Voters in North Myrtle Beach have a choice on Tuesday when they go to the polls to vote on whether or not to approve a Tourism Development Fee in the city.
Interestingly, the choice is not between voting the TDF up or down, although that will be decided. The real choice is how voters want to pay for infrastructure and other improvement needs in the city and who should be doing the paying.
From recent discussions at the North Myrtle Beach City Council budget retreat, it appears some type of revenue increase is in the offing for North Myrtle Beach residents.
According to information I have received, the North Myrtle Beach City Council discussed a property tax increase of 2-3 mills during their budget retreat earlier in the week.
A property tax increase would be paid only by the property owners in the city. The TDF would be paid by everybody, tourists included, who makes purchases in the city.
The TDF has the added advantage of providing revenue for targeted marketing of the North Myrtle Beach brand (cleaner, safer, family oriented) to tourists who are the lifeblood of the economy in the city.
I attended a meeting of the Tidewater HOA recently where the North Myrtle Beach City Manager made a presentation on the TDF.
Part of the presentation showed pictures demonstrating the need for more parking facilities in the city, an infrastructure improvement that increased revenue to the city will fund, according to statements by council. In addition, road improvements and continued staffing of public safety personnel were discussed as needs.
Another part of the presentation compared revenue increases available from the TDF versus the possibilities from something called the Municipal Tax Reform Act, which is only at best a vague hope to at worst a pipe dream in the minds of city council.
The Municipal Tax Reform Act is a bill that has been stuck in committee in the S.C. Senate for over a year and has no hope of passage in this legislative year or the near future. (You can see more on this in other articles I have written about the referendum.)