By Paul Gable
The Horry County Council Infrastructure and Regulation Committee will consider a resolution tomorrow that could lead to greater public access and transparency to spending government tax dollars.
The resolution calls for the Horry County Solid Waste Authority, Coast RTA and the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation to conduct board meetings at the county’s Government and Justice Complex on 3rd Avenue in Conway.
Specifically the meetings would be held in council chambers or the council conference room, both of which are wired for internet live streaming of meetings as well as recording equipment that will allow recorded meetings to be available for viewing on the county website.
This is an important, positive step in providing more availability for the voting public to watch their tax dollars at work as each of the three agencies rely almost totally on tax dollars for their funding.
The SWA budget is approximately $22 million per year, all public money. Coast RTA gets over 80 percent of its approximately $5 million per year budget from federal, state and local tax dollars. The MBREDC recently came up with a plan to request $60 million in public funding over the next 15 years.
There can never be too much transparency with how government and the above types of quasi-governmental free standing agencies conduct their business. It’s your money they are spending. These agencies have little to no funding other than public tax dollars.
We applaud the initiative of the I&R Committee to attempt to provide the tax paying public with more opportunities to see how its tax dollars are being spent.
If the resolution is approved by the committee, it will go to full council for consideration at its August 13, 2013 regular meeting. It appears that the resolution will receive resounding majorities in both council bodies.
Then, it will be up to the boards of the three agencies to agree. All three can disregard the resolution and refuse to hold board meetings, which are all open to the public, at other than their individual locations as they do now.
We’ll see how transparent these agencies want to be with how they spend government tax dollars.