The Post And Courier reported this week that the city of Myrtle Beach is currently short on funds to add a police force necessary to ensure safety in the crime ridden downtown areas of Myrtle Beach. The latest FBI records show an eleven percent increase in Myrtle Beach violent crimes, among the highest in the nation.
The Post and Courier reports: Myrtle Beach officials plan to add 70 police officers in seven years after a high-profile shooting on Ocean Boulevard this summer.
The funding source for the expansion is still unclear.
City Manager John Pedersen said the city will ask state lawmakers for help in paying for the public safety plan, which would cost a total $1.6 million in year one and $5.8 million by year seven. “We want to outline the magnitude of the challenge we have and let them respond to that challenge with as much flexibility as we can,” Pedersen said.
While the city has been unable to find police funding, the Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee is now processing over $2.7 million in atax fund “hand outs” to groups that include Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, Mayor Rhodes’ Beach Ball Classic, Coastal Uncorked, The Children’s Museum of South Carolina, The Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation – $150,000, The Five Points Business Association (of which the city has purchased and closed sections of the Superblock) – $75,000, and the privately run Carolina Country Music Festival – $150,000
Atax dollars, by state law, are dedicated to promoting tourism and the infrastructure around tourism. While $6,422,470 in Atax monies was allocated for additional public safety costs associated with providing for tourists, it is unclear how these funds will be used. If the monies are spent for more cameras and technology, those expenditures might also be questioned as to their overall effectiveness.
The city wisely is allocating $320,000 for the third year local match funding for the 4th Avenue Deepwater Ocean Outfall Project, and $62,000 to assist with the cost of beach water quality testing and beach advisory postings. However, over $2.7 million in ATAX handouts went to tourism special pet projects that locals say do not rise to the level of creating safety in downtown Myrtle Beach.
Potential grant beneficiaries lined up one by one all morning Wednesday, October 11th begging the Atax Advisory committee for funding for their individual projects.
Earlier this week, residents on social media asked, why the city would not meet with state representatives and ask to have those funds re-allocated to the higher priority of protecting Myrtle Beach city streets?
The timing of the grant commitments was also questioned online, as the beneficiaries are asking for these city funds just in time for the “get out the vote” effort for incumbents in the November 7, 2017 elections.
The projected breakdown of how the funds are expected to be distributed can be seen here.
Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee
Baseball at the Beach – $60,000
Promote Myrtle Beach through hosting exceptional baseball events that enhance the baseball programs for youth in our area.
Beach Ball Classic Tournament – $60,000
Provide a national tournament for Myrtle Beach that will bring national exposure through media such as; television, newspapers, magazines and the Internet.
Beach United FC – $50,350
To promote the integrity of Coastal Carolina Soccer Clubs, and boost economic development to Myrtle Beach tourism with hosting a premier soccer tournament.
Carolina Country Music Festival – $150,000
Promote the Carolina Country Music Festival for Myrtle Beach with out-of-market advertising through media such as; TV, radio, digital, print and social media.
Carolina Master Chorale – $30,000
Professional quality performances of choral masterworks in concert, nurturing and elevating the culture and climate of Myrtle Beach.
Champion Autism Network – $25,550
Solidify and promote Myrtle Beach as a cultural, enlightened destination that supports those with autism and other special needs through the Autism Friendly Destination Initiative.
Children’s Museum of South Carolina – $59,400
Promote and increase attendance through the implementation of effective marketing strategies which will target tourists, as well as local community members and their visiting families. Funding will establish the Children’s Museum as an evolving attraction encouraging families to return to Myrtle Beach and view Myrtle Beach as a year-round family vacation destination.
Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA – $70,000
To assist in advertising, promoting and marketing of two major youth soccer tournaments that will bring thousands of youths and adults to the City to use hotels, restaurants, entertainment and services to benefit the economy.
Coast Futbol Alliance – $30,000
To promote Myrtle Beach as one of the premier destinations for youth soccer tournament events in the country, producing economic impact for the city during non- peak season months.
Coast RTA – $219,780
To continue providing the “Free” Entertainment Express Shuttle from Memorial Day –
Labor Day; 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., Sunday-Saturday.
Coastal Uncorked – $60,000
Promote Myrtle Beach through hosting an annual food event celebrating the variety of culinary offerings of Myrtle Beach. The event is designed to bring tourists to the area to experience cuisine as well as the many other amenities the City has to offer.
Crossroads Event Productions, Inc. – $50,000
To promote and bring musical and other performances into an underserved African-American community to celebrate the cultural and music heritage of the community with a jazz festival.
Franklin G. Burroughs – Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum – $120,000
Support of the Museum’s vital Exhibition Schedule thereby continuing to build our value as a recognizable tourist destination that broadens the overall image and draw of Myrtle Beach.
Five Points Business Association – $75,000
To promote Myrtle Beach by hosting three unique events in the Historic Boardwalk District: (1) Cyclovia Five Points, showcasing a physically active, walkable and biking community; (2) Plaza City Market, offering visitors a place to experience free entertainment and an opportunity to purchase local, unique items they may want to take back home; and (3) a Holiday Event, offering music and holiday spirit.
