Voters to decide on proposed tax hike for Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire District

Residents of the Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire District will be deciding on a five-mill cap tax increase to pay for staffing and an an ambulance at the fire departments. The district covers about 25 square miles with a majority of the coverage area in Horry County. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

Residents in the Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire District will head to the polls Tuesday to decide whether to shell out more property tax money. 

The five-mill cap increase that is proposed (from 14 to 19 mills) would result in $40 added to the tax bill for an owner-occupied home worth $200,000.

Board members have contended the area’s aging and growing population increase the need for additional manpower and time requirements for response.

Fire Chief Norman Knight has said if the tax hike is approved by the referendum, the district’s main priority would be buying and staffing a fourth ambulance, which would be stationed at the headquarters station at 3641 U.S. 17 Business in Murrells Inlet. 

The headquarters station is the only one without a medic unit stationed there currently.

Knight estimated one could be bought for about $260,000 and that the unit would require an estimated $241,000 annually to staff.

Formed in 1966, the fire district is a special tax district that provides service to parts of the south end of Horry County and portions of northern Georgetown County. The district covers roughly 25 square miles, with about 60 percent of its coverage area being in Horry County.

Two of the district’s stations are located in Horry County and two are in Georgetown County. 

Tuesday’s referendum is binding, meaning that district leaders will act upon voters’ wishes. 

The eight polling places in Horry County are: Burgess 1-3, Garden City 1-4 and Marlowe #2. The polls will be open from 7 a.m-7 p.m.  

The deadline for absentee ballots mailed to the Horry County elections office at 1515 Fourth Avenue in Conway is today at 5 p.m. 

One can vote absentee at the Conway office until 5 p.m. Monday.

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