SC House and Senate Work to Address Funding for Roads and Bridges
Beth Stedman January 25, 2017
Both the South Carolina House and Senate have introduced legislation proposing solutions to the state’s underfunded infrastructure problem in the forms of Senate bill 54 (S. 54) and House bill 3516 (H. 3516).
Following is a synopsis of key components of each bill:
Senate Bill 54 (S. 54)
- Proposed 12 cent gas tax increase over the next three years, indexed for inflation
- Increase in driver’s license fees, car registration fees
- Increase in the car sales tax
- Road user fee on commercial vehicles in lieu of property taxes
- Incorporates small income tax reduction
- Expands tax credits for students paying tuition and for first responders
- Allows a small credit of any earned income tax credit allowed
- Phases in an exemption for manufacturing property and business personal property
House Bill 3516 (H. 3516)
- Increases the gas tax by 10 cents over the next five years (2 cents per year), not indexed for inflation
- Increased car registration fees
- Vehicle sales tax cap would be raised from $300 to $500
- Road user fee on commercial vehicles rather than property tax
- New infrastructure maintenance fee when first registering a vehicle: set at five percent fee capped at $500 on newly purchased vehicles, and a five percent fee capped at $250 for vehicles purchased in other states but registered in S.C.
- Levies a fee on hybrid and electric vehicles
- No income or property tax reductions are included
While neither bill incorporates DOT reform, both seek to raise revenues between $600-$900 million to create a long-term solution for South Carolina’s infrastructure.
December 6, 2016
LGC's 25th Class Learns about Healthcare in Georgetown County at
Submitted by Karen Minogue, LGC Class of 2017
Director of Development, Waccamaw Community Foundation
Last month (November 2016), the Leadership Georgetown County (LGC) 25th Annual Class began (following a slight delay due to Hurricane Matthew’s havoc in October) with Putting a Face on Human Need. Amy Downing of the Bunnelle Foundation provided an overview on human needs, followed by site visits to worthy nonprofit organizations such as A Father’s Place, Tara Hall for Boys, Friendship Place, Habitat for Humanity, and a presentation by Freedom Readers. The LGC class learned about the high level of need throughout many areas of Georgetown County.
This month’s (December 2016) LGC Class learned about Health and Wellness, beginning with a trip to Smith Medical Clinic in Georgetown and an enlightening session presented by Anne Faul, Executive Director. Anne told us about the over 200 volunteers and trained medical staff that provide quality one-stop health care and intervention for those most vulnerable and who can least afford it. Smith Medical Clinic serves those who fall below 200% of the poverty level which is 1 in 3 (or between 17,000-19,000) adults in Georgetown County. Smith Medical Clinic works with Tidelands Medical Center to provide medical treatment and follow-up, medications, X-rays, etc. and there is not one paid doctor on staff. The docs are all volunteers – a simply amazing organization in Georgetown County improving healthcare for those who need it most!
The Class then heard from Bruce Bailey, CEO of Tidelands Healthcare System, where he explained Tideland’s service area, the issues facing the medically insured (e.g. high deductible plans), the uninsured, and the precision-focused goals and activities of Tidelands Healthcare System in tandem with Tidelands Care Community Network to reduce waste and the overall cost of healthcare, subsidize those without health insurance, improve the physician’s network in the community, provide healthy incentives for getting well and staying well. He explained how the population in Horry and Georgetown counties is exploding with 12,000 new residents anticipated every year over the next 5-10 years.
Other representatives from Tidelands Community Care Network illustrated how Tidelands Care Community Network develops individualized care programs to address health issues tied to food insecurity, lack of transportation, root challenges such as insufficient access to basic necessities such as electricity, water, and food. The most important thing we learned is that although some states have expanded Medicaid, South Carolina decided NOT to expand Medicaid, making access to healthcare even more challenging for many throughout Georgetown County. Class members decided this will be one of the topics it will discuss with legislators in Columbia during its March 2017 session.
