Our guest speaker Wednesday morning was Horry County Councilman Dennis DiSabato. The councilman represents the 3rd District which includes about half of Carolina Forest and the City of Myrtle Beach from the airport north to 38th Ave. North.
DiSabato presented around the issue of population growth in Horry County and the Carolina Forest area. Carolina Forest had 3400 population in the year 2000 and 25,000 in 2010. By 2040 it is expected there will be 40,000 people in Carolina Forest. Horry County is expected to grow from 344,000 persons currently to 584,000 by 2040. In addition, there are an estimated 20.4 million visitors to Horry County each year.
The County has started to charge “impact fees” to developers to attempt to pay for part of the infrastructure. The Councilman believes that the key economic development tool to generate more business (and therefore taxes to pay for infrastructure) is Interstate -73. However, right now I-73 is “dead in the water” due to disputes with municipalities over the hospitiality tax that is collected in those cities. Dennis noted that there is a $2 billion surplus in the state coffers, but hasn’t heard anyone other than our local legislators talking about using any of that money for I-73.
Dennis also noted that the County just passed a new Comprehensive Plan, which at least outlines the growth plans for the future. He feels that it is a good plan and citizens should become aware of it.