Carla Schuessler will take over as board chair of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce for a one-year term beginning Jan. 1, replacing outgoing chair Todd Setzer.
Seven new members will also be joining the board of directors at the beginning of the new year.
Schuessler, who is the executive director of Horry County Habitat for Humanity, said she plans to focus a lot of her time on educating the local community about the chamber’s role in tourism and strengthening the economy.
Her new role comes at a crucial time, as the City of Myrtle Beach is expected to vote this year on whether to extend the tourism development fee for 10 years.
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The one-cent sales tax is set to expire in July.
Currently, the city keeps about 20 percent of the taxes for capital improvement projects and tax credits for resident property owners, and 80 percent is used to promote Myrtle Beach tourism.
Chamber President Brad Dean said earlier this year the chamber would not be opposed to redirecting some of those advertising dollars to police, if the state legislature would change the law allowing them to do so.
“I think that it’s important that we really focus on making sure people are aware of what the chamber does and what it does for our businesses and our community as a whole,” Schuessler said.
“It benefits all of us to work together and have an understanding of what everyone’s goals are — to have a prosperous, healthy, and safe community where we can live and raise our families, and people enjoy coming to visit,” Schuessler said.
“I think if we all realize we have that common goal, it might be easier to bridge the gaps and come together for those goals,” she said.
Schuessler is a Chicago native who moved to the Grand Strand in 1997, and has served on the chamber board for three years.
She also serves on the boards for the South Carolina Association of Habitat Affiliates and the Grand Strand Housing and Community Development Corporation.
Also joining the board of directors in January are Larry Bond from The Chemist, Jamie Broadhurst with Century 21 Broadhurst and Associates, Mike Hagg of Horry Telephone Company, Billy McGonigal of Best Western Ocean Sands Resort, Sarah Miles from WMBF, John Rowe of South State Park, and Robert Stinnett with WonderWorks.
Each board member will serve a three-year term.