LGC participants then traveled in separate groups to visit Georgetown YMCA, the Family Justice Center of Horry and Georgetown Counties, and East Bay Park.
Georgetown YMCA Director of Operations Anne Salley, and Kim Tomlinson (Membership and Marketing Director) explained the valuable SPLASH Program that the YMCA offers through a grant from the Bunnelle Foundation to ensure every 2nd Grade student throughout Georgetown County receives water safety training for two weeks, three times a week, every year. The Y also provides valuable preventative health programs to increase wellness across all age groups. Transportation challenges prevent many from being able to take advantage of the Y’s valuable and cost effective programs. If YMCA Georgetown had a bus, more children could be bussed in for summer programs, and they have someone available to drive it, but funding for the bus is currently not available. Bathing suits and towels are also needed for some 2nd Grade students. LGC class participants are thinking about how they may be able to assist.
At the Family Justice Center, Co-executive Director Vicky Bourus provided a perspective on domestic violence. The Family Justice Center recently took on serving Horry County too because there was no organization in Horry County to address this need. The Family Justice Center provide emergency shelter, counseling and basic needs, along with court advocacy, paralegals to help women apply for orders of protection, and helps them navigate through the complicated court, medical, social services, and law enforcement system. In Georgetown County alone, the LGC class learned that the Family Justice Center will serve over 900 clients! Vicky Bourus explained the need for strong community partnerships with other nonprofit organizations, law enforcement, and professionals to help identify the early signs of domestic violence that accelerates over time. The LGC class also learned that in the state of South Carolina, perpetrators are offered either 26 weeks of rehabilitation or they may pay a fine. Other states have 52 weeks of rehabilitation available. The LGC class plans to speak to legislators in Columbia about increasing rehabilitation to a longer term of 48 to 52 weeks, and NOT offering the option of a fine because in South Carolina, less than 10% of perpetrators opt for the treatment!
The last site visit was to beautiful East Bay Park, a hidden gem in the City of Georgetown on the majestic Winyah Bay to see the Park and enhancements made by the LGC Class of 2015 (last year’s class). We saw the five exercise stations scattered throughout the Park, free for all, designed to enhance the health and well-being of all who take advantage of the Park and its other recreational facilities! Nice job LGC Class of 2015! Thank you for putting your time and resources into such a great project that enhances the lives of so many in Georgetown County!
The 2016-2017 LGC class thanks the four agencies and programs that graciously allowed LGC students to visit and the staff who took the time to talk to them about their work. We are looking forward to our remaining sessions to come so stay tuned to our blog as we’ll be providing more updates throughout this exciting program!
Learn more about Leadership Georgetown County by calling the Chamber at (843) 546-8436 or emailing email@example.com.
So Long and Good Riddance, Matthew!
Beth Stedman Friday, October 14, 2016
What a difference a week makes! Last Friday we were battening down the hatches, evacuating, awaiting the unwelcomed arrival of Hurricane Matthew. This weekend, the weather forecast is in keeping with what we usually expect this time of year--the sun is shining and it’s just a little cool in the evenings (by Coastal SC standards anyway!). What a glorious Georgetown County October day! Nothing could be finer . . . .
As we enjoy our much anticipated weekend with wonderful events underway such as the Wooden Boat Show and Pawleys Island Festival of Music and Art in addition to lots of golf, football and other outdoor activities (that hopefully include more than yard-raking), please be mindful of and thankful for of all of those who continue to help us heal from the storm. City of Georgetown crews have managed a mammoth task of clearing mounds of debris so that our friends and guests can enjoy the Wooden Boat Show. There are countless others who are out there toiling day and night—and who are putting their personal lives at risk and on hold—so that we can return to our regular lives and routines. THANK YOU!
As County Administrator Sel Hemingway pointed out earlier this week, many parts of our county remain in response mode. The County continues to focus its efforts on those whose lives and property are still at risk. Please keep in mind that there are still many in our own communities, our friends and neighbors, who are hurting and dealing with the impact from Matthew and its aftermath.
