CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Horry County leaders met on Tuesday afternoon to discuss speeding up the Ride III project. They believe the best way to do so would be to transfer up to $40 million from the Ride II fund.
“We’ll be able to start the construction faster,” said Horry County Council Chairman, Mark Lazarus. “Because the engineering will be in place, right-of-ways will be in place where we can start putting shovels in the dirt.”
Voters approved the Ride III referendum in November but collection of the one percent sales tax will not begin until May 2017. The Department of Revenue won’t get any of those funds until the fall.
“So we’re saying transfer that money over temporarily so we can go ahead and get ahead of the curve,” added Lazarus.
The plan is to reimburse the Ride II fund once the county starts to collect the tax money.
Lazarus said this will be cheaper than borrowing the money because they will save about $1 million in interest.
“If we already have the money in the bank why don’t we go ahead and use it,” he added.
The county has the ability to pull extra funds because several Ride II projects came in under budget and the county saw economic growth.
“Our economy grew more than anticipated during that period of time so we collected more [money] during that period of time,” said Lazarus.
While the transfer of funds is meant to speed up the construction process, it will still be a while before you see any construction.
“What we’re allocating the dollars for you won’t see it,” said Lazarus. “Because it’s all on paper. It will be acquisition of right-of-ways, which you won’t see that, and some engineering and some things of that nature. But the actual shovel in the dirt you won’t see for a couple of years.
Lazarus said this will not affect any Ride II projects still under construction. The ordinance will go to full County Council at the beginning of next year.