Post Tagged with: "Horry County Council"

SWA to Ship More Trash Out of County

March 6, 2017 5:22 AM
SWA to Ship More Trash Out of County

The Horry County Solid Waste Authority (SWA) will be shipping more construction and demolition trash out of the county in the coming months to meet requirements of Horry County Council.

When the SWA received council permission to change its budget in order to process recyclables from Charleston County, Horry County Council told the SWA that no airspace at the SWA landfill on Hwy 90 could be lost to Charleston trash.

Since the SWA landfill is the only facility in which Horry County municipal solid waste (household garbage) is disposed, council’s concern was that the full landfill capacity be saved for Horry County residents.

In approximately five years, MSW and C&D waste from Horry County will be commingled in the SWA landfill, according to SWA officials. The landfill’s available disposal volume for Horry County trash is currently projected to run out in 2042.

In order to meet council’s requirement, SWA executive director Danny Knight told council the SWA agreed to ship C&D waste, currently disposed at the SWA, out of county in an amount equal to Charleston residual trash resulting from the SWA/Charleston County recycling contract.

“We have structured a program where we (SWA) will match ton for ton, day for day, however you want to do it, we will send that much material out of our landfill to a landfill across the river,” Knight told the Horry County Infrastructure and Regulation Committee at its September 24, 2015 meeting.

SWA then board chairman Lance Thompson reiterated Knight’s statement at the same meeting, “This will be a net neutral effect. Anything that’s coming to our landfill from the direction of Charleston County, we’re going to send out (of county) the same amount of C&D…”

After an extensive study of SWA reports related to the Charleston County recyclable contract, Grand Strand Daily determined that requirement was not being met.

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Horry County Council and the 2nd Amendment

February 18, 2017 5:00 AM
Horry County Council and the 2nd Amendment

The 2nd Amendment and the issue of firing weapons in close proximity to other people’s residences will again be discussed at the Horry County Council regular meeting Tuesday night.

It’s been nearly five years since Horry County Council decided not to vote on an ordinance that would restrict gun usage on private property in close proximity to residences.

At that time, the ‘Duck Dynasty crowd’, in full camouflage, packed council chambers to protest any restriction on their perceived 2nd Amendment rights with respect to where they could fire their guns in the unincorporated areas of the county.

In the interim, nothing has changed.

It would seem to be a matter of common sense that a person wouldn’t discharge a gun so that the bullets end up in a neighbor’s yard, especially if the neighbor is standing in his yard. But, that doesn’t seem to be the case in Horry County.

As I recall the discussion last time, wasn’t about where the gun was discharged, but, rather, about where the projectile could land that was considered being restricted. And that discussion didn’t even get to first reading of an ordinance.

There is no law in Horry County prohibiting discharge of firearms within a certain proximity of residences, according to county attorney Arrigo Carotti.

This issue has again been brewing in the county for the last year. In the interim:

Council chairman Mark Lazarus said we need to have a discussion (about the problem).

“As the county has grown and more and more housing developments have taken place in the unincorporated areas, protecting your 2nd Amendment rights, protecting hunters and everything else, we need to look and see, we need to protect the people living in their houses also and in the neighborhoods,” Lazarus said.

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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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SkyDive Myrtle Beach v. Horry County in Court This Month

November 1, 2016 7:25 AM
SkyDive Myrtle Beach v. Horry County in Court This Month

Skydive Myrtle Beach and Horry County are scheduled to face off in S.C. Court of Appeals November 3, 2016 for oral arguments in the case of Skydive Myrtle Beach v. Horry County (2014-002491).

The basic question in this lawsuit is whether Horry County acted fraudulently in stopping Skydive Myrtle Beach from operating its business at Grand Strand Airport.

A separate court ruling from a federal Administrative Law Judge is expected to be issued on or before November 18, 2016 addressing the actions of the Federal Aviation Administration in issuing a 73 page ruling against Skydive Myrtle Beach on the basis of very sketchy information provided by Horry County Department of Airports.

The case built by Horry County Department of Airports to evict Skydive Myrtle Beach from Grand Strand Airport has more holes than Swiss cheese.

After Skydive Myrtle Beach reported HCDA to the Federal Aviation Administration in February 2014 for discriminatory actions, Horry County officials began looking to cover their tracks.

