CAROLINA FOREST — The future of the Carolina Forest library is in the hands of Horry County Council, which is scheduled this week to give its final vote on the proposed 2013 budget that includes funding to staff the library and finally open it.
The budget includes about $100,000 to fund two full-time and two part-time employees to staff the Carolina Forest library, which was finished in December -- months earlier than expected -- but still remains unopened because money hadn’t been set aside that early to pay for workers to run it. If the council approves the budget with the funding to hire workers, the library would open in the next couple of months.
The $4.1 million library wasn’t expected to be complete until April or May of this year, coinciding with the start of the budget season.
Horry County Memorial Library System Director Cliff Boyer didn’t anticipate needing to ask for funding for new employees until now, thereby keeping the Carolina Forest library’s doors closed.
“I can understand the community’s frustration,” Boyer said previously.
Resident Dan Boorn said his family will definitely take advantage of the new library once it opens, even though he has such up-to-date technology as a Kindle.
“My wife still loves the feel of a good book,” Boorn said.
If his wife wanted to check out a book before, Boorn said she’d drive to the Socastee library. They would have to pay to use the much-closer, city-owned library off Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach because they aren’t city residents.
And while the library in Carolina Forest continues to sit there unused, Boorn counts himself grateful the community is getting one at all.
“It’s troublesome about the funding issues, but it’s growing pains,” Boorn said.
Aside from the library staff, the proposed $130 million general fund budget also has money toward staffing four new police officers who will patrol Carolina Forest.
Additionally, there is a 1 percent cost of living increase for the county’s roughly 1,800 employees, which they’d receive on July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.
That cost of living increase is budgeted at more than $700,000. It’s the first pay increase Horry County employees will receive in four years.
Horry County Council meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Council Chambers at the Horry County Government and Justice Center, 1301 Second Ave. in Conway.
Contact BRAD DICKERSON at 626-0301.