Most people aren’t aware of what exactly happens to their trash once they place their trash bin on the curb each week. They may even be surprised to learn that waste disposal is one of the most important functions of county government in South Carolina.
In Horry County the Solid Waste Authority manages 345,000 tons of waste generated by the businesses, residents, and tourists of Horry County each year. The authority recycles 17,000 tons of our county waste annually reducing the need for landfill expansion and ensuring 20-plus years of landfill capacity. The authority creates jobs for private businesses and public citizens, and the authority supports numerous educational programs in our local schools and community throughout each year.
The flow control ordinance adopted in 2009 by the Horry County Council ensures our businesses and residents pay some of the lowest disposal fees in the state -- $29 per ton compared to the $35 per ton statewide average. Most importantly the flow control ordinance ensures that our citizens only pay for the trash produced within Horry County borders. The 2009 flow control ordinance keeps out-of-county and out-of-state trash from being dumped in our local landfill, saving landfill capacity for Horry County citizens’ waste and keeping fees at the lowest possible rates for businesses and residents. The authority’s disposal fee has reduced from $30 per ton in 1995 to today’s disposal fee of $29 per ton.
The flow control ordinance ensures low disposal fees for Horry County citizens, provides funds for our county’s state-of-the-art recycling and youth education programs, creates jobs for Horry County citizens, and prevents the possibility of trash being dumped in Horry County that is produced outside of Horry County. Unfortunately our law is under threat again at the State House.,
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Even though our State Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Horry County flow control ordinance last year and a federal court judge sided again with Horry County’s Solid Waste Authority against another lawsuit brought by a private waste hauler this month, state legislators and private landfill companies are pushing two bills (H.3290 and S.203) that would outlaw not just Horry County’s flow control ordinance but all flow control measures. Our county landfill would surely be handed over to a private, for-profit waste company or increase taxes on the citizens of Horry County. Horry County’s landfill capacity would diminish in a number of years due to the importation of waste from our neighboring states, northern states, and other S.C. counties. Worst of all, business and residential property taxes and disposal fees would increase because out-of-state, private, for-profit industry must answer to investors, not the citizens of Horry County.
Horry County citizens should get ready to pay higher monthly waste disposal fees and higher taxes or see the end of county recycling, E911 funding and Horry County school district educational programs if these bills are enacted. I encourage the citizens of Horry County to contact your local Horry County Council member or the Solid Waste Authority to learn about how flow control is protecting your wallet and our county from other people’s trash. Horry County has come too far to let private interests groups lobby the state legislature to determine our county’s future.
Hardee is chairman of the Horry County Solid Waste Authority board of directors.