MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Myrtle Beach city leaders want to ask state lawmakers for more accommodations tax funding to put more police officers on the streets.
Accommodations tax, which is collected on things like hotel rooms and vacation rentals, is supposed to go to tourism promotion. However, city leaders want to allocate more tax money to increase officer presence throughout the whole year.
“Public safety really is our top priority so by increasing our police force we can provide that additional measure of safety year-round,” said city spokesperson Mark Kruea.
After a violent Memorial Day Weekend in 2014, state lawmakers agreed to allocate more a-tax money for public safety in the month of May. Kruea said he’s seen a difference since then.
“The last three memorial day events have been much safer. We’ve not had the significant problems we had in 2014 and that is in large measure, due to the additional resources that we were able to provide that weekend.:
With more and more tourists visiting Myrtle Beach, the city now wants to ask state lawmakers to allocate additional accommodations tax funds for the whole year.
“Realistically we’re a town of 300,000 people a part of the year and we need to be able to provide a police presence to make sure that it’s safe for our visitors, our residents, and our businesses year-round.”
The Chamber of Commerce directs about $1.5 million in accommodations tax money for the month of May. Kruea says the additional money would come from the Chamber, which President and CEO Brad Dean fully supports.
In a statement he said:
Safety is paramount to the quality of life and to tourism in Myrtle Beach. The Chamber is in full support of the plan, and we are willing to re-direct advertising dollars to help put more police on the streets.
According to Kruea, state lawmakers, including Rep. Alan Clemmons, are also on board. “We’ve talked with local lawmakers and I believe they understand the need for this. And again, that’s what the accommodations tax was created for.”
The South Carolina General Assembly will discuss this request when they resume session in January.