By Paul Gable
There seems to be a growing trend in Horry County that is prevalent throughout the nation. Government staff is working against Horry County Council members, and in its own interests, instead of working for council to institute policy decisions.
Helicopter amusement ride leases, adult entertainment regulations, solid waste actions have all recently had instances where county staff pushed its own agenda against the wishes of council and the better interests of the county in general.
A recently renegotiated lease with Huffman Helicopters, in which staff was directly instructed to include designated flight patterns to limit flight patterns over residential areas is missing the key inclusions.
Airport staff says the FAA won’t allow such restrictions on flight patterns to be included in a lease. Staff has even gone so far as to warn council if the county does not renew its lease with Huffman, the FAA will step in and force it to.
This is total b—s— of course, yet the renegotiated lease is not now written as council directed.
No staff members, including those from the airport, nor council’s own resident genius (in his mind anyway) on aviation, made any objection about including flight pattern restrictions in the lease when it was discussed by full council in front of television cameras.
The new lease, now being presented by staff, has a non-binding memorandum of understanding attached. But that is exactly what it is – non-binding which is about as useful as wet tissue paper.
Those of you in the general public who find daily helicopter noise annoying, from Huffman’s and other helicopter amusement rides, all we can say is get used to it. It’s definitely not going away despite the best efforts of your elected council members.
The new adult entertainment ordinances, which have been the cause of much discussion recently, are the product of county staff and a hired gun attorney ready and willing to defend the new ordinances in court. And go to court they will, costing, we expect, hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in legal fees.
The end result of these ordinances will probably see an upsurge of adult entertainment businesses in the U.S. 501 highway corridor from south of Coastal Carolina University to below Carolina Forest Boulevard, no fewer adult entertainment businesses than now exist in the county and the same problems with secondary effects, as they are called, from the businesses.
The council is accomplishing virtually nothing while being urged by staff to fast track these ordinances through final reading.
Several months ago, the county attorney was instructed by a council member to prepare an amendment to the county’s solid waste flow control ordinance. To date this has not been forthcoming because the Horry County Solid Waste Authority staff does not want the amendment considered.
While the SWA board, appointed by council vote, considers itself something high and mighty on the level of the Federal Reserve Board, you know not answerable to anyone but themselves, it must be made to realize that the SWA is subservient to the wishes of county council.
Recently, county staff was told to prepare a presentation on other types of governance for the solid waste agency versus its now quasi-governmental authority status. We’ll have to wait and see what comes back, but I don’t expect it to be anything at all.
The SWA staff will tell the county staff that is not a good idea and the presentation will be forgotten just as the amendment to the flow control ordinance has been.
This is one of the overall problems facing government especially at the state and local levels today. Elected officials have little actual power while the entrenched bureaucracies not only carry out policy, but in many cases make it.
That is Horry County’s problem, South Carolina’s problem and the problem at the federal level when Congress tries to limit spending. The bureaucracies work in their own interests, not those of the elected officials or the people.