CONWAY Horry County Fire Rescue Chief Fred Crosby on Thursday promised a county committee that he wouldn’t spend another hour talking about the 3.5 millage property tax increase proposed to help the county’s ailing fire department.
He kept true to his word.
Crosby gave members of the Horry County Public Safety Committee the bare bones requests in his department’s proposed budget for the upcoming 2014 fiscal year.
All told, the entity is requesting $17.1 million in funding, just about on par with the current fiscal year.
Crosby said the enhancements they’re asking for include $720 to provide internet service for fire investigators, $41,600 in additional maintenance and repairs for the department’s training center, $50,000 for air packs and $12,000 for a power unit.
That was the bulk of Crosby’s presentation, which lasted less than five minutes. He said he’s wasn’t going to beat a dead horse, referring to the possible millage increase, since it was discussed at length at last week’s spring budget retreat and will be the subject of future meetings.
Crosby joked at the start when he asked if the committee was ready for another hour of talks. They answered with a resounding “no.”
“Good, neither am I,” Crosby said.
Fire officials hope council eventually approves the millage increase to fund additional staffing and new equipment.
Horry County Fire Rescue has been dealing with staffing issues and dated equipment for some time.
During the budget retreat Crosby said the department is at a crossroads and the county needs to decide what it wants out of its fire service.
“Everyone here is scared to death of the words ‘tax increase,’” Councilman Jody Prince said at the time.
Public safety director Paul Whitten said the committee’s next meeting is scheduled for May 16 at 3 p.m.