Surfside Beach expected to look at budget Tuesday

Surfside Beach Town Council could give initial approval to next year’s budget which must be adopted by the end of next month, but the proposed spending plan does not include a set millage rate.

The first reading of the town’s $6.3 million budget is on Town Council’s agenda for Tuesday’s meeting which begins at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at Town Hall.

At a two-day budget workshop earlier this year, the draft budget did not include a tax increase to the town’s rate which is 40 mills.

Although staff suggested an increase last year, Town Administrator Micki Fellner said that a tax hike wasn’t included for the 2014-2015 fiscal year due to complications with upcoming reassessment. Horry County is required by state law to assess the value of property every five years.

The budget Town Council will consider Tuesday lists the millage rate as “to be determined” and suggests approving the tax rate upon completion of the reassessment.

Mayor Doug Samples said that wording is in line with the proposed budget ordinance in Horry County.

“What staff has done is following suit with Horry County for the reassessment,” he said. “This reassessment causes a technical issue and presents some issues in adopting the correct rate.”

Samples said predicting what will happen in the reassessment is complicated by the recession.

“Historically we could say [we expect] the valuations are going up,” he said. “But, we don’t know that this year.”

Finance Director Diana King said Friday that the reassessed values will affect the millage rate.

“If they have gone up, you have to lower your taxes so you bring in the same amount as last year,” she said. “If valuations are lower you have to up the taxes to get the same amount of money. It’s all about keeping it neutral.”

The tax rate could remain undetermined until the end of the summer, King said.

In addition to Tuesday’s meeting, Town Council will meet in a workshop to discuss the budget and parking in town on June 2.