Councilman Randal Wallace campaigned in front of a small group of 26 locals yesterday at Myrtle Beach’s Flapjacks Restaurant.
Myrtle Beach City Councilman Randal Wallace kicked off the Fall 2017 election cycle yesterday speaking to a small group of locals. Mr. Wallace has served Myrtle Beach for over 17 years and is up for re-election this November.
Mr. Wallace, who describes himself as a Nixon Republican, spoke fondly of the Tourism Development Fee (Tourist Tax). This initiative taxes visiting tourists who stay in hotels or make purchases inside the city of Myrtle Beach to the tune of over $20 million annually. He called the tax an accomplishment city council was proud of.
Councilman Wallace also spoke of the now over $220 million debt that the city is currently carrying outstanding. This debt is almost 16 times higher than the debt carried by the city of North Myrtle Beach and is currently at its borrowing capacity.
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Wallace said the eight infected oceanfront areas that the Coastal Conservation League and other environmental groups have called a health issue was another area of some improvement. While not providing details or timelines as to when he and city council planned to entirely clean up those infected areas, he did state he believed great progress has been made.
Wallace made mention that the current county resident parking restrictions that are in place inside the Golden Mile section of Myrtle Beach would remain intact and no discussions were planned by city council at this time. Local county Representatives Jeff Johnson and Kevin Hardee recently filed a parking bill in the state general assembly that would require the city to treat county and city residents equally. Johnson represents District 58 in Horry County and Hardee represents District 105 in Horry County. “My constituents, they pay state tax money that goes towards beach renourishment. And, also, these are public beaches and the city ordinance doesn’t give them equal access to the beach with these parking requirements,” said Johnson. This issue appears headed to the General Assembly and surely will be a key campaign issue moving into the Fall elections. Parking fees from these spaces are paid to the Myrtle Beach DRC. The Downtown Redevelopment Corporation (DRC) is a city-owned “not for profit” embroiled in controversies that local merchants recently brought to bear over the city’s use of eminent domain.
One key consistent thematic question asked of Mr. Wallace by those attending were issues surrounding an ongoing lack of transparency in Myrtle Beach City government. These issues were also largely associated with the city’s move to force local business owners out of business in pursuit of the city’s purchase of these prime properties. Through the use of eminent domain, the city has promised to build a library and children’s museum where these now existing commercial spaces are located.
Mr. Wallace also made a reference to the coming Fall elections. Speculations have been among some locals that Mr. Wallace might seek a run for Mayor. While Mr. Wallace made no mention of which office he plans to run for, the campaign rhetoric was clear.
In a follow-up email, MyrtleBeachSC.com asked Councilman Wallace what he felt was his key personal signature accomplishment during his 17 years in office as a city councilman. Mr. Wallace did not respond to our request.
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