North Myrtle Beach police and fire officials could be getting a pay raise if city councilors decide to raise fees for business licenses.
"Police and fire's very important," said North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley. "First of all, we want to keep our employees happy, we want to make sure the police and fire have sufficient people in our police and fire department.
"Also, we want to make sure our pay in our police and fire department is competitive and so, of course, the police and fire are very important for the protection of our community and our visitors."
An increase in business license fees would impact every business from restaurants and hotels to grocery stores. A proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year shows business license fees increasing from $1.40 to $1.70 for restaurants serving alcohol, based on gross receipts from 2016.
For hotels and grocery stores, owners will see a 30-cent change. Proposed changes to the fees vary on the type of business.
The changes were compared to rates in Myrtle Beach, and will still be lower with the exception of auto sales.
"But our business license fees, we've always kept them pretty low, and even now, when you look at it we're raising them but we're nowhere near any of the other cities," Hatley said. "We're still going to be one of the lowest, even though we're raising the rate."
A raise for public safety officials
A change to public safety salaries comes after the City of Myrtle Beach announced a new pay and retention plan for police officers.
The plan implements an automatic 1.75-percent market increase for all sworn officers and dispatchers, plus a 3-percent merit increase and a market rate salary adjustment of 5-percent, which will begin on Jan. 12.
These increases mean that new hires who are not certified would receive $40,000 starting salary, and new hires who are certified would start with a $44,000 salary.
"I think it's affected everyone," Hatley said. "I think it will affect the county, I think it will affect us. Our pay was higher already, but we feel like we're going to have to raise our pay scale simply to compete with the Myrtle Beach area if they go through with what they plan to do as far as raising their pay scale."
According to documents provided by Mark Kruea, spokesman for Myrtle Beach in December, an uncertified officer in North Myrtle Beach makes just over $41,000 and a certified officer makes just over $42,000.