Friday, June 28, 2013

A Moment with the Manager -- Accommodations and hospitality taxes

By Natalie M. Zeigler
City Manager

Every year when the City of Hartsville develops a new budget, we find that the funding from accommodations taxes and hospitality taxes can be a little confusing for those following along with the uses of tax money. These funds have many different recipients: projects and programs which make Hartsville an attractive, lively community for visitors and residents alike. As such, I think these funds are well worth understanding.

Both taxes are collected for specific purpose of tourism and promoting the places in which they are collected. They differ from budget items like the City’s General Fund, paying for local government operations such as public safety or parks and leisure, from the proprietary funds which go to water, sewer and sanitation, and from state funding for local projects like roads and bridges.

Accommodations tax is collected by the state and the City of Hartsville on hotel room rentals – 2 percent by the state and 3 percent by the City. In the 2012 fiscal year, the City disbursed nearly $55,000 of state accommodations tax funds from the money collected – another part of the funds collected is allocated to City operations – as well as about $19,000 out of all locally-collected accommodations tax funds. City Council approves specific amounts for applying agencies and purposes, most recently at their June 11 meeting.

These funds support events drawing people to Hartsville like the Southeastern Baseball Classic, Renofest and Jazz! Carolina, and some of the organizations giving Hartsville recreational and cultural opportunities, like the YMCA of the Upper Pee Dee, Black Creek Arts Council and the Butler Heritage Foundation. Guidelines for the funds also set aside some money specifically for local advertising and tourism publicity. In Hartsville, this takes the form of Darlington County Tourism, the organization promoting our attractions, from arts and entertainment to dining, events and more.

The City’s local hospitality tax is a 2-percent tax on prepared food and beverages. The City disbursed more than $30,000 of these funds in the 2012 fiscal year, apart from those funds collected which go to pay City recreation bonds. As with the accommodations tax, the hospitality tax supports signature Hartsville events like Renofest or the Thursdays on College concert series drawing out downtown crowds since last fall, and other projects as well. The Piratesville Splash Pad provides an excellent example of what this funding can do. The local hospitality taxes provided the majority of funding for it, giving Byerly Park a new recreational offering now generating a wellspring of excitement from in-town and out-of-town parents.

Projects like the splash pad give us another attraction for our city’s visitors. By providing a mechanism to make this a vibrant and attractive city for tourists, residents and prospective residents, these funding sources are helping us build the future of our city.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

City Swim begins at the Hartsville YMCA

The City of Hartsville will again sponsor free swimming time for young people living in the city at the Hartsville Family YMCA’s pool this summer.

The program, known as City Swim, kicks off Thursday, June 20, and run every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. through Thursday, Aug. 8. The Hartsville Family YMCA is located at 111 E. Carolina Ave, and will be closed for the holiday of Tuesday, July 4.

Participating children must be City of Hartsville residents who are 12 years old and younger. Accompanying adults must be legal guardians of the participating children, and must provide photo identification, proof of residency less than two months old, such as an electric bill, water bill or pay stub and a copy of the child’s birth certificate. Adults must accompany the children at all times. All rules of the YMCA must be followed by participants, and a swim test must be taken before going into the pool’s deep end.

For more information about the program, contact City of Hartsville Parks and Leisure Services at (843) 339-2878.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Screen on the Green series presents showing of "Earth, by Disneynature"

WHAT: Screen on the Green summer movie series showing of “Earth, by Disneynature.” Rated G. No admission charge.
WHERE: Burry Park, 131 Cargill Way, Hartsville, SC 29550
WHEN: Saturday, June 22, 2013, dusk

Screen on the Green, the City of Hartsville’s free outdoor movie series, will continue its 2013 season at Burry Park this Saturday with a showing of “Earth, by Disneynature,” sponsored by Sonoco Recycling.

Released in 2009 by the Disneynature division of Walt Disney Studios, this nature documentary tells the story of many species of animals living across the earth over the course of a year. Highlighted animals include a family of polar bears in the Arctic Ocean seeking hunting grounds during the spring ice thaw, African bush elephants traveling to their watering holes through the dust storms of the Kalahari Desert, and humpback whales traveling on a long journey from the tropics to their feeding grounds near Antarctica. These creatures and many others are filmed in vivid clarity in a film narrated by James Earl Jones.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Moment with the Manager -- Hurricane season preparedness

By Natalie M. Zeigler
City Manager

June has arrived, and hurricane season has come right along with it.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tells us that this year’s season has the potential to be an extremely active one, and as such could bring one of the region’s greatest natural hazards to our doorstep later this year. While we are free from the threat of catastrophic storm surge which faces our state’s coast, hurricanes may still inflict substantial damage here, and this possibility is something for which we and our residents ought to be prepared. Those who experienced Hurricane Hugo on the unforgettable night of Sept. 21, 1989 surely remember just how destructive wind and rain can be -- taking out power, downing trees and smashing in windows and roofs.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

City of Hartsville resumes yard debris pickup

The City of Hartsville has resumed the collection of yard debris following the reopening of the Darlington County Landfill. The landfill, which handles all Hartsville yard waste, had been closed temporarily by heavy rains. City crews are now collecting the yard waste which developed during the interruption of service, and will restore regular pickup routes early the week of June 17.

The City of Hartsville collects yard debris every seven to 10 business days. Residents and businesses are asked to keep yard waste separate from other trash and place it at the front property line. For more information, visit the City of Hartsville website at, or call City of Hartsville Environmental Services at (843) 383-3019.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

City of Hartsville temporarily suspends yard debris pickup durring interruption of Darlington County Landfill service

 The City of Hartsville has been notified by Darlington County that the Darlington County Landfill, which receives yard debris from Hartsville city residents, has been temporarily closed. Ongoing rainy conditions are preventing access to the landfill site by garbage trucks.

Because of the landfill closure, City of Hartsville crews are suspending regular pickup of yard debris. When Darlington County reopens the landfill, the City will inform residents that the yard debris pickup schedule will resume.

Under regular operations, the City of Hartsville collects yard debris every seven to 10 business days. Residents and businesses are asked to keep yard waste separate from other trash and place it at the front property line. For more information, visit the City of Hartsville website at