Post Tagged with: "Russell Fry"

What Is Really Possible to Mitigate Storm Water Flooding

February 22, 2020 4:09 AM
What Is Really Possible to Mitigate Storm Water Flooding

Flooding has again taken center stage in the news in Horry County this week while government officials continue to search for solutions.

Horry County faces potential problems from two different types of flooding. Flash flooding from extremely heavy rainfalls over a short period of time and riverine flooding when a large amount of water makes its way through the watershed from North Carolina to below Georgetown before it exits to the ocean.

While the county storm water plan addresses ways to attempt to mitigate flash flooding, attempts to mitigate riverine flooding have been largely ignored.

Even the task force put together by Governor Henry McMaster after Hurricane Florence suggested little more than to recommend cleaning out ditches, planting some trees and searching for ways to buyout homes which have been damaged or destroyed by recent flooding events.

Since this is an election year, the flooding problem is now present in the political dialogue where it should have been continuous at least since Hurricane Florence in 2018.

Horry County District 6 council member Cam Crawford opened his reelection campaign by proposing a resolution for county council to consider that would urge the state legislature to pass a bill his wife, Rep. Heather Ammons Crawford, is pushing in Columbia that would allow the county to borrow money from the state to provide local matching funds for buyouts of some flood affected homes.

Jeremy Halpin, Crawford’s primary opponent, said more is needed than just a bill for the county to borrow money. He proposed County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner appoint a Flooding Task Force subcommittee to propose, study and recommend a number of options to help the county mitigate flooding of both types.

Crawford responded by calling Halpin’s suggestion ‘political grandstanding’ and said he (Crawford) has been involved with the Governor’s Task Force working “since Hurricane Florence on research and meaningful solutions to flooding in our area.”

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Clemmons Attempts to Dictate I-73 Funding to Local Governments

February 14, 2020 3:16 AM
Clemmons Attempts to Dictate I-73 Funding to Local Governments

Rep. Alan Clemmons chaired a sub-committee meeting Wednesday at the state house for a hospitality fee bill that attempts to dictate what local governments must do with regard to spending hospitality fee revenue.

After the meeting, Clemmons attempted to put a positive spin on the meeting by telling a local television reporter, “They say that when both parties aren’t happy then you’ve usually reached a fair middle ground.”

I’m not sure who “they” are, but that thinking doesn’t apply in this case. The reason nobody from the cities or county representatives at the meeting voiced anything positive about the bill is this really is a terrible bill.

Clemmons is one of the sponsors of the bill joined by Russell Fry, Heather Ammons Crawford and Tim McGinnis. It is notable here that the four can’t even get the entire Horry County delegation signed on as co-sponsors.

Clemmons has tried to spin the bill as a settlement for the lawsuit between Myrtle Beach and Horry County.

It is not.

The real purpose of the bill is to attempt to force local governments in Horry County to do what the ‘failing four’ can’t get done at the state level – Fund Interstate 73. The entire focus in Columbia is to get as much funding for I-73 from hospitality fee revenue as possible while ignoring the many more immediate, local government needs that the revenue could be used toward.

Initially this bill tried to dictate that all the hospitality fee revenue be used for I-73 construction. An amendment was approved Wednesday that would give the cities approximately one-half of the revenue to use for improvement of tourist related infrastructure and to fund other tourist related needs. The county would get zero for local needs.

The formula established in the amendment would provide approximately $20 million annually to I-73 construction costs within Horry County. Note – Horry County is being asked to be the only county in the history of interstate highway construction to completely fund construction costs of the portion of the interstate highway within its borders through locally generated tax revenue.

Future state and federal funding, if ever appropriated, is projected to be spent in Marion, Dillon and Marlboro counties, not Horry.

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Myrtle Beach’s Problem with the Truth about I-73 Funding

February 11, 2020 4:47 AM
Myrtle Beach’s Problem with the Truth about I-73 Funding

Myrtle Beach city government just can’t keep itself from spinning stories in an attempt to make itself look good while hiding the truth from the public.

