Admission tax in Market Common may pay off locally

The City of Myrtle Beach is trying to create the area's fifth Admission Tax District that would keep tax money from tickets at venues like movie theaters and events and put it towards local improvement projects. The area they're looking at is Market Common and the surrounding athletic fields.

"Right now when you buy a ticket, you're paying 5% sales tax, admissions tax on that, and all of that money goes to Columbia right now," Myrtle Beach City Spokesperson Mark Kruea said.

Last week, Myrtle Beach City Council voted in favor of the ordinance that would create the district at Market Common, and it only needs one more vote on December 3 to become final.

If passed, 25% of the tax money from tickets purchased at events within the district will stay right in Myrtle Beach, instead of going to Columbia. So this is not a new tax, but instead, keeping the money from an existing tax.

"We'd put the money towards building more fields there at the area, improvements for example, improvements to Grand Park, that sort of thing," Kruea said.

Guidelines for an admission tax district require $20 million to be invested in the area, and the district must be set up within 5 years of the area's development.

"Once you get that $20 million in investment, it's kind of a given that you'd set up an admission tax district," Kruea said.

The four existing admission tax districts right now include the Myrtle Beadh Boardwalk, Pelicans Stadium, Nascar Speedpark, Grand Dunes and Pine Lakes. Together, Kruea said they bring back roughly $150,000 into the city.

"Every little bit helps when you're trying to pay for public infrastructure projects without charging the public more money to do so," Kruea said.

If this new district is created, it'll be in place for 15 years.