HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WSAV) – The Hilton Head Island Town Council unanimously approved the first reading of its proposed budget for fiscal year 2024.

Town officials are pushing the fact that this year’s budget is balanced and — good news for residents — there’s no tax increase.

The proposed budget is almost $130 million, $10 million higher than last year, based on the growth in the community.

There are 38,000 people living on the island but more than 3 million come to visit. They’re leading to a boom in the accommodations tax money.

The town is expecting more than $7 million coming in this next year from that tax and $12 million more from business licenses.

The fire department will benefit greatly. They are getting a new dispatch system, six new positions and a 4% raise like the rest of town employees.

But the town is also spending on improving some of the places that tourists and residents love most.

“There’s a beach renourishment next year planned, so this year, it takes surveying and engineering in preparation for that,” explained John Troyer, the town’s director of finance. “The beach parks will be improved and park improvements, too. 

“If you have been on the island, you have seen improvements already and there will be more of that.”

Town officials say the proposed budget:

  • Includes no increase in the property tax millage rate, which remains at 23.10 mills. 
  • Provides continued funding for workforce housing and land acquisition priorities.
  • Provides continued funding for Sewer Connection and Home Safety and Repair Programs.
  • Provides a targeted investment of nearly $40 million for the Town’s comprehensive Capital Improvement Program (CIP), including:
    • Beach Program – $4.6 million
    • Pathway Program – $4.8 million
    • Park Program – $9.1 million
    • Roadway Program – $6.2 million
    • Facility and Equipment Program – $6.6 million
    • Fleet Program – $8.3 million
    • Land Acquisition Administration – $400,000
  • Provides funding support to maintain the Town’s strategic partnerships with external/affiliated agencies in cultural heritage, recreation, economic development, criminal prosecution, transportation, and public outreach. 
  • Funds the hiring of a marketing and engagement director, an assistant finance director, two construction project managers, a stormwater maintenance administrator, a stormwater inspector, a beach facilities technician, and a grounds crew position. It also funds the hiring of two firefighters, a fire inspector, two emergency medical services lieutenants, a mechanic and a communications and marketing administrator in the Town’s Fire Rescue Department. 
  • Includes a merit increase of up to 4% as part of a benefit package for Town employees.
  • Funds the hiring of several part-time positions and seasonal staff supportive of beach operations. 

Town Council will have budget workshops at 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 11. A public hearing and second reading of the proposed budget is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6.