Janet Morgan

Keeping I-73 on the map, Myrtle Beach leaders finalize tax and fee collection

Interstate 73 isn’t off the map, Myrtle Beach City Council said as it sped into the final reading of a tax and fee re-allocation ordinance package.

“It’s time to move on,” Mayor Brenda Bethune said.

City officials didn’t wait for the regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday to change the way accommodation taxes and hospitality fees are collected. The council met Thursday, days after North Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach had followed the city’s lead in taking the collection authority from Horry County and putting the authority in the city’s hands.

North Myrtle and Surfside councils have each passed the first of two readings on nearly identical ordinances.

Despite urgings to tap the brakes and pull over for a meeting with county representatives so the interstate funding wouldn’t be jeopardized, Myrtle Beach city leaders passed the ordinances to be effective July 1.

City Manager John Pedersen said the city has been in a 20-year agreement with the county to collect the taxes and fees so the money could be used to pay for I-73. But, he said, that agreement expired in 2017.

Bethune said just because the city will be collecting the taxes and fees, it doesn’t mean the interstate funding is in danger.

“We support the interstate,” she added the council and staff are willing to meet with other governmental bodies to talk about I-73 funding.

On Tuesday, Pedersen said he would be giving city council a breakdown of how the money could be spent. Part of that breakdown includes funding the city’s share of I-73.

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