Murrells Inlet Garden City fire

Financial issues dominated the discussion during an Oct. 29 meeting of the Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire District’s Board of Directors as the organization had its first hard look at the 2019 budget and made steps to pull back into line its year-to-date budget comparison between 2017 and 2018.

The proposed 2019 budget shows a nearly half-million dollar deficit, most of which is attributable to an increase in salary and benefits for a growing department and a decrease in impact fees from large developments in both Horry and Georgetown counties.

During the Oct. 29 meeting, the board unanimously approved a first reading of the budget. A budget workshop was scheduled for Nov. 6, after press time. Final approval of the 2019 budget could come before the end of the month.

Board Chairwoman Kay Benton noted tax revenues were down about $100,000 collectively in both counties and that the decreased revenue contributed to the shortfall.

“When we’re looking at equipment, we might look at leasing instead of purchasing,” Benton told the board. “That’s just information that would be beneficial to all of us.”

In other business, the board:

  • Learned that Brennan Moore and Jim Edbrooke were appointed as lieutenants.
  • Agreed to pay the bill for the work done so far on their out-of-service personal watercraft, which would cost more to repair than to purchase another one.
  • The audit for 2014 is complete and the one for 2015 is expected to be finished by the end of the week.
  • The volunteer coordinator would report directly to the fire chief rather than report to the chief through the committee.
  • Heard a report from members George Oldroyd and Steven Sellers who attended the special purpose district annual meeting in Myrtle Beach.

“There were a number of good ideas, including looking at alternative methods of funding,” said Oldroyd.

Benton said there would be a new board member at the next regular meeting, scheduled for Nov. 26. The board has been two members short since former chairman Al Hitchcock resigned last spring and Moe Wells quit this summer. The Horry County Legislative Delegation nominates board members to the governor.