MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The City of Myrtle Beach voted unanimously Tuesday to settle a lawsuit over a previously planned school in the Market Common area.
Specific terms of the settlement have not been announced. Myrtle Beach spokesperson Mark Kruea said no one can comment on the settlement until all parties have agreed.
The lawsuit was filed in 2018 by the Horry County School District and Horry County against the City of Myrtle Beach and the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base Redevelopment Committee. The lawsuit claimed the city failed to include the construction and funding of a new school in the Market Common area. It also accuses the city and development committee of misusing funds meant to redevelop the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base.
Two decades ago, the city drafted a list of projects it would do with the money. Several of those projects have been completed – except the idea of building a natatorium and a school. $20 million was supposed to be allotted to the district to build the new school.
In 2018, the city said it took the school out of the master plan because less than 160 students lived in the Market Common area.
“We really didn’t know with 5,000 new homes, whether there would be hundreds, thousands of new school children in the area. Turns out there haven’t been. So, the school is way down on that list,” Kruea said in 2018.
Following the vote, Horry County Schools, the City of Myrtle Beach and the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base Redevelopment Authority released a statement:
By official action of their respective governing bodies, Horry County (County), the School District of Horry County (District), the City of Myrtle Beach (City), and the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base Redevelopment Authority (RDA), agreed Tuesday to settle a pending action in state court concerning the incremental tax revenues collected within the tax increment financing district (TIF District) established in 1994 by executive order of the Governor at the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base.
The lawsuit, brought in 2018 by the County and District against the City and the RDA, challenged certain aspects of redevelopment project spending and sought a determination that redevelopment of the former Base is complete, along with dissolution of the TIF District. The City and the RDA disputed the allegations of the lawsuit and counterclaimed for damages associated with a canceled bond offering.
Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the parties have agreed to begin winding up the TIF District, targeting retirement of the existing bonded indebtedness and dissolution of the TIF District in the Fall of 2028. Between now and dissolution, the parties have agreed to the completion of an additional 13 specified new projects within the TIF District, at a cost of no more than $28.5 million, and the RDA has agreed to declare an estimated annual surplus distribution of $6 million to be divided among the County, the District, and the City. The parties have agreed to work together to ensure that all parties have a comfort level with redevelopment expenditures from now until dissolution.
‘We are pleased to reach common ground on the resolution of this lawsuit and will continue to work together to bring the successful redevelopment of the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base to a close in the near future.’
All parties involved have signed the Settlement Agreement in Principle.