Should The Town Of Surfside Beach Own A Pier?

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David Hucks
David Hucks
David Hucks 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

The Town of Surfside Beach received unwanted media attention going into the Fall over a surprise October construction deadline. The town appears to have cleared this hurdle. The pier project moves forward.

This unexpected deadline came to light after the departure of a previous town administrator.

The previous mayor and council were not overly transparent about all things Surfside Beach pier, nor the E District, nor the collusive, local town government.

Before the election of Mayor Bob Hellyer, Councilman Michael Drake and Councilwoman Cindy Keating, residents were consistently forced to dig for the truth at every turn.

The Dennis Pieper period of leadership can best be defined by the daily drama he brought to all things small town government.

Many questions have been asked about the relationship between Horry County Councilman Bill Howard, whose company leases the pier from the town, and certain current or former members of Surfside Beach Town Council.

A foundational question that no one has asked yet: Should a small town own a private business? Should any government own a private enterprise? If your answer is yes, as a conservative news organization we would ask why? (SEE SANTEE COOPER – State owned, private business lost $9 billion that the taxpayers must now pay back.)

As Horry County’s leading and most read conservative political website, we bring this thought to bear.

Before signing a one sided, 30 year lease, why would the town of Surfside Beach not simply put the pier on the market for bids to a private investor? Pier construction is in good hands and will move forward.

The pier is Surfside Beach’s top attraction and there are literally hundreds of private businesses that would pay top dollar to own it.

Surfside Beach
New Surfside Beach pier conceptual rendering

Here are a few reasons why selling the pier to the private sector makes sense.


At the moment, Horry County Councilman Bill Howard’s restaurant operates on the old pier. He can literally hold town government hostage.

Possession is nine-tenths of the law is an expression meaning that ownership is easier to maintain if one has possession of something, or difficult to enforce if one does not. The expression is also stated as “possession is nine points of the law”, which is credited as derived from the Scottish expression “possession is eleven points in the law, and they say there are but twelve”.


Like all coastal towns, it is imperative for the town of Surfside Beach to work well with Horry County Council and Horry County government. In reality, county government has a power disparity over all local city governments. City governments need monies that come from Federal, State and County Governments. In these times of Coronavirus shut downs, city government needs those relationships more than ever.

Why former elected officials would choose to sign a lease with a county official is curious? The deal was wrought with the kind of conflicts that are the demise of most all publicly owned private enterprises. Insider deals typically bring publicly owned, private enterprises down.


If you want to debate that one, please click this link to read the abstract published in the Russian Journal of Economics for their state government.

Worth noting in the abstract: OECD experts have evaluated the average share of state-owned companies in the sales, assets and market value of the ten largest firms in a number of countries. The leaders in this list are The People’s Republic of China (96%), the UAE (88%), Russia (81%), Indonesia (69%), Malaysia (68%) and Saudi Arabia (67%).


The South Carolina Utility Santee Cooper is the poster child of why government should stay out of the private sector.

The scandalous utility is fraught with buddy board appointments of insider business relationships. Poor planning and a lack of transparency has also been an ongoing theme with the utility.

Does any of this sound familiar to you the Surfside Beach residents?

Governments are accustomed to operating from budgets with a certain base of known tax realities. In the private sector, those knowns are always determined by market conditions.

Frankly, elected officials are horrible at working in the realities of true market condition variables.

Governments always tend to cut one-sided deals with friends of government that never work out for us taxpayers.


Is it really such a radical thought to sell the Surfside Beach pier? Or is it just common sense?

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