Horry County Council approves tourism contract with Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – There were some tense moments at Tuesday night’s Horry County Council meeting during a brief exchange between councilman Al Allen and Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce President Karen Riordan.

It was regarding resolution 94-2022, which the council voted to approve a contract with the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce to handle 30% of tourism promotional funding.

Allen had issues with where the funds would go and if they’d go to the Grand Strand Business Alliance. Riordan said the funds would go specifically toward what is proposed. She did clarify that businesses in Horry County pay dues to the Chamber, which are considered private unrestricted money that has nothing to do with money spent on tourism.

“When people send in their membership dues, they elect if they would like to take 18% of their membership dues and voluntarily have that contributed to the Grand Strand Business Alliance. The Grand Strand Business Alliance is a separate organization, but it is affiliated with the Chamber,” said Karen Riordan.

Councilman Al Allen further inquired about money going through the chamber.

“Even though it’s private funding, all of that funding still runs through the Myrtle Beach Chamber, is that correct?”

Riordan responded, “Yes but we have separate bank accounts and as indicated not only do we do quarterly reporting to the county, to the cities, but we also are responsible for doing accounting back to the state of South Carolina.”

Councilman Allen mentioned a mailer that was sent out in the county, which he said seemed like “an attack on councilmembers” who didn’t vote for the Interstate 73 proposal.

“After our vote on I-73, there was a mailer sent out, which was very political and seemingly targeted members of this council, that at the time did not support that vote for I-73, for whatever reason,” said Allen.

Riordan said, “Our mailer did not attack anyone, our mailer was sent out to the community to have them thank those members of council who did vote for I-73.”

In the end, the resolution did pass, with Allen being the only no vote.

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