By Paul Gable
Government waste, sacred cows, special interests are all topics of almost constant conversation among the taxpaying public especially in difficult economic times as we have now.
Everybody has an opinion on where public money is wasted. Citizens can quickly point out how they, their neighborhood or their community needs are being ignored while someone else’s are being favored.
And everybody has a concept of what we call special interests working behind the scenes to get favorable treatment at the expense of the general public.
But what do we really know about what we suspect is happening?
Why do some citizens east of Conway off of U.S. 501 pay twice as much for water and sewer service as their neighbors across the road when the same agency, Grand Strand Water and Sewer Authority, is providing the services?
How has this same agency, created to bring water and sewer services to the unincorporated areas of Horry County, expanded into a multi-county, inter-state monolith?
More than any planning commission, code enforcement division or government in general, this agency is making the real decisions about where and how development will occur.
Why does an agency, Horry County Solid Waste Authority, created to bury the garbage of Horry County residents, feel the need to be a monopoly? How does it justify spending tens of thousands of dollars every year lobbying the General Assembly? Why does it feel the need to work against the re-election of legislators who believe it should be subject to the free market?
Why are these and similar agencies, at least partially funded by public dollars, subject to minimal or no oversight by the governmental bodies that created them? They were created to complement and support government goods and services, not to supplant governments elected by the people.
In these times of limited revenue, calls for government tightening of the belt and the search for the most efficient use of public dollars the functioning of these and similar agencies must be brought under public scrutiny. No longer, should they be allowed to hide in the shadows while spending millions of dollars of what is actually public money each year.
I have a suspicion that taxes could be reduced and public services expanded if better use of the assets of these types of agencies were investigated.
We will look into the makeup and workings of these agencies, to the best of our and the Freedom of Information Act’s ability, so you can make your own decisions of whether they are really in the public interest.