Myrtle Beach City Council discusses business license reform, spo - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Myrtle Beach City Council discusses business license reform, sports tourism, flood resilience

City council meets Tuesday morning for a workshop (Source: Amy Lipman) City council meets Tuesday morning for a workshop (Source: Amy Lipman)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - City leaders in Myrtle Beach said business license reform going on in Columbia could be detrimental to the city and end up costing taxpayers more money.

House bills H3650 and H3651 in the Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee of the General Assembly were a major topic of discussion at the city council's workshop Tuesday morning because leaders worry they could lose money from the changes those bills would require for charging for business licenses.

Right now, the city of Myrtle Beach charges a fee specifically for businesses that are located outside of the city limits, but do business within the city. 

That includes landscaping, plumbing and electrician services, because they still use city services but don’t pay all of the taxes businesses within the city do.

Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen said a bill changes the city’s ability to do that and also makes it so those businesses pay a fee based on 75 percent of the revenue they make in the city, while businesses in the city still have to pay taxes on 100 percent of their revenues.

He said that loss alone is projected at more than $2.5 million.

Other proposed changes to the system would cost the city even more money, such as the timeline for collecting the business licensing fees by scheduling collections for the end of the year instead of the beginning. This could cause a year-long gap for Myrtle Beach in collecting this revenue. 

The city manager said there would be only three ways to make up for the losses the bill could cause.

“Reduce services to its residents or it could raise business licenses to those that are still in the city which is, as we discussed earlier, an inequity or we can raise property taxes to help cover it," Pedersen said. "So everyone in the city has a stake in this decision.”

Pedersen added the bill proposes a $100 first business license fee, which would be the same for both small and large businesses. He added the city has supported business license reform in the past, but this set of bills has radical changes.

The city plans to let the General Assembly know its thoughts and how this could be harmful to city operations and taxpayers.

Brad Dean, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, told council these proposed changes are a bad idea for South Carolina and it's a horrendous idea for Myrtle Beach and Horry County.

In other business on Tuesday, the assistant city manager presented information on the economic benefit of sports tourism.

Back in 2013, sports tourism had a direct spending impact of more than $127 million. Three years later, in 2016, that was up nearly 50 percent to more than $185 million.

Spending increased every year since 2013 as well, including a 12 percent jump from 2015 to 2016.

Sports tourism isn’t currently self-sufficient for Myrtle Beach because what people are paying the city directly to play sports isn’t fully making up for what the city is paying to provide the services.

However, Pedersen said the industry is getting closer to being self-sufficient because the city changed its fee structure last year.

“We probably make two or three times what it costs us to provide that service in terms of impact on things we don’t get directly from that provider, like business license fees, hospitality fees, accommodations taxes and the tourism development fee,” he said.

Finally, the city of Myrtle Beach is also looking to identify and improve vulnerable infrastructure for the next major storm.

Myrtle Beach was one of only five communities to be chosen to receive a technical assistance grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency to increase resilience for future floods. Approximately 70 applications were submitted.

The grant covers the cost of a consultant to hold workshops, gather information and come up with strategic plans for the future to improve how the city's infrastructure handles flooding.

“This whole study was designed to help us recover from those as quickly as possible,” Pedersen said. “One of the side benefits is we may be able to go through this process and identify some ways to improve our ratings to save our constituents more on their insurance.”

A community workshop to share ideas and information about being more resilient from flooding will be on March 15 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Myrtle Beach Train Depot. Residents, neighborhood leaders, developers and others are invited to attend.

A six-hour meeting is scheduled for the day after for city leaders and staff members to talk about what was discussed at the community meeting.

Copyright 2017 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsLocalMore>>

  • FIRST ALERT: Local rivers rising rapidly, flooding worsens through the weekend

    FIRST ALERT: Local rivers rising rapidly, flooding worsens through the weekend

    Friday, September 21 2018 11:19 PM EDT2018-09-22 03:19:01 GMT
    Waccamaw River floodingWaccamaw River flooding

    Water levels will continue to rise to historic levels on area rivers and the Intracoastal Waterway.

    More >>

    Water levels will continue to rise to historic levels on area rivers and the Intracoastal Waterway.

    More >>
  • Florence County imposes mandatory evacuation orders for zones 1 and 2

    Florence County imposes mandatory evacuation orders for zones 1 and 2

    Friday, September 21 2018 10:16 PM EDT2018-09-22 02:16:11 GMT
    Rising water levels cover someone's yard on Starburst Road in Florence County. (Source: WMBF News)Rising water levels cover someone's yard on Starburst Road in Florence County. (Source: WMBF News)
    Rising water levels cover someone's yard on Starburst Road in Florence County. (Source: WMBF News)Rising water levels cover someone's yard on Starburst Road in Florence County. (Source: WMBF News)

    FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Florence County Emergency Management officials ordered a mandatory evacuation for 1,400 homes along the Lynches River Friday. Zone One (860 homes, 3,010 residents) from the Highway 301 bridge to the Highway 52 bridge was issued a mandatory evacuation Friday morning. Zone Two (540 homes, 1,890 residents) from the Highway 52 bridge to the Highway 378 was issued that afternoon.

    More >>

    FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Florence County Emergency Management officials ordered a mandatory evacuation for 1,400 homes along the Lynches River Friday. Zone One (860 homes, 3,010 residents) from the Highway 301 bridge to the Highway 52 bridge was issued a mandatory evacuation Friday morning. Zone Two (540 homes, 1,890 residents) from the Highway 52 bridge to the Highway 378 was issued that afternoon.

    More >>
  • 'This is the worst I've ever seen here,' parts of Brunswick Plantation under water

    'This is the worst I've ever seen here,' parts of Brunswick Plantation under water

    Friday, September 21 2018 10:13 PM EDT2018-09-22 02:13:40 GMT
    Brunswick Plantation resdents use canoes to check on flooded homes. (Source: Audrey Biesk)Brunswick Plantation resdents use canoes to check on flooded homes. (Source: Audrey Biesk)

    Flooding across the area is causing people to leave their homes behind, wondering when then they can return. People who live in the Brunswick Plantation said during previous storms water never came up to their driveways, but are experiencing a much different story here as more than 3 feet of water is over taking their homes.

    More >>

    Flooding across the area is causing people to leave their homes behind, wondering when then they can return. People who live in the Brunswick Plantation said during previous storms water never came up to their driveways, but are experiencing a much different story here as more than 3 feet of water is over taking their homes.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly