Post Tagged with: "Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation"

Horry County Treasurer Angie Jones Lawsuit Raises Questions About County Budget

November 25, 2017 11:04 AM
Horry County Treasurer Angie Jones Lawsuit Raises Questions About County Budget

A lawsuit filed by Horry County Treasurer Angie Jones against Horry County Government earlier this week raises questions about the county budget and the process used to establish it.

In her complaint, Jones claims the county government is not meeting its constitutional responsibility to adequately fund and staff her department.

As a result, Jones says her department is short of personnel necessitating closing of satellite offices for periods of time during the workday, thereby inhibiting the amount and timeliness of service provided by the department to the public.

Jones was elected to office in November 2016, but was not sworn in until the beginning of the current fiscal year on July 1, 2017, in accordance with state law.

During the interim period between election and swearing in, Jones says she was not allowed by county council to take part in the budget process for the current fiscal year, even though she knew additional personnel were needed in the department.

During an interview on “Talking Politics”, a television show co-hosted by John Bonsignor and this writer, Jones said she approached the county administration committee to request funds to hire another administrative assistant to help alleviate the shortages in satellite offices.

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Final AvCraft Chapter?

June 16, 2016 6:16 AM
Final AvCraft Chapter?

The Horry County Transportation Committee voted earlier this week to write off $113,687 in unpaid rent from AvCraft Technical Services that the county will never collect anyway.

AvCraft filed for bankruptcy in March 2015 after an 11 year history of failing to make good on its promises to Horry County.

This should be the final chapter in the saga of local and state politicians, especially Horry County Council, looking at AvCraft through rose colored glasses in the name of economic development.

Since arriving to much hoopla in 2004, AvCraft was consistent in only two areas – it consistently failed to meet job goal promises and it consistently requested and received rent reductions on the three hangars at Myrtle Beach International it rented from the Horry County Department of Airports.

After eight years of failing to meet goals, Horry County Council tried one last time in January 2012 to help AvCraft save itself with the recommendation of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation.

One of the main items in that agreement was a $1.25 million reduction in rent on the county hangars over a five year period. This came after three earlier rent reductions, agreed to by the county, failed to make AvCraft profitable.

The following four comments made after the 2012 incentive package was approved demonstrate how far from reality politicians and their economic development arms exist from reality:

“I am thankful for the company’s commitment to Horry County and proud of our economic development team for this terrific announcement.” – Rep. Tom Rice.

“It’s another great day in South Carolina, and we are going to celebrate AvCraft’s decision to expand and create 150 new jobs in Horry County.” – Gov. Nikki Haley.

“AvCraft is a tremendous asset to our community, and this project is just the beginning for aviation-related businesses locating and expanding in the Myrtle Beach region.” – Doug Wendel, MBREDC board chairman at the time.

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Potential Buyer Looking at PTR Industries

April 28, 2016 7:16 AM
Potential Buyer Looking at PTR Industries

(Above Gov. Nikki Haley with a special edition assault rifle presented to her by PTR Industries}

A firm from New York state is reportedly looking at the possibility of buying PTR Industries, a deal that could save the company’s operations at Horry County’s Cool Springs Business Park.

PTR Industries was recruited to relocate from Connecticut to Horry County in 2013 by the Myrtle Beach Regional Development Corporation. This was touted as a major coup by MBREDC as Horry County was a successful bidder over several other states in landing PTR Industries.

A package that included an approximately $1 million upgrade of a county spec building at Cool Springs Business Park and incentive based job creation credits was put together by MBREDC and the SC Department of Commerce for PTR Industries.

The company brought approximately 21 workers with it from Connecticut and promised to create an additional 145 jobs in Horry County within three years.

PTR Industries commenced operations in Horry County in January 2014 and hired approximately 28 additional employees in the first months of its operations.

