Post Tagged with: "Harold Worley"

Primary Filing Opens But Do Campaigns Mean Anything?

March 19, 2018 3:11 AM
Primary Filing Opens But Do Campaigns Mean Anything?

Filing opened last Friday for candidates in the upcoming June 12, 2018 Republican and Democrat party primary elections. Filing for candidates will close at noon Friday March 30, 2018.

The biggest name filing for re-election on the first day was Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus.

We will now see three months of campaigning, led by incumbents to convince the voters to continue their time in office.

But, have the incumbents really served the needs of the people or worked for other agendas?

Unfortunately “fake” is the political environment of today. Most politicians occupy a fake reality where they say one thing when campaigning, do another when in office and cry “fake news” and attempt to change the narrative when their duplicity is pointed out. It often works because voters do not have the time or desire to acquaint themselves with the issues and, instead, rely on sound bites for their information.

The few who try to stick to the facts and have a reasonable discussion of the issues are too often defeated because of their honesty.

Four years ago, Lazarus committed to the voters to “Oppose new taxes” on his Lazarusforchair.com website under issues.

This commitment quickly went by the wayside. After being re-elected, Lazarus became the biggest proponent on council for raising taxes with the largest tax increase in Horry County history resulting. Property taxes were raised 7.2 mills and the annual vehicle fee paid to the county was raised from $30 to $50 per vehicle.

To sell the tax increase it was billed as an increase for public safety. Voters bought into this narrative during budget discussions only to be fooled after the tax increase was approved. As councilman Harold Worley said at the time, “Not one penny of the tax increase will go toward putting one extra officer on the street. Response times will not go down nor will community policing increase because of the tax increase.”

Worley was correct in his assessment. What most voters didn’t know was the tax increase was the result of a huge outcry by county employees after County Administrator Chris Eldridge received a large pay increase from council between first and second reading of the budget. A large portion of the “public safety” tax increase went to a pay increase for all county employees, not to improve public safety.

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Horry County Treasurer Request Nixed by Administrator, County Council

January 25, 2018 5:00 AM
Horry County Treasurer Request Nixed by Administrator, County Council

A request by Horry County Treasurer Angie Jones to have county administrator Chris Eldridge sign off on an addendum to a contract with a county software supplier was shot down at Tuesday’s regular meeting of county council.

Jones made a presentation to county council about a new service the Treasurer wanted to institute in Horry County. The service would provide taxpayers who pay vehicle taxes in person at the Treasurer’s Office or one of the satellite offices with a new vehicle registration and decal for the license plate when the payment is made.

A convenience fee of $1 would be added to the vehicle tax notices to add this service.

According to Jones presentation, this service is already in place in 32 of the 46 counties in South Carolina and the $1 convenience fee is established by the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.

After Jones presentation, council chairman Mark Lazarus called for Horry County staff to address some issues with allowing the Treasurer’s Office to offer this convenience.

Eldridge moved to the microphone to speak for the staff. He began his remarks with the statement, “Of course there is litigation going on currently between the Treasurer’s Office and Horry County Council.”

Actually, the litigation is Angie Jones, Individually and as Horry County Treasurer v. Horry County, a body Politic and Chris Eldridge, in his capacity as Horry County Administrator.

Eldridge went on to say the request was a budgetary issue and if council wants it done, “it isn’t that much.” He would prefer to see it go through the normal budgetary process and would not support the $1 fee.

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Proper Expenditure of Hospitality Tax Revenue

July 12, 2017 10:22 AM
Proper Expenditure of Hospitality Tax Revenue

A suggestion for the use of hospitality tax revenue was made at Tuesday night’s Horry County Council meeting that makes too much sense to ignore.

In a discussion of New Business, council member Paul Prince spoke about the poor conditions of many roads in the county as well as some need for advance planning in adding additional lanes to Hwy 90, Hwy 905 and roads extending off of those two.

Prince suggested meeting with the Horry County legislative delegation and governor Henry McMaster to find some funds to help with these roads.

Council member Harold Worley suggested spending the “two and one-half percent” on the roads. Worley’s reference was to the county’s hospitality tax.

Governments supposedly collect taxes in order to provide public goods and services. Think here roads, bridges, police, fire and mass education.

Hospitality tax is a little different in that state law requires hospitality tax revenue to be spent on tourism related expenses.

When hospitality tax was first approved by county voters in a county wide referendum, one percent of the total was designated to the government jurisdiction in which it is collected while one and one-half percent was designated to pay off bonds for Ride I projects.

The Ride I bonds are expected to be paid off on or before 2019. The one and one-half percent designated to those bonds brings in revenue of approximately $38 million per year to Horry County.

While it may take a little tweaking of state law to spend all of that revenue on the county road system, it is hard to argue that tourists do not use virtually all of the roads in that system. In addition the tax revenue could be spent on necessities such as public safety.

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Horry County Council Tax Explosion

June 17, 2015 7:00 AM
Horry County Council Tax Explosion

It is now official, the tax and spend Republicans on Horry County Council passed the largest tax increase in a generation last night.