The following post, which appeared on the city government Facebook page yesterday, is a perfect example of the city’s spin:

“The City of Myrtle Beach supports I-73…

“The Myrtle Beach City Council is on the record as supporting I-73. Twice in the past year, City Council has approved resolutions expressing its support for I-73. In April 2019, Council publicly stated that it would devote financial resources to I-73 once the Hospitality Fee issue was resolved. Myrtle Beach has demonstrated its commitment to I-73. Question: Has the Horry County Council voted publicly to support I-73?”

The day Myrtle Beach filed suit against Horry County to stop countywide collection of the 1.5% Hospitality Fee, the local revenue stream for funding I-73 dried up.

The above post says in April 2019 Myrtle Beach city council approved a resolution expressing support for I-73. The resolution was passed after city council refused a settlement offer for the Hospitality Fee lawsuit from county council that provided funding for I-73.

The county’s settlement offer would have designated one-third of the revenue from countywide collection of the 1.5% Hospitality Fee to fund I-73 with the remaining two-thirds of the revenue collected within the city limits being transferred back to the city for use as city council determined.

The following is an extract from a letter Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune wrote to county Chairman Johnny Gardner rejecting the settlement offer:

“Thank you for your letter of April 3. As you are aware, the Myrtle Beach City Council has expressed its willingness to commit support for the I-73 project. However, since the proposed funding source is the subject of litigation, we are unable to engage in negotiations under the terms described in your letter and related attachments.

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State Legislation Would Not Solve Lawsuit or I-73 Funding

January 20, 2020 3:55 AM
State Legislation Would Not Solve Lawsuit or I-73 Funding

A bill being sponsored by four local state representatives is erroneously being promoted as legislation that would settle a lawsuit between Myrtle Beach and Horry County and provide funding for Interstate 73.

Nowhere in the original complaint or subsequent motions of that lawsuit, filed March 2019, is Interstate 73 mentioned.

The legislation, H4745, sponsored by Reps. Alan Clemmons, Russell Fry, Heather Ammons Crawford and Tim McGinnis would provide the extension of what is called a countywide ‘legacy hospitality fee’ as long the revenue derived from the countywide portion is used specifically to fund an interstate highway project.

When Myrtle Beach filed the original complaint last March, it specifically sought end collection of a 1.5% countywide hospitality fee within its corporate limits. Immediately after filing the lawsuit, Myrtle Beach city council passed new accommodations and hospitality fee taxes, allowed by current state law, to capture revenue from those levies for use on projects of council’s discretion within the city limits.

North Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach quickly followed Myrtle Beach’s lead in passing new accommodations and hospitality taxes within their respective jurisdictions.

The day Myrtle Beach filed its lawsuit seeking to stop collection of the countywide hospitality fee, countywide funding for I-73 was dead.

A section of the original complaint filed by Myrtle Beach claims the 1.5% countywide hospitality fee, established by a 1996 county ordinance, was illegally extended by county council when a sunset provision was removed from the ordinance in April 2017.

County council voted to remove the sunset provision at the urging of then county chairman Mark Lazarus. It was Lazarus who introduced I-73 into the discussion by mentioning the I-73 project as one of the possible future uses of hospitality fee revenue.

A current proposed settlement for the lawsuit ends any authority of the county to continue countywide collection of the 1.5% hospitality fee and allows all the cities within the county to collect and use the revenue from their newly passed hospitality and accommodations taxes as their respective councils determine within their respective jurisdictions.

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High Drama Surrounds County’s I-73 Agreement with SCDOT

March 14, 2019 2:55 AM
High Drama Surrounds County’s I-73 Agreement with SCDOT

High drama surrounded a recent decision by the Horry County Council Infrastructure and Regulation Committee to consider changes and/or cancellation of the Financial Participation Agreement the county signed with SCDOT last December for the Interstate 73 project.

Like many issues in the political arena these days, this one included its share of drama queens heightening and confusing the discussion while voicing veiled threats about possible state government retaliation should local government officials significantly alter or cancel the agreement.

