COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – State lawmakers discussed a bill that could resolve the legal dispute between Horry County and municipalities surrounding hospitality fees.
The bill- which was pre-filed in November- is moving forward to the Ways and Means Committee following Wednesday’s subcommittee meeting.
It would see one third of the hospitality revenue collected by counties go toward infrastructure projects.
Two thirds of the revenue would go to municipalities, with 25 percent of that required to also go toward infrastructure projects.
“This is not a place that I am happy to be,” Representative Alan Clemmons (R- District 107) said. “It’s a place I feel I’m required to be with both the cities and county, with both parties saying they are at loggerheads and saying they can’t move forward to resolve the issue. I believe it’s our only alternative to try to resolve the issue legislatively.”
Myrtle Beach mayor Brenda Bethune said the city is opposed to the bill as it is written.
“After the hearing today Rep. Clemmons graciously offered us the opportunity to submit any changes to the bill that would address our concerns,” Mayor Bethune told News13 in a statement. “We look forward to working with him to find a solution that is mutually beneficial to all concerned.”
The city said the bill ‘takes power away from the governing bodies of the City of Myrtle Beach, and every other municipality in Horry County, and gives it to Horry County Council.’
Horry County Council Johnny Gardner was there as well, who responded to municipalities’ concerns following the meeting.
“It sounded like a lot of legal arguments,” Chairman Gardner said. “And it sounds like if you’re making constitutional or statutory, legal arguments, it sounds like it may end up in court.”
Rep. Clemmons said he hopes the bill will help settle the dispute.
“Our hope and desire is the parties will sit back down together and find a reasonable middle ground,” he said.
The bill now must move through the Ways and Means Committee before it is heard in the House.
Count on News13 for updates.