Post Tagged with: "Horry County"

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/

Read more ›

Hurricane Break and Community Activist Bennie Swans

October 13, 2016 9:30 AM
Hurricane Break and Community Activist Bennie Swans

(Ed. Note – After a five day hiatus thanks to Hurricane Matthew including four days without electricity, the internet and cell phones, Grand Strand Daily is up and running again.)

The recent break because of Hurricane Matthew allowed me to gain new insight to local community activist Bennie Swans.

Not having all the benefits of modern world communications, I had the opportunity to catch up on some old fashioned reading from books, much of it by candlelight.

One extract I read, from “It Took Heroes, Volume II”, spoke about Bennie Swans during the time he spent in Vietnam in 1969 as a member of the U.S. Army.

Swans’ squad was ambushed in action on June 5, 1969. After squad leader, Sgt. Jack Hatfield, and point man Cpl. David Mann, were cut down by enemy fire, the following extract from an on the scene account by GI Larry McVay was quoted (page 155 of It Took Heroes, Vol. II):

“Jack and David were gut shot. David died instantly, Jack died slower…Benny Swans, a husky Black man and Hatfield’s assistant machine gunner, rushed forward…The rest of the 2nd Platoon and a few men from other platoons rushed forward to support Hatfield’s squad. Benny was like a man possessed – like John Wayne to me. Although being severely wounded, Benny poured accurate fire into the enemy positions and kept them at bay until our KIA’s and WIA’s were pulled back…”

I have been proud to call Bennie Swans a friend since I first met him after he moved to Horry County over 10 years ago. I knew Swans was a highly decorated veteran of the Vietnam War (several silver stars and purple hearts among his medals) but I never knew the specifics of any of the action he saw.

Read more ›

Home Rule Loses to Gov. Nikki Haley

October 6, 2016 5:24 AM
Home Rule Loses to Gov. Nikki Haley

No more proof is needed that Home Rule is a myth in South Carolina than Gov. Nikki Haley’s State of Emergency declaration Tuesday.

With a few words, Haley eliminated county governments and school districts from decision making processes that should have been left in local hands.

Our so-called conservative politicians complain all the time about big government intrusion on people’s lives, but it’s all talk. The conservatives in South Carolina love to exercise that power as much as any politician.

Specifically, Haley closed county governments and school districts for three days beginning yesterday because of impending emergencies associated with Hurricane Matthew. That closure applied not only to coastal counties, but rather to all counties east of Columbia.

It made no difference that Matthew was around Haiti and Cuba at the time the state of emergency went into effect in South Carolina.

It made no difference that students went to school in Florida on Wednesday, a state that will be affected by Matthew at least 48 hours before any storm effects make it to Horry County, but stayed home locally by order of the governor.

It made no difference that future hurricane track predictions are notoriously subject to change.

Haley had an opportunity to jump on the national stage again and she took it, ignoring local officials in the process.

And, Haley’s emergency declaration is conflicting. According to county officials, it applies to county governments and school boards, but not to municipal governments

Over the last six years, we have seen Haley’s reaction whenever she perceives the federal government intruding on her executive powers, but she had no problem doing the same to local governments Tuesday.

Read more ›

The Horry County Police Department Morass

September 20, 2016 6:00 AM
The Horry County Police Department Morass

With the indictment of four former Horry County Police Department officers last week by the state grand jury, the morass of problems within that agency became a little more public.

The four officers were indicted for various forms of misconduct in office, which included sexual harassment in two cases and plain dereliction of duty in two others.

According to public records, these officers were previously disciplined for some of these actions but allowed to remain in the employ of the department. Those same actions have now been deemed criminal in nature.

In other words, HCPD officers were allowed to break the law and keep their jobs until the state grand jury became involved.

This is not just a problem with four officers. It is a systemic problem that is pervasive throughout the department, in my opinion. Officers are allowed to do, or not do, what they wish while the system protects them.

I have covered incidents going back nearly two decades where officers exhibited the same or similar types of conduct including false arrest, lying under oath and coverup of actions with no negative ramifications for the officers involved.

Particularly in Horry County, these types of actions are kept out of sight of the general public whenever possible. When they do come to light, the officers involved are referred to as a “few bad apples.”

Yet, it seems every year or two we are told our police officers are underpaid and taxes must be raised to provide them with more income.

How about requiring them to do their jobs?

A new police chief took over the reins of the department this week. He has a massive job in front of him cleaning out the systemic problems that plague the department.

Read more ›

Wasteful Spending at International Technology and Aerospace Park

September 18, 2016 6:36 AM
Wasteful Spending at International Technology and Aerospace Park

The Myrtle Beach Planning Commission amended the development plan for the International Technology and Aerospace Park at Myrtle Beach International Airport last week to provide for additional uses on the property.

The uses added are for medical offices and overflow parking for special events.

Much of the ITAP land was purchased from the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base Redevelopment Commission over 15 years ago with grant funds received from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Grant assurances signed by Horry County Department of Airports at the time of receipt of the funds require the land to be used for aviation purposes.

