Myrtle Beach mayor reacts to Horry County Council’s vote to change hospitality tax dispute settlement

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The hospitality and accommodations tax dispute between Horry County and its municipalities will continue after Horry County council voted to change a term of its settlement Monday night.

“I was very dismayed last night that Horry County council acted as though the details of the proposed settlement were a surprise to them,” Mayor of Myrtle Beach Brenda Bethune said.

Mayor Bethune says Horry County and its municipalities had reached a settlement in the hospitality tax dispute, and nearly every municipality involved voted in favor of the terms.

During the Horry County council meeting Monday night, council members voted seven to five to change the settlement terms so the hospitality and accommodations tax money could not be used toward attorney fees. Together, municipalities have paid nearly $900,000 in legal fees to fight this dispute. Bethune says Horry County council and city leaders were on the same page regarding the terms of the settlement.

“I have to wonder, and I think everybody else needs to ask themselves, did Horry County council ever intend to settle this dispute, and did they ever intend to help fund I-73,” Bethune said.

The reason Horry County and its municipalities originally agreed to split the tourist taxes generated within city limits more than 20 years ago was to fund road projects. Horry County council members have been vocal about continuing to split the money to build Interstate 73. Some county council members say the city of Myrtle Beach is against the project; Bethune says that is not true.

“I feel like a lot of the comments that were made from the dius yesterday evening were uncalled for. We are going to continue to be professional, and we will have a very professional demeanor, and that is the way we move forward. Acting out and bloviating is not the way to reach a settlement, and it is not in the best interest of our residents,” Bethune said.

Myrtle Beach city council will meet this Thursday to discuss how it will move forward with the hospitality and accommodations tax dispute.

News13 also reached out to North Myrtle Beach city leaders who said they will defer making a statement until city council is able to meet.

News13 also reached out to the mayor of Aynor and the mayor of Surfside Beach, but have not yet heard back.

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