HCDA began an incident reporting system that logged 112 alleged safety violations by Skydive Myrtle Beach over the next few months.

None of the 112 alleged safety incidents HCDA insists Skydive Myrtle Beach committed were ever properly reported to the FAA, according to FAA reporting requirements.

A recent Freedom of Information Act response from the FAA to SkyDive Myrtle Beach officials goes further. It says there are no records of the alleged safety violations in the FAA reporting system.

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Horry County Will Use Unrestricted Funds to Begin Repairs

October 17, 2016 6:41 AM
Horry County Will Use Unrestricted Funds to Begin Repairs

Horry County Council is expected to pass a resolution at its regular October 18, 2016 meeting to transfer money from its fiscal stabilization reserves balances to begin repairs to infrastructure damaged during Hurricane Matthew and the resultant flooding.

The money will come from unrestricted fund balances in the general fund, fire fund, stormwater fund and recreation fund. The unrestricted fund balances are from excess revenue or decreased spending in the prior fiscal year budget.

The use of these funds should allow the county to begin repairs without issuing new debt while awaiting federal disaster funds to become available to the county.

The extent of needed repairs will not become known until flooding recedes from the roads.

After the flooding experienced by the county from Hurricane Floyd in 1999, the county instituted its current stormwater management plan and fees. However, we are learning again that water from a major storm event can’t really be managed.

Another issue that will no doubt arise as a result of Hurricane Matthew is what will happen with the hundreds of privately owned dirt roads that were recently removed from the county road maintenance plan.

During an emergency meeting last week, council approved the expenditure of approximately $600k to $1 million for the removal of storm debris from county owned rights of way.

These funds will be used for the removal of tree debris only for the benefit of residents in the unincorporated areas.

The county is maintaining a website to provide up to date information on road flooding throughout the county. Go to: http://www.horrycounty.org/gis/roadClosures/

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Parking Fees Discussed by City/County Council Members

September 30, 2016 6:28 AM
Parking Fees Discussed by City/County Council Members

The parking fee issue in Myrtle Beach seems to get a little more convoluted each week.

Earlier this week, a group called the Beach Coalition held a meeting at Longbeard’s in Carolina Forest to discuss issues surrounding the parking fees.

Attending the meeting were county council chairman Mark Lazarus and council members Bill Howard, Jimmy Washington and Johnny Vaught. Randal Wallace from Myrtle Beach City Council was also in attendance.

Members of the coalition group are unhappy with the rather cavalier manner in which Myrtle Beach city council treats issues such as parking fees.

With regard to the fee itself, Lazarus said there is going to be a parking fee for county residents when they park in beach access areas.

Additionally, Lazarus said the fee has to be reasonable for everybody and nobody is going to pay $300 (for a parking decal). The $300 figure was thrown out by Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes at a recent forum held with citizens.

Lazarus said the city and county would establish a “steering committee” to address the issue.

Wallace said something had to be done about parking in beach access in the Golden Mile and surrounding areas. He seemed to blame the fee on litter finding its way to the properties of Golden Mile residents.

Wallace said maybe the $10 per day parking fee now being charged to non-city residents wasn’t the best answer to the problem. He said he was sure city council wants to work with county council to address the parking fee issue.

Wallace admitted to the crowd that all parking fees collected in the city go to the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation. For many years, the DRC has accomplished little in the way of redevelopment and virtually none in the city’s historic downtown in the area of City Hall, Five Points and adjacent areas.

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Community Violence Subcommittee Report Due Monday

September 23, 2016 5:36 AM
Community Violence Subcommittee Report Due Monday

By Paul Gable
The Horry County Community Violence Subcommittee is scheduled to make an interim report to the Horry County Public Safety Committee Monday on its initial findings regarding violent crimes and drug crimes in our local communities.

Seven months ago, community activists Bennie Swans, Jon Bonsignor and Tim McCray approached Myrtle Beach City Council for help in addressing violence in the community.

They were essentially turned away with Mayor John Rhodes giving his impression of a Donald Trump style ‘gotcha’, blaming the community for the problem, attacking the activists and claiming the focus on community violence would hurt tourism.

The three got a better reception at the Horry County Council level with the establishment of a Community Violence Subcommittee to investigate the problem and make a report including recommendations for ways to counter the rising problems of violent crime and drugs in the communities.

