Surfside Beach

Beach goers relax last year in Surfside Beach near the town fishing pier that was decimated by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

A single-family home owner in Surfside Beach may be asked to fork over $82 a year to pay for stormwater maintenance.

The town council passed the first of two readings on the utility fee during its Tuesday meeting.

If approved, the fee would be included with property tax bills sent out by Horry County Government in October.

The fee would also apply to other kinds of properties like commercial businesses.

Town officials estimate the stormwater fee would generate about $465,000 each year for the town.

Public Works Director John Adair said money from the fee collection would go toward things like stormwater projects and emergency repairs.

A public hearing on the proposed fee will be on 6:30 p.m. May 14 at the town council chambers.

Mayor Bob Childs said he supported the fee and that several citizens have complained about stormwater problems.

Officials said about $100,000 in fee revenue would be used to purchase a used front loader.

The fee will not be levied on agricultural or undeveloped lands. It will also not be imposed on forestlands.

Councilman David Pellegrino was the only council member to vote no to the first reading on the fee.

The fee is based on the amount of impervious surfaces (that affect how much rainwater runs off a property) a parcel has compared to the impervious area on a typical single-family home in the town.

Town officials determined that the impervious area on a typical single-family home in Surfside is 2,531 square feet.

The fee would be $82 for single-family homes.

For parcels with multiple homes or commercial tenants on them, the yearly $82 fee would be divided between the individual units/tenants based on the square footage of impervious surfaces on that parcel. If common parking areas or other impervious surfaces (e.g., pool decks) are owned by a homeowner association or other entity, the fee for those parcels will be based on $82 a year per 2,531 square feet.

For other properties like retail stores, an annual fee of $82 per 2,531 square feet will be imposed based on the amount of impervious surfaces on a parcel.

Council meeting changes

Another ordinance that passed first reading would make administrative changes.

Under the ordinance, meetings would be held once a month (instead of twice a month) on the fourth Tuesday. The only exception is in December when a regular meeting will take place on the second Tuesday. The ordinance allows for the council to call for special meetings if needed.

It also gives a speaker a three-minute window in the public comment section of the meeting. He or she must comment only on town business and no questions will be entertained.

Speakers are also forbidden from making any personal attacks against the mayor, council members or town employees, speaking or reading letters on behalf of someone else, talking about personnel matters, calling a person by name or addressing an individual member of the council and using profanity.

The ordinance also restricts council members’ immediate family from serving on any statutory committee.

Councilman Mark Johnson proposed council members also be limited to three minutes during town council comment and discussion periods. The ordinance will be tweaked before second reading to include his proposal.

An ordinance needs two readings by town council to be enacted.

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I'm a reporter for the Myrtle Beach Herald. Want something covered? Call me at 843-488-7258.

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