Committee makes recommendations for accommodations tax use

Published: Dec. 7, 2010 at 12:38 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2010 at 5:15 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Brandon Herring - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The City of Myrtle Beach Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee met Monday to make its final recommendations about requests for funds from the tax.

25 organizations plus the city of Myrtle Beach requested accommodations tax or "A-tax" money from the 2010-2011 budget.

The city estimates the accommodations tax will generate approximately $6 million in that fiscal year. Approximately $2 million is automatically allocated to the city and the chamber of commerce.

All of the remaining amount, approximately $4 million, is requested by the city and automatically awarded by the accommodations tax committee.

The city is allowed by law to use that accommodations tax money to pay for the public safety (police, firefighters, etc.), ocean water testing and beach renourishment required to meet the needs of tourists.

However, city council has also set up a system in which the city gives back money from the general fund to organizations that request accommodations tax money.

The A-tax Committee awards the tax money to sports, arts and culture organizations that work to attract visitors to the area.

"Luckily we were able to award money to everybody that requested this year, at least some amount of money," committee member Mary Henry said.

The events range from the Beach Ball Classic basketball tournament and the high school football North-South All-star game, to the Long Bay Symphony and Burroughs and Chapin Art Museum.

"We try to establish that they're not using it for personnel and administrative costs," Henry said. "The whole idea is to put heads in beds back in the City of Myrtle Beach."

The organization recommended to receive the most is the Ocean Front Merchants Association at $110,000. They sponsor fireworks, concerts and festival to attract tourists.

"The primary goal of this is get those people to have to come here, stay a weekend, stay the week, and just show them what we have to offer," explained the association's secretary Chris Walker.

He said the a-tax money helps promote the events near and far. He said the A-tax makes the association  able to promote the events much more than it would otherwise.

"It doesn't do a lot of good to have the events if nobody finds out about them," Walker.

The A-tax committee recommended the Coastal Uncorked festival and the Burroughs - Chapin Art Museum get the two second-highest allotments of money, $100,000 each. The festival's Executive Director Candace Howell said she feels the organization is a prime example of A-tax money well spent.

"We're going to be spending any money that we get from A-tax money on out-of-market marketing to bring people into Myrtle Beach, and that's what that money's there for," Howell said.

"It's there to be used wisely to bring people here to spend their dollars in the community. It's going to help all of the businesses. "It's going to bring tourists in to put heads in beds. It also helps Myrtle Beach's name because this is a festival that's here to stay."

The A-tax committee is recommending $771,000 go to local arts and sporting events organizations next year. City Council will make a final decision on those recommendations in January.

Copyright 2010 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

Myrtle Beach Accommodations Tax Allocations for 2010-2011

$6,254,782 (estimated) will be available through the accommodations tax. According to law, the city of Myrtle Beach automatically receives $25,000 plus 5% of revenues after that first $25,000 ($327,116). The law also mandates 30% of the revenues after that first $25,000 ($1,962,698) goes to the city's designated marketing entity - the Chamber of Commerce.

Those automatic payments will amount to $2,314,814. The remaining amount of accommodations tax equals $3,939,968 and is available for allocations.

The city of Myrtle Beach requests all of that money ($3,939,968) to pay for tourism-related services. (See first tow allocation requests below.) Later, city council makes some money available from the general fund for organizations that work to bring tourists to the area. (See remaining allocation requests.)

City of Myrtle Beach – $3,798,346 requested / $3,798,346 recommended allocation

$3,436,346 for additional public safety cost associated with providing for tourist population.

$62,000 to assist with the cost of beach water quality testing and beach advisory postings.

$300,000 for convention marketing and promotion.

City of Myrtle Beach – $141,622 requested / $141,622 recommended allocation

Fourth year local match funding for the Reach Two Beach Renourishment project.

Baseball at the Beach Tournament – $60,000 requested / $30,000 recommended allocation

Promote Myrtle Beach through hosting exceptional baseball events that enhance the baseball programs for youth in our area.

Beach Ball Classic Tournament – $ 60,000 requested / $50,000 recommended allocation

Provide a national tournament for Myrtle Beach that will bring national exposure through media such as; television, newspapers, magazines and the Internet.

Beach Run Invitational – $11,500 requested / $3,000 recommended allocation

Promote Myrtle Beach through hosting a premier high school track and field event to be held in early April.

Carolina Master Chorale – $30,000 requested / $20,000 recommended allocation

Professional quality performances of choral masterworks in concert, nurturing and elevating the culture and climate of Myrtle Beach.

Children's Museum of South Carolina – $120,575 requested / $40,000 recommended allocation

Promote and increase attendance through the implementation of effective marketing strategies which will target tourists, as well as local community members and their visiting families.  Funding will establish the Children's Museum as an evolving attraction encouraging families to return to Myrtle Beach and view Myrtle Beach as a year-round family vacation destination.

