Post Tagged with: "Conway"

I-73 Funding Remains Roadblock to Hospitality Fee Lawsuit Settlement

December 19, 2019 3:37 AM
I-73 Funding Remains Roadblock to Hospitality Fee Lawsuit Settlement

The question of funding Interstate 73 is the obstacle preventing settlement of the hospitality fee lawsuit brought by Myrtle Beach against Horry County earlier this year.

A proposed settlement agreement that was voted on Monday by the councils of North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach, Aynor and Atlantic Beach as well as Horry County Council included a provision that one-third of the proceeds from a continuation of the 1.5% countywide hospitality fee collected by Horry County would be dedicated to funding I-73.

The five municipalities voting approved the agreement. Horry County amended the agreement, which necessitates a reconsideration by the five municipalities. Conway and Loris did not vote.  

City of Conway officials said in various media reports over the last day that they have no intention of voting on the amended settlement agreement to the hospitality fee lawsuit proposed by Horry County Council Monday night.

Properly looking out for the interests of its citizens, Conway City Council wants to reserve the right to use any hospitality fee revenue collected within its city limits to meet local needs in accordance with allowable uses of hospitality funds.

The refusal by Conway to vote on the agreement effectively kills the amended settlement agreement since one condition of the amendment was that the cities in the county, less Briarcliff Acres, must unanimously approve the amended agreement.

Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune tried to take the high road when the county amended the agreement, but she can’t. It was Bethune who summarily dismissed the county’s offer to settle the dispute in early April, long before attorneys began racking up large bills to continue the lawsuit.

The exact same conditions the county proposed in April became the conditions for settlement voted on Monday night, including the I-73 funding.

Attorneys representing Myrtle Beach negotiated with attorneys representing Horry County with the other municipalities essentially left out of the negotiations. The settlement agreement was presented to those municipalities, essentially as a fait accompli. Conway and Loris chose not to accept and Horry County Council members chose to amend it.

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Runoff Elections Tuesday Will Finalize Municipal Council Seats

November 17, 2019 7:24 AM
Runoff Elections Tuesday Will Finalize Municipal Council Seats

Voters will go to the polls Tuesday to decide runoff elections to finalize who will represent them on municipal councils in Conway, Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach.

The Conway runoff is between newcomer Justin Jordan and on again, off again former council member Randy Alford.

Jordan became interested in public service after founding Conway Cares, a group that helped citizens during the flooding from Hurricane Florence. He said the experience helped open his eyes to greater service to the citizens of his native city. He believes it’s time to bring some new thinking to council to preserve the Conway he grew up in for future generations and to be open minded and a voice of reason for all citizens in the city. It is believed Jordan would work well with newly elected council member Alex Hyman to bring a new dynamic to council.

Alford previously served on council but was defeated for reelection just two years ago.

The Myrtle Beach runoff for the final city council seat is between incumbent Mary Jeffcoat and newcomer John Krajc. This race brings an interesting dynamic in that Mayor Brenda Bethune has promoted the Krajc candidacy against incumbent Jeffcoat who has basically supported all of the mayor’s initiatives.

The government directed central planning of the city will apparently continue to the detriment of the businesses and citizens south of the former pavilion  site regardless of which candidate wins the runoff.

In Surfside Beach no candidate won election in the first round of voting. Bob Hellyer and Julie Samples finished one-two in the mayoral race while incumbent council member David Pellegrino was ousted. Paul Holder, Michael Drake, Cindy Keating and Kathryn Martin finished in that order for council seats. The top three vote getters in the runoff among those four will win council seats.

Surfside Beach politics is always interesting. In this election, no incumbent whose term was up chose to run for reelection. Pellegrino’s council term ends in two years. Samples previously served on council, choosing not to run for reelection when her term ended in 2017.

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County Council Kicks I-73 Decision Down the Road

August 29, 2019 8:12 AM
County Council Kicks I-73 Decision Down the Road

Horry County Council again dodged making a definitive decision on the I-73 contract with SCDOT at its special meeting Wednesday.

