Voters reject referendum supporting funding for Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire District

Georgetown County News

MURRELLS INLET-GARDEN CITY, SC – (WBTW) The Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire District Board plans to meet on Monday to discuss their options.

This comes after a Tuesday night vote did not turn out in the board’s favor.

proposed property tax increase was on the ballot.

The money would have gone to a new ambulance and to hire new employees to even out the workload.

“I’ve been going through my mind what we could’ve done better and all that, but I quickly moved to ‘What do we have to do now?’” said George Oldroyd, Chairman of the Inlet-Garden City Fire District Board.

The vote against the fire department’s funding came at a landslide vote. 1,116 people voted against the tax increase and 587 were in favor.

Oldroyd applauds voters who took the time to perform their civic duty, but says many of them were misled.”

“Tom Swatzel had a lot of points in his two-page letter, mind you that were good points. To a degree valid points, but they were only half of a point,” said Oldroyd.

Tom Swatzel chairs a group called Friends of the Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire District.

Last week Swatzel mailed a flyer that urged people to vote against the tax increase to give funds to the fire department. Saying the board “stumbled badly” by failing to complete audits in the last five years.

In a statement to News 13 Swatzel said:

“I hope the fire district board will take this landslide loss seriously and work to increase their financial transparency and accountability to restore their credibility with taxpayers.”

In the meantime, the fire department will use mutual aid from other districts to help when handling a high volume of calls.

“The challenge is what happens if they’re busy at the same time we’re busy,” said Oldroyd, “That our responses are not what they could be and what they should be to emergencies in this district and the public will suffer because of it.”

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