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Letter: Canal Dredging Scandal In Horry County




Dear Editor: Here’s a good one for you.  In fact I don’t know how this one has stayed off the radar screen for so long.  North Myrtle Beach, S.C. is currently proposing to tax more than 700 property owners along some canals in Cherry Grove, S.C. in the amount of $24,000 each over ten years to pay to have this canal dredged.

They’ve been working on this project for ten years (see the attached letter to a property owner).

They claim the canals are public property, so how can they legally stick the property owners for the bill?  They said that the work will raise property values by 40 percent so the owners should pay.  What kind of twisted logic is that?   Oh, that’s right, this is Horry County, never mind.

In my mind, it should actually reduce the property value since any prospective buyer will be afraid he or she is going to get the shaft for more outrageous taxes in the future.  If the property really will become so valuable, then let North Myrtle Beach agree to buy the property owners out for the increased value minus the tax bill.

Yet one more example of how South Carolina works, these canals were dredged by a developer in the fifties – but the Supreme Court ruled they were public property (so the taxpayer pays the bill).  I know this is a novel concept in the Palmetto State, but maybe the individual property owners could have just gotten together and paid to have their own individual canals dredged if THEY wanted to?  And they could have chosen the cheapest contractor THEY wanted!  And the Legislature exempted the government from needing any state permits.  Federal permitting has already been approved.

Or, if the canals really are public property, then let the federal government pay to dredge them.  See if the Feds agree with that South Carolina logic!

North Myrtle Beach says the dredging should cost $13 million.  Would be interesting to get an independent estimate from a contractor.

Here are “the documents” related to the project.

Here is a news article with more links.

Now, North Myrtle Beach is trying to form a special tax district specifically for this project (the next public hearing will be on February 21).

Some owners have already put their property up for sale.  Let’s see how fast that property sells with a $24,000 future tax bill!

Please don’t use my name if you use this.

Any Town, S.C.



Anon: You know how FITS rolls … we appreciate the information our sources provide and religiously protect their anonymity.  Thanks for putting this on our radar!  And please keep us in the loop on this proposal as it moves forward. 

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