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County Council To Weigh Future Of Eldridge & I- 73

On Monday at 6 p.m. Horry County Council will hold a special session to discuss the future of the SCDOT/I-73 contract. The agenda also includes voting on the continued employment of County Administrator Chris Eldridge.

The meeting was called by Chairman Gardner on Thursday via email.

CLEANING UP PAST ISSUES

County sources we spoke with today state they expect council to terminate (not renew) the administrator’s contract which is set to expire this Spring. Not renewing the contract amounts to termination.

Controversy has surrounded the county administrator since December 20th. Eldridge chose to call in SLED to investigate Chairman Gardner over a secret recording. Gardner was fully exonerated by those findings. The solicitor’s report also stated Eldridge had “malicious intentions.”

Chairman Gardner has expressed he is not comfortable working with the administrator. A recent vote concerning the administrator’s employment ended in a 6 to 6 “no confidence” tie.

SCDOT Contract

S.C. I-73 exists in theory only. The $25 million annual funding proposed by former Chairman Mark Lazarus never paved the road past the county line. The Hospitality tax brought in $41 million through a contract between the cities and Horry County. However, the Hospitality tax sunset in 2017. The tax was extended into perpetuity by former Chairman Lazarus and council.

This past Spring, these three coastal cities voted to no longer pay hospitality taxes to the county. Surfside, Myrtle Beach, and North Myrtle Beach are now collecting and keeping $28 million of those taxes inside each city municipality.

The city of Myrtle Beach believes the tax was extended illegally. The city of Myrtle Beach is suing the county for back taxes paid since the law sunset.

STATE REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS

While some pressure has been brought to bear by our local state delegation, the funds simply no longer exist. We are told the contract is likely to be rescinded.

MyrtleBeachSC news will Livestream the special session.

Viewers can watch the session live at Facebook.com/scmyrtlebeach

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About David Hucks

Born in 1961, David is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area. David is the lead journalist at MyrtleBeachSC.com

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