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A woman jogs by the Grand Park lake in The Market Common of Myrtle Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

A dispute between city, county and school district officials over redevelopment at The Market Common is officially over. 

After all the parties voted to approve a settlement Tuesday, the governments released a joint statement Wednesday morning outlining the terms of the deal.

“We are pleased to reach common ground on the resolution of this lawsuit and will continue to work together to bring the successful redevelopment of the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base to a close in the near future,” the statement read. 

Horry County and Horry County Schools sued the city of Myrtle Beach in December 2018, alleging improper spending of revenue from tax increment financing at The Market Common.

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is when a locality takes out a bond with the pledge to repay it with future property tax revenue of the redeveloping area.

Taxation on the property, in this case Market Common, is frozen during redevelopment. 

The joint suit sought to prevent the city from continuing to issue bonds to redevelop Market Common. According to the city, it partially succeeded. In court filings, Myrtle Beach blamed the lawsuit for tanking a planned $12.6 million bond sale through Wells Fargo.

The city alleged that losing out on the deal cost more than $42 million.

Public records also show that the city spent over $200,000 on attorneys in 2019. The county spent more than $133,000 on this case, records show.

Myrtle Beach, Horry County, Horry County Schools and the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base Redevelopment Authority met separately Tuesday to authorize signing onto the settlement. 

However, officials with each organization provided few details about what the settlement involved until Wednesday morning.

“I don’t know all the details anyway because it’s so convoluted," Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner said shortly after county council approved the deal Tuesday. "But it favors Horry County. I can tell you that.”

The TIF district was established in 1994 at the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base.

County and school officials had asserted the redevelopment of that property was complete and they wanted the district dissolved. The city disputed the allegations and sought damages after the bond offering was canceled.

Under the settlement the parties approved Tuesday, the TIF district should be dissolved by the fall of 2028.

"Between now and dissolution, the parties have agreed to the completion of an additional 13 specified new projects within the TIF District, at a cost of no more than $28.5 million," the joint statement reads, noting that an annual surplus of $6 million will be divided among the county, school district and the city.

"The parties have agreed to work together to ensure that all parties have a comfort level with redevelopment expenditures from now until dissolution," the statement reads.

No liability is admitted by any party as a result of the settlement. The joint release states that local government officials will not offer further comment on the matter.

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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I'm the editor of myhorrynews.com and the Carolina Forest Chronicle, a weekly newspaper in Horry County, South Carolina. I cover county government, the justice system and agriculture. Know of a story that needs to be covered? Call me at 843-488-7236.

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