To our Mayor and City Council
Please, please, please let’s address the electrical situation in Georgetown…
In 2004, our home burned because of an electrical issue from a power surge … Subsequently, I lost my possessions, my animals, and barely escaped myself. Then, two years later, a rotten power pole, in a parking lot on Screven Street, (that had been leaning 20-30 degrees or more and overdue for replacement) … was blown down onto my office in a tropical storm, causing fire and smoke damage to the interiors and the adjoining law practice …
Several months ago, a residence on Screven burned because of electrical … The five years I lived on East Bay, it was a regular occurrence to lose power.
Now, the Wooden Boat Show has been affected … one of our premier events of the year. Shops, restaurants, and residents take pride in showing our best face to all of the visitors on that special day … We merchants hire extra employees and purchase additional inventory in anticipation of the great and fun day … only to have a major power outage in the middle of the day.
Our electric department answers to the city council, who in turn answers to the people of Georgetown.
Are you aware of these issues? … What is our System Average Interruption Frequency Index? Are you looking at the figures? Do we not have enough manpower, or up to date equipment? Are we complying with recommended utility maintenance? Do we have backup generators, or options for surge protectors on meters, etc.?
For our service, don’t we pay a premium that goes to city revenue?
If we had an investor-owned utility in charge of our power; i.e. Santee Cooper, etc., we could appeal to the SC state regulatory commission, when we felt service was an issue. Our only recourse at this time is to appeal to our city council. Losing power during the wooden boat show is NOT an isolated issue … We have already lost income, lost property and lost lives because of electrical events …
Please pay attention to this … Do not table this for later discussion. We citizens and business owners deserve a response from our city council now.… We have to make this better.
I personally have had far too many wakeup calls.
Taking care of business
I've read a number of comments and criticism from opponents of the additional one-cent sales tax about the cost of government in Georgetown County with references about the number of county employees per resident. Certainly there are some points to make in opposition to the additional one penny sales tax … but I think some of the critics missed the boat. The analysis (and resulting criticism) of the county government was apparently calculated by using the county's full-time population … which unfortunately ignores a huge issue affecting the number of county employees.
According to a study made in 2007, approximately 700,000 people visit Georgetown County each year with most headed to the beaches and golf courses of the Waccamaw Neck. These visitors are certainly welcome and in fact we make a big effort to attract them. What this means however is that the county must be able to provide various utility and emergency services to meet the needs of this huge number of visitors. Any analysis that does not take this into account is just not valid. The report suggests that during some months there are as many visitors as full time residents.
Our public service employees are responsible for far more than the 60,000 full-time residents of the county.
A number of the recreational projects currently under construction, and proposed for the future, make the county more attractive to visitors and retirees. In essence, that's the county's business and like any business organization, if we don't invest in the future, we will lose our customers. And while local businesses benefit from these visitors, being a vacation destination has its costs … most of which are borne by the local government in the form of police, fire, and other public services that make sure our 700,000 visitors enjoy their time on the coast.
Georgetown County government spends a lot of money each year to keep our community attractive and it spends a lot of money keeping our visitors safe, handling disputes and making them want to come back. Just read the police reports in the local newspapers to get a picture of it. Approximately 30% of the expected income from the additional one penny sales tax will come from these visitors and much of it will be put back into things like recreational fields, bike paths, an improved library system, the critical Georgetown Port dredging, and harbor improvements in Murrells Inlet.
Georgetown County is an attractive vacation and retirement destination and the new capital projects will help keep it that way. Our visitors will be helping pay their share too.
Pennies for Progress. Vote Yes.
Sales tax hurts business
Groups that support increasing the Georgetown County sales tax by 16% consistently point to the fact that the sales tax is higher in Horry County, Charleston County and the city of Myrtle Beach.
This fact does not make it right, because other groups are overtaxed does not mean that the citizens of Georgetown County should also be subjected to a higher sales tax. The lower sales tax rate should encourage Georgetown citizens and those from the adjoining counties to shop and do business in Georgetown County.
This positive approach will increase of revenue for the county, allowing it to meet the citizens’ needs without raising property taxes.
I support a no vote on the proposed increase in sales tax for Georgetown County. Now is not the time to follow the lead of our neighbors by overtaxing the citizens of Georgetown County.
Thomas A Mac Donnell
Yes on Sales Tax
The upcoming sales tax referendum is providing most of the controversy for Georgetown voters in the November 6 election and it seems that much of that controversy is being generated by local tea party activists. If you were to judge by letters to the editor and outspoken public comments you might think that all Republicans oppose the sales tax amendment … and you would be wrong.
