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Beaufort Co. to Hilton Head Head Chamber: No transparency, no tax money

This past Thursday, Beaufort County officials struck down approval of funding the county’s two largest chambers of commerce in Beaufort County, citing concerns over transparency — an issue that Hilton Head’s chamber has been battling for years.

As the Island Packet Newspaper of Beaufort reports: Beaufort County officials struck down approval for funding the county’s two largest chambers of commerce.

Beaufort County Council
Beaufort County Council

The transparency issues stem from a state Supreme Court decision earlier this year that ruled that the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act and doesn’t have to release its receipts on how it spends its funding.

Councilman Mike Covert said during the committee meeting that the S.C. Supreme Court decision left the responsibility on the county and towns to provide those receipts to constituents requesting that information.

“We need transparency in order to approve (chamber) funding,” Beaufort County Councilman Mike Covert said after the meeting. “To them, I say, ‘you fought, you won, but now here’s the downside.’”

WILL MYRTLE BEACH AND HORRY COUNTY FOLLOW SUIT?

Pedersen Bethune
City Manager John Pedersen, Mayor Brenda Bethune

Questions now remain whether Myrtle Beach City Council and Myrtle Beach County Council will follow suit.   Social Media contractor, Gordon Hirsch,  hired by Mayor Brenda Brenda Bethune and City Council, requested such at last Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

WORKING FOR THE FEW

MyrtleBeachSC news reported ongoing as to how the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber  converted up to $55 million per year for the past ten years into its own private funding. ( A total of 1/2 billion dollars.)  https://myrtlebeachsc.com/local-hotels-pay-per-click-hell/

We have also published state numbers that show the Grand Strand is not doing the 18.6 million tourists that the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber claims.  https://myrtlebeachsc.com/mbacc-tourism-numbers-report-18-million-tourists-state-says-8-million-likely-true-number/

And finally,  Myrtle Beach local, Karen Mitchell, filed a lawsuit earlier this year which exposed how the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce launders the money exclusively to eight local “marketing” companies that former MBACC C.E.O. Brad Dean helped create: https://myrtlebeachsc.com/mbacc-tax-procurement-is-key-legal-issue

CAMPAIGN CRY 2019

One local politician told MyrtleBeachSC news this morning,  should City Council not follow Beaufort County’s lead on this issue,  it will become  the campaign cry for all challengers in the November 2019 city council races.  Mike Chestnut, Phil Render and Mary Jeffcoat are all up for re-election.

Why? – Because of slow and declining tourist business downtown.

These posts were seen on Social Media today by local merchants.

Caldas Coal Fired Pizza

Posted today by Caldas Coal Fired Pizza located near 16th North (LABOR DAY WEEKEND)

A Dunham Post
Posted By Businesswoman Ann Dunham

SAID CHAMBER WATCHDOG SKIP HOAGLAND,  who filed the FOIA request heard by the S.C. Supreme Court, “We are coming after the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce next.”

 

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About David Hucks

Born in 1961, David is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area. David is the lead journalist at MyrtleBeachSC.com

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