Myrtle Beach considers charging visitors a fee to pay for safety
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Taking a trip to Myrtle Beach may soon cost visitors a little more out of their pockets.
City leaders are considering an ordinance that would make visitors pay a little more for everyone’s safety, especially during the busy summer months.
The Public Safety Enhancement Fee would be a small, but mighty, $3 charge on short-term rental bills like hotels and Airbnb offerings.
Officials hope visitors won’t mind paying that if it means making their stay as safe as possible.
“We’re just exploring the fee right now, but really it is to help public safety, to enhance it during the summer months because it is so vital and needed at this time,” said Myrtle Beach Financial Services Director Jeremy Roof.
Roof has spent the past few months reaching out to other tourism destinations like Charleston, Beaufort and Fort Lauderdale to see how they handle public safety in the summertime.
None of them have implemented a fee like the one Myrtle Beach is now considering.
“During the summer months, the population down here is huge,” said Roof. “We want to make sure everyone is safe no matter what, and we think a fee like this would certainly help.”
It would be a flat $3 fee, no matter how expensive the hotel is, the number of guests or how long a stay lasts.
Most of it would go toward public safety, which includes more law enforcement and equipment.
“Staff is one thing, but with having more staff you need more vehicles, so I think it’s really twofold,” said Roof.
Meanwhile, a small portion of the fee would go toward infrastructure improvements in the city.
Part of the proposal is to put together a committee of community members to look after the funds and play a role in how they’re allocated.
No matter how exactly they’re spent, it’ll be in the interest of making the summer as safe as it is fun.
“We really want to make sure the police have adequate needs, staff, equipment to look after everyone in those summer months,” said Roof.
Roof presented the idea to city officials this week and hopes to have an ordinance proposal go before Myrtle Beach City Council by the end of the year.
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