MURRELLS INLET — It's unclear exactly how long Horry and Georgetown counties have been using the wrong border, but the news hasn't gone over well in Mt. Gilead.
If the boundary reverts to what's actually written in state code, some residents this in neighborhood tucked away between Garden City and Murrells Inlet would have different taxes, vote for different elected officials and send their children to a new school district.
"The thought of having to uproot (my kids) and having to change them to other schools is very upsetting," resident Meg Sandefur said.
When Sandefur bought her home on a quiet, leafy street in 2013, she thought it was perfect. The squat tan house with a bright blue door was on a the southernmost section of Rum Gully Road. It was close to the water, and most importantly, her children, now 6 and 9, would attend Seaside Elementary.
"I was actually born and raised in this neighborhood, and went to Horry County schools," Sandefur said. "I really wanted my kids in Horry County schools."
But most of her street could be gobbled up by Georgetown County, after state officials recently learned that the two jurisdictions have been observing the wrong county line for years.
Fred Parsons, who lives down the street, also wants to stay in Horry County. He said Horry police are usually quicker to answer calls in the neighborhood than Georgetown officers. Parsons also wanted to avoid the tax hike that would come with switching counties.
Converting from Horry County to Georgetown County would cost an additional $224 in property taxes on a primary residence assessed at $250,000, according to Horry County. If the estimated 199 affected parcels did switch counties, Horry County would lose about $363,000 in real property tax revenues, spokeswoman Kelly Moore said.
Reps. Russell Fry, R-Surfside Beach, and Lee Hewitt, R-Murrells Inlet, said last week they're supporting a referendum that would let residents choose whether they stay in Horry or move to Georgetown. The joint resolution to enable that referendum must also be passed by the state House, Senate and signed by Gov. Henry McMaster before a vote could take place.
Parsons was confident the neighborhood would vote to stay in Horry County. He said it was unlikely that the many young families who had moved into the neighborhood in the last 10 years would choose to disrupt their children's lives.
"Nobody's going to want to move into Georgetown County," he said.