I first learned of Horry County Council’s discretionary recreational fund when $2,000 was given to our HOA Garden Club by our councilman. In pursuing this, I find that thousands have been given to such organizations as the Beach Ball Classic, Sav-Our Cats, golf classics, an HOA drainage ditch project, CASA, a booster club parking lot paving, etc. While many of these recipients are worthwhile charities, what was the original intent of the fund and should taxpayer money be disbursed this way?
In speaking with Chad Prosser (a former chairman of the Horry County Council and current candidate for the 7th Congressional District), I was informed that the original purpose of the fund was to give each councilman a pool of money to pave roads within their district. It now seems to have evolved into a goodie bag give-away.
After discussing this with Tom Rice (the current chairman of the County Council and candidate for the new 7th Congressional District), I learned that each council member has $25,000 to disburse from this fund. Multiplied by the number of councilmen, we are now talking about a slush fund of a quarter of a million dollars. Mr. Rice told me I should be looking at the big picture, which is a $130 million budget.
Shift now to the matter of the 1 percent tourism tax in Myrtle Beach, which subsidizes the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, a business organization. Drive along Ocean Boulevard and check out all the high-rise hotels and tourist businesses. Taxpayers should not be subsidizing these businesses. I wonder if all the property owners that receive real estate tax relief as part of this really come out ahead after paying the 1 percent tax on every retail transaction they themselves incur.
We have a state-run, i.e. taxpayer-funded, tourism organization that handles tourism affairs. Does this constitute duplication of efforts? Myrtle Beach Councilman Randal Wallace, also a candidate for the 7th Congressional District seat, has been a party to enacting this tax.
What is it about politicians that make them so benevolent with taxpayer money? We elected them to preserve and protect, not to give out goodie bags.
I have met these three candidates and they are lovely, lovely gentlemen; but none will be receiving my vote. If this is their norm in this little corner of the world, what expectations are there should any get elected to the big cookie jar in Washington? As nice as it is to receive goodie bags, we are broke. Vote, but know what your candidate really stands for.
Contact your Horry County councilman to eliminate the recreational discretionary fund. If it’s not worth being in the budget it shouldn’t be in the slush fund.
The writer lives in Conway.