Myrtle Beach Government is remarkably transparent and open

Transparency is an important topic at every level of government.  The Myrtle Beach City Council and staff believe our residents and neighbors are more than entitled to know how, when and why decisions are made, as well as how and where the public’s money is spent.  Here are a few examples of the ways in which Myrtle Beach regularly provides this information.

FOLLOW THE FINANCES

The City of Myrtle Beach continues to be a leader in South Carolina, setting a high standard of transparency among local government entities for publishing documents on the city’s website.  For example, did you know Myrtle Beach was one of the first governments in the state to post its weekly check registers online for the public to see?

Myrtle Beach began posting its weekly check registers online in 2009.  In fact, nine years ago, South Carolina Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom held a news conference on the steps of City Hall to recognize the city for its transparency and to encourage other governments to follow the city’s example.  The Check Registers and Disbursements webpage provides access to every check that the City writes, the amount of that check, the payee and the purpose of the disbursement.

Other important financial documents have been available online for many years, too.  The city’s Annual Budget and Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (CAFR) are published each fiscal year on the city’s Financial Management and Reporting Department page.  Here are specific hyperlinks to the most recent documents….

In February 2018, city staff prepared and published a new document for the first time, called a Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR).  Not everyone has a professional background in public finance or accounting, so a PAFR conveys the financial results of the city’s operations in a readable, easy-to-understand format.  The PAFR is derived from the detailed Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and presents the same information, but without the use of technical jargon.

To learn more about what the Popular Annual Financial Report provides, see our “What is a PAFR” document.  The current report and upcoming PAFRs will be published to the Financial Management and Reporting Department webpage.  Here’s the hyperlink to the Popular Financial Report for the Fiscal Year ending in June 2017.…

FOCUS ON PUBLIC SAFETY

Crime is an ugly reality in our world today, but the City of Myrtle Beach’s top priority continues to be Public Safety.  Our staff and City Council know that dealing with the reality of crime as well as the perception of safety is a top concern among residents.

The Myrtle Beach Point of View blog has previously provided the Council-approved “Retention and Recruitment Plan” for the Police Department. Also available on the blog is the “Downtown Code Enforcement and Property Maintenance Initiative.”

Wonder what’s going on in your neighborhood?  Myrtle Beach has 28 active Neighborhood Watch groups.  Most of these meet monthly to discuss any possible safety concerns within the neighborhoods, along with other quality of life and service issues.  The city even provides real-time access to daily police reports through the P2C (Police to Citizen) Portal.

OTHER IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS

The Myrtle Beach website also features access to several other important documents. For example, the City’s Comprehensive Plan serves as a road map of sorts for the future. Myrtle Beach’s local laws and ordinances are available through links to the City Code via Municode.  And, the Zoning Code is updated regularly, with links available on the Current Zoning Code webpage.

The city also publishes a “Year in Review” report, which shows major accomplishments for the past fiscal year.  It indicates the most significant operational achievements of each of the city’s departments and offices.  Here’s the link for the Year in Review for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

Myrtle Beach’s Progress Report newsletter is available on the website, too.  This quarterly publication is mailed out to 20,000 utility customers every four months.  You’ll find the current issue online at www.cityofmyrtlebeach.com/Progress%20Report.pdf.  Archive issues also are available on the website.

MEETINGS, AGENDAS & THE FRIDAY FAX

The website recently received a massive facelift!  With these modern changes, the website now allows users to view the full City Council packet with all supporting documents available.  The Myrtle Beach City Council agenda webpage is also updated with hyperlinks to each of the associated materials.  These same materials (ordinances, resolutions and motions) are also added to the City Council Documents Library.  And, presentations and proclamations delivered, whether during the workshop at 9:00 a.m. or the meeting at 2:00 p.m., are added to the City Council Documents Library, too.

General agendas for all public meetings are available in various ways.  The weekly Friday Fax memo supplies the upcoming agendas and meeting schedule.  You can subscribe to receive the Friday Fax via email by sending a request to info@cityofmyrtlebeach.com.  Or, visit the Friday Fax webpage.  The week’s agendas also are linked to the Meeting Schedule webpage.  To review the full list of public bodies, see the city’s Boards, Commissions and Committees webpage.  Each individual hyperlink on the webpage leads directly to a specific agenda webpage.

South Carolina law requires that Council’s business be conducted in public with limited exceptions known as Executive Sessions.  Discussion items eligible for Executive Sessions include matters which:  protect an individual’s privacy, could expose the City’s litigation strategy, allow the City to observe the privacy interest of economic development clients and protect City taxpayers from overpaying for property acquisitions.  Note that motions to go into Executive Session must be made in public and specify one or more of the reasons above.  No action can be taken in Executive Session; any action related to these discussions must take place in public.

It is also important to know that each regular City Council Workshop and Meeting is televised on MBTV – channel 1303 for Spectrum customers, and channel 9 for HTC customers.  Currently, Workshops begin at 9:00 a.m. and regular Council Meetings begin at 2:00 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.  All workshops and meetings are public, of course, and you are invited to attend.  Unless otherwise specified on the Meeting Schedule webpage, updated weekly, the regular workshops and meetings take place at the Ted C. Collins Law Enforcement Center, located at the corner of Joe White Avenue and Oak Street.

Lastly, we plan to begin streaming the meetings live on the city’s website, with an archival feature.  Look for this new addition to be launched in the next month.