CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Two of the Grand Strand’s biggest cities rejected Horry County’s offer to split hospitality tax money.
The mayors of Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach will each write letters in response to Horry County Council chair Johnny’s Gardner’s letter to them that offers to share tourist tax revenue. In the county’s proposal, the Interstate 73 project would get $18 million per year, the county would receive $9,759,427, while cities and towns would split $14,693,141. These estimates are based on the county’s projected revenues for next year.
Myrtle and North Myrtle generate about 90% of municipalities’ hospitality tax money. Myrtle Beach is estimated at 63.6%, and North Myrtle Beach is estimated at 26.4%. The cities would get that percentage of the $14.6 million split, meaning Myrtle Beach would be projected to get $9,345,750, and North Myrtle would be forecasted to get $3,872,454.
North Myrtle mayor Marilyn Hatley says the county’s offer gives North Myrtle less money than if it continues with a new ordinance, which keeps all hospitality tax revenue in the city.
“We hope that the county will be willing to work with us and the rest of the cities as far as the I-73 funding is concerned,” Mayor Hatley said.
Down the coast, Myrtle mayor Brenda Bethune’s letter calls the county’s offer “unfair” to that city’s residents and “legally questionable.”
“The moneys are collected here,” said Mayor Bethune. “They need to stay here for our public safety needs and other needs.”
Mayor Hatley declined to say what she’ll write to Gardner.
“I am not going to get into talking about what’s going into that letter, out of respect to the chairman and the mayors of the other cities,” Mayor Hatley said.
Mayor Hatley added that her letter will become publicly available after it’s sent to Gardner.
County council hopes to resolve this issue soon. It set a deadline of April 16, which is when council may break an I-73 funding agreement it has with SCDOT.
That would happen during the next council meeting on April 16 at 6 p.m.