MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - Myrtle Beach is changing the way it allocates accommodations taxes after a 10-year feud with the state that went to the South Carolina Supreme Court.
The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports the city will no longer put the tax collected on motel and hotel rooms into its general fund and will submit more detailed reports to the state on how it is used.
Myrtle Beach is the center of South Carolina's $18 billion tourism industry. The state collects a 2 percent tax on accommodations which is then sent back to the areas where it is collected.
The city had said that as a tourist town, it should be able to use the money for public services such as police and fire protection. The state wanted to make sure it was being used as required for tourism-related expenses such as advertising.
In 2003, the state sued over the use of $20,000 in tax money for a fireworks show for for-profit groups. Five years ago the state Tourism Expenditure Review Committee again sued over the use of about $300,000 in the tax money in a case that went to the state Supreme Court.
The justices ruled earlier this year that the money could not be moved to the general fund.
In April, the review committee again questioned about $5 million in bed tax money collected in Myrtle Beach and asked the state to withhold the funds.
Ed Riggs of Mount Pleasant, the chairman of the review committee, said the reports the city had been submitting did show where the money was being allocated.
City Manager Tom Leath says that last month, city staff and Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President Brad Dean met with committee members and reached a compromise.
Earlier this month the review committee agreed to allow the funds to go to the city.
"We've been at odds for a while," Riggs said. "We've resolved our differences and we're all moving on."
Information from: The Sun News, http://www.thesunnews.com/
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