By Paul Gable
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.
Even worse, the current by-laws allow HCSWA board members, a group of seven citizens appointed by county council, to vote to dissolve the agency and distribute its assets.
I don’t know about you, but allowing seven non-elected board members to potentially determine how to distribute $37 million public dollars plus all the land and other assets of the authority does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling about oversight of public dollars and fiduciary responsibility of county council.
HCSWA officials are hoping that by laying low right now, not sending by-law changes to county council for approval and intensive lobbying of council members by HCSWA officials will allow things to settle down and the agency to continue making decisions about millions of public dollars of assets with little to no oversight.
Will the strategy work? We’ll have to wait and see what, if any, changes are made to the oversight governance form for the HCSWA.
In the meantime, what are they telling the IRS?