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Myrtle Beach City Council gave final approval  to a $292 million budget

No new taxes… The Myrtle Beach City Council gave final approval Tuesday to a $292 million budget for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1. The property tax rate remains unchanged at 78.9 mills. Owner-occupied homes continue to receive a 76 percent credit on their city property taxes, thanks to the Tourism Development Fee.

Fees for solid waste service and recreation programs remain unchanged in the new spending plan. However, water and sewer rates will increase slightly, due to higher wholesale costs and needed system improvements. The average family using 6,000 gallons of water per month will pay an extra $1.96 monthly beginning with August utility bills.

Stormwater utility fees will increase $1.38 a month, per ERU, to pay for additional stormwater projects and system maintenance, city-wide. The new monthly stormwater fee for a single-family residence will be $7.63, starting in August.

In addition to 10 new police officers, other new positions in next year’s spending plan include a chief innovation officer, a chief diversity officer and a sewer superintendent. Non-police city staff will receive a three-percent salary increase in January 2022, while Police Department staff will receive a four-percent salary increase in January 2022.

The new city budget also includes salary adjustments for paramedics and other high-demand Fire Department personnel. Here are other highlights of the 2021-22 spending plan

• No Property Tax Increase (TDF credit remains at 76 percent)
• No Business License rate increase
• No rate increase for Recreation, Sports Tourism or Convention Center
• No Solid Waste Fee increase
• Stormwater Utility Fee increase of $1.38 per ERU (new rate is $7.63)
• Water & Sewer rate increase of 4.0 – 5.0%
• Water & Sewer Connection Fee (Impact Fee) increase of 67.3%
• Cemetery plot increase to bring closer to market rates
• 10 new police officer positions and five other new positions
• Three percent market rate adjustment in January 2022 for non-sworn employees
• Four percent market rate adjustment in January 2022 for sworn police employees
• Firefighter and paramedic pay adjustment

When the new budget takes effect in July, the price of a burial plot at Ocean Woods Cemetery will increase from $1,500 to $1,800, bringing that charge more in line with market rates. Other cemetery fees also will increase slightly, although they still will be lower than comparable cemeteries.

Connection fees (impact fees) for new water and sewer service will increase by 67.3 percent, but will still be among the lowest on the SC coast. Connection fees for new construction help pay for the cost of extending service to new customers, rather than charging existing customers for such expansions.