Coastal Uncorked – $150,000 requested / $100,000 recommended allocation 

Promote Myrtle Beach through hosting an annual food event celebrating the variety of culinary offerings of Myrtle Beach.  The event is designed to bring tourists to the area to experience cuisine as well as the many other amenities the City has to offer.

Franklin G. Burroughs – Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum – $120,000 requested / $100,000 recommended allocation

Support of the Museum's vital Exhibition Schedule thereby continuing to build our value as a recognizable tourist destination that broadens the overall image and draw of Myrtle Beach.

First Presbyterian Concert Series – $10,000 requested / $10,000 recommended allocation

To provide concerts by world-class performers at reasonable ticket prices for our community and tourists in order to increase awareness of the value of the cultural arts in uniting all people.

Horry County Cultural Arts & Cultural Council – $6,000 requested / $3,000 recommended allocation

The objective is to provide local residents as well as tourists, the opportunity to experience unique, family friendly festivals and create more awareness of Horry County ACE, the Local Arts Council. The Mission of the Horry County Arts and Cultural Events is to grow and evaluate the cultural arts in order to enhance the quality of life for residents and tourists alike.

Long Bay Symphony – $60,000 requested / $50,000 recommended allocation

By providing entertainment, education and cultural diversity, the Symphony seeks to establish an attractive environment for regional, out of state visitors, as well as potential residents.  The Long Bay Symphonic Society supports an extensive music education program for young people.

Mingo Bay Classic Baseball Tournament ( Formerly Hawaiian Tropic Baseball Classic) – $20,000 requested / $10,000 recommended allocation

The objective of this baseball tournament is to bring the very best high school teams from the northeast, mid-Atlantic and Southern states to Myrtle Beach for the purpose of promoting and advertising the Grand Strand.

MB Golf Holiday – $40,000 requested / $40,000 recommended allocation

The World Am has three objectives 1) Bring visitors to our area during a historically slow week, 2) Introduce new golfers and their guests to the Myrtle Beach area, 3) Provide an event that creates a "story line" for a broad range of media.

MB Film Festival – $200,000 requested / $5,000 recommended allocation

The objective is to become one of the larger film festivals in the United States, to include industry networking, a film market, forums, screenings, social venues, which will bring press.

MB Junior Golf Center Foundation – $20,000 requested / $5,000 recommended allocation

To start a Junior golf Center at the Whispering Pines Golf Course for children ages 7 through 17.  There would be no cost for the children of Myrtle Beach and Horry County.  The only revenue would be from vacationing/visiting children attending the golf camp.

North South Game Committee – $25,000 requested / $20,000 recommended allocation

Increase attendance at events involved in the North-South all-star football game week at Myrtle Beach.

Ocean Front Merchants Association – $140,000 requested / $110,000 recommended allocation

Advertising and promotion of Downtown Myrtle Beach and the weekly entertainment that will be scheduled throughout the tourist season.

Omar Shriners – $50,000 requested / $40,000 recommended allocation

Advertising and promoting the Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach, as the location for two (2) Omar Shrine's professionally judged BBQ Competition (Smoke on the Beach & Beach Boogie & BBQ Festival), in 2011.

On Target Challenge – $50,000 requested / $25,000 recommended allocation

Promoting Myrtle Beach through an event that will bring participants from 9 countries and most of the continental United States.

Palmetto Havoc – $20,000 requested / $5,000 recommended allocation 

To promote and bring a national market of professional football to Myrtle Beach and the Horry County area.

Palmetto Studios Arts Alliance – $50,000 requested / $15,000 recommended allocation

Promote Myrtle Beach through hosting a Comic book, fantasy, Sci-Fi and Horror Convention.

The First Tee of Myrtle Beach – $19,140 requested / $10,000 recommended allocation

To assist in the advertising/promotional and operational costs of the First Tee of Myrtle Beach Charity Golf Tournament.  The First Tee of Myrtle Beach is a youth development program whose mission is to "Impact the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf.

Waccamaw Arts & Crafts Guild – $36,000 requested / $15,000 recommended allocation

Plan activities such as, but not limited to, scheduled free of charge educational programs, opportunities for artist to display their works, expanding service on the internet, community outreach programs, and providing faculty and forum where residents and visitors alike can interact, share ideas and gain information.

YMCA – $50,000 requested / $50,000 recommended allocation

To assist in advertising, promoting and marketing of two major youth soccer tournaments that will bring thousands of youths and adults to the City to use hotels, restaurants, entertainment and services to benefit the economy.

South x Southeast – $15,000 requested / $15,000 recommended allocation

To expand and extend advertising and promotion efforts to near-by drive in markets of Wilmington NC, Florence SC and Charleston SC building membership and attendance.