CONWAY — Horry County Council voted to table a resolution Tuesday that would have had the county entering an agreement with the Horry County Solid Waste Authority for its recyclables.
The solid waste authority has been lobbying county officials since the summer to sign a five-year contract to commit the county – which is the authority’s largest hauler of recyclables – to its Material Recycling Facility. The authority has offered all of its customers, including the county, financial incentives depending on the amount of refuse brought to the county landfill. It is estimated the move would save the county $40,000 annually.
Councilman Jody Prince, the effort’s most vocal opponent, made the motion to table the issue so the county council can talk more about the details.
“It’s going to be an issue I cannot come to grips with,” Jody Prince said at Tuesday’s council meeting. He has said he doesn’t think there is anyone who has studied this issue more than he in the past few weeks. Prince said he supports the recycling initiative, but not by signing a contract with the Horry County Solid Waste Authority.
“I absolutely still have a problem with signing a contract and will have, and will not personally ever be in favor of it,” Prince said prior to Tuesday’s meeting at an Infrastructure and Regulation Committee meeting last week. “We don’t need the contract. We’ve got full control in place. There’s no need to contract anywhere in Horry County.”
Prince said the authority should open the incentive program to all who qualify without a contract, including public and private enterprise.
“All this is, is a matter of principle,” he said. “It looks like a muscle flex. It’s not, and I’m not saying that, but it looks like a muscle flex. It further separates Horry County and the Solid Waste Authority. Tell me the need for it. Tell me why.”
Solid waste authorities nationwide have been questioned through the federal court system about who and how it bills. The final ruling is that authorities must treat every customer, including the county, equally. There is also an exit clause in the contract that allowed them to break the contract with ease.
Councilman Gary Loftus said Tuesday he, too, wanted more time.
“There are ramifications that nobody has explained to me yet,” Loftus said.
Councilman Bob Grabowski said he also had too many questions.
“I don’t feel comfortable to vote on it either,” he said. “There’s too many questions out there.”
Huffman narrowly flies by second reading for contract
The second reading of an ordinance to enter a contract with Huffman Helicopters narrowly was sent back to committee Tuesday night.
The county has been talking with Huffman Helicopters since the summer to re-work the current contract it has with the company. The second reading passed 9-3 with Councilmen Carl Schwartzkopf, Marion Foxworth and Jody Prince.
Huffman, which is at the tail end of a renegotiation year, has been in the county for years. The terms of the five-year lease were approved at the County Council meeting Tuesday, which is well in advance of the Oct. 31 expiration date of its current five-year contract.
Councilmen were receiving complaints of noise and excessive rides over neighborhoods along the Grand Strand. Before the county cast its first vote on the issue, Jeremy Bass, owner of Huffman Helicopters, changed the routes to ride along the shore at a height of 1,200 feet. He also re-routed the helicopters from above neighborhoods to over the ocean.
Huffman has planned improvement for two hangars at Myrtle Beach International Airport, where it plans to have a school and currently conducts maintenance.
Contact JASON M. RODRIGUEZ at 626-0301 or follow him at Twitter.com/TSN_jrodriguez.