SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) – Accommodations tax money could soon be used for drainage projects and flooding issues in tourism-related areas if a bill passes through the House and is signed into law.
Sponsored by four senators, bill S. 217 would allow governments to use money from the accommodations tax for projects that would help prevent flooding and drainage issues in tourism-related lands or areas.
"This is just becoming a usual thing for us and we have to do something about it,” said Senator Stephen Goldfinch. He said he’s in support of a bill like this and its one of many bills related to flooding issues moving through the legislative process right now.
"That's not an unusual thing to have a flood, it’s an unusual thing to have a flood that bad every year for three or four years in a row,” he said.
Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught said it’s something he would be in favor of if it passes.
"Basically it gives us the ability to go after just flood-related type things that are related to tourism,” said Vaught.
The thousand year flood in 2015, Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Florence last September are events proven to be detrimental to certain areas of the Carolinas, Horry County included.
"We're not going to be able to stop the floods but I think we’re going to be able to rearrange things, change drainage issues, raise certain roads, fix infrastructure where it needs to be and hopefully get people out of the hundred year flood plain and I think those things will help,” said Goldfinch.
Surfside Beach Mayor Bob Childs said his town is fortunate to have avoided major flooding and he attributes that to the stormwater drainage system the town has. Other areas, just down the road from Surfside Beach haven’t been as lucky.
"The problem seems to be up around the Intracoastal waterway and rivers. That's where these floods are coming from,” said Childs.
"Not a lot of the Intracoastal, Waccamaw is tied to tourism, but it’ll especially help us in coastal areas, which then will free up money some money for us to do other things somewhere else,” said Vaught.
The bill passed through the Senate this week and was sent to the House Ways and Means Committee Wednesday.