MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – One Myrtle Beach mayoral candidate says he feels he’s being treated unfairly by the city and held a press conference Thursday to address those concerns.
Mark McBride said he wanted to host a meeting at the Mary C. Canty Recreation Center earlier this month.
After he was asked to pay for liability insurance for up to $1 million the day of his event, he says he felt like the city was playing games with him, but the city manager says that’s not the case.
“I understand what’s going on, and you just don’t treat people this way,” said McBride.
McBride said he went and applied to use the recreation center to talk about ways the Superblock area could be used and ways to bring in new business.
“That morning after I had already paid for an event, the city stepped up and demanded that I had a million dollar liability policy, and it wasn’t required before that morning,” said McBride.
City Manager John Pedersen says that’s not exactly what happened.
“People did attempt to notify him. We have emails of our attempts to notify him ahead of time, we wrote him a letter, it was talked about on the telephone. We certainly made an effort to do that,” said Pedersen.
Pederson decided to waive the fee, but McBride says by that time, he had already moved the event to another building. McBride decided to FOIA how many events have required liability insurance at the recreation center in the past.
The city returned more than 1,000 pages in documents and charged him more than $200.
McBride says he also felt the price was unfair, but Pedersen says the state allows the city to charge for the research and time it takes to compile the information.
“I’ve learned that last weekend there was a debate put on by the South Strand Republicans and not only did the city manager waive the insurance requirement, he waived the fee. Last night, the NAACP and the Myrtle Beach area chamber of commerce had an event, and the city manager once again waived the fee for the city facility and also the insurance requirement,” said McBride.
Pedersen says that was true because they were educational events that benefited the public, but he also waived the insurance fee for McBride’s event as soon as he was notified, leaving McBride to pay $45 if he wanted to use the building.
“In no way has Mr. McBride been treated inconsistently here. What we’ve tried to do is recognize what he’s asked for and treat him the same way that we would treat anyone else,” said Pedersen.
City code does give the city manager the authority to waive insurance requirements in some instances.
Pedersen says if the city and event organizers feel okay about it and there’s no type of activity that could get someone hurt or sick, he has the authority to waive the fee.