Myrtle Beach notebook | Mayor home from hospital following December brain surgery

By Maya T. PrabhuJanuary 7, 2013 

— Mayor John Rhodes was released from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and returned to Myrtle Beach on Saturday afternoon, said city spokesman Mark Kruea.

Rhodes, 69, is expected to lead Tuesday’s City Council workshop and meeting, Kruea said.

The mayor had surgery to repair an aneurysm in his brain Dec. 29. Rhodes was initially admitted to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center on Dec. 27 when his blood pressure spiked.

Concern over complications from the condition and the possible brain aneurysm sent him to MUSC for further testing Dec. 28 that led to surgery that weekend.

Although Rhodes plans to preside over Tuesday’s meetings, Kruea said he believes the mayor will take it easy.

“He isn’t going to rush recovery. He’s going to listen to the doctors and be a good patient,” Kruea said.

Rhodes is in his second term as mayor after first being elected in 2005.

Court to hear tax cases

The S.C. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the appeal of cases brought against the city of Myrtle Beach by the state Tourism Expenditure Review Committee.

One case addresses the way that Myrtle Beach spends the money it receives from the accommodations tax and the second concerns TERC withholding money from the city because the committee disapproved of the way the funds were spent.

State law requires hotels and other temporary lodgings to charge a 7 percent accommodations tax, with 5 percent going to the state and the remaining 2 percent going back to the county or municipality where the lodging is located.

That 2 percent is to be used for tourism-related expenditures, such as advertising. TERC is the oversight group set up to determine whether those expenditures are proper.

TERC is appealing a case in which it was determined that the city’s use of accommodations taxes to pay for services – such as police and fire protection – was a legal expenditure.

Then the state’s Court of Appeals dismissed a case brought against Myrtle Beach saying legislation passed since a fireworks show was held in 2003 makes the issue a moot point. TERC is appealing the dismissal.

In 2003, the city used $20,000 in accommodations taxes for a fireworks show that was produced by for-profit entities. Also that year, the city spent $10,000 in accommodations taxes to help advertise a fall motorcycle rally that was sponsored by a for-profit business.

TERC ruled in 2004 that both expenditures were improper because the money went to for-profit entities and ordered the S.C. Treasurer’s Office to withhold $30,000 from the city’s future accommodations tax disbursements.

The case has worked its way through the judicial system to the appeals court, but in 2006 the state legislature passed a law requiring accommodations taxes withheld by the treasurer’s office prior to July 1, 2006, be returned to the entity from which they were held.

The cases will be heard at 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_MPrabhu.

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