Horry County to start pilot program for food trucks

02/27/2014 10:52 AM

02/27/2014 3:32 PM

Horry County is planning a one-year pilot program to bring food trucks to the area, and at least one county councilman said he is not in favor of it for his area.

The council’s Infrastructure and Regulation committee voted this week to send the issue to the county’s planning commission so those members can draft an ordinance that included such things as hours of operation and proximity to existing businesses.

“I like the idea of a pilot program,” said Councilman Jody Prince.

Councilman Carl Schwartzkopf said,

“I totally and completely agree with a pilot program. I say we do it for a year, re-evaluate it after a year, and then decide if we’re going to keep it, get rid of it or modify it.”

However, Councilman Paul Prince said District 9, the area he represents, which includes Loris and surrounding areas, already has enough restaurants and cafes to provide food for the demand.

“I don’t favor this for District 9,” Prince said. “I already did my own evaluations and my own surveys and most of the restaurants and cafes are struggling already. We’re just taking money out of businesses that are already there.”

The county’s planning department has surveyed the public online and has had a public meeting on the issue already. Of the more than 540 people who have taken the survey, 94 percent favor food trucks, according to Mary Catherine Cecil, senior planner with the county. She said some of the concerns those surveyed said they did not want to see the trucks in residential areas and did not want to see them too close to established businesses that sell food.

The issue will go to the planning commission before it returns to the county’s Infrastructure and Regulation committee. It would then be considered by the full County Council for final approval.

State law could cost county $600,000 yearly

A proposed state law to prohibit government entities, including the county, from charging a credit card processing fee could cost Horry County up to $600,000 annually.

Horry County Chairman Mark Lazarus, however, said he has heard the proposed change isn’t going too far.

Currently, the county passes the processing fee onto taxpayers who use a credit card to pay their tax bill. The county had been spending more than $600,000 on those fees until it began passing the expense to those who pay with credit cards. The fee is 2.85 percent of the amount being charged to the card.

County creating criteria for committee members

Steve Gosnell, assistant administrator for Infrastructure and Regulation, was ordered by a county committee to draft a “modified job description” for the type of person he thinks would be suitable for a RIDE III committee.

RIDE III will be the county’s third coordinated effort to draft a road improvement plan and local funding mechanism to fund the improvements. The county is at the tail end of RIDE II, which, after completed, will have completed 15 road projects totaling $425 million.

Gosnell said he thinks the committee, which is charged with coming up with the local road projects, should be comprised of county and city officials, an economic development official, a school representative and a member of the general public.

Councilman Paul Prince said this time around may be a little tougher for the committee because some members of the county may have felt they did not get a lot out of RIDE II.

“This time they’re going to be wise in going to vote, I think, because they’re going to realize nothing happened in the council district last time and they didn’t get anything,” Prince said.

Gosnell said the last committee did its best to spread the projects throughout the county and he hopes this committee will follow suit.

“They discussed that issue at great length last time,” Gosnell said. “They realized that they needed to spread it around enough to get it to pass.”

Gosnell was referring to a one-cent sales tax referendum, which was supported by more than 60 percent of voters in 2006.

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