Horry County Councilman wants ‘ethics reform’ for transparency with taxpayer money spending

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Each Horry County Council member gets $20,000 of taxpayer money each year to spend on community, sports, and other leisure activities in the county. The allotment of cash is known as each members’ recreation funds, and now taxpayers and a councilman are questions the use of the money.

In Tuesday evening’s Horry County Council meeting, Peggie Bushey was one of several people who stood up to say county leaders should not be able to have that money to spend however they’d like.

“The bottom line is, these funds are getting them re-elected,” suggests Bushey. “They throw a little money into their community, they look really good, they get re-elected. That’s my dollar, which I can spend better than they can.”

Horry County Council member Tyler Servant agrees that the money, which totals more than $700,000, can be used in a better way. He suggests putting the cash towards public safety.

Council Chair Mark Lazarus said he supported the motion because the money comes out of the general fund and most of that supports public safety.

Still, the motion to change the recreation funds from individual council member control to public safety failed with a vote of nine to three.

“The message I said tonight is that the members on council that voted “no” send a clear message to the Horry County tax payers that their tax money is their money that can be spent on whatever they want, when they want and not the core government functions like public safety,” expresses councilman Servant.

Other council members said they needed the funds to support their own communities. Those members claim activities like community festivals, wouldn’t be possible without the council member’s recreation fund, and that’s why they voted against using the money in a different way.

Servant says if the money stays the way it is, he’s pushing for more accountability so that tax payers will know where that money is being spent.

“Taxpayers of Horry County deserve to know where their money is being spent, what organizations their money is going towards, and what relationships council members have with those organizations,” said Servant.

Servant says he’s now going to county staff to ask for ethics reform into how the money is spent and for a clear and transparent process to decide on the allocation of those funds with the public.