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North Myrtle Beach residents vote on tax increase that would pay for marketing

North Myrtle Beach residents vote on tax increase that would pay for marketing (Madeline Montgomery/WPDE)

North Myrtle Beach could be seeing a tax increase and, in turn, more visitors. That is if people there vote yes to a tourism development fee.

"It will provide a one cent sales tax on all merchandise and goods except for those things you could buy with food stamps that are not taxed," said Pat Dowling, the spokesman for North Myrtle Beach.

That money will go towards marketing the city to people who live outside of South Carolina.

"Our strategy would be to help fill up March, April, May, and then Oct., Nov., and not worrying about stressing the system in the summer when tourism is so abundant," said George DuRant, the senior vice president of marketing for the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce.

"The second year, 80 percent of the money goes for that purpose and 20 percent goes to the city," said Dowling.

The city has decided if the fee does pass, they will use their cut of it on things like parking, public safety and property tax relief. In the third year, residents will see a property tax break.

But the group of long time residents ABC 15 talked to said they think the city should deal with infrastructure before bringing in more visitors.

"I'll vote against it. Not because I begrudge the 1 percent, but I don't want it used to advertise to people coming in until we can accommodate them," said Judy Keaton, who has lived in North Myrtle Beach for almost 20 years.

"We feel like it's important to continue to invite people to this wonderful place," said DuRant.

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