Funding cuts leave Oktoberfest, St. Patrick's Day festivals in doubt

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Two of the most popular off-seasonevents in Myrtle Beach may be on the chopping block following the passing of theDowntown Redevelopment Corporation's budget for the 2014/15 fiscal year.  In the budget, the DRC cut $90,000 from the$260,000 given to the Oceanfront Merchants Association each year.

DRC Treasurer Tom Leath said downtown leaders want to focusefforts on improving the area south of the old pavilion site.  Those improvements cost money and Leath saidthe DRC either had to find new revenues of cut expenses.

Leath said the $90,000 will give the DRC more room to workwith when it comes to redevelopment and gaining more public-privatepartnerships in the area.

OMA President Chris Walker said the funding cuts come as asurprise.  He said without the $90,000OMA may not be able to fund events including Oktoberfest or St. Patrick's Dayfestivals.

Walker acknowledged the events do not generate as muchrevenue as summer time events but he said they are one of the biggest reasonslocals go downtown during the off-season.

OMA does have other means to pay for events including ATAXfunding plus about $150,000 collected from local businesses and the $170,000still allotted in the DRC's budget. However, Walker said depending on how tight money is OMA may even beforced to cut back on summer events.

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