Officials mulling Myrtle Beach rally safety costs

Publish Date: 
Oct 1, 2012

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C – County revenue was up as a result of the May rallies on the Grand Strand, but some local officials are concerned as the fall rally opens today because public safety costs for the annual spring rallies were far greater than permit revenue.

The county recently announced it had spent $257,450 on public safety connected to the Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson rally and the Atlantic Beach Bikefest, but took in only $74,360 on special event and vendor permits.

But that doesn’t tell the whole story: The county’s 1 percent share of the hospitality tax generated about $517,418 in May from the unincorporated parts of the county, according to figures from Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier.

Bourcier said this year’s numbers marked the highest amount of hospitality taxes collected in the county since May of fiscal year 2008. Tax revenue for local accommodations collected in unincorporated areas for May 2012 totaled $73,916, which was again the highest amount since the same month in fiscal year 2008.

The permit period for the fall rally runs through Oct. 7. As of Friday, the county had issued 42 vendor permits and six special event permits, Bourcier said.

The County Council is expected to have a full discussion Oct. 2 on how to prevent similar losses on the safety budget in the future, according to the Myrtle Beach Sun-News.

“I would venture to say that if you are weighing the expense to jurisdictions for managing the impact of the rallies against the income the rallies generate for the economy, the income they generate would far outweigh the expense,” said Pat Dowling, spokesman for the city of North Myrtle Beach, via email. “Ten years ago, the participants associated with these events may have had less of an impact on the economy because the participants were generally younger and had less to spend.

“However, we have definitely noticed a change in the age of participants and their buying power.”

Posted by Holly Wagner