MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The ongoing legal battle between Myrtle Beach and Horry County over hospitality fees took another turn on Monday, with the city asking a judge to dismiss the county’s claims that it’s owed money tied to a lawsuit.
In court documents filed Monday, the city’s attorneys are seeking to have two counterclaims from Horry County thrown out.
“The first is bereft of any substance or detail. It simply declares the City’s claims to not be well-founded, asserts that there are no justiciable issues of law or facts to be tried, and requests that the City pay the County’s attorneys’ fees and costs,” court records state.
In its motion to dismiss, the city states the county’s second counterclaim seeks to recover the costs it “incurred in implementing the Hospitality Fee and in defending this lawsuit.”
“The County also wants to have its cake and eat it too. It asks this Court to award the costs of implementing the fee, but it wants to keep all proceeds of the fee collected since 1996,” the city’s motion states.
Horry County’s counterclaims stem from the lawsuit the city filed against it earlier this year.
That lawsuit centers around a resolution 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 a lawsuit that their consent was never sought prior to the ordinance’s enactment.
Last week, Horry County filed a preliminary injunction to stop the city from collecting or enforcing any tax or fee imposed in the hospitality tax ordinance.
Earlier this month, the Horry County Delegation to the South Carolina House of Representatives filed a bill that, if enacted, would preclude the city of Myrtle Beach from collecting hospitality fees, help preserve vital infrastructure and public safety dollars, and “preserve the status quo in Horry County” regarding the collection of those taxes.