Proposed school renovation projects over the next two years could mean a property tax increase for Horry County residents.
Executive Director of Facilities Mark Wolfe said the “building modifications” budget, which funds expansions and additions to schools, and the “sustainment and upkeep” budget, which funds repairs and replacements, are allocated a combined $11.7 million annually. The current list of proposed projects would take an additional $9.8 million over the next two years.
Projects include renovations to Myrtle Beach Primary School, Waccamaw Elementary School and Myrtle Beach Middle School, among others.
Essentially the only way you can really raise money is increase taxes.
John Gardner, Horry County Schools chief financial officer
“Essentially the only way you can really raise money is increase taxes,” said Horry County Schools Chief Financial Officer John Gardner during a facility committee meeting in late November.
“You have capital and operations,” said Wolfe. “And capital is a finite number. Unless the board chose to find another funding source of some type, we have a definite limit of what we’re funded each year. Just like in your own budget, you have to work within the paycheck that you get. So that’s what we’re trying to do right now.
“The additional projects are presented as information to the committee simply to keep them apprised of some of the other needs or obligations should they desire to chose to prioritize projects differently or consider additional funding,” Wolfe said in an email.
Just like in your own budget, you have t work within the paycheck that you get. So that’s what we’re trying to do right now.
Mark Wolfe, Horry County Schools executive director of facilities
The board could meet in January to discuss where the money will come from, said Gardner, adding that scaling back on other projects might be another solution.
Lowering operations expenses is one option, said Horry County Board of Education Chairman Joe DeFeo, adding that a property “tax raise” is another option. The board could also use money from the “unreserved fund,” which DeFeo said contains about $25 million.
To come back now six years later and ask for a tax raise, that is quite irritating to me.
Joe DeFeo, Horry County School Board chairman
The school board last lowered property taxes in 2011.
“To come back now six years later and ask for a tax raise, that is quite irritating to me,” said DeFeo. “And I need to take a really hard look at it before I would vote to raise them back again.”
Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian