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A look at Horry County

Horry County officials have taken the long view when it comes to economic recovery, from the County Council budgeting for a three-year recovery process to long-term business projects that may take 15 years to come to fruition.

"I think the economy is hurting just about everywhere we look in some respect or another," Horry County Council Chairwoman Liz Gilland said. "I think this summer, tourism won't hurt along the coast as much because of the boost in advertising and the new flights we've gotten into Myrtle Beach International."

With the housing market and tourism industry still experiencing some ill economic effects, the county has had to deal with about a $5.4 million deficit for the current budget year and is looking at a budget shortfall of between $9.5 million and $11.5 million for its 2010-11 budget. Gilland said the council has been looking ahead with cuts and leaving some maneuvering room to make it through the 2013 budget, but residents can expect to see some services and improvements cut from next year's budget. What those cuts will be won't be decided until April at the earliest. Contributing factors to that shortfall include a state-mandated property reassessment and fewer permit and new construction fees collected.

"It's a bad situation, but it's not a tragic budget. We're not forced to cut everything to the point that everybody hurts," Gilland said.

The county and the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp. are looking to a planned Air Park off Farrow Parkway abutting the runway for the General Aviation terminal to bring in jobs and to diversify the economy in the coming years. Jimmy Yahnis, chairman of the EDC board of directors, said the group is casting its net to new kinds of companies to further those efforts to diversify.

- Claudia Lauer

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