Post Tagged with: "budget"

New Year Brings New Hope and New Challenges

January 2, 2018 5:49 AM
New Year Brings New Hope and New Challenges

A New Year traditionally brings with it new hope and positive feelings about the year ahead.

Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus commented in a Facebook post on New Year’s Day about making 2018 a year of positivism. I hope Lazarus is able to achieve that positivism in county government.

This year will be interesting with three new members recently elected to Myrtle Beach City Council, including a new mayor, and seven council members up for re-election for Horry County Council including Chairman Lazarus.

But it takes more than hopes and feelings to achieve positive results in government. It takes hard work, transparency and proper goal setting to get the most “bang” for each “buck” collected from the taxpaying public.

Both Myrtle Beach City Council and Horry County Council have been lax in this area in years past.

Maybe the most important thing both councils have to remember is the citizens elect them to make decisions that benefit the community as a whole. Council then directs staff to carry out these decisions.

Too often, this process has become muddled with certain council and staff members working behind closed doors to benefit special interests at the expense of the general public. This is at least part of the reason Myrtle Beach has three new members of council.

Below are just a few of the actions by city council that the public voted against in November:

Read more ›

Horry County School Board – Staff Disconnect

August 29, 2016 6:56 AM
Horry County School Board – Staff Disconnect

An ongoing renovation at North Myrtle Beach High School demonstrates an apparent disconnect between responsibilities of Horry County School Board members and the staff employed to carry out board decisions.

This is not a new problem. It dates back approximately 15 years to the time that former Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait effectively neutered the board with a policy governance system that allowed the board to be little more than a rubber stamp for staff decisions.

Many of the board members at that time deserve their own share of the blame for voting to adopt the “policy governance” system.

The school board is elected by the voters to set school district policies. It is the job of the staff to carry out these policies.

Last year, some senior staff members did all they could, including a public disinformation campaign, to keep First Floor Energy Positive from receiving contracts to build five new schools in the district.

Ultimately, the board voted to award the contracts to First Floor over considerable opposition from staff.

This year, the North Myrtle Beach High School renovations demonstrate the disconnect remains.

In 2015, the Horry County School Board approved a specific list of renovations to the school with an overall budget of $21,086,340.

According to District 1 school board member Holly Heniford, that list of renovations has apparently been reduced in some areas and increased in others without board approval.

Additionally, a line item for “Fire protection installation” appears in one area of the budget while a line item for “Fire alarm replacement” appears in another area of the budget with the cost for each line item, $1,055,130, identical. Is this not a duplication of the same work?

Read more ›

It’s Tax Time Again

April 24, 2016 11:10 AM
It’s Tax Time Again

Spring means many things, but to local governments it means tax time, or consideration of whether to raise taxes or not.

One year after Horry County Council passed the largest tax increase in county history, the cities of Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach are looking to follow suit.

Both city councils are considering a property tax increase and increases in other fees that could significantly impact citizens and businesses.

To be fair, some of the reasons for the tax increase can be directly attributed to the General Assembly. This can be thought of as an indirect tax on citizens from Columbia.

Two areas come to mind quickly, the refusal of the General Assembly to fully fund the Local Government Fund and the need to make up billions of dollars of shortfall in the public pension funds.

The Local Government Fund is a return of state taxes, which is supposed to reimburse local governments for expenditures on state mandated agencies included in local budgets. The General Assembly, however, prefers to pass annual exemptions in order to underfund this return of tax dollars to local communities.

In this way, the General Assembly can appear to be holding the line on taxes while blaming the local governments for tax increases. Never mind that the state laws requiring these agencies came from the same body that refuses to live up to its mandated level to fund them.

The General Assembly is looking to increase the percentage local governments must contribute, per employee, for all employees included in the various state pension plans. This increase would take the local agency contributions from the current 8.16% of an employee’s annual salary to 11.5% of that salary.

I would submit the increase is needed because the General Assembly has refused to perform its fiduciary oversight responsibilities of the SC Retirement System Investment Commission.

Read more ›

HCSWA Singing Flow Control Blues

March 14, 2014 7:00 AM
HCSWA Singing Flow Control Blues

Horry County Solid Waste Authority officials were singing the blues at a pre-budget workshop earlier this week claiming a loss of $400,000 in revenue next fiscal year because of the elimination of construction and demolition debris from county flow control regulations.

Truth and reality rarely are factors at the HCSWA Hwy 90 headquarters and they are quickly removed if they are. There is nothing to base this $400,000 assumed loss of revenue on, but it’s being put out for media consumption.

And some media outlets in the county will play directly into the hands of HCSWA officials by spreading it.

Read more ›