Businesses face high fees if annexed to Myrtle Beach

Some businesses in Horry County could be annexed into Myrtle Beach, and several car dealerships are trying to fight it.

But only voters will have the final say when they head to the polls on Tuesday, July 15.

Some car dealerships say if they are annexed, they could see a dramatic increase in what they pay for their business licenses. In some cases, dealerships could be forced to pay up to ten times what they are paying now, just to stay open.

"The businesses effected, many of them are going to have to pay an incredible business license fees. In fact if you look at the city's documents, almost 96 percent of the revenue will be generated by these business and they don't even get a vote," said Thomas Brittan, Hyatt GMC's attorney.

To get the annexation question on a ballot, signatures of residents who would be affected were needed. 25 percent of residents signed the petition asking to be annexed in the city. But business owners contend the signatures weren't collected properly. They say they were collected two years ago.

"We have other problems with the way the notices were done. The timelines and that sort of thing. But what is much more of a significant issue is the taxing or licensing or getting revenue from a group that has no say in it," Brittan said.

Mark Kruea with the City of Myrtle Beach says the signatures were verified. He says the city is doing everything correctly when it comes to annexing areas into the city.

Brittan has requested all of the documents from the city associated with the annexation.

"We have reviewed them at my law firm and what we have come up with is several issues. We will be asking the city to postpone or walk away from this annexation based on these short comings that we think are there," Brittan said. "Then they may go forward with it, if so then we intend to contest the legitimacy of it."

If the businesses are added, the City of Myrtle Beach estimates the business license fees collected from dealerships to be around $450,000.