Post Tagged with: "public dollars"

Myrtle Beach City Council Approves Product Ban

August 17, 2018 3:34 AM
Myrtle Beach City Council Approves Product Ban

Myrtle Beach City Council Tuesday approved an overlay district on a portion of Ocean Boulevard that will ban legal products from being sold on the basis they are not “family friendly.”

Family friendly is an excuse the city administrator and city council roll out when they have no solid reason for doing something.

In my opinion, the majority five council members who voted for the ban, Brenda Bethune, Phil Render, Mike Chestnut, Jackie Vereen and Mary Jeffcoat took a position on the issue that is arrogant, ill-considered and downright embarrassing.

If the five believe the issue is settled, I doubt it is.

To quote Winston Churchill after the Battle of Britain, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Churchill was correct, five long years of war remained.

I fully expect the legality of the ordinance to be challenged in court. But city council doesn’t care because they will not be paying from their pockets to defend a lawsuit if one is forthcoming. It will be your taxpayer dollars that are wasted just as they were with the ill-fated helmet law council passed some years ago.

Local attorney Reese Boyd pointed out during the meeting that the ordinance has changed by 70 percent or more since it passed first reading in May 2017. This draws into question whether the ordinance received a true second and final reading Tuesday.

The ordinance targets businesses that are Jewish owned bringing into question how it stands up to the anti-discrimination precepts contained in the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

It is absolutely ridiculous that a targeted product can be sold on one block of Ocean Boulevard but not on the next, as will be the case if the ordinance withstands expected legal challenges. “Family friendly” is evidently determined by geography.

Is it because of who owns the targeted businesses and not about what they sell?

If so, it wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility that a case of conspiracy could be alleged.

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 ›

Bob Kelly Campaign Offers Bubba Owens Bribe to Quit

November 11, 2015 11:00 AM
Bob Kelly Campaign Offers Bubba Owens Bribe to Quit

Bob Kelly and his consultant Jim Wiles have so little respect for Horry County voters they offered opponent Bubba Owens a bribe to quit the runoff election.

The runoff election for the Republican nomination for the vacant Horry County Council District 3 seat is set for November 17, 2015.

However, Kelly and his henchmen seem to want to avoid that by bringing Northeast big city machine politics to Horry County in the form of a bribe for Owens to quit the race.

If you question the use of the word bribe, its definition in The Free Dictionary is “Something offered to induce another to do something.” Merriam Webster dictionary states, “Something that serves to induce or influence.”

A November 6, 2015 voicemail message from Wiles to Owens’ campaign consultant said, “Team Bubba should put together a shopping list of stuff that they would want for downtown Myrtle Beach for Bob Kelly to commit to in exchange for Bubba dropping out…”

South Carolina Code of Laws Section 7-25-200 states it is unlawful to offer anything of value to induce a person to withdraw as a candidate.

The only question here is whether a court would view the offer ‘give Kelly a shopping list of what they (Owens and his consultants) want for downtown Myrtle Beach in exchange for Bubba dropping out’ as a criminal act. It certainly goes right up to that line, if it does not, in fact, cross it.

We’ll leave that decision to the solicitors and federal prosecutors. But, the message certainly violates the spirit of the law if not the actual letter of the law.

However, in addition to inducement to quit the runoff election, another criminal consideration is that Kelly’s team is offering to commit public dollars to proposed projects for the personal gain for Kelly of Owens dropping out of the election.

Read more ›

HCSWA Bid Process Flawed

November 21, 2014 4:45 AM
HCSWA Bid Process Flawed

The process for bidding for work at the Horry County Solid Waste Authority (HCSWA) appears to have serious flaws with respect to how public dollars are spent.

The flaws became apparent during a workshop held Thursday November 20, 2014 to discuss why approval of a change order in the amount of $395,000 was justified for current work on the East Hill Fill Closure Project.

When an RFQ for a project at the HCSWA is publicized requesting bids, authority contract engineer Vance Moore told the board, the specifications in the RFQ for scope of work and material needed are only estimates.

Read more ›

Horry County Council Requests More Agencies Data

November 12, 2013 7:00 AM
Horry County Council Requests More Agencies Data

After last week’s contretemps with Coast RTA board members, Horry County Council has decided to request salary, benefit and other information from additional agencies funded with county tax dollars.

The Horry County Solid Waste Authority and Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation were asked to provide salary and benefit compensation for the CEO and senior staff as well as expense account information.

Even though the action was ‘a day late and a dollar short’ for combating the impression that Coast RTA was singled out by county council last week, it is the proper action to take.

Read more ›

The Problems With Public Nonprofit Authorities

October 25, 2013 9:00 AM
The Problems With Public Nonprofit Authorities

Why is it that public nonprofit authorities think they are an entity unto themselves?

Created by government act, they soon seem to forget that the whole purpose of their existence is to serve the citizens of the political sub-division that created them.

But, among other benefits, they sure love taking part in the public funded health insurance and retirement plans. No Obamacare worries for them!

The Nerve recently did a great article on the S.C. Research Authority and its ‘public nonprofit’ attitude “which views itself as public when it’s convenient and private when it comes to accountability.”

Read more ›

HCSWA Laying Low

August 28, 2013 8:00 AM
HCSWA Laying Low

For the past several months, officials at the Horry County Solid Waste Authority (HCSWA) have been pushing changes with the agency’s by-laws so that HCSWA would not have to file a Form 990 with the IRS.

All of a sudden those changes are not a priority anymore because the Horry County Infrastructure and Regulation Committee is taking a closer look at the form of its oversight of the HCSWA.

Actually, oversight is a misnomer as Horry County Council has done little oversight of this agency for the past decade.

We won’t get into the specifics of the reasons for the changes. Suffice it to say the HCSWA does not want to explain to the IRS why it has $37 million in the bank – $22 million in questionable future expense reserves and $15 million excess reserves.

Read more ›

Accommodations Tax Fuels MB Chamber Greed

April 16, 2013 8:00 AM
Accommodations Tax Fuels MB Chamber Greed

When Horry County Council begins in-depth considerations of next year’s budget later this week, the question of how much accommodations tax revenue goes to the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce will be a major point of discussion.

While the accommodations tax concept is to help meet the costs of expanded services required by the introduction of millions of visitors to an area, the state law allowing accommodations tax collections requires 30 percent of the revenue generated to be spent on tourism marketing. This provision was one of the trade-offs put in the law to get the buy-in of the tourism lobby.

For a number of years, that 30 percent, approximately $2.3 million from the unincorporated areas of the county, has gone to the Chamber in a block to spend on its marketing efforts.

Read more ›