Nothing changed from the budget that passed at second reading. There will be a countywide tax increase of 7.2 mils more for the general fund. The countywide road fee increased from $30 to $50 per vehicle and county building permit fees increased.

The Republican “Gang of Five” who voted to increase taxes consists of chairman Mark Lazarus, and council members Al Allen, Johnny Vaught, Bill Howard and Gary Loftus. Democrat James Frazier made the sixth vote in the 6-5 decision.

Of the six members who voted for it, five (all but Loftus) were elected to their current terms in November 2014, so it will be over three years before they have to face the voters for reelection. There is speculation Loftus may not be planning to run again so his term ending next year may not matter in having to answer for being a tax and spender.

Despite campaign pledges to “oppose new taxes”, “keep property taxes low”, “listen to the taxpayers” and support TEA Party goals, Lazarus, Vaught, Howard and Allen (respectively) make the term conservative Republican virtually extinct in Horry County and, in their particular cases, an oxymoron.

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Coast RTA Funding from Horry County Intact

May 13, 2014 4:40 PM
Coast RTA Funding from Horry County Intact

After Tuesday’s Horry County Council budget workshop, Coast RTA was still on track to receive $1.055 million in grant funding for next fiscal year from Horry County.

Council member Marion Foxworth presented a synopsis of the findings of the Select Committee on Coast RTA, which council chairman Mark Lazarus appointed and Foxworth chaired.

Foxworth said the Select Committee voted unanimously and was adamant in recommending to continue the county’s commitment to public transportation and the taxpayers who pay for the grant.

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Worley Supports Solid Waste Flow Control Gestapo

December 7, 2013 11:00 AM
Worley Supports Solid Waste Flow Control Gestapo

Attempting to head off an amendment to the Horry County solid waste flow control ordinance, council member Harold Worley said, “solid waste needs a Gestapo” in remarks to the county council Administration Committee Friday.

Worley, chairman of the admin committee and normally an advocate for citizens, has long been a strong supporter of the Horry County Solid Waste Authority, for reasons that remain a mystery.

Generally a master at directing debate on an issue, Worley resorted to hyperbole when his attempts to stall an amendment to the county flow control ordinance were flagging.

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Mark Lazarus Hits a Grand Slam

June 20, 2013 7:06 PM
Mark Lazarus Hits a Grand Slam

With just a few appearances as Horry County Council chairman under his belt, Mark Lazarus hit a grand slam home run at Tuesday night’s regular meeting of council.

After many years of despairing over poor to non-existent leadership on Horry County Council, Lazarus has quickly stepped into the void, in my opinion.

He runs a good meeting and the other 11 council members seem comfortable with him at the helm. That’s certainly not a statement that could have been made very often, if at all, over the last several decades.

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Why All the Secrecy

July 28, 2012 11:20 PM
Why All the Secrecy

Several days ago, we ran a story about how South Carolina ranks dead last among the 50 states for freedom of information access to government information. Thursday night, we learned that Horry County is attempting to rank at the bottom of the state’s 46 counties for public disclosure of information about its actions.

Horry County Council voted 7-2 Thursday night to pass first reading of an ordinance that would allow the issuance of $8 million of general obligation debt while refusing to publicly state what the money will be used for. Council members Harold Worley and Marion Foxworth voted no on the ordinance while members Brent Schulz, Paul Price and Paul Prince were not present at the meeting.

This vote took place during the second specially called council meeting in three days, both dedicated to executive sessions on a Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation initiative called “Project Blue.”

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Observations on the Bike Rally Vote

March 15, 2012 10:52 AM
Observations on the Bike Rally Vote

After the generally dysfunctional debate on bike rally vendor permits by Horry County Council Tuesday night, one veteran Horry County political observer commented to me that they believed the decision to again take on the bike rally issue, at the county level, was made in the “card room at the Dunes Club.”

I believe this comment is quite astute. It can be reasonably argued that the “Take Back May” movement, which resulted in the City of Myrtle Beach movement to end the May bike rallies was hatched at the Dunes Club. A small group of movers and shakers in the city saw the chance to take advantage of the public (above 38th Avenue North) unrest with the rallies, to advance personal agendas.

Tom Rice, then a private citizen, was the point spokesman for the “Take Back May” movement as the group lobbied both the Myrtle Beach and Horry County councils to essentially end the rallies. The effort was generally regarded successful at the city level, but a failure at the county level.

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Arrogance and Confusion, but a Victory for Bike Vendors

March 13, 2012 7:57 PM
Arrogance and Confusion, but a Victory for Bike Vendors

In what can only be called an arrogant abuse of parliamentary procedure, Horry County Council chairman Tom Rice called a five minute break, in the midst of debating an ordinance on the floor, because voting on amendments to the ordinance didn’t go his way.

This blatant lack of respect for the elected body he serves and abuse of power as chairman came during council’s regular meeting Tuesday night, but did not produce the result Rice hoped for.

The ordinance, of course, was about reducing the number of permit days for vendor and special event permits from the current seven days to five days. The ordinance, if passed as originally written, would have directly affected the Harley Davidson bike rally and the local small businesses that depend on it for revenue.

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