The city of Myrtle Beach has collected a lot more in sales tax for tourism development than its financial experts had predicted.
Budget director Michael Shelton had estimated the city would take in about $15 million in the first 12 months the 1 percent sales tax was being collected, and with the latest check received from the state, the city's 10-month total is $14.2 million -- and that doesn't count sales tax collections for June and July, two of the year's busiest months.
The city just received a check for $4.8 million that covers sales tax generated during March, April and May of this year -- an amount 32 percent higher than Shelton had projected.
The sales tax, which went into effect Aug. 1, 2009, is paid within city limits on most purchases, except gas, groceries and prescription medications. The revenue raises money for advertising Myrtle Beach to potential out-of-area visitors.
The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce will get all the revenue raised for the first year the 10-year tax is in place, but after that, the city keeps 20 percent to give resident property owners a tax credit and to pay for tourism-related projects.