FEBRUARY 1, 2018
– Pat Dowling, NMB Public Information
North Myrtle Beach registered voters will be going to the polls March 6 to participate in a public referendum to determine if a proposed Tourism Development Fee (a new one-percent sales tax) will be enacted in the City.
If voters choose to enact the proposed tax, in its first year 100% of the tax revenue will go to a qualifying body to be used for out-of-state tourism marketing.
Annually thereafter, 80% of the tax revenue will go to the qualifying body for out-of-state tourism marketing and 20% will go to the City for use in property tax rollback and tourism-related capital projects such as expanding public parking opportunities.
The tax would generate about $8.5 million in its first year. Using the above percentages, after the first year, $6.8 million would be used for out-of-state tourism marketing and $1.7 million would be used by the City for a property tax credit of $51 on a $250,000 home and expansion of public parking opportunities.
The City has a property tax rate of 41.3 mills, the lowest in Horry County and one of the lowest in the state. The property tax rate includes 6.2 mills used to pay down the bond issue that funded the North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex. The bond will be paid off in 2019 and the property tax rate will then be reduced by 6.2 mills.
State law provides City Council with the option of imposing the Tourism Development Fee by a super-majority vote of its members or allowing the voters to decide the issue in a public referendum.
Some have encouraged City Council to vote to impose the proposed tax but Council believes allowing the public to decide this issue is the correct path to follow.
Registered voters who wish to participate in the referendum will vote at their usual polling places. Barefoot residents vote at the Firehouse on Barefoot Resort Bridge Road. Polls will open on March 6 at 7 am and close at 7 pm.