Communities make pitch for tax money, County divides up funds - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Communities make pitch for tax money, County divides up funds

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Community leaders and event organizers throughout Horry County presented their case to the Accommodations Tax Committee Wednesday, hoping for a slice of the nearly $5 Million collected by the county.

"We are here today to ask for assistance with our marketing and media budget," said Tracie Johnson, executive director of Little River's World Famous Blue Crab Festival. "Last year we asked for some money. They were very gracious and very kind and they obliged us."

Money generated by the tax stays in the county, but it's only collected from hotels, campgrounds, and rental properties not within city or town limits.

"Horry County only gets what's collected from the unincorporated areas," said ATAX Committee Chairman Mark Lazarus.

About 55% of the funds collected from the tax goes back to Horry County. It supplements the budget for Fire and EMS, Beach Patrol, and renourishment projects. Other funds go to events like the Loris Bog-Off or Aynor Hoedown.

But after all those supplements are divided up, there's still close to $1.5 million left over. Where does that money go?

"The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is the designated arm that gets 30% of those funds," Lazarus said.

But if the City of Myrtle Beach doesn't contribute to the ATAX, why is the Chamber getting those funds? According to Chairman Lazarus, Horry County is required by law to allocate 30 percent of the tax's funds to a marketing company. The Chamber of Commerce is that company.

The Chamber also collects funds from Myrtle Beach's one percent sales tax, and uses it to promote the city. Some of those ads are released throughout our area, so why haven't we seen ads for other events? Johnson says it's simply because those ads are exported out of state.

"We break them down to other markets which are in Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia."

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