However, it quickly fell behind in its rent payments to Horry County for the Cool Springs Business Park building that is its headquarters and manufacturing location. One week after a Grand Opening celebration, in July 2014, that included appearances by Gov. Nikki Haley and local Congressman Tom Rice, PTR Industries laid off some workers and instituted a 10% across the board pay cut to those remaining.

Since then, PTR Industries has struggled. According to several sources, Horry County Council restructured its rent deal with PTR Industries last fall in order to help the company become current.

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Horry County – Myrtle Beach Land Deal

October 13, 2015 8:06 AM
Horry County – Myrtle Beach Land Deal

Horry County and the City of Myrtle Beach are investigating a joint purchase of the former Hard Rock Theme Park.

According to sources familiar with the talks, the reason for the purchase is to build additional sports fields for the sports tourism industry.

This is not a good idea on several levels.

Horry County and Myrtle Beach should not use public tax dollars for the purchase of land and construction of sports facilities for the tourism industry.

Horry County just raised property taxes by 7.2 mils (the maximum increase allowed by state law) for this current fiscal year ostensibly for pay increases and public safety improvements.

Now it not only proposes to use tax dollars to purchase land and build sports fields, but the purchase of the former theme park property by local governments would remove that land from the tax rolls, a double whammy for local taxpayers.

Horry County already wastes over $1 million per year funding the operations budget of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation. If this is such a good idea, shouldn’t MBREDC be able to recruit private business to purchase the land and build the facilities?

Myrtle Beach raises tens of millions of tax dollars, with its one cent tourism sales tax, that it turns over to the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce to use for tourism advertising. This is something that should be funded by marketing budgets of the private businesses in the tourism industry.

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Council Reconsiders HCSWA Recycling Contract

September 15, 2015 8:00 PM
Council Reconsiders HCSWA Recycling Contract

MBREDC Gets More Tax Dollars for Corporate Welfare

Horry County Council voted 11-0 to pass a reconsidered second reading of a budget amendment regarding the HCSWA recycling contract with Charleston County.

Second reading failed by a 7-4 vote at council’s September 1, 2015 regular meeting. The vote was on a budget amendment which requires a super majority of nine “Yes” votes to pass.

The budget amendment requires passage of one more reading to become law. If this occurs, the contract bringing Charleston County recyclables into Horry County for processing at the HCSWA material recycling facility will officially be approved.

The interesting part of the reconsidered vote is the recycling contract and other HCSWA issues will be considered at the September 24, 2015 meeting of the county’s Infrastructure and Regulation Committee.

This stipulation was added as an amendment to the budget amendment ordinance along with a requirement that the HCSWA will be subject to monthly scrutiny by the I&R Committee.

These new requirements were enough to get the deal to take recyclables from Charleston County back on track, at least for the time being.

Concerns from the council members who originally voted against second reading of the budget amendment arise from issues at the HCSWA, not the Charleston County contract itself, according to sources familiar with the issues.

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County Council Mistake on MBREDC

September 13, 2015 5:33 AM
County Council Mistake on MBREDC

Horry County Council is about to make another mistake with regard to the MBREDC.

Council will vote Tuesday night on extending its funding contract to the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation for another year. This would commit the county to three more years of funding from the current two.

County council should not have agreed to a new two-year contract when considering its budget for the current fiscal year. It is making a terrible mistake extending the contract.

The excuse is a new executive director for the MBREDC, for which there is a search currently ongoing, will want a three-year contract to agree to a deal.

But, with the history of the MBREDC, not only in its current iteration, but also in all the ones that came before, county council would do better if it burned $1.1 million in the parking lot of the government center as give this agency another dime!

What it is doing here is giving away tax dollars to an agency whose only goal is to give away more tax dollars to bribe companies to relocate to Horry County.

And, it doesn’t do that well!

All we have to do is remember AvCraft, Project Blue, Ithaca Gun Company and PTR Industries to see how woeful has been the performance of MBREDC.

