LORIS, SC (WBTW) – Horry County is looking at ways to reduce spending. At a recent Infrastructure and Regulation Committee, Director of Public Works David Gilreath suggested they cut maintenance to about 100 miles of dirt roads because the upkeep and roads themselves do not benefit enough people.
Criteria used to determine public benefit include: if a close alternate route exists, if it benefits three lots or less, or if all parcels on the road are on another public roadway. The measure would save the county up to $400,000, according to Gilreath.
Councilman Paul Prince said it’s not worth the risk to cut out funding for the upkeep of the less traveled roads. Despite hosting less traffic, the roads are still used by emergency workers and mail carriers, states Prince, and as roads become more narrow, navigating the roadways can become more difficult for emergency crews and other routine travelers.
“To me, roads [are] the most important thing. You’ve got to get in and out. Mail carriers go down the road. Fire engines go down it. Ambulance service go down it,” justifies Prince.
Keith Blount has lived on the same dirt road for 75 years. The road only serves two houses, but Blount said he deserves to have it maintained.
“We pay taxes like everybody else,” Blount explains.
Prince said the county spends millions of dollars on tourism, but is nitpicking on $200,000 for dirt roads.
“If they’re paying taxes, then I don’t think we have the right to take it out of the system,” explained Prince.
The county has not decided if it will move forward with the program. Gilreath said Horry County Public Works department’s staff will meet with councilmen in districts where the roads may be taken off the county’s maintenance plains.