WMBF Investigates: Over $1.2 million spent on legal fees in hospitality tax battle

WMBF Investigates: Over $1.2 million spent on legal fees in hospitality tax battle
Myrtle Beach sued Horry County over illegally collecting its hospitality fees in March 2019. (Source: WMBF)

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The legal costs surrounding the hospitality fee battle are climbing.

Horry County and municipalities have been fighting over the 1.5% hospitality tax since the beginning of the year. Myrtle Beach filed a lawsuit in March, accusing the county of illegally collecting the fee without the city’s consent.

The legal battle has brought on a number of injunctions and appeals from both parties.

WMBF News first started looking into how much this legal fight is costing the municipalities back in October.

On October 1, the dispute cost Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach and Horry County more than $900,000. But now the total is more than $1.2 million.

Here’s the breakdown of the legal costs:

  • Myrtle Beach: $757,983
  • North Myrtle Beach:  $108,583
  • Surfside Beach: $19,600
  • Horry County: $326,374

It’s important to note that Horry County has spent more than $326,000 to the law firm Burr and Forman, but it’s unclear if this is the only case the firm is working on for the county.

Horry County leaders and attorneys for the municipalities reached a tentative agreement in the legal battle during their third mediation last week. But that proposed resolution must be presented to both city and county leaders.

If there is an agreement on both sides, then they will take it to court.

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