Downtown Myrtle Beach businesses voice support for new improvement tax

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) — A new tax may be on the way for businesses in downtown Myrtle Beach, but it could pay off for those businesses in the long run.

The Myrtle Beach City Council took the first step toward approving a municipal improvement district during a meeting on Tuesday.

The Municipal Improvement District sounds complicated, but it’s essentially just a small tax that would pay for the downtown redevelopment that Myrtle Beach leaders have long sought.

“Community change takes time,” HTC Aspire Hub entrepreneur-in-residence Ray Antonino told City Council. “You have demonstrated your commitment.”

Antonino spends his days working with new entrepreneurs at the HTC Aspire Hub.

In order to attract more businesses to the hub to launch in Myrtle Beach, he has a vested interest in keeping the area clean and safe. That’s why he already puts his money in his mouth.

“I brought a check for $600,” Antonino said. “It will be given today to initiate this first investment.”

The Aspire Hub sits right in the middle of the proposed Municipal Improvement District, which will stretch from 12th Avenue South to 21st Avenue North.

Each business in the district would pay $60 for every $100,000 of property value.

Take the Aspire Hub for example. Antonino said he was valued at $1 million, so he would pay $600 a year to the improvement district.

The Downtown Alliance would manage that money, investing in ways to make the downtown area safer and cleaner, coordinating events to attract people to downtown, and attracting more housing to downtown.

“I’m thrilled with what’s happening with the downtown development,” said Lisa Coombs, owner of hair salon Diva. “It’s going to allow even more foot traffic and a lot more activity in the area.”

The MID is proposed for the next ten years to see what the inner city alliance can do to breathe new life into this area.

This would impact around 3,600 commercial properties, so a bit of money from a lot of businesses.

More of these companies will have the opportunity to say what they would like to see happen in the final vote in two weeks.

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