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MBREDC Smart Economic Planning or Insanity

August 2, 2015 5:00 AM
MBREDC Smart Economic Planning or Insanity

On July 7, 2015, the Horry County Council approved another 2-year $2.6 million contract with the MBREDC (Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation.)

This action is probably very confusing for anyone who has followed the progress of the MBREDC over the years.

Have Horry County taxpayers received a proper return on the $1.3 million given annually to the MBRDC during the past 5 years? Certainly any prudent investor would ask about an expected return on investment before committing funds to a corporation, whether a quasi-public/private or solely private one. There is only one measure of success when it comes to investing your (the taxpayers) money and that is the return on investment. In this case the return would be measured in number of residents who got jobs per tax dollars spent.

Unfortunately (for my peace of mind and confidence in our County Council) I did some basic math. The MBREDC receives $1.3 million annually from Horry County taxpayers. The former MBREDC President Brad Lofton had announced 1,500 jobs were created by the MBREDC in Horry County during his 3 years running the agency. Oops – but it appears that half of those jobs have not been filled. Let’s do some easy math; 750 jobs at $1.3M X 3 years of taxpayer money = $5,200 per job. Oops, forgot to subtract the money owed to the county by the current occupant of the Cool Springs Business Park (paid for by taxpayer $). PTR owes $73,000 in back rent as of June. Is it now logical to add $73,000 / 3 = $24,333 to the cost per job? Well probably not, but you get the drift.

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Horry County Council Budget Resolutions

July 7, 2015 6:30 AM
Horry County Council Budget Resolutions

Horry County Council will consider two resolutions at its meeting tonight to complete this fiscal year’s budget process.

The resolutions will be to approve funding agreements with the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation for two years and with Coast RTA for one year.

These votes will be the final acts of contempt toward county taxpayers in a budget year that brings the largest property tax increase in a generation.

Led by the Republican ‘Gang of Five’ (Mark Lazarus, Al Allen, Johnny Vaught, Gary Loftus and Bill Howard), Horry County Council chose to raise property taxes by 7.2 mils ($13.5 million) without even considering during budget considerations whether funding should be cut for the MBREDC and Coast RTA.

Of course, MBREDC and Coast RTA funding weren’t the only possible savings in a $130 million general fund budget that could have been looked at.

It was just easier for the Republican ‘Gang of Five’ to raise taxes than to go through the details of the budget.

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Horry County Council Budget Failures

June 23, 2015 5:00 AM
Horry County Council Budget Failures

The latest development at MBREDC indicates how casually Horry County Council approached raising taxes this year.

Jim Moore, President and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation, resigned from that agency Monday.

Moore came to MBREDC only six months ago after the three plus year dismal reign of Brad Lofton. During the four year period represented by these two, MBREDC allegedly reorganized itself with a new approach to attracting jobs to Horry County.

Neither Moore nor Lofton was any more successful in economic development recruitment than the former iteration of MBREDC or Partners Economic Development Corporation before it.

The difference is the current four year MBREDC 2.0 has been receiving serious funding from Horry County Council, between $1.3 million to $1.8 million per year of taxpayer dollars, with little to nothing to show for it.

Think of AvCraft, Project Blue and PTR Industries as the poster children of MBREDC efforts.

Over the past five county budget cycles, MBREDC has received at least $7.5 million from Horry County Council to fund its few employees and other operational costs.

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A Lesson from the AvCraft Experience

March 1, 2015 8:00 AM
A Lesson from the AvCraft Experience

The final curtain is coming down on AvCraft Technical Services in a couple of weeks leaving behind an important political lesson that will soon be forgotten.

That lesson? Never, never, never believe a politician’s (or their associates’) claims about economic development and/or job creation.

AvCraft was first introduced to Horry County in 2003 by, then, Horry County Council candidate Joe DeFeo.

AvCraft had just forfeited economic development incentive payments for failing to reach job creation promises at its location in Tyler, Texas and was looking for fresh government dollars. DeFeo was looking for an issue that could help him win election to Horry County Council District Three.

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