According to local council members who spoke with Grand Strand Daily, Reps. Russell Fry and Alan Clemmons as well as former representative and current Myrtle Beach Chamber lobbyist Mike Ryhal quickly took to phone calls and texts when they heard of the planned I&R discussion earlier this week.

Their collective message, reportedly, was leave the agreement alone or face the possibility of the General Assembly altering current state law to remove control of hospitality and accommodations tax revenue from local governments in favor of control in Columbia.

Ever since July 2017 when former county council chairman Mark Lazarus and members of county government senior staff led council down the path to partial funding of the I-73 project by removing a sunset provision from the county’s hospitality tax law, this controversy has been inevitable.

Despite massive propaganda efforts through the years by the Chamber and a few elected officials about the necessity of I-73 to provide a connection to Interstate 95, local residents have remained unconvinced of the purported benefits of the project.

Many of those who cried the loudest – the Chamber, Clemmons and U.S. Congressman Tom Rice – have been collectively unsuccessful at acquiring funding for the project at the state and federal levels.

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Richardson Rolls To GOP Nomination

July 18, 2018 7:16 AM
Richardson Rolls To GOP Nomination

Ken Richardson was the heavy favorite of voters Tuesday as he captured 71 percent of the vote in the Republican primary special election for Horry County School Board Chairman.

Incumbent school board member Janice Morreale gathered 20 percent of the vote to finish a distant second with former Patricia Milley completing the field at 9 percent.

Richardson will face political newcomer Democrat Heather Johnson in the November general election.

Richardson’s campaign centered on safety in the schools, transparency of board decisions and strict oversight of the school district budget.

The Richardson victory continues a recent trend of incumbents with serious opposition in the primaries falling by the wayside.

Last month challenger Johnny Gardner bested incumbent Mark Lazarus for the Republican nomination for Horry County Council Chairman and William Bailey defeated incumbent Greg Duckworth for the GOP nomination for  SC House District 104. The Richardson victory completed the Trifecta Tuesday night.

What is particularly interesting is all three incumbents had significant help from other incumbents during the primary campaigns.

Lazarus had the endorsement of at least 10 of his 11 fellow county council members as well as endorsements from the coastal mayors and members of the county legislative delegation. State legislators Heather Ammons Crawford and Russell Fry ran the Lazarus campaign.

Duckworth had the active support of fellow legislators Alan Clemmons, Greg Hembree, Fry and Ammons Crawford, as well as North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley, contacting voters to push Duckworth reelection.

Morreale, the current school board member for District 5, had a group of her fellow school board incumbents actively contacting voters to push her candidacy.

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Changing the Guard in Horry County Republican Politics

March 28, 2016 5:04 AM
Changing the Guard in Horry County Republican Politics

We are seeing a changing of the guard in Republican politics in Horry County. The last election cycle brought some new faces to the fore as some of our older incumbents chose to retire.

That trend is continuing in 2016.

I asked my good friend and former television partner John Bonsignor to help me produce eight thumbnail sketches of some up and coming office holders and candidates in the Republican Party.

The Republican party is beginning to welcome with open arms, into the political arena, young, talented, and desirable new faces to replace their old guard. As many of the elected old timers, having been in office for many years, feel it’s time to move on and give way to the new blood of talented candidates coming up.

Jeff Johnson – completing his first term as representative for SC House District 58, Johnson has consistently supported small government, conservative issues. He is a strong believer in family values and believes the state has an obligation to maintain its existing infrastructure that is so vital to small business.

Heather Ammons Crawford – finishing her second full term as representative for SC House District 68, fiscal responsibility, pro life and second amendment issues are at the top of her goals. Ammons Crawford is also South Carolina National Committeewoman for the Young Republican National Federation engaging young people across the country.

Russell Fry – our newest representative to the SC House, he has served SC House District 106 since winning a special election to fill an unexpired term last fall. Fry’s goals are working for a “prosperous South Carolina for our kids, ensuring they got a good education and a strong foundation.”

