NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) City leaders in North Myrtle Beach worry the cost of Atlantic Beach Bike Fest could nearly double.
According to North Myrtle Beach Spokesman Pat Dowling, the city pays between $90,000 and $100,000 a year to pay for extra police patrols, traffic control and clean up for the event. Dowling said if attendance at Bike Fest is high in the coming years, there is potential the price tag for extra Bike Fest services could nearly double.
"In the end we wind up paying a fair share of the money in order to control its impact on our community," Dowling said. "It adds to the overall budget, and obviously the people that help fund that budget are the taxpayers in North Myrtle Beach."
Atlantic Beach Mayor Retha Pierce said the event is crucial to growing the town's shaky economy, and she does not believe the extension will have a major impact on surrounding cities.
North Myrtle Beach resident Bob Suchy said he wishes Atlantic Beach would have consulted North Myrtle Beach before extending the event.
"I don't appreciate it," Suchy stressed. "It's a hassle with the normal Bike Fest, and the extended Bike Fest is going to cost North Myrtle Beach a lot of money."
Dowling said the city likely will not experience a large financial impact from the 2012 Bike Fest event, but in subsequent years that could change if attendance improves. But regardless of when the impact is felt, North Myrtle Beach city leaders feel as though they were left out of the loop.
"When you have one town forcing another town to make a large expenditure of money to control something that is not of its own making, then dialogue [with that town] is deserved," Dowling said.
Atlantic Beach Bike Fest is currently scheduled to run from May 18 to May 28.