Instead of voting to cancel or go forward with the contract, council voted to defer a final decision until the end of the year.

In the meantime, council has asked the cities to step up with funding for the project or the county would be forced to cancel the contract by December 31, 2019.

In simple terms, the county does not have the ability to fund the up to $25 million per year currently promised in the contract. SCDOT has asked for $12.5 million in the first year, but plans to bond against $25 million per year in future years.

The City of Myrtle Beach continues to cloud the truth by saying the county can fund the contract with its hospitality fee revenues from the unincorporated areas. This is not true.

With the county now banned from collecting a 1.5% hospitality fee, the municipalities and the cities collecting their own hospitality and accommodations taxes, the county has no more than approximately $10 million it can designate for I-73.

In order to reach the $25 million per year called for in the SCDOT contract, Myrtle Beach would have to pledge approximately the same as the county, $10 million per year, and North Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach, Conway, Loris, Aynor, Atlantic Beach and Briarcliff would have to combine to make up the remaining $5 million.

I don’t believe any of that is going to happen. Not only would the cities have to pledge the funds each year, there would need to be an intergovernmental between the county and the municipalities formalizing those commitments and each party would need to sign the contract with SCDOT.

Those are the details of what needs to happen to keep the SCDOT contract alive. However, there are other details that make keeping the contract more disturbing.

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Changes Needed From City Elections

November 1, 2015 5:55 AM
Changes Needed From City Elections

City elections in three local municipalities could bring much needed changes to the way those communities work for their citizens.

Those three communities are Conway, Atlantic Beach and Myrtle Beach.

Below, we have highlighted the candidates we believe are most likely to bring new ideas that will lead to much needed positive change for those municipalities.

Conway

Mayor and three council seats up for election.
City council member Barbara Blain-Bellamy is continuing to build momentum in her attempt to unseat incumbent Mayor Alys Lawson.
Blain-Bellamy is well known to Conway voters. She has been elected to city council three times and has led the ticket each time. This is not an outsider attempting to unseat an incumbent mayor.

Blain-Bellamy’s message of finding new ways to ward off the influence of gangs and crime in Conway’s neighborhoods and listening to the concerns of citizens throughout the city highlight her message.

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Near Miss on RIDE III for Carolina Forest

April 15, 2014 9:00 AM
Near Miss on RIDE III for Carolina Forest

Residents of Carolina Forest should be aware of how nearly they were cut out of the RIDE III decision making process before it even got started.

Horry County Council approved, at last week’s budget retreat, a process that would have cut out a citizens’ committee from the project identification phase of the RIDE process in favor of county and city staffs making up the initial list of projects.

Fortunately, after a short break, council reconsidered what it had approved and amended the process to put the citizens committee back in.

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Jeff Johnson in House District 58 Race

April 6, 2014 7:00 AM
Jeff Johnson in House District 58 Race

A native of Conway and longtime attorney in the local area, Jeff Johnson is a candidate for the S.C. House District 58 seat.

Johnson has deep roots in District 58, having graduated from Conway High School and Coastal Carolina University before establishing his law practice in Conway after graduating from Mississippi College Law School in Jackson, Mississippi.

“I grew up in the district, have a lot of family and friends in the district and believe I understand the needs of the residents of the district,” Johnson said. “Helping people has been my life’s work and I want to continue to help the people of my community as the representative for House District 58.”

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Boost Holiday Spirit at Coastal Ale House

December 16, 2012 7:13 AM
Boost Holiday Spirit at Coastal Ale House

If you need a boost in your holiday spirit, a lunch, dinner or two at Coastal Ale House is the perfect remedy.

In a throwback to Christmas’ past, general manager Steve Award went all out decorating the restaurant for this holiday season.

“We wanted to spread holiday cheer and get everyone in the spirit,” said Award. “There are so many distractions to the holiday spirit now. We wanted to give people a place where they can get more involved with that spirit.”

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