Myrtle Beach Performing Arts Center referendum passes with about 54 percent of vote

mprabhu@thesunnews.comNovember 6, 2013 

The Long Bay Symphony Performs at The Myrtle Beach Music & Arts Center. The symphony might get a new place to play if voters vote to increase property taxes to pay for a new performing arts center on Nov. 5.

BY MATT SILFER — For The Sun News Buy Photo

— Nearly 54 percent of Myrtle Beach voters supported a referendum Tuesday that allows the city to raise property taxes to pay for the construction of a $10 million performing arts center.

Residents voted 1,907 to 1,639 in support of the referendum that allows the City Council to repay a $10 million bond that would cause residents of owner-occupied residential properties to have to pay about $10 more per year on a $100,000 home.

Performing arts center supporters had to wait until Wednesday morning to learn the final unofficial vote after a voting machine went down at Coastal Lane 1 precinct on Tuesday. The machine had to be sent to the county to retrieve the votes.

The City Council is not obligated to build the facility, city attorney Tom Ellenburg said. The city needed the OK from voters to exceed the city’s debt limit, as set by the state, to finance $10 million in bonds that would take them above that limit.

Owners of second homes, commercial property, automobiles and other taxable properties, such as boats, also would see an increase ranging from $26.25 per $100,000 of assessed manufacturing and utility property to $3 per $20,000 of assessed automobile value.

The proposed 35,000-square-foot venue would be adjacent to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, have an auditorium of 500 to 600 fixed seats, a fully-equipped performance stage, a smaller theater that would have an additional 80 to 120 seats, back-of-the house and support space, professional offices and public pre-function areas. The bonds would pay for construction as well as architectural and engineering fees.

City spokesman Mark Kruea said the City Council most likely would discuss constructing the performing arts center while working on the budget next spring. The earliest City Council could issue the bonds and increase property taxes would be next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

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

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