Say a prayer, lend a hand, thank someone who is working to address our needs--and enjoy this glorious weekend!
Below please find updated information pertaining to the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew:
- All Boil Water Advisories for Georgetown County have been lifted.
- The Black River crested at the county line near Hwy. 41 in Andrews Thursday night. The water will continue flowing east for the next day or so into Browns Ferry. We expect it may rise up to another foot in the Browns Ferry area, then start to drop.
- Georgetown County is still monitoring the Pee Dee and Waccamaw Rivers, but anticipate levels to be well below where they were last year. The County will release more details as they become available. If you're in an area where the river has not yet crested, remain vigilant.
- The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will continue boat patrols on flooded rivers. Governor Haley asked that we be mindful that the rivers will have debris from the Hurricane that could damage boats and/or individuals.
- Road closures may change as river levels change. Please check the SC DOT website for a list of roads that are closed.
Curbside hurricane debris removal will soon begin in Georgetown County.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew and associated river flooding in Georgetown County, the county has contracted with the S.C. Department of Transportation for removal of hurricane-related debris. As part of this contract, curbside pickup of hurricane-related debris will be available on public roadways in unincorporated areas of the county that were impacted by flooding. Collection is expected to begin Oct. 17.
Debris must be separated into the following six categories for curbside pickup:
- Large appliances
- Household hazardous waste
- Vegetative debris
- Construction debris
- Household garbage
Curbside pickup will not be available on private streets (those with blue street signs). Only hurricane-related debris will be picked up. Large quantities of shingles and other roofing materials from re-roofing jobs will not be collected and must be disposed of via normal procedures.
SCDOT’s contractors will prioritize debris removal based on which areas can be accessed safely for debris removal operations. In some areas, floodwaters and blocked roadways still prevent contractors from reaching debris.
Residents are asked to place any hurricane-related debris they would like removed in the public right-of-way (the area that extends from the street to the sidewalk, ditch, utility pole or easement). Residents should not place debris on the right-of-way if they have or will receive insurance funding to privately dispose of household debris covered by their insurance policy. SCDOT will only collect hurricane-related debris for which residents are not receiving insurance funding for private disposal.
For debris to be picked up, it must be separated into the categories listed above and must be unbagged (with the exception of waste in the household garbage category, which should be bagged). Other than household garbage, only loose debris will be collected. Residents should not place debris near a water meter vault, fire hydrant or any other above-ground utility, and should avoid placing it directly under power lines.
Contractors will make multiple passes through impacted areas. If residents cannot safely set out debris at this time, or if contractors cannot safely enter submerged or blocked areas, additional debris removal passes will be scheduled.
For more information, call (843) 545-3999 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. A brochure with further details will be posted at www.gtcounty.org.
- If you live within the limits of an incorporated municipality, you should contact municipal officials regarding their debris cleanup procedures.
Those needing assistance are urged to contact:
- Call 2-1-1 One-stop resource for finding assistance or visit them online at http://www.sc211.org/.
- For assistance with debris or mold clean up, call Helping Hands at 1-800-451-1954,
- For additional needs/concerns, call Georgetown County Emergency Management at (843) 545-3273.
Electricity Outages: If you are without electricity, please call your service provider.
Personal & Business Claims
FEMA is still completing damage assessments. On 99.5 radio this morning, Congressman Tom Rice said that he fully expects that Georgetown County will be included among those counties whose businesses and residents will be eligible for FEMA assistance and he is working to ensure that this happens. We will keep you informed.
However, if you have damage or loss from Hurricane Matthew, you may complete a FEMA application now even if your county has not been federally declared for Individual Assistance. This will help speed up the process if counties are added to a declaration. Your application will be processed if your county is added to a declaration and FEMA determines you are eligible.
Please click here to start your FEMA application. When asked to choose a disaster, select the number for the disaster at the top of the page on the website. Currently, South Carolina is not listed, so click NEXT to proceed. You may also create an account when you apply. If you do, you will be able to log in later to check the status of your application. Completing an application does not ensure that you will be eligible for assistance.
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