Residents in the City of North Myrtle Beach gathered at precincts on Tuesday to cast their vote for the Tourism Development Fee, a 1-percent sales tax that goes toward out-of-area marketing.
Now, the fate of the tax will be decided Tuesday evening after voting ends at 7 p.m.
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“I don’t like it,” resident Jim Rudge said after voting at the precinct near the Tidewater neighborhood. “I’m voting no. I think if hotels and motels want to start promoting the area, chip in. Why does everybody else have to pay a 1-percent fee? I just don’t agree. I don’t think it’s right.”
By law, 80 percent of the tax must go to out-of-state marketing. That means that 20 percent can be used for tax rebates, but at least 4 percent must be used for tax rebates. The rest of the money can go back to the city.
In North Myrtle Beach, if the tax is passed the city plans to give 80 percent of the money to the chamber, 16 percent will go to the city and 4 percent used for tax rebates.
City council chose to put the vote up for a referendum, allowing residents to decide rather than doing a majority vote.
Voting is open until 7 p.m. Here’s a list of polling places:
- Windy Hill 1 Precinct – Windy Hill Fire Station #3 (33rd Avenue South)
- Windy Hill 2 Precinct – Fire Station #5 (Barefoot Resort – 4740 Barefoot Resort Bridge Road)
- Crescent Beach Precinct – J. Bryan Floyd Community Center (1030 Possum Trot Road)
- Ocean Drive 1 Precinct – Fire Station #1 (2nd Avenue South)
- Ocean Drive 2 Precinct – St. Stephens Episcopal Church (11th Avenue North)
- Cherry Grove 1 Precinct – Chapel By The Sea Church (Sea Mountain Highway)
- Cherry Grove 2 Precinct – Fire Station #4 (Little River Neck Road)
“It’s another 1-percent increase in sales tax,” resident Alan Skidmore said at a precinct near Barefoot Landing. “I’m opposed because I voted yes for the roads referendum last year, another 1-percent, 2-percent in a second year, no thanks.”
According to the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce website, the tax would generate $4.5 million in the first year and would support and additional 3,000 jobs.
Some residents were angry over signs that were placed along roads and near neighborhoods, promoting the TDF.
The signs read “Vote yes TDF for public safety Tuesday March 6th.” While the tax could be used for infrastructure, public safety is not involved in the equation.
“I’m not very happy about the signs they put out here, saying it was public safety when in fact it had nothing to do with it,” Jerry Harper, a resident of Barefoot Resort, said. “So I hope they go after these people and put them in jail.”