First Presbyterian Concert Series – $15,000
To provide concerts by world-class performers at reasonable ticket prices for our Community and tourists in order to increase awareness of the value of the cultural arts in uniting all people.
Grand Strand Juniors – $55,000
To promote the Winter Bump Classic and Coastal Volleyball Championships bringing in some of the most talented volleyball players in the country along with their families to Myrtle Beach. Grant funding would help defray costs associated with the event.
Kaaba Temple – $30,000
To promote the Gala Conference being offered in Myrtle Beach, April 2017 through advertising and marketing via printing, mailings, newspaper, internet and social media.
Long Bay Symphony – $75,000
By providing entertainment, education and cultural diversity, the Symphony seeks to establish an attractive environment for regional, out of state visitors, as well as potential residents. The Long Bay Symphonic Society supports an extensive music education program for young people.
Mingo Bay Classic Baseball Tournament ( Formerly Hawaiian Tropic Baseball Classic) – $20,000
The objective of this baseball tournament is to bring the very best high school teams from the northeast, mid-Atlantic and Southern states to Myrtle Beach for the purpose of promoting and advertising the Grand Strand.
Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation – $150,000
To provide free, family-friendly events and promotions throughout the year that showcase the boardwalk entertainment district and the Myrtle Beach Area.
MB Film Festival – $40,000
The objective is to become one of the larger film festivals in the United States, to include industry networking, a film market, forums, screenings and social venues which will bring press.
MB Golf Holiday – $70,000
The World Am has three objectives 1) Bring visitors to our area during a historically slow week, 2) Introduce new golfers and their guests to the Myrtle Beach area, 3) Provide an event that creates a “story line” for a broad range of media.
Myrtle Beach Jeep Jam – $50,000
To promote the inaugural Myrtle Beach Jeep Jam, weekend festival via television, radio, print and billboard, celebrating Jeep culture and the Grand Stand lifestyle drawing thousands of Jeep enthusiasts at the former Myrtle Square Mall site in April 2018.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans – $10,000
The purpose is to promote and host a baseball game at the Pelicans Stadium between two professional softball teams from National Pro Fastpitch.
Myrtle Beach Track & Field Club – $15,000
To promote Myrtle Beach via marketing and advertising, attracting more USA Track & Field events that will increase the visibility and public interest while recognizing that the City of Myrtle beach is a world class sports-tourism destination.
Native Sons Salt Games – $30,000
The objective is to promote the annual two-day beach festival in Plyler Park, Myrtle Beach. The Festival features an array of events and activities for tourists and locals alike.
North South Game Committee – $25,000
Increase attendance at events involved in the North-South All-star Football Game week as well as the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Bowl, also known as the North-South All-Star Football Game here in Myrtle Beach.
Ocean Front Merchants Association – $150,000
To advertise and promote free family-friendly entertainment and Myrtle Beach as a unique seaside family destination through signature events such as Fright Nights, Holidays on the Boardwalk, and the Sun Fun Festival.
Palmetto Event Productions, Inc. – $20,000
Advertising and promoting for the Beach, Boogie and BBQ Festival, sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, here in Myrtle Beach.
Palmetto Partners – $30,000
To host the Palmetto Regional Robotic Competition with 66 teams comprised of approximately 35 students and six mentors each from South Carolina and states around the Country. The goal is for each team to design and build a robot.
Palmetto Studios Arts Alliance – $50,000
Promote Myrtle Beach through hosting a Comic book, fantasy, Sci-Fi and Horror Convention.
Pee Dee Street Rodders – $35,000
To promote Myrtle Beach by hosting the 30th “Run to the Sun” car show to be held in March 2018.
Sons & Daughters of Italy – $25,000
To promote Myrtle Beach during the Italian Heritage month of October while expanding the Columbus Day Festival offering up authentic Italian food, entertainment and arts & crafts.
(SASA) South Atlantic Shrine Association – $60,000
To promote the Myrtle Beach area as a world class retreat destination to members as well as holding SASA’s annual meeting, convention, parade, and competitions in Myrtle Beach.
South by Southeast – $20,000
To promote and advertise music outreach and education, while enriching the community with musical arts and hosting a series of concerts in the Historic Myrtle Beach Train Depot.
Waccamaw Arts & Crafts Guild – $36,000
Plan activities such as, but not limited to, scheduled free of charge educational programs, opportunities for artist to display their works, expanding service on the internet, community outreach programs, and providing faculty and forum where residents and visitors alike can interact, share ideas and gain information
City of Myrtle Beach – $320,000
Third year local match funding for the 4th Avenue Deepwater Ocean Outfall Project.
City of Myrtle Beach – $135,812
Eleventh year local match funding for the Reach-Two Beach Nourishment Project.
$550,000 to help defray the cost of Convention Center marketing and promotion.
City of Myrtle Beach – $7,034,470
$6,422,470 for additional public safety cost associated with providing for tourist population.
$62,000 to assist with the cost of beach water quality testing and beach advisory postings.