Tyler Servant – representing Horry County Council District 5 since January 2015, Servant seeks to bring new and innovative thinking to Horry County Council including waste cutting plans. He looks hard at road improvements needed in District 5 and has been successful in acquiring a federal grant for beach renourishment on the South Strand.

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Congratulations Russell Fry

September 17, 2015 8:34 AM
Congratulations Russell Fry

Russell Fry secured election to SC House District 106 in Tuesday’s special general election.

Unopposed on the ballot, Fry captured 438 votes of the 447 votes counted with the remaining nine being write-in votes.

Fry’s election was a foregone conclusion after he won an August 18, 2015 special primary runoff election over Horry County Council member Tyler Servant by 1,736 votes to 1,166 votes.

Fry is scheduled to be sworn into office by SC House Speaker Jay Lucas at the Surfside Beach Town Council Chambers Saturday September 19, 2015 at 4 p.m.

The special election was to fill out the unexpired term of SC House District 106 Rep. Nelson Hardwick who resigned from office in the spring.

Fry will be representing the citizens of SC House District 106 when the General Assembly resumes business in January 2016 for the second year of the current legislative session.

All House seats will be up for election in the November 2016 general election.

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Russell Fry Wins Nomination in Rout

August 12, 2015 7:30 AM
Russell Fry Wins Nomination in Rout

Russell Fry claimed the SC House District 106 Republican nomination yesterday in a rout over opponent Tyler Servant.

The final vote totals saw Fry with 1,736 votes (59.82%) to Servant’s 1,166 votes (40.18%).

Fry’s name will be the only one on the ballot in the September 15, 2015 special general election for SC House District 106, which makes him a virtual shoo-in to be the newest member of the SC House.

Fry will serve out the remainder of Nelson Hardwick’s unexpired term and be up for re-election in 2016.

Fry thanked the many campaign volunteers who worked through the summer heat to help him win the nomination.

“This is all about the people of District 106,” Fry said in addressing the crowd. “I intend to work hard for them and I truly appreciate the trust they have put in me.”

Fry, who has been very active in the local Republican Party, ran an excellent grassroots campaign in his first attempt at elected office. He nearly doubled his margin of victory over Servant from the first round of primary voting.

Servant’s loss means he will continue as the Horry County Council member for District 5, a seat he has held for only seven months.

Therein lies the problem with the Servant candidacy. It is extremely difficult to go to the voters twice in 12 months asking them to elect you to different offices. It gives the impression that you are in politics for yourself only. Any campaign consultant worth his fee would have discouraged this candidacy.

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SC House District 106 Election Absurdities

August 9, 2015 5:00 AM
SC House District 106 Election Absurdities

The special Republican primary election for SC House District 106 has taken some absurd turns in the past two weeks.

The Republican primary runoff between Russell Fry and Tyler Servant will be held Tuesday August 11, 2015 with the winner gaining the nomination and almost assured election since there will be no other candidates on the ballot.

A Facebook post followed by an attempt to turn this post into a credible story saw Fits News question whether the Confederate flag would play a part in this election.

Susan Chapman claimed to change her preference from Russell Fry to Tyler Servant because Fry said he would have voted to take the flag down while Servant said he would have voted for a referendum on the flag.

Evidently Chapman prefers a candidate who passes the buck to one who can make decisions. I don’t pay any attention to what Chapman says, but, does this mean she no longer supports Lindsey Graham who was also outspoken about the flag coming down?

Then, questions about Servant’s legal residence and his affinity to dodge live forums and questions emerged.
According to a report in the Sun News, Servant claims his residence as a house that has been rented to tourists for 56 days over this tourist season.

Attempting to explain the situation, Servant was quoted in the story as comparing his situation to legislators spending several nights a week in Columbia during the legislative session.

“It’s not an issue” Servant was quoted as saying. “If it was an issue that would make every single legislator in the state of South Carolina have a residency problem since they go to Columbia six months out of the year, every week for two days.”

Oh really – are all the legislators renting out their houses each week while they are gone?

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