adjustment, Spivey said.

Then, public safety employees will get a 4.4% raise on top of their new salary, Spivey said.

All other county employees will get a 4.4% raise beginning next month.

How we’re paying for it

A previous version of the budget would have awarded all county employees a 3% raise across the board for a total of $4 million and would not have required tax or fee increases.

That budget was presented by former county administrator Chris Eldridge, and has since been scrapped by the county council.

To pay for the additional $4.3 million, county council wants to raise property taxes for the general fund by 1.3 mils to collect $2.8 million and .6 mils in fire fund to raise $624,000.

Current general fund mils

Current fire district mils

Plus, $876,000 would come from a host of business fees increases.

County property owners already pay a total of 52.4 mils, according to the county auditors office.

See a complete list of tax levies here.

Depending on which city they reside, property owners can pay up to 82.4 mils for Conway or 80.5 mils for Myrtle Beach.