Myrtle Beach changes franchise agreement with Santee Cooper

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The city of Myrtle Beach is changing a long time agreement with Santee Cooper. This change will not impact customers pay, but will provide additional money to the City of Myrtle Beach and to Santee Cooper, according to city leaders.

Currently, customers see a 5 percent franchise fee on their Santee Cooper bill. That fee was created back in 1999 when the city decided to work with Santee Cooper to put utilities underground. Two percent of the fee is set aside to pay for underground utility projects in the city and Santee Cooper matches the fee.

Over the years, those funds have provided more than $30 million for underground utility projects. City Spokesman Mark Kruea says the fund now has more money than they have plans to spend it on. Instead of taking 2 percent of the fee for the fund, it will drop 1 percent and the city will receive the other 4 percent directly in their general fund.

"The underground utilities fund has about $16 million in it and projects don't require that much. So as part of the adjustment here we'll distribute $9 million of it and Santee Cooper will get half of it the city will get half of it as a one time fee," explained Kruea.

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