Leaders meet to discuss future road projects and beach renourishment

Leaders meet to discuss future road projects and beach renourishment

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A list of road projects for RIDE III are a week away from being approved, but Horry County officials made sure they had the public's input before that vote.

The county worked with surrounding cities and towns to host several public meetings.

"Well, it's a county-wide referendum, so you need to get the most amount of voters throughout the county to support that," said Lisa Bourcier, Horry County spokesperson said.

Bourcier described to the room of mayors and city leaders the feedback they received. While most people were positive, others gave suggestions the county was very much looking into.

"We had some people that wanted certain projects to have a better priority than lower on the list. And we had a couple of changes or additions of wanting us to consider additional roads to be paved as well. So, that's something our engineering department will be looking at from now until Wednesday," Bourcier explained.   

She went on to explain the sales tax associated with RIDE III and how it will differ from RIDE II.

"It would be a one-cent sales tax for retail sales. If it does pass in November, the tax will start being collected May 1, 2017 and it will run for eight years," Bourcier said.

She added the sales tax laws have changed and the county is not able to tax groceries. So, instead of RIDE II's seven-year tax, an additional year will be tacked on.

With more than $2 billion dollars of need in the county, Bourcier said it's important to prioritize these projects.

"So we're estimating about $590 million dollars. Although that sounds like a lot of money, when you're talking about roads, it doesn't go as far as you think it would go. So I think the commissions did a great job reviewing the needs throughout the county and really picking out those key projects to really make everybody's life - day-to-day life - a little bit easier," Bourcier said.

For a full list of these projects, head to Horry County's Ride III page. Those who would like to share comments and concerns with the county can do so by sending an email.

Bourcier said the county will be taking suggestions until Friday, April, 8.

While RIDE III was mentioned in detail, so was beach renourishment. Right now, Surfside Beach and Garden City have been approved for beach renourishment on a federal level.

Horry County Chairman Mark Lazarus said, unfortunately, that is not the case for Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach.

Lazarus said they will continue to work together to make it happen, and that a request has been submitted to the state for emergency funding for beach renourishment.

If that doesn't work, Lazarus said, city leaders will try to move a scheduled beach renourishment from 2018 up to 2017.

"It's a lot easier for all of us to do this together than North Myrtle Beach or Myrtle Beach or the county to go in alone. It's been successful so we'll continue to work towards the end," Lazarus explained.

Lazarus said beach renourishment usually takes place every five years and it's of utmost importance because the beaches are what attract tourists to visit the Grand Strand and, in some cases, choose to live.

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