HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF)- The final reading for Horry County's budget is Tuesday night. A portion of that $373 million will be going to Coast RTA, but only if the organization signs off on the terms that come along with the county's money.
Both parties say Coast RTA has had a rough couple of months, after last month's firing of the former Coast RTA CEO.
County Spokesperson, Lisa Bourcier, says two readings have passed for the county to give Coast RTA $1,055,000. That money will be in four payments of $263,750. Coast RTA has a new interim general manager and CEO who says despite having to start over after the firing of the last CEO, she's seeing progress.
"The busses still moved out on time," explains Julie Norton-Dew, the interim GM and CEO of The Coast RTA. "The passengers were still picked up and brought to work and brought to school just like they always have."
Norton-Dew explains this funding agreement is very important because public transportation is important to the community. The City of Myrtle Beach, the City of Conway, and Georgetown County also fund Coast RTA. All those funds put together still don't amount to the county's, and the county is willing to support them responsibly.
"We do have a tax payer base here that we have to be responsible for their tax dollars, and this is the way we can do that through this funding agreement," says Bourcier.
Bourcier also explains the agreement allows the County to have the oversight it needs with the Coast RTA. The agreement lists regulations that allow the county to be a bigger part of Coast RTA. The organization received a draft of the funding agreement last week.
"We had a special board meeting to discuss the agreement and sent back some things that we'd like to see changed, and tomorrow night, we are hoping to see some of those changes that we would like to implement," says Norton Dew.
But Bourcier explains the decision will ultimately come to the council. Coast RTA organizers say they plan to use to use the funding to make some big and necessary changes, helping them to make the buses run more often. In order to do this, they will be revising routes and possibly changing their airport shuttle to be a part of another route.
