HCS says city is taking away $20 million promised for new school

HCS says city is taking away $20 million promised for new school

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Horry County School district is frustrated with the city of Myrtle Beach after the school district says the city is changing plans to build a school in the Market Common area.

The projects built in the 4,000 acres of the old airforce base are funded as part of the Tax Increment Financing legislation (TIF). TIF was created so that public infrastructure projects are paid for by taxes from residents and businesses who move there, not from taxes paid by citizens outside the area. In 1995, the city made a list of possible infrastructure projects for the area, with a school on the list. The city is now talking about removing a school.

"It's been on the list for a dozen or 15 years and the school board has never said oh let's build a school in the Market Common and that's because there's no demand so we'd like to remove that from the list," city spokesman Mark Kruea said.

"We were promised $20 million in land for a school in that area which we had just recently been talking about. And possibly working something out with the college there," Joe Defeo, Horry County School Board Chairman said.

Mark Kruea explains that taking the school off the list would free up money to use for other public projects, like adding a fire station.

"One of the proposals is for a hotel, but the private developer wouldn't get any money this money is for public property on public land," Kruea said.

Defeo argues that a hotel is unnecessary.

"A hotel is not for the residents so who are they building it for. It is not for the residents," he said.

The city of Myrtle Beach is proposing giving the school district around $1.2 million to use in other ways.

"Our proposal is to take that unneeded school off the list which will free up some money so that we can declare surplus money and we can give the school district money that is not restricted to be used on the former air force base," explains Kruea.

Defeo argues that it's not what the schoolboard wants.

"I have lawyers working on it and believe me if we could sue to get this straightened out we would but we hope to negotiate with them," he said.

A public hearing on the issue, originally scheduled for Nov. 14, has been postponed. The city of Myrtle Beach says it wants to talk to the county and the   school board first.

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