de Cauldape, was abandoned the next year and the group returned to Hispaniola. Later settled by landowners, the area was gradually developed into one of the very large plantations, with rice the principal crop. The town of Myrtle Beach was incorporated in 1938, and became a City in 1957. Its name is taken from the wax myrtle shrub, which grows abundantly in the area. Most of the development into a large resort area, which Myrtle Beach has become, has taken place in the last 25 years.
Climate: Because of the location of the northeastern South Carolina coast, its climate is much closer to that of subtropical Florida than to the more rigorous conditions that prevail in the North Atlantic States. Thus, mild winters and warm summers are the rule. The Atlantic Ocean has a moderating effect, tending to prevent extremely high or low temperatures, and the presence of the warm Gulf Stream tends to raise the temperature of the air masses from the northwest, cool air masses from the west, and warm air masses from the south and southwest. The average air temperature varies from a low of 57 in January to a high of 88 in July. The average water temperature varies from a low of 49 in January to a high of 83 in July.
Population: Since 1950, the population has grown approximately 822% as shown in the following exhibit:
1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000
3,345 7,834 9,035 18,477 24,840 30,852
Government: The Myrtle Beach government is organized according to the Council-Manager form of government. The Mayor and City Council constitute the governing body of the City and formulate policy for the administration of the City. The six members of the City Council are elected on an at-large basis to serve four-year overlapping terms of office. The Mayor is elected on an at-large basis to serve a four-year term of office. The Mayor presides at City Council meetings. In addition, a Mayor Pro- Tempore is elected by City Council members from their body for a period of two years to serve as Mayor during his absence or disability.
The City Council appoints the City Manager to serve as the City's chief executive officer and head of the administrative branch of City government. The City Manager is responsible for implementing the policies of the City Council, directing business and administrative procedures and appointing departmental officials and certain other City employees. At the present time, the City Manager is assisted by two assistant City Managers, eleven staff departments, which are Public Works, Public Information, Human Resources, Finance, Planning, Code Enforcement, Cultural and Leisure Services, Library, Police, Fire and the Convention Center.
ECONOMIC CONDITION AND OUTLOOK
Retail sales inside Myrtle Beach were $1.9 billion last year, a decrease of 7.8% over the previous year.
Myrtle Beach Retail Sales, 2000-09 ($ billions)