Attendance was high, discussion was lively, and the refreshments provided by I See Pastries were delicious at the Civic Association’s February membership meeting. We had two main topics to discuss that evening: the opening of the new Goodwill Retail Store, which will strive to put people back to work; and the pending Flow Control legislation in Columbia, which would greatly affect the Solid Waste Authority.
The CFCA first wants to thank Rick Shelley for coming out to talk to us about the Goodwill Retail Store, which opened in The Forest the following morning. Upon stepping up to the podium, Mr. Shelley surveyed the crowd and said, “This is what community is all about.” Goodwill’s mission is “to help people achieve their full potential through the dignity and power of work.” He said work forms the foundations of our relationships with others, and also affects our self esteem.
Goodwill’s target population is those with barriers to employment. The Job Links Center in the store provides computers for unemployed or underemployed residents to use to look for work. Goodwill’s staff provides assistance with job search, applications, resumes, cover letters and preparing for interviews.
They also have Retail University. This 8 week training program covers every aspect of retail work, and trainees are paid at the minimum wage while they learn. All of this is funded by the sale of items donated to the store. Please bring in your new or gently used items. If it can’t be sold, they will make every effort to recycle it.
Flow Control Legislation
We want to thank Mike Bessant, Special Projects & Governmental Affairs Manager for the Solid Waste Authority, for discussing the Flow Control legislation currently pending in Columbia. The two bills, H-4721 and S-514, would eliminate flow control. Flow control restricts waste from leaving Horry County. When waste is taken to our land fill, tipping fees are collected by the Solid Waste Authority. The SWA provides several beneficial programs from these fees, including green power, educational programs and environmental scholarships for students. They also have a re-sale store which funds Horry County Meals on Wheels.
Mr. Bessant explained that if garbage is taken out of the county, tipping fees would have to be raised. If the amount collected from tipping fees continued to go down, then not only would the SWA programs be at risk, but taxes would likely be increased to make up the loss. He said if flow control is eliminated, Horry County could become a dumping ground. Nuclear waste coming in from other states would be “a real possibility.”
When asked about the possibility of a transfer station being built in The Forest, Mr. Bessant did not specifically mention the likelihood of one being built here. But he said that if flow control goes away, a transfer station would most likely need to be built in Horry County to reduce transportation costs.
Horry is currently the only county in South Carolina with a flow control ordinance. Those who support the legislation to eliminate flow control say they want to create a free market by breaking up the monopoly that flow control creates. Mr. Bessant’s response is that the SWA is “our monopoly”. He said it’s a monopoly of, for and by the people, and we can change it if need be. Also, the SWA cannot arbitrarily change their rates.
Horry County Councilmen Harold Worley and Carl Schwartzkopf, along with SWA Chairman Norfleet Jones, also took the podium in opposition to H-4721 and S-514. Councilman Schwartzkopf said the only way to oppose this legislation is to contact our state representatives. If you agree with the SWA and the CFCA leadership that these bills are bad for Horry County, then please call the following officials: Rep. Liston Barfield, 241-0800; Rep. Nelson Hardwick, 238-1142; Sen. Luke Rankin, 248-2405; Sen. Dick Elliott, 281-3529; Sen. Ray Cleary, 650-5100; and Rep. Tracy Edge, 448-5123. You can track this legislation online at www.scstatehouse.gov.
Walkers Woods is currently considering whether to install speed humps, which several other neighborhoods in The Forest have done. The Walkers Woods POA recently held an open meeting at which Horry County Deputy Engineer Andy Markunas answered questions and addressed concerns from residents. Whereas the County Engineering office supports speed humps as an effective means to address speeding, and residents in other neighborhoods attest to their effectiveness, there are valid arguments on both sides of the issue, and some residents oppose them. I completely respect their stance.
But I need to address a false statement which came out of that meeting. A select few stated that children do not belong in or near the streets. That is incorrect. I spoke with Lt. Jack Stewart, Deputy Commander of the Horry County Police Department’s South Precinct, to clarify this point. Lt. Stewart said children have every right to use residential streets, and to suggest otherwise is “out of line.” He said residential streets such as those in Walkers Woods belong to bicyclists, skateboarders and pedestrians as much as they do to vehicles. He told me that his 6 year old son has been taught to ride his bike on the road in their neighborhood. Sidewalks are fine for very young children riding tricycles or bikes with training wheels, but the police do not recommend older kids riding bikes and skateboards on the sidewalk. That can create a safety hazard for pedestrians. Lt. Stewart said it’s important that children be taught to ride their bikes on the right side of the road, with traffic.
The next membership meeting of the CFCA is 6pm on Wednesday, March 21. Please note that this meeting will be held in the Carolina Forest Recreation Center. Our guest speaker is Brent Taylor, Director of Horry County Parks and Recreation. We hope to see you there.