I am a resident of the Cherry Grove Beach section of North Myrtle Beach and live on a channel. I attended the Nov. 1 public hearing relative to the Proposed Cherry Grove Canal Dredging Project. I offer the following facts, questions and suggestions:
1. First,and very importantly, all involved applaud the North Myrtle Beach Council for their time, energy and effort invested in the dredging project.
2. To my knowledge, all channel property owners are in favor of the dredging project.
3. The council has clearly and correctly taken the position that the dredging is in the best collective interest of all of North Myrtle Beach.
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4. The channels belong to the city. They are city property. They are a city asset. They are accessible and open to public use.
5. The city has proposed, and is scheduled to approve on Monday, a Special Assessment District through which the 700-plus channel property owners will be assessed $2,400 per year for 10 years, or $24,000, to help pay for the initial dredge and a maintenance dredge in about 6 years. Possibly a larger question is ,who will pay for the third, fourth, fifth or sixth dredging? It has not been addressed by the city.
6. All channel property owners want to pay their fair share of the dredging cost.
7. $ 2,400.00 per year or $ 24,000 is not a fair share.
8. It's concerning that apparently NMB has the authority to form a Special Assessment District for any project and amount without a referendum. It just does not seem right.
9. There needs to be a more equitable distribution of the dredging cost.
10. If the dredging benefits all of NMB, and it does, we need to spread the cost over all of the 31,681 plus parcels of property in NMB. By example, $53.00 per parcel per year will generate the same amount of capital needed. And it could be less if more cost is allocated to the channel property owners.
11. What other ways to raise the funding were considered ? Georgetown just approved a 1 cent sales tax that in part will help pay for dredging the channels in Murrells Inlet. Did we consider that approach ?
12. NMB spokesman Pat Dowling and the city manager have stated that the dredging is expected to increase property values along the channels by up to 40 percent, which is part of the reasoning city officials have used to say property owners should foot the dredging bill.
Really? For some reason I am not too excited to be assessed $24,000 and possibly more to increase my property value, which will then result in more property taxes.
13. Will someone please suggest to NMB spokesman Pat Dowling and the city manager to resist their urge to suggest that in sharing the dredging cost that the problem comes down to, “do you also want to share in a permanent bridge installed at Barefoot to replace the swing bridge? If you set the precedent now with the Cherry Grove dredging, then that's going to be true in these other projects too.”
Really ? Now I am sure the spokesman and the city manager have not said this as a threat, even though it can be taken that way. In difference to Mr. Dowling and the city manager, I believe most of us are willing to pay our fair share of projects that make NMB a better place to live and visit, Why ? Because it is in our best collective interest — just like the channel dredging at Cherry Grove Beach is.
Let's spread the cost and do the dredging.
The writer lives in North Myrtle Beach.