Surfside Beach considering tax increase Monday

Surfside Beach Town Council will look at a budget that includes a tax increase Monday.

A 6.22 mill increase, which officials said is the the highest allowable this year, is on the table following a workshop held Thursday evening.

Mayor Doug Samples, councilmen Mark Johnson and Bob Childs, and councilwoman Mary Beth Mabry voiced support for the increase Thursday evening, while councilmen Randle Stevens, David Pellegrino and Ralph Magliette said they wouldn’t vote for the hike.

“We haven’t raised taxes in this town since 2003,” Samples said. “Since then, we actually cut the tax rate twice. For the last eight years we’ve been spending more than we bring in. We have to be responsible to the citizens. We have to make sure their public safety needs are met first and foremost. Like it or not, those things cost more.”

Johnson said raising taxes seems to be the most viable option for the town to maintain it’s level of services.

“We live in a great little town and I want to keep it that way,” he said.

With the tax increase expected Pellegrino suggested a 2 percent cost of living raise for town employees with a 1 percent merit raise, though Town Administrator Micki Fellner said she wasn’t sure there was “enough in the pot” to doll out the merit raise.