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I-73 Funding Terminated By 3 Coastal Cities

Despite protests from Mark Lazarus -former Horry County Council Chairman, Karen Riorden – Myrtle Beach Area Chamber C.E.O., and Tony Cox – SCDOT Highway Commissioner, Myrtle Beach City Council voted unanimously on a first reading to cease a 1.5% county hospitality tax payment on Tuesday, February 26th. The Hospitality Tax funds were allocated by Horry County at $25 million annually to fund future I-73. The contract with SCDOT is a 20 year minimum contract.

The town then passed an ordinance to keep those funds inside the city.

While City Manager, John Pedersen claimed the issue had nothing to do with I-73, Lazarus, Riorden, and Cox argued that the new ordinance would effectively kill I-73.

MyrtleBeachSC news learned from Surfside Beach Councilman Randle Stevens that Surfside Beach will also be discussing enacting a similar effort today with city staff. The measure could be brought up at Surfside Beach’s next City Council meeting.

We also learned from sources in North Myrtle Beach that a special meeting will be called for that same purpose there as well.

Sixty percent of the funds that support the $41 million annual tax are collected in these three coastal cities. Unless Horry County intends on passing a new 1% tax county-wide, residents of the towns of Loris, Conway, Aynor, and the unincorporated areas of Carolina Forest, Garden City, and Socastee will now largely fund the I-73 project.

If taken, actions by the three coastal towns will make it virtually impossible for Horry County to honor its contract with SCDOT, signed last December.

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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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