MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW)- The City of Myrtle Beach voted Thursday to no longer send local tourist taxes to the county. The county was planning to use that money to pay for public safety and the I-73 project.
Horry County did get more than 17 million dollars from Myrtle Beach’s hospitality fee. Now, Myrtle Beach leaders decided to keep that money, but said it doesn’t mean they oppose I-73.
Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, and Surfside Beach all gave Horry County a 1.5 percent fee on their accommodations tax for years.
That’s the fee tacked onto hotel admissions, prepared food, and attraction tickets sold in the county. Between all three, the county received 40 million dollars to go towards I-73 and public safety. That agreement expired in 2017.
On Thursday, Myrtle Beach City Council approved amendments to their accomodations tax to keep that 1.5 percent.
“It makes good sense to have the decision where that money goes or how that money is spent being made by the city itself rather then hand it over to the county,” said City Spokesperson Mark Kruea.
Council also discussed ways to help fund I-73. One option would use 42 percent of the money taken back to fund the project, which would be more than 7.5 million dollars.
Council also addressed criticism from some who said this could jeopardize funding for the highway.
During the meeting, Mayor Brenda Bethune said, “It could not be further from the truth. Every member of this body has publicly stated our support for I-73.”
No decision on I-73 has been made.