By Paul Gable
The Horry County Council workshop last week demonstrated the new approach council is bringing to addressing issues throughout the county.
Council is taking a stronger, more hands on approach, especially with large, potentially controversial issues, before they become a divisive subject of debate on the dais mired in the morass of politics.
Of particular interest was the RIDE III agenda item where a strong majority of council voiced the opinion ‘let’s take our time and get this right with sufficient public input along the way.’
There will be no RIDE III vote in the November 2014 general election, which is a good thing as it will keep the small, but vocal group of I-73 supporters from shanghaiing the process.
There are any number of road projects needed within the county, as we will see in the next two years, that will be much more beneficial to local citizens than some pie in the sky interstate.
County staff strongly voiced that any RIDE III projects should be for roads only, which takes out of the equation any attempted manipulation to include guaranteed funding for the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation.
If the MBREDC wants guaranteed funding, let it ask council for permission to take a stand alone, up or down referendum to the voters.
Council remained on the track of stronger oversight of the Horry County Solid Waste Authority by proposing an amendment to county Ordinance 60-90 providing for a process to dissolve the authority if the need is determined.
This will replace the current, extremely questionable dissolution process, spelled out in the HCSWA by-laws, that provides for a majority of the appointed board members to dissolve the agency and disburse its considerable assets. A complete review of the existing by-laws also seems to be on the horizon.
For much too long, the HCSWA has been allowed to operate without proper oversight by county council. Fortunately, a majority of this council recognizes the need to change that process.
One other issue council will take a hard look at before the budget process swings into full operational mode is the possibility that Coast RTA owes up to $500,000 in reimbursements to the S.C. Department of Transportation for not meeting federal requirements on two projects.
Coast RTA chief executive Myers Rollins called the confusion a ‘fundamental misunderstanding’ at a Coast RTA board meeting last week.
A representative of the SCDOT said the state was inspecting the contracts and would determine how much Coast RTA would have to pay back.
County council designates approximately $1.06 million per year to Coast RTA in local funding. It is certain council will want this issue finalized before voting on Coast RTA funding in next year’s budget.