MYRTLE BEACH — Those interested in being mayor or sitting on the Myrtle Beach City Council can officially throw their hats in the ring beginning Thursday.
The filing period for the Nov. 5 election opens at noon Thursday, with the deadline to file being noon Sept. 6.
The seats of Mayor John Rhodes and councilmen Wayne Gray, Mike Lowder and Randal Wallace are up for election, with all expressing an intent to run for reelection.
“I’m ready to go ahead and get this thing cranked up and start the campaign,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes is running for his third term as mayor, Lowder is running for his second term and Wallace is running for his fourth term. Gray is running for his fourth term since first being elected to council in 1997. He was not in office from 2001 to 2005.
“I’m planning on getting out there and doing what I usually do, which is knocking on doors, talking to people and asking for their vote,” Wallace said.
The only other person who has expressed an intent to run is former Myrtle Beach mayoral candidate Keith Van Winkle.
This is Van Winkle’s fourth attempt at serving in public office. In 2008 he ran unsuccessfully for Horry County Council against Councilman Marion Foxworth. In 2009, he ran for Myrtle Beach mayor, but dropped out of the race.
In 2010 Van Winkle attempted again to run for County Council but was kicked off the ballot because he was one of 16 Horry County Republican candidates who failed to file a statement of economic interest by the required deadline.
Application packets will be available at City Hall, 937 Broadway St., beginning Thursday at noon. Potential candidates must submit a statement of candidacy and file with the S.C. Ethics Commission, according to city spokesman Mark Kruea. There is no filing fee.
Lowder said he plans to formally announce his candidacy Thursday at City Hall when he files his paperwork.
All the incumbents remarked on how quiet the ramp-up to the election season has been and said they believe more candidates will join the race once the filing period opens.
“It’s been stunningly quiet,” Wallace said. “But maybe people will file at the last minute.”
Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 5. If a runoff is necessary, it will be held Nov. 19. To run, potential candidates must be 18 years old and a city resident. They also must be registered to vote by Oct. 5.
Performing arts center referendum
Additionally, voters will be asked if they support increasing property taxes to build a performing arts center.
During a September 2012 discussion about the Myrtle Beach Performing Arts Center, council decided to ask residents if the city should use public funds to pay $10 million for the construction of the facility near the Myrtle Beach Convention Center and raise property taxes in the city.
If voters approve the referendum, residents of an owner-occupied residential property would have to pay about $10 more per year for a $100,000 home, according to the referendum.
“I’m excited to see what the results of [the referendum] will be,” Rhodes said. “I think that the public will vote for it. I think they’ll see the value and that culture is important.”
Even if the residents support building the center, the referendum is not binding so the City Council is not obligated to do anything, city attorney Tom Ellenburg said at a November workshop.
The $10 million would pay for construction as well as architectural and engineering fees, according to the resolution.
For information on the referendum, visit http://cityofmyrtlebeach.com/2013referendum.html.
Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_MPrabhu.