MYRTLE BEACH — In its first three months, the city has billed more than $50,000 in fire inspection fees. Of that amount, the city has collected more than $35,000.
“State law says that we need to inspect every building every year,” fire Chief Alvin Payne said. “Manpower doesn’t allow that. … The goal is to be able to get into every building every year. The bottom line is provide safety.”
City Council voted in June to require owners of commercial properties in Myrtle Beach to pay $75 for fire safety inspections as of July 1.
The fire department conducts routine fire and life safety inspections on an annual or biennial basis, depending on the property type and associated hazards, according to a press release. Prior to the change, the fire department had not charged anything for initial inspections.
Under the new fee schedule, the fire department charges owners of commercial properties at least $75 to be inspected. The fee is listed in tiers according to size, ranging from $75 for the initial inspection of commercial properties less than 1,000 square feet to $300 for properties that are 50,000 square feet or more.
A 30-day re-inspection is included, if necessary. The fee is $100 for each subsequent inspection.
Payne said of all of the businesses the fire department inspected, only 18 didn’t make the changes after 60 days. The city is within its rights to revoke the business license if they don’t comply, which has caused some backlash from business owners.
During Myrtle Beach’s budget retreat in April, fire Chief Alvin Payne said the department was looking at ways to increase revenue. Payne suggested the city begin charging for fire safety inspections.
For more information, contact the fire marshal at 918-1109.
Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_MPrabhu.