Search Results for "Horry County Council"

Horry County Solid Waste Authority (SWA) Dumps Taxpayer Dollars On Lobbyists

SWA Dumps Taxpayer Dollars On Lobbyists

The efforts of the Horry County Solid Waste Authority to maintain its monopoly control of the county’s garbage was big business for lobbying firms during the recent legislative session as the SWA paid its lobbyists a whopping $263,888.40 during the first six months of the year.

For those of you who saw reports in local media and other blogs of a much smaller amount, $77,479, the difference is what was paid by the SWA in June 2012.

Rather than being ranked 21st on the list of entities in the state that pay big money to lobbyists, the June payments raised the SWA to the number two spot, only marginally behind the $276,000 AT&T paid to lobbyists this year to influence state legislators.

Economic Development Secret Revealed

The hoped for home run from Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation was reduced to a bunt single when it was revealed the secret Project Blue is really just a 1,000 job call center.

County council debated the project behind closed doors in executive session for two weeks, before council member Gary Loftus and EDC CEO Brad Lofton made the details of the project public in an interview with the Myrtle Beach Herald last week? Why all the initial secrecy?

A 1,000 job call center project that offers $14 per hour to employees while it receives $24-$30 million of combined incentives is about as good as it is going to get for Horry County economic development. At least that is what Loftus told the Herald last week.

Top Secret Economic Development

The secrecy surrounding a project of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation, which will soon be up for second reading by county council on an ordinance to issue $8 million in public debt for the project, may be very good news for county residents.

I have had several conversations recently with local Republican activist, and one of the founders of the South Strand Republican Club, John Bonsignor about possibilities for the project. Bonsignor said he was asked, by EDC board member and former county Republican Party chairman Robert Rabon, to help promote passage of the ordinance by council members.

Even though he was given few details of the project, Bonsignor agreed to do so. Bonsignor did mention to me that he was of the understanding the total incentive package for the project totaled approximately $30 million for a 1,000 job call center. Bonsignor said he would like to get more details to have confidence in the project.


Is Myrtle Beach Tourism Tax Working?

Local television stations carry daily ads telling us the Myrtle Beach tourism tax is ‘working.’ The ads are run by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and its associated entities in the hospitality and business community.

Beneficiary of approximately $18 million per year from revenue generated by the tax, the Chamber has good reason to advertise the tourism tax is working. Its marketing arm, the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau receives the proceeds from the tax to spend in ‘out-of-area’ advertising to promote tourism to the Grand Strand.

But, going beyond the advertising message (dare we call it propaganda?) one has to ask how is the tax working.

Tom Rice, Gloria Tinuibu Win Impressively

Tom Rice, Gloria Tinubu Win Impressively

Tom Rice and Gloria Bromell Tinubu secured the nominations, in impressive fashion, of the Republican and Democratic parties respectively for the new 7th Congressional District. The two will meet in the November general election to see who goes to Washington.

Both scored significant double digit wins in defeating opponents Andre Bauer (Rice) and Preston Brittain (Tinubu) on Tuesday’s primary runoff elections.

We offer our congratulations to both.

Based on turnout in the primaries and the makeup of the district, Rice has to now be considered the serious favorite to become the new Congressman from South Carolina in November.

That having been said, I am sure there are some out there, looking for a personal statement from me. So here we go.

Florence Blinks, More Candidates Eliminated

Florence Blinks, More Candidates Eliminated

New developments in the election filing controversy that won’t go away saw more candidates eliminated from Tuesday’s upcoming primary ballots and a potential for more candidate challenges after the voting.

The Florence Republican Party requested a clarification from the S.C. Supreme Court yesterday on whether candidates who were incumbents in one office, but running for a different office in this election cycle, were to be treated as new candidates with respect to filing a Statement of Economic Interests at the same time and with the same person that they filed their Statement of Intention of Candidacy.

The Supreme Court refused to provide a clarification. Some took this to mean that the Court felt it had already answered the question with its May 2, 2012 and June 5, 2012 rulings.

This led an already gun shy Florence party to make the decision that such candidates were to be treated as new candidates and were subject to state code Section 8-13-1356(B).

Tom Rice and Jobs, A Lotta Talk With Few Results

Tom Rice and the Failed Campaign Ploy

Obvious campaigning with the Horry County budget didn’t work for county council chairman and 7th Congressional District candidate Tom Rice Wednesday as his fellow council members saw through the attempt.

During a council Committee of the Whole meeting, Rice suggested a series of proposed budget changes that appeared to be designed more for their voter appeal than county fiscal stability.

The county budget for FY2013 has passed two readings and will be up for third reading at the regular council meeting scheduled for June 19, 2012.

During budget discussions, workshops and readings since January, Rice has opposed proposed pay raises for county workers while he advocated building a reserve fund for projected budget deficits beginning with FY2014.

Candidate Differences Highlighted in Burgess Forum

We are now down to the final week in the primary campaigns with the candidates attempting to separate themselves from their competition.

Recently, the Burgess Community hosted a candidate forum for Republican primary candidates for House District 106 and Horry County School Board District 5. The differences in the candidates were apparent.

The House District 106 race pits incumbent Rep. Nelson Hardwick against Surfside Beach city council member Rod Smith.

In his opening remarks, Smith said Hardwick was not “conservative enough” in his approach to government. Yet, it was Smith who voted for a government monopoly that has caused the loss of jobs in the private sector of the economy in Horry County.

Taxes, Coastal Kickback and the Primaries

Two of the most extraordinary events I have ever seen occur so close to an election happened this week in Horry County.

The Myrtle Beach city council announced early in the week it will seek to have state legislators eliminate the sunshine provision on the one cent tourism promotion tax so that it can continue indefinitely. Did you ever see politicians want a tax to end even when sunshine provisions are included with it?

One day later, lobbyist Mark Kelley, who includes the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, Coastal Carolina University and the Horry County Board of Education among his clients, sued the Sun News for reporting Kelley’s proximity to certain events in what has become known as the “Coastal Kickback Scandal.”

Florence’s Jordan tops poll at 7th CD Debate

A crowd of more than 500 piled into the West Florence High School auditorium Monday night to hear what the Republicans seeking their party’s nomination for the 7th Congressional District race had to say – and to cast some of the first votes in that contentious race.

The event’s unique forum, which was driven at least in part by the fact that the race in the brand new district has attracted so many candidates (9 Republicans, 5 Democrats), called for 45 minutes of debate followed by a straw vote to select five candidates for 45 minutes of debate. A final, post-debate poll was supposed to reveal how the crowd felt after hearing both halves of the show.

Apparently it was feeling pretty pro-Pee Dee.