Additional Funding for Coast RTA

December 5, 2016 5:42 AM
Additional Funding for Coast RTA

The message from last week’s Horry County Transportation Committee meeting was Horry County Council would search for ways to provide additional funding for Coast RTA.

The transportation agency currently receives $1.055 million annually from the county’s general fund budget. According to remarks by council chairman Mark Lazarus, Coast RTA would like that amount to rise to approximately $1.9 million per year.

In addition, Coast RTA wants to spend a total of approximately $16 million on capital improvements for the system over the next several years. It should be noted, all of this money does not have to come from the county or other local government funding sources. The federal government provides 80% funding for capital expenditures with a 20% local match.

Still, $3.33 million must come from some form of local funding for these capital projects to be realized.

“We’ve got to figure out how to fund them,” Lazarus said during the meeting.

Lazarus said Horry County Administrator Chris Eldridge was investigating ways to provide Coast RTA with recurrent funding. Lazarus said a one-cent local option sales tax was one possibility that would be looked at.

During the discussion, Lazarus made one comment I didn’t understand. He said state law prohibits the use of (property tax) millage from being used to fund transportation.

However, property tax millage is exactly what is being used now and has been for years to provide Coast RTA with annual grants from Horry County.

An additional one-cent sales tax is unacceptable, in our opinion. A one-cent tax was just approved by voters for RIDE III last month. If a sales tax is the preferred way to fund Coast RTA, it should have been included in the list of projects for RIDE III, a perfectly acceptable use of RIDE funds if it had been included in the project list.

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Time to Combat Community Violence

November 29, 2016 5:54 AM
Time to Combat Community Violence

Shootings over the last month in Myrtle Beach and the Longs area of Horry County again highlighted the need for a coordinated effort among police departments, other public agencies, community leaders and citizens to counter violence in our local communities.

In February 2016, local community activists went before Myrtle Beach City Council asking for help to combat violence in the community.

City officials responded by saying crime was down in the city and chastising the activists for “hurting tourism” with their claims of increasing violence in the city.

Since then, Myrtle Beach city officials have changed their tune. Meetings to address the rising heroin epidemic and recent shootings in the city have at least begun to acknowledge the problem of rising violence in community neighborhoods.

In a related incident, but one that may have ulterior motives, the city used a multiple shooting incident at the Pure Ultra Club in the area known as the “superblock” in downtown Myrtle Beach to add parking restrictions and business operating restrictions in that area.

However, the “superblock” moves may be part of a different initiative by city council.

In October 2015, Myrtle Beach City Council approved an ordinance effectively ending new clubs or bars from moving into the “superblock” area of the city.

At that time, council charged the Myrtle Beach Planning Commission to study zoning in the “superblock” area and come back to council with recommendations in January 2017.

A friend of mine said at that time, “They’re up to something,” referring to Myrtle Beach City Council.

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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

November 23, 2016 8:55 AM
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

We wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving as we all pause to reflect on the blessings we have had over the past year.

A few quotes to reflect upon on this day:

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.” William Shakespeare

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue but the parent of all the other virtues.” Cicero

“If we cannot help the many who are poor, we cannot save the few who are rich,” John Fitzgerald Kennedy

As a teenager and young man, I lived through the changes of the ’60’s and ’70’s – Civil Rights movement, Vietnam and Watergate especially.

For the entire decade of the 1970’s, I served on active duty in the U.S. Navy, seven of those years overseas. Viewing America from afar and listening to the views and opinions of citizens of foreign countries about what was going on at home provided a perspective I have always appreciated.

America renews itself periodically with change. I hope we are in the throes of such a renewal again.

We have recently elected a new President, but have returned mostly the same do-nothing Congress that has plagued this nation for over a decade.

Donald Trump may be able to advance some initiatives in Washington, although I hesitate to expect much.

Congress, when it reconvenes in January, will go about doing what it does best – attempting to get itself re-elected instead of doing the business of the people.

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John F. Kennedy – Remembering That Day

November 22, 2016 4:00 AM
John F. Kennedy – Remembering That Day

In some ways it doesn’t seem like 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was murdered in Dallas.

I was a senior in high school, home early that day because of a need to have stitches removed.

I was listening to the radio when a news flash came across the air saying shots had been fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade. Shortly thereafter we heard he was shot and about an hour later, we heard President Kennedy was dead.

It seemed unreal. This was 1963, we didn’t shoot presidents anymore. That was something we read about in history books.

Two days later, we watched on live television as Kennedy’s alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was murdered at Dallas police headquarters.

What was happening in America?

Was this really the country that was called the leader of the free world and the model for all democratic nations? (A question that remains very timely today)

Those questions were asked by many who were virtually glued to their televisions through Kennedy’s funeral on Monday November 25th.

To many around the world, America seemed stuck in the wild west. It still does for that matter.

Kennedy was a president who was admired and respected throughout much of the world. He inspired optimism, hope and confidence, something we haven’t seen since, in my opinion.

America lost its remaining innocence on November 22, 1963. It’s optimism and hope have been reduced in the intervening 53 years.

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Happy Veterans Day

November 11, 2016 1:00 AM
Happy Veterans Day

The following poem is my favorite salute to veterans on Veterans Day. It says everything necessary of the role veterans have played in our society.

To all my fellow veterans, I want to wish a Happy Veterans Day. Since the guns silenced on November 11, 1918, ostensibly ending the ‘war to end all wars’, many of us have served during wartime.

We solemnly remember and honor those who did not make it home and salute the many who did.

It is the Veteran

Author: Anonymous

It is the Veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the Veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Veteran, who salutes the Flag,
It is the Veteran, who serves under the Flag,
To be buried by the flag,
So the protester can burn the flag.

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Celebrating Life

July 26, 2016 10:04 AM
Celebrating Life

Allow me a point of personal privilege. Tuesday July 26th  my daughter Ashley and her husband Guy added to our family with another grandson. Nathaniel Almosnino was born this morning. In these times of difficulty throughout the nation, a birth reminds us that there is a lot to be celebrated […]

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