Horry County fires back at Myrtle Beach’s hospitality fee lawsuit

Horry County fires back at Myrtle Beach’s hospitality fee lawsuit
Horry County Council

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Horry County has accused Myrtle Beach of mismanaging its money in new court filings over hospitality fees.

The City of Myrtle Beach filed a lawsuit in March claiming that the county collected millions of dollars in hospitality fees illegally.

It all stems from a resolution that Horry County passed in 1996 that allowed the county to start collecting a 1.5% hospitality tax in the unincorporated areas and the municipalities to help fund road projects through the RIDE I program. Myrtle Beach city leaders adopted a resolution supporting the tax.

It became effective on Jan. 1, 1997 and was to expire on Jan. 1, 2017.

In December 2016, the county enacted an ordinance to extend the termination date of the hospitality tax’s “Sunset Provision” to Jan. 1, 2022. Myrtle Beach claims in the lawsuit that their consent was never sought prior to the ordinance’s enactment.

In the court documents filed on Thursday, Horry County denies claims that it illegally collected money from Myrtle Beach and the municipalities.

The court filings go on to say that the city only became interested in the hospitality fee money because it’s budget has increased significantly over the past several years and the city’s budgetary matters have become a “cause for concern.”

“The South Carolina General Assembly has capped the City’s ability to tax its visitors and citizens within the City limits,” the court filings state. “Now that the City has reached that cap, and to the detriment of the entire County and its municipalities, the City is now trying to obtain more money for its own use.”

The county accuses the City of Myrtle Beach of mismanaging its own budget and trying to go around state law in order to get more money.

The county also said in the court documents that it has tried to work with the city through normal, correct political process but the city has decided to go through the courts.

In court documents, Horry County is asking for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

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