CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – The Horry County Council voted to keep the 1.5 percent hospitality fee beyond its 2022 sunset and use the funds to pay for future projects, which could include Interstate 73.
According to Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus, other projects would include hospitality-related ventures.
"It could be used for beach renourishment, it could be used for taking pipes and drainage off of the beaches, it could be used for jail because there are a lot of attendees in our jail that spend a night there that are from out of town," he said. "So, we could prove that that is tourist related. We can prove that x amount of our police force is used to police because of tourism."
This hospitality fee took effect Jan. 1, 1997 to fund RIDE I infrastructure projects.
The fee was set to sunset on Jan. 1, 2022 after the state infrastructure bank loan of $500 million for the RIDE I projects was paid off.
Horry County Administrator Chris Eldridge previously said the fee generates over $38 million in revenue annually, and the county actually anticipated paying off the loan in 2019.
Now, the tax, which comes from prepared food and drink, lodging and admission fees, will remain in place to fund future infrastructure projects applicable to hospitality needs. Those could include construction of Horry County's portion of I-73.