It is difficult to see how medical offices and overflow parking fit into the category of “aviation purposes”. It is conceivable that the city’s amendment places the county in violation of grant assurances given to the FAA.

However, such a violation would be just the latest in almost two decades of mistakes and wasteful spending on that piece of property by Horry County and other public agencies.

Initially, the land was intended as the site on which the, then planned, west side airport passenger terminal was to be built.

After the west side terminal project was cancelled in 2007 because of skyrocketing costs and numerous other miscalculations by county officials, county council and staff searched for a way to avoid paying back to the FAA the $5 million federal dollars spent on the land purchase.

This search led to the birth of the idea to build the international technology and aerospace park.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in 2011 complete with grandiose pronouncements by local officials, including 7th District Congressman Tom Rice (then chairman of county council), of the economic development and “5,000 jobs” the park would bring to Horry County within a “couple of years.”

Read more ›

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.

——————————————————–

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.

Read more ›

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.

Read more ›

Environmentalists Spin International Drive Issues

August 30, 2016 5:54 AM
Environmentalists Spin International Drive Issues

It appears that a last ditch effort by the environmentalists to confuse the facts about paving International Drive is in motion.

Several recent reports in local, state and social media show the Coastal Conservation League and its allies are in spin mode about what is really happening.

After Horry County announced it was starting work on the International Drive road bed so it would be ready to handle emergency vehicles in 40-60 days, a post on the South Carolina Environmental Law Project Facebook page stated, “Yesterday we filed a notice of appeal and a motion for stay in our Bays & Bears case after we learned that Horry County began clearing for the construction of International Drive on Monday.”

Continuing legal action by the environmentalists is no surprise. This case has gone beyond the issues involved to a mano a mano showdown between the environmentalists and county officials.

However, it appears that the only avenue left for legal action by SCELP and the groups it represents is challenging the permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in federal court.

For the time being, Horry County has the necessary permits in hand and is using county employees for the work on the road bed.

The spin on the issue, however, started with the second sentence in the post, which read, “Still excited by the bulldozer photo-op, County Officials “told it like it is” about the whole project: hundreds, even thousands of new homes to be built along the road. So much for the public safety and emergency access invocations during the March trial.”

The post was apparently referring to a comment Horry County Council member Paul Prince was quoted as making to The State newspaper.

Read more ›

Zika Virus Case Confirmed in Horry County

August 26, 2016 4:34 PM
Mosquito sucking blood on a human hand

The first confirmed case of travel related Zika virus in Horry County has been reported in Plantation Point.

DHEC officials notified the county yesterday.

Nearby Florence County also has one reported case of travel related Zika virus.

In most instances, Zika virus is not fatal, but can be very damaging to fetuses.

According to local officials, Horry County has been working on a plan to combat Zika virus for approximately four months. In the case of Plantation Point, the county has reportedly been going door to door with information, eliminating areas of standing water and using foggers on properties.

What everyone should know:

Zika infection during pregnancy is linked to birth defects. Pregnant women should avoid or delay travel to areas with Zika.
Zika is primarily spread through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.
Most people infected with Zika don’t even know they have it. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital.
In most cases Zika is not life-threatening.
The best way to prevent Zika is to prevent mosquito bites. Tips include:
– Apply EPA-approved insect repellent.
– Wear pants and long-sleeve shirts that cover exposed skin. In warmer weather, wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that covers exposed skin.
– Use screens or close windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
– Remove standing water in and around the home. This includes water in cans, toys, tires, plant saucers, or any container that can hold water.
– Cover trash cans or containers where water can collect.
See a health care provider if you develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes during a trip orwithin 2 weeks after traveling to a place with Zika, or if you have had sexual contact with someone who has traveled.

Citizens with questions can call the county’s road and drainage hotline at (843) 381-8000 for more information.

Read more ›

Guns and Where to Fire Them

August 24, 2016 5:04 PM
Guns and Where to Fire Them

Where guns can be fired is a question Horry County Council will struggle with over the next several months.

Infrastructure and Regulation Committee Chairman Johnny Vaught told a group of concerned citizens from the Hillsborough sub-division Tuesday that the county would not be locating a public firing range on Horry County Solid Waste Authority property near their development.

This announcement ended months of concern for those citizens that their peaceful community would be disrupted with the sound of weapons being fired nearby.

Vaught said the county would continue to look for a suitable piece of property in the more rural sections of the county in which to possibly locate a firing range.

Whether the county should get into the firing range business at all is a legitimate question being asked by citizens throughout the county. There are several privately owned firing ranges already in the county and there is strong feeling among some citizens that government should not compete with private business.

The Horry County Public Safety Committee discussed a different gun problem the day before. There is increasing concern among the county’s many sub-divisions of residents taking target practice on their property even though they are in close proximity to neighboring homes.

Horry County Council member Paul Prince said something should be done to prohibit such activity in sub-divisions where the houses are close together.

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

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

Read more ›