Horry County Council doesn’t get a say in Myrtle Beach’s plan to annex property near the city’s southern border after all.
On Wednesday, a day after the Horry County Council debated and eventually denied the city’s request for a special election for the annexation, county officials said the vote was null and void.
“After reviewing state law, it has been determined that the resolution on [Tuesday] night’s Horry County Council agenda authorizing and calling for an annexation election as petitioned by the city of Myrtle Beach was not required,” Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said in a press release sent Wednesday morning. “We apologize for any confusion this may have caused. The resolution disapproved by council [Tuesday] night will not affect the annexation process.”
Bourcier said after sending the release that the county misread its role in the annexation request and caught the mistake on its own.
“We interpreted state law in thinking that it needed a resolution adoption, but it didn’t,” she said. “So, the election is still on.”
On Tuesday, council voted, at first, to allow the annexation vote to take place. Then, Councilman Marion Foxworth balked at the idea, stating petitioners who want the question on the July 15 ballot only represent residents in areas like Bridgeport and Waterside subdivisions and not the large commercial area along U.S. 17 Bypass between U.S. 501 and roughly 21st Avenue North. County Council then reversed its vote and said it did not want to support the effort for the special election.
Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea said the County Council’s vote had no impact on plans to allow voters to decide if they want to be annexed into the city.
“I’m not aware of any change on the city’s part,” Kruea said when asked if the county’s vote might make city officials change their stance. “It’s just an odd circumstance with the county’s resolution.”
In March, Myrtle Beach City Council voted to move forward with the annexation. Forty-six people, which is more than 25 percent of voters in the proposed annexation area, signed a petition for the annexation.
According to state law, 25 percent of the 170 registered voters in the designated area – which spans more than 620 acres – can petition the city and county to hold a special election to decide to be annexed into the city.
Businesses like The Gold Club, stores in the Dail Centre shopping plaza on Jason Boulevard, BMW of Myrtle Beach and The Sun News are among the properties that would be annexed if the move is approved.
A city of Myrtle Beach staff report presented to City Council estimated more than $461,000 in additional revenue to the city through the annexation, with the bulk coming from business license fees.
Kruea said the city used the petition method about five years ago when voters in the Palmetto Greens neighborhood voted to be annexed into Myrtle Beach.
Foxworth said he questioned whether the move was legal at Tuesday’s meeting, but he wanted to make sure everyone knew he was not giving the proposed annexation his blessing.
“I really didn’t think we could last night,” Foxworth said. “I was trying to basically lodge a complaint, or a protest, against that method for the people in my district to know that I wasn’t crazy about it.”