The proposed sales tax increase is a non-partisan issue and there was no reason for the Sales Tax Amendment to become partisan until certain opponents attached their party affiliation to their campaign and drove things in that direction. I presume the partisan attack was generated by tea party supporters in hopes that Republicans in the county would follow their lead and vote “no”… as loyal Republicans.
While these activists are presuming to speak for all Republicans, that is just not the case. Many conservative Republicans, like me, are not persuaded by their leadership claims or by their weak objections to the sales tax which overstates the cost to the typical resident and totally ignores the benefits to all residents regardless of political affiliation or economic status in life.
The purpose of the Sales Tax Amendment is to fund capital projects throughout the county, to improve the lives of all citizens of Georgetown County and to do so in a relatively painless way via a sales tax increase on non-essential purchases.
The various capital projects to be paid for from the sales tax revenue such as the new fire stations and fire substations and new recreation facilities in the western part of the county are just part of the plan to make the county a better place to live and to make it easier for county leaders to attract new employers. Passage of this amendment will also guarantee much needed improvements for the Georgetown Port which will bring new job opportunities to the county.
I support the Sales Tax Amendment because I view it as a referendum on our vision for the future of Georgetown County … a future with more and better jobs, and a better quality of life for all residents. I strongly urge voters to look for item 2 on the ballot and vote Yes on the Sales Tax Amendment.
Ted J Hiley
Contributions to sales tax group
Recently, Pennies for Progress, the group advocating a sales tax hike in Georgetown County, filed its initial report with the State Ethics Commission. The report disclosed that three corporations have provided all the funding for Pennies for Progress. The three corporations are: Mead & Hunt Inc., Thomas and Hutton Engineering and Friends of the Georgetown Library Inc.
Mead & Hunt Inc is an architectural and engineering firm with more than twenty offices and a nationwide service area. Thomas and Hutton Engineering provides engineering, planning and consulting services from offices in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Friends of the Georgetown Library Inc. is an eleemosynary corporation registered with the IRS as a public charity.
Each of these corporations has a vested interest in increasing the sales tax in Georgetown County. Mead & Hunt Inc. and Thomas and Hutton Engineering want to curry favor with Georgetown County officials and to get a slice of the $40 million of new capital spending. Friends of the Georgetown Library Inc. want Georgetown County to spend over $11 million building new libraries.
Of course, these three corporations would pay little or none of the new sales tax. Corporations generally don't pay sales tax.
Also, these three corporations would pay little or none of the costs of operating and maintaining the new capital projects. These corporations don't pay property taxes in Georgetown County.
Ted Bowden's recent letter was much appreciated. It boggles the mind that the outrageous behavior of the Mayor, his City Council henchman, most of the ARB membership past and present, and the demonstrable complicity of the city attorney could drag on for four years with the Rothrock case.
That kind of smallness is a dubious skill that obviously takes years of studied practice. Hopefully this story will eventually garner state wide attention, as the entire State of South Carolina foots the quarter million dollar bill that these fools rang up.
As for me, my strategy four years ago would have been to take notice of neighbors with HardiePlank already in place, and cover my little house with it regardless of asking permission from the useless ARB. The precedent was already set. What could they do to me?
After all the wasted time, money, and vitriol, the sour grapes settlement allowing three sides of the cottage to be covered instead of four is the crown jewel of pettiness. Congratulations to all responsible.
If it were my building, the plastic wrap would remain on the front forever as a memorial and reminder to all property owners to beware of wolves in bureaucrat’s clothing. Hopefully things will change for the better with an upcoming re-election. Maybe the West End strategy won't be as successful next time around.
Brian Shult for Auditor
I am writing to recommend and endorse Brian Shult, the Republican candidate for Georgetown County Auditor. He has the knowledge, experience and integrity necessary to provide professionalism and accuracy in that office.
Brian has a degree in Business and has served in the U.S. Army Finance Corps. He has been a business owner most of his career, in addition to managing hotels for a dozen years. Brian is a life-long conservative who believes in budgetary and tax restraints at all levels of government. He will bring sound management practices and superb citizen services to the residents of Georgetown County.
I know Brian to be a honest, hard-working member of our community. He has served the Republican Party with distinction. He will do the same for the residents of Georgetown County.
He will be getting my vote and I encourage you to give him yours on November 6th.
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