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Horry County Council votes to disapprove confidentiality agreement with Myrtle Beach

Updated: Apr. 2, 2019 at 11:42 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Horry County Council voted Tuesday night to disapprove a confidentiality agreement provided to them by the city of Myrtle Beach.

Myrtle Beach City Council made a motion last week to create a confidentiality agreement with Horry County and other cities looking to fund I-73. Members said any discussions would most likely take place behind closed doors because of pending lawsuits.

Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner said he wants discussion of taxpayer money to take place in public, and all council members agreed.

“I can’t believe a government body would want to go behind closed doors and discuss anything such as this,” Horry County councilman Gary Loftus said.

Council members expressed their frustration as the discussion continued throughout the meeting.

“Nobody told us anything except, ‘We’re going after you. We don’t want to do what you want to do.’ Made no offers to work with us. No offers to say, ‘This is what we need,’ and the next thing we know we got a lawsuit against us,” Horry County councilman Johnny Vaught said.

“There’s absolutely no need for this conversation to be had behind closed doors,” Horry County councilman Dennis DiSabato added.

Gardner said they plan to send a good faith offer to the municipalities regarding what they voted on Tuesday night for the 1.5% hospitality fee.

The cities of Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, and the town of Surfside Beach have each passed ordinances to keep their hospitality fees instead of sending them to the county after a resolution forcing them to give that money to the county expired in Jan. 2017.

“What we’re offering is to keep collecting it the way we’ve been doing because, and you may have picked up on it tonight, that’s a bigger pool of money based on the old law, the way we were allowed to do it. Then we will allocate some of that in a pool towards I-73,” Gardner said.

As for the rest of the money from the 1.5% hospitality fee.

“We can distribute it to the cities and municipalities prorate, as you will, what they collect during the year,” Gardner added.

Gardner said he plans to send the proposal to the municipalities on Wednesday.

He said he hasn’t met yet with the mayors of the municipalities to discuss the money from the hospitality fee.

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