Local Tax Issues

SC's Fastest-Growing County Increases Taxes to Fund Staff Raises, Public Safety

SC's Fastest-Growing County Increases Taxes to Fund Staff Raises, Public Safety

South Carolina's fastest-growing county, Horry County, has approved a tax increase that takes effect July 1, 2023. 

Horry County, which is notably the home of popular tourist destination Myrtle Beach, will increase property tax rates for residents countywide.  The local Post and Courier newspaper notes that the new rate will increase taxes by approximately $42 per year for an owner-occupied home worth $300,000. For a vacation home or second home of the same value, the rate will increase by about $63 annually.

Credit: Chansak Joe/Getty Images

It is worth pointing out that these rates are less than what was originally projected in the county's budget proposal. At that time, county authorities indicated the tax increase would be at least $83 more per year for a $300,000 owner-occupied home and approximately $125 more per year for vacation homeowners.

The tax increase is expected to bring in over $10 million in revenue during its first year.

The funds are earmarked to help pay for over $11 million in raises for existing county employees, and will also aid in the hiring of 157 new workers. These employees are set to include 100 in the public safety sector -- including 43 police officers --  30 in the infrastructure field, six in county administration, and seven in each taxpayer services department. 

County Councilman Danny Hardee, who represents western rural regions of Horry County, told the Post and Courier, “It’s not a matter of, ‘Maybe we can do it another year or another time. It’s kind of got to be done, and we also have to take care of our people. Our employees are our biggest assets.”

Legal documents obtained by the newspaper suggest that the county's booming population will reach 410,000 by December 2023. This is up 50% from the end of 2010.

Assistant County Administrator Barry Spivey stated, "“Of course, no one wants a tax increase. If there were any other options to create additional revenue streams without a tax increase, we would certainly take them.”

Credit: michaelgatewood/Getty Images

County officials did not raise taxes last year when the idea came to a vote.

It is not known if additional tax increases will be approved as Horry County continues to thrive.

What do you think about this South Carolina tax change?

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Feature Image Credit: NSA Digital Archive

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Rebekah Barton

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