Councilman to propose guidelines for land purchases

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A fire station construction project expected to be completed by next month hasn't started in Horry County, and now one councilman says it could be because of a bad land purchase.

Councilman Al Allen says he'll make a recommendation at Tuesday night's Horry County Council meeting to develop new guidelines and checklists for county officials involved with purchasing land for projects.

Allen says the county needs to start doing its homework on these projects, following complications with a piece of land off of Juniper Bay Road in Horry County. Allen predicts the county could pour an extra $150,000 into the installation of a new waterline to increase water pressure needed for the station and hydrants in the area.

"That's the way a lot of things are done -- not just in this county, but everywhere," taxpayer Glen Hughes, who lives near the proposed fire station site, said. "When it's government money, it's free money. But let's face it people, it's not free money. It's our money, it needs to be spent, and we need to be held accountable for how we spend it."

Currently, officials with Bucksport Water System say the waterline along Juniper Bay Road is two inches too small and can't support the required water pressure levels.

"DHEC requires a permit, and that's already in place," Glenn Cribb, of Bucksport Water System, said. "It's just a matter of application and providing flow data and pressure data. We went out and did flow tests from the surrounding area to determine if an upgrade of the lines would be sufficient."

Allen says this isn't the first time the county has run into roadblocks with land it has purchased for use. He says he can recall two to three recent purchases that have posed complications.

The new Horry County Fire Rescue station is expected to be completed by next August. Estimates reveal the project will cost more than $700,000 and replace a fire station that's more than 25 years old along Juniper Bay Road.

Copyright 2011 WMBF News. All rights reserved.