Myrtle Beach to consider raising CCMF ticket prices to recoup pu - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Myrtle Beach to consider raising CCMF ticket prices to recoup public safety costs

The city of Myrtle Beach pays more than $100,000 to provide public safety services during CCMF (Source: Amy Lipman) The city of Myrtle Beach pays more than $100,000 to provide public safety services during CCMF (Source: Amy Lipman)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Carolina Country Music Festival brings in lots of money and notoriety for Myrtle Beach, but it also costs the city money to provide public safety services for the event. 

Now, city officials are looking to shift that cost to the ticket buyers.

“There is a tremendous cost to help put the event on,” Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes said.

Rhodes said the city is spending more than $100,000 this year for police officers, EMS crews, trash pickup and other city services for CCMF.

Myrtle Beach City Council members are looking at adding a $5 surcharge per CCMF ticket, as well as tickets for other events, like the Myrtle Beach Marathon, as part of the 2018 fiscal year budget.

The city estimates it will make $100,000 from charging $5 per ticket, Rhodes said.

He added the city and local businesses benefit greatly from CCMF.

“It produces a lot of economic impact, somewhere around $25 to $27 million,” Rhodes said. “That is huge. It comes at a great time for our city. It’s the kickoff to summer.”

However, the mayor said now that the event has proven to be successful, it’s time for the city to recoup its public safety costs.

“This is strictly helping cover the cost the city has, so that we can take that money and apply it to something else rather than taking it out of the general fund and having no chance to recover it other than through taxation of accommodations dollars,” he said.

Bob Durkin, owner and director of CCMF, said the event really does give back quite a bit to the city.

“I think Carolina Country Music Fest uses a lot of resources of Myrtle Beach, but I think all of the positives that it brings to the city of Myrtle Beach makes it worth it,” he said. “Floods the economy. The bars, the restaurants, the gas stations, the hotels are all filled up. It helps create jobs.”

Several people waiting to get into the festival said they’d pay an extra $5 to support public safety.

“It’s the most important thing here. With what’s going on right now, couldn’t ask for a better team,” said Zac Oman, of Michigan. “It shouldn’t all be on the city of Myrtle Beach.”

“I shake their hands when I go by and say, 'I appreciate the help,'” said Ronnie North, of Georgia. “They put their lives in their hands and risk their lives too, so we need that help.”

However, Durkin said he’s cautious when it comes to prices.

“We’re always so price sensitive. We want to make sure this appeals to the masses,” he said. “Anything that increases prices on concessions or tickets is always something we’re going to have to really look at and consider because there’s always going to be issues anytime you add dollars to a price.”

City council members will vote on the second reading of the budget next Tuesday. That budget also includes an additional $500,000 to add five police officers and three vehicles to the police department.

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