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Tax increase would help maintain roads in city

Posted on May 19, 2016

By Pat Dowling
At the May 16 meeting, the members of the North Myrtle Beach City Council passed second (final) reading of an ordinance authorizing the addition of a third parasail boat to the Parasail and Banana Boat Franchise granted to Randle Duke. Duke’s franchise fee was increased from $30,000 per year to $45,000 annually.
City Council passed second reading of an amendment to the Zoning Text creating a new inland multifamily zoning district (R-4i) to allow multifamily and non-medical commercial or office uses on properties not adjacent to the oceanfront.
The R4i zoning district provides for reduced intensity multi-family in areas inland from the ocean, which are distinctly different from resort-style development represented along the oceanfront or with an ocean view.
City Council passed second reading of an ordinance to rezone one lot containing about 1.22 acres located at the corner of Vereen Road and Bay Colony Drive from R-24 (Mid-Rise Multifamily Residential) to NC (Neighborhood Commercial).
City Council approved a motion to provide a special event permit to the Kind Keepers “No Kill Animal Rescue” 5K Run, which will be held on May 21, 8 a.m.-8:30 a.m., on the beach between Sea Mountain Highway and the Avista Resort.
City Council approved a motion to appoint Robert Orchant to the North Myrtle Beach Recreation Commission.
City Council tabled until its June 6 meeting the second reading of an ordinance to annex and zone one lot located adjacent to the Parkway Group PDD (PDD), which is located west of the Intracoastal Waterway. Council wants to wait until an associated Development Agreement has been completed before giving second reading to the proposed annexation and zoning.
City Council tabled until its June 6 meeting second reading of an ordinance for a major amendment to the Parkway Group Planned Development District (PDD) to allow changes to the previously approved phase known as the Waterway Hills Tract and to add a newly annexed area known as the Wilson Chestnut Tract. The area is referred to as “Grande Dunes North” in the PDD, which is located west of the Intracoastal Waterway. Council wants to wait until an associated Development Agreement has been completed before giving second reading to the proposed ordinance.
City Council tabled until its June 6 meeting second reading of an ordinance to amend the Parkway Group Planned Development District (PDD) to allow changes to the previously approved residential tracts known as Seashore Farms and L.L. Chestnut, referred to as “Waterside” in the PDD. Council wants to wait until an associated Development Agreement has been completed before giving second reading of the proposed ordinance
City Council passed first reading of an ordinance setting the tax levy for fiscal year 2017 (July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017) at 41.3 mils, an increase of two mils over the previous fiscal year. An increase of two mils in the property tax equates to $8 annually for each $100,000 of residential home value. The increase will be used to hire and equip four additional public safety officers and to accomplish enhanced paving and maintenance of city roads.
State law and city code require that a tax levy ordinance be adopted each year. The tax levy provides for the single largest revenue source within the general fund budget and is usually passed in conjunction with the annual budget. The FY 2017 tax levy is set at 41.3 mils on each $100.00 of assessed value. The rate is comprised of two parts: 6.2 mils to pay the debt service on the $15 million Park Improvement Bonds (construction of the North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex), and 35.1 mils for operating expenditures for the general fund.
City Council passed first reading of an ordinance to provide for the adoption of the budget for FY 2017. The proposed budget includes governmental funds (general fund, special revenue funds, capital improvement funds, debt service fund) expenditures of $54,088,271 and enterprise funds expenditures of $39,727,931 for a total of $93,816,202 in budgeted expenditures for all funds.
The proposed budget is $13,656,195 million more than the previous budget, due primarily to street improvements, major water and sewer projects, storm water management improvement initiatives and other projects.
In addition to a proposed property tax increase of two mils primarily to help pay for four new public safety employees and enhanced paving and maintenance of roads, the proposed budget includes a $2 increase in the city’s monthly storm water management fee. The increase would be applied to local storm water improvement projects and would also help fund the next ocean outfall project at 18th Avenue North, construction of which is scheduled to begin in FY 2019 at a cost of about $11 million. The city will have about six ocean outfall projects remaining after the 18th Avenue North project has been completed, and the fee increase will also help to begin to fund those projects.
The storm water management fee is currently $6 per month for a single family home and would increase to $8 per month. The fee is currently $4 per month for a condo unit and would increase to $5.50 per month.
Some additional highlights for the proposed budget include the bond issue for the Cherry Grove canals dredging project; a final payment on a $1.2 million platform fire truck; in-house capital improvement projects; and more than $1.5 million in road paving projects.
Some additional projects include the widening of Ocean Boulevard in the Crescent Beach section, placing overhead utilities underground in the same area and improvements to 11th Avenue North.
City Council also reviewed $1.7 million in proposed storm water improvement projects. The projects represent the city’s response to storm water drainage challenges that arose during the historically heavy rains experienced in North Myrtle Beach during September and October 2015. Projects that would most likely have to be contracted out were prioritized into four groups. A fifth group was created containing projects that the city can accomplish using in-house personnel and equipment.
Thus far, City Council has determined that the city may be able to tackle many of the storm water projects included in the first two priority groups during FY 2017, with the rest being accomplished in FY 2018 and FY 2019.
The continued addition of sidewalks and multipurpose paths in the city is also part of the proposed budget. Since 1995, the city has installed 34 miles of sidewalks. The FY 2017 Budget proposes additional sidewalks and paths for the East Coast Greenway along Water Tower Road near Barefoot Resort & Golf.
City Council denied first reading of an ordinance to amend the Zoning Ordinance text, Section 23-31, Overlays, to eliminate parking requirements within the Main Street Priority Investment Activity Center Overlay, and instead asked the Planning Commission to review the proposal, and to hold public hearings to gauge the public’s interest and reaction to the proposal.


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