By Paul Gable
Horry County will insert itself more firmly in the private business sector when it passes three resolutions at tonight’s council meeting.
One resolution guarantees revenue to Canadian airline WestJet that will begin service to Myrtle Beach International. The second approves the Horry County Department of Airports purchasing the assets of Ramp 66 at the North Myrtle Beach airport and becoming the new fixed base operator there.
The third resolution directs the administrator to explore any and all legal recourse, which may be available to the county, if and when the S.C. General Assembly passes legislation making the Horry County Solid Waste Authority’s solid waste flow control monopoly illegal.
I don’t believe it is the mission of local government to guarantee private businesses against losses in the course of doing business. I’m jingoistic enough to feel if county government must guarantee an airline it will not lose money on routes into Myrtle Beach, at least make it a U.S. owned and operated airline.
This doesn’t take into consideration the approximately $1.2 million (of public dollars) the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Golf Holiday will spend promoting the new WestJet routes.
The Department of Airports proposes to pay Ramp 66 $850,000 of public money to take over fixed base operations at the North Myrtle Beach airport. With this transaction, the county airport system will have established a monopoly over general aviation FBO’s in the county. It already owns the FBO’s at Myrtle Beach International and Conway airport. Another government monopoly.
I don’t believe it is in the best interest of the citizens or general aviation for county government to have a monopoly in fixed base operations, an area where private FBO’s generally provide much better service, according to a veteran pilot friend of mine.
And to protect the government established monopoly over solid waste disposal, the county will dig into its public coffers to fight any legal battles with respect to flow control legislation while the SWA continues to dump its profits, sorry reserves (we can’t call them profits), into the bank, building on the $35 million excess already there.
While all this takeover and subsidization of private business with public dollars is going on , I do wonder why the ‘alleged’ citizen activist organizations (read Tea Party and others) remain so silent.
If all politics are local, is it too much to at least expect them to be educated on what is going on at the local government level and hear from them occasionally on these issues.