By Paul Gable
The Horry County Infrastructure and Regulation Committee voted unanimously Thursday to remove construction and demolition waste from regulation under the county’s solid waste flow control ordinance.
The amended ordinance will now go to full council with a recommendation for approval. It will take three readings from council to make the amendment law.
The committee vote is a victory for small business and a reigning in of large, monopolistic government regulation of private business.
Since 2009, when county council enacted the solid waste flow control ordinance requiring all solid waste generated within the county to be disposed at higher prices at the Horry County Solid Waste Authority landfill on Hwy 90, small haulers specializing in construction and demolition debris have been seriously affected.
These businesses have experienced serious loss of income, higher disposal prices at the HCSWA landfill and the need to cut the number of Horry County citizens they employ.
If the amendment receives final approval from county council, which is expected, all construction and demolition debris generated in the county will be allowed to be disposed at the discretion of the hauler or private citizen removing the debris.
When the original solid waste flow control ordinance was enacted, council was assured it was needed to guarantee revenue to the HCSWA so recycling programs could continue, for potential liability reasons and that no Horry County citizen would lose a job as a result.
None of this was true! Council allowed itself to be hoodwinked by staff members of HCSWA and Horry County with their own agenda. Principally this was to punish the small haulers who were adversely affected.
The HCSWA was so concerned about money that it spent $865,000 with a North Myrtle Beach lobbying firm to attempt to keep the General Assembly from making flow control illegal throughout the state.
There remain other issues with the HCSWA, especially its current bylaws which allow its county council appointed board members to dissolve the authority and disburse its assets, which include approximately $37 million in the bank, at the discretion of a majority vote of the board members.
This is county money and needs better oversight and control by the county’s elected officials, not by appointed board members.
However, this vote is a beginning. It demonstrates that county council is willing to exercise its legal authority and fiscal responsibility to the benefit of the average citizen and small business.