To date, in my opinion, the subcommittee has floundered by becoming involved in a comparison study of minutiae related to Horry County and counties in other states, but, at least, it is doing something.

In the interim, public awareness of an increasing epidemic of heroin use has spurred various citizens to ask both the Public Safety Committee and Horry County Council for help in fighting this problem.

While the heroin epidemic is a big problem, it is not the only one. Gangs, violent crime, lack of economic opportunity and the deaths of too many young people in the community all have their part in the overall picture.

The protocols that are established to combat violence in the community are essentially the same that can help combat the drug epidemic.

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International Drive Battle Continues – Update

September 13, 2016 7:09 AM
International Drive Battle Continues – Update

Update

The most important decision in the Administrative Law Court hearing yesterday was no decision.

Administrative Law Judge Ralph Anderson declined issuing a restraining order from the bench to stop construction on International Drive. Anderson said he needs more time to study the legal points argued and will issue a ruling later.

Meanwhile work to construct a road bed continues on International Drive.

Since work on the roadway began after Anderson ordered a state permit to be issued in August the issue of stopping that work became more complex because a federal permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was also issued.

Anderson said he doesn’t know if he, as a state judge, has the authority to issue a stay on a federal permit.

It’s a pretty sure bet he doesn’t and work will continue on the road bed for at least 30 more days as an appeal of Anderson’s August decision winds its way to the S.C. Court of Appeals.

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Not ready to give up their obstruction attempts, the Coastal Conservation League and the SC Wildlife Federation are taking the battle to federal court with a new lawsuit filed against Horry County, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Horry County Council Must Make Final Road Decisions

September 11, 2016 7:00 AM
Horry County Council Must Make Final Road Decisions

Social media has been alive with comments about the possibility of some dirt roads currently maintained by Horry County being removed from the county road maintenance system.

This stir among citizens began after Horry County Council voted to pass third reading of an ordinance last week establishing procedure to remove roads from the system not considered of “material benefit to the general public.”

The problem is not the apparent end result the ordinance seeks to accomplish. The problem rests with the procedure established to reach this end.

Along the way to final passage of the ordinance, Horry County Council was removed from the decision making process.

Initially, the procedure to remove roads read: “The Director of Public Works and the County Engineer will evaluate all roads, unless previously formally dedicated, within the county maintenance system to determine if these guidelines are met. Any road that does not meet the standards below shall be forwarded first to the Council member in whose district the road is located for input into the Director’s and County Engineer’s determination, then forwarded to county council for removal from the county maintenance system.”

By final reading of the ordinance, the language had changed to the following: “The Director of Public Works and the County Engineer will evaluate all roads, unless previously formally dedicated, within the county maintenance system to determine if these guidelines are met. Any road that does not meet the standards below shall be removed from the county maintenance system upon authority hereby given to the administrator.”

The guidelines referred to above are as follows:

1. Maintenance of road must be of material benefit to the general public.

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Horry County Council’s Cowardly Road Decision

September 8, 2016 5:06 AM
Horry County Council’s Cowardly Road Decision

Horry County Council took the coward’s way out from making potentially controversial decisions when it passed third reading of a county road maintenance ordinance Tuesday night.

In passing the ordinance, council shifted the decision making process to county staff on which roads currently maintained by the county should be removed from further maintenance with county tax dollars.

The excuse is the county is maintaining some roads that are actually driveways or serve no public benefit.

There’s no question taxpayer dollars should not be spent on private driveways or other roads that do not generally benefit county taxpayers.

But what exactly is a public benefit?

In the past, county council allowed private gates to restrict access to public roads in the Myrtle Trace sub-division. Those roads were paved and maintained by the county but restricted to use by sub-division residents only.

When that issue was exposed in the media, Horry County Attorney John Weaver attempted to justify that it was perfectly legal to restrict access on public roads.

Ultimately, Myrtle Trace residents agreed to remove the roads from the county system and maintain them privately. But, that decision only came after the roads were repaved with county tax dollars one more time.

Council member Al Allen was correct in his criticism of county council being taken out of the decision to remove roads from county maintenance.

It takes a majority vote of county council to accept roads into the county road maintenance system. Why should it take a decision of only a few members of staff to remove roads from that same system?

Allen said the idea behind county staff making the determination of which roads to remove from the county road maintenance system was to take the politics out of the decision.

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