Horry County Council received faulty information about the HCSWA dealings with Charleston County during its regular meeting last week.
I do not believe the intent was to provide false information. Rather, I believe it was the result of information being provided sparingly when it should have been discussed openly and shared from a much earlier date.
Several council members were very upset about being asked to quickly consider a budget amendment for the HCSWA budget after a contract was signed and Charleston County trash was already making its way to Horry County.
Council member Johnny Vaught asked when the first contact was made between Charleston County and the HCSWA board. Authority board chairman Lance Thompson said HCSWA staff was first contacted May 28, 2015.
Vaught asked when the HCSWA board became involved in the contract decision. Thompson said a couple weeks later the board was notified, then, at a board meeting the board voted to allow staff to negotiate.
Vaught said, “Essentially negotiations had not begun until you (HCSWA board) were contacted and you guys voted to go ahead.” Thompson agreed that was correct.
Council member Gary Loftus stated he understood Sonoco, the company that was running the Charleston County material recycling facility, had given notice in December 2014 that it was considering terminating its contract with Charleston County.
A representative from Sonoco said the company informed Charleston County that it was unable to operate the Charleston County MRF economically and notified the county it would cease operations July 31, 2015 under the termination clause. In addition, Sonoco took the decision because of the limited progress made toward Charleston County’s commitment to build a new, more efficient MRF.