HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – Horry County’s contract with the South Carolina Department of Transportation for Interstate 73 is in jeopardy.
The Horry County Council will have a special called meeting Wednesday afternoon, where they are set to discuss whether to cancel the contract, according to Horry County councilman Johnny Vaught.
Horry County had until October 1 to finalize plans for I-73, but the SCDOT needs a 30-day notice if Horry County decides to cancel.
Vaught said because of that stipulation, SCDOT needs an answer by September 1.
He said the fight between the county and municipalities over hospitality fees is the reason why leaders must make this decision.
“I don’t see how we can honor the contract because we have no revenue source to pay for the work,” Vaught said.
The work that SCDOT proposed for this fiscal year would cost the county $12 million.
The county has been trying to figure out how to pay for the project after the city of Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Atlantic Beach, Aynor, Conway, Loris and Surfside Beach moved to take control of accommodations and hospitality taxes, cutting off the county’s collection of tax dollars. That money was meant to fund I-73.
The disagreement over hospitality fees resulted in Horry County being sued by the city of Myrtle Beach. The municipality’s leaders accuse the county of collecting millions of dollars of hospitality fees illegally.
A judge ordered mediation between Horry County and Myrtle Beach to try and find an agreement over hospitality fees, but both meetings ended with no resolution.
The mediation has totally failed. We have gone through 23 hours of mediation,” Vaught said. “There has been no movement.”
WMBF News will continue to follow this major story and will bring you the outcome of the vote when it happens.
See below for a timeline tracing this ongoing dispute over the hospitality fee: