In a press release sent out today, Horry County residents have announced they will be boycotting this Saturday’s Myrtle Beach Seafood Festival. The Seafood Festival is put on by the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation. The DRC is fully funded by parking fees. The city of Myrtle Beach now charges county residents $10 per day for parking anywhere city wide. Local residents have made a commitment to boycott DRC events until free parking is restored.
County Council Chair Mark Lazarus and County Council members pleaded with Mayor Rhodes and city government for compromise. No such compromise was offered at last Tuesday’s city council meeting. The press release follows:
Locals BoyCott Seafood Fesitival
We, the members of the Committee to Make Myrtle Beaches Free, Clean and Safe are calling for all residents to boycott the Myrtle Beach Seafood Festival this Saturday, October 15th in order to demonstrate that those people who live outside of the city limits of Myrtle Beach are being discriminated against by the recently enacted parking policy of the Myrtle Beach City Council. This legislation requires everyone who doesn’t live within the city limits to pay up to $10 a day for the formerly free “privilege” of parking on access areas near the ocean as well as the elimination of what was free parking along the so-called Golden Mile. The majority of the City Council, as well as the mayor, have made it clear that anyone living outside of the city limits is considered to be the equivalent of a tourist and by so doing have violated any concept of being a good neighbor.
We are not only concerned about the discriminatory parking fees enacted by the Myrtle Beach City Council, but also with the so-called 1% Tourism Tax that enriches the city but only provides property tax relief for those people who live inside the city limits. Mayor Rhodes and the City Council justify this by claiming that those of us who live outside the city limits do not pay taxes to the city of Myrtle Beach and are therefore not their constituents. However, we pay that 1% tax when we buy from merchants within the city limits while some outside the city limits incorrectly charge the tax as well, especially online businesses and retailers. Moreover, many of us have Myrtle Beach mailing addresses, yet we are forced to pay the 1% tax and have to pay for parking just as the tourists do while our parking choices have been constricted and restricted to a few designated lots and areas.
We are concerned about the cleanliness of the beaches as well. The city has received substantial negative national publicity regarding unacceptable bacterial levels of the ocean water. We also want the beaches to be safe for everyone to enjoy. It appeared this past summer that frequently lifeguards were not on duty. The high crime rate in the vicinity of the beaches is unacceptable and is likely due to a lack of a satisfactory police presence.
We are asking all residents to support our effort to make Myrtle Beaches Free, Clean and Safe by not attending events sponsored by the city, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation until the Myrtle Beach City Council addresses our grievances fairly and we arrive at a joint and equitable solution.