February 25, 2013

Myrtle Beach council to discuss performing arts center referendum

Referendum asks residents if city should raise property taxes to fund $10 million center

The Myrtle Beach City Council is scheduled to discuss a resolution at Tuesday’s meeting that would place a referendum on the November ballot asking residents if they support increasing property taxes to build a performing arts center.

During a September discussion about the Myrtle Beach Performing Arts Center, council decided 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.

City spokesman Mark Kruea said there was a possibility the resolution placing the referendum on the ballot may have tabled until a future council meeting. Mayor John Rhodes said he expected to discuss the item Tuesday.

“I don’t know why it’d be continued,” he said. “I’m ready to talk about if that’s the will of the council.”

If voters approve the referendum, residents of an owner-occupied residential property would have to pay about $10 more per year in a $100,000 home, according to the referendum.

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.

“There is no obligation whatsoever,” he said. “At any point in this process you may withdraw [from funding the center]. … The City Council has to pick the right time to go into the market.”

The $10 million would pay for construction as well as architectural and engineering fees, according to the resolution.

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