Business owners in a swath of Myrtle Beach may soon have to pay more taxes.
This week, the city council unanimously approved the first of two readings confirming the assessment roll for the newly formed Municipal Improvement District (MID).
The assessment roll is the list of properties that are included in the MID, explained Michelle Shumpert, chief financial officer for the city. She added the assessment roll also includes the estimated increase in property’s taxes due in October.
The MID stretches from 21st Avenue North to 12th Avenue South reaching from Ocean Boulevard, across Kings Highway and into the Withers Swash neighborhood.
Shumpert said those areas were identified as areas that could benefit the most from the additional services provided by the MID. Money collected in the MID stays in the MID and will go toward services such as street beautification, additional sanitation services, enhanced security, marketing, special events and research to support neighborhood economic development, she said.
Commercial property owners will be billed 1% of the assessed value of their property generating about $600,000 for the coming fiscal year and $10 million in a decade, Amy Barrett, president of Myrtle Beach Downtown Alliance, has said.
The commercial property that would be included in the MID are high-rise resorts, T-shirt shops, restaurants and residential rental units. Properties that are exempt from the MID include full-time residential units, city-owned property and churches.
Barrett said there are roughly 3,650 properties in the MID.
City councilman Gregg Smith said the utilization of a MID fits the profile of Myrtle Beach.
“A municipal improvement district is used a lot in cities that have kind of a concentrated area of need. Tourism creates very heavy traffic in the MID area and it also creates a lot of fun in the MID area.” Smith said. “It takes a lot of additional services in the area so the MID makes it more equitable that the places receiving those additional services are also paying for those additional services.”
Shumpert said the city has sent out letters to the properties that fall within in the MID. Those letters were sent via certified mail on June 29. Bill Musser, the city’s bond attorney, said out of the nearly 3,650 letters sent out to property owners within the MID, there have only been three written protests received as of Tuesday.
Shumpert did say they have received some letters back as returned to sender but could not give an estimate as to how many.
Smith said he expected more protests. However, the city and its affiliated nonprofits such as Myrtle Beach Downton Alliance have put their nose to the grindstone to get the word out and drum up support for the MID.
“In the end, the whole point is to benefit the area,” Smith said, “Everybody pays a little to get additional services that will benefit the area."
The Myrtle Beach Downton Alliance is a committee of city officials both elected and employed, business owners, educators, community leaders and nonprofit representatives. The alliance committee was chosen by One Grand Strand. One Grand Strand is a nonprofit made primarily of downtown business owners with the objective of following the city’s downtown redevelopment efforts by luring investors.
Shumpert said business and property owners have until Aug. 10 to submit a protest regarding their assessment in the MID. The second reading of the ordinance concerning the assessment roll for the MID will not be read during city council’s next meeting on Aug. 9.
Instead, a special meeting will be held on Thursday, Aug. 11 at 11 a.m. for the council to hear protests from business and property owners. If no protest is successful, council will move forward with the second reading.
If passed, Shumpert said the MID would not only be established but the plans involving the MID, such as special projects, will go into effect and the city has full authorization to move forward with putting the MID assessment on the property tax bill.