Horry County Council Chairman Tom Rice said extra police and library staff funding is too expensive for us now. Chairman Rice stated that the burden of extra police will cause a budget deficit in a few years. Words like “we can’t afford this” were flowing.
As a county taxpayer, I see this as the first shot by Mr. Rice to hike taxes. There is a sad part to this lack of funds. From January to April, Mr. Rice and a few of his anti-biker councilmen attempted to restrict biker (business) vendor permits. They wanted vendor permits reduced from seven to three days. In 2008, Horry County did modify the permits to satisfy Mr. Rice and the anti-biker crowd in Myrtle Beach. The permit modifications caused a drop in fees from 2008 to 2009.
In 2008 (before the new rules), all of the bike rallies produced $541,800 in fees. In 2009 (after the change), they produced $200,700. In 2011, the permit fees collected by the county were down to $102,600. Using the difference between $541,000 and $102,000, this county is losing $439,000 a year because of the 2008 modification instigated by Mr. Rice and Myrtle Beach in 2008. Mr. Rice’s new attack on vendor permits would have been the last kick in the business owner’s face. Thank goodness the majority on County Council saw through the anti-biker haze. Business, jobs and free enterprise ruled the day.
The taxpayers in this county will not see the $439,000 a year loss of revenue back in our County pockets. That $1.75 million (four years since charge) would have gone a long way to pay for the extra police ($320,000) and library ($122,000). As Mr. Rice said, we can’t kick the can down the road. He should have seen the can back in 2008 and in January of this year. This is your can, Mr. Rice. We had business willing to pay for the privilege of doing business in our county. Now you must tax your unwilling taxpayers.
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The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.