There are six weeks to go before county voters will go to the polls to vote in local, state and federal primary elections.
The race which seems to be drawing the largest amount of attention throughout Horry County at this time is the Republican Primary contest for Horry County Council Chairman between challenger Johnny Gardner and incumbent Mark Lazarus.
At the same time, Horry County Council is considering its budget for Fiscal Year 2019, which begins July 1, 2018. Four weeks ago, Grand Strand Daily ran a story about the proposed FY 2019 budget calling it an election year budget because of provisions in the proposed budget that appear to be included just to attract voters to incumbents.
Unfortunately, this type of focus on the budget at election time does not serve the best interests of council or the citizens.
According to multiple sources within county government, decisions for Horry County are being micromanaged by a partnership between Lazarus and County Administrator Chris Eldridge.
This partnership proposed an average three percent merit raise for all county employees with somewhat larger raises targeted to public safety personnel (police, fire and EMS) in the FY2019 budget.
This is not to say the proposed raises are unjustified. However, this type of targeting and its associated hype during council’s Spring Budget Retreat appear to be more about the votes of county employees than the needs of the county. County employees along with their families, neighbors and friends comprise a large voting block.
The micromanagement partnership focus appears to be on the wrong issues, however.
Despite the proposed raises, Horry County Professional Firefighter Local 4345 of the International Association of Firefighters and Coastal Carolina Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 12 endorsed the candidacy of Gardner in the upcoming June 12, 2018 primary.