As voters go to the polls tomorrow to cast ballots in local city elections, an interesting contrast exists between issues facing voters in Conway, North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach.
We’ll start with Conway, which is probably the easiest. Residents of Conway seem satisfied with the way city issues have been managed for the past six years or so. There seems to be a team approach among council members to dealing with issues. Growth is happening but not at the frenetic pace seen in other parts of the county. Crime is always an issue but not nearly as severe as in Myrtle Beach, for example.
The city has had issues with flooding, but city council has taken a proactive approach to mitigating where possible. Areas of the city will continue to flood when heavy rain events occur. However, council continues to work on projects to minimize its effects on residents and businesses as much as possible.
All of the above is probably good news for the reelection of incumbents William Goldfinch and Shane Hubbard. The one open seat resulting from the retirement of Jean Timbes should probably be filled by a woman again to keep what has been a presence of two or more women on the council for a number of years. Candidate Beth Helms seems to have distanced herself from the other four challengers in the last couple of weeks and “team” solutions are a strong point of the Helms campaign.
North Myrtle Beach falls into the general atmosphere of satisfaction among North Myrtle Beach voters also. Incumbent mayor Marilyn Hatley and council members Nikki Fontana and Trey Skidmore probably have an inside track on being reelected.
The Ocean Drive seat is open as incumbent Terry White is retiring from office. Two candidates, Bubba Collins and Norfleet Jones, are contesting the open seat.
Jones has been at the center of several controversies in his at least three terms on the Horry County Solid Waste Authority Board. He was among board members who approved the expenditure of over $1 million in lobbying fees during the months of June 2012 and July 2012. The checks were split among the two months so the total expenditure would not appear in one fiscal year statement.
Jones and the board have consistently ignored the original mandate of County Council when it established the authority, namely to find and utilize alternative means of waste disposal to dumping in the environmentally sensitive Hwy 90 landfill area adjacent to Sterritt Swamp. Instead, the board has approved expansion after expansion of the Hwy 90 landfill area. The taxpayers of Horry County will be on the hook for costly cleanup if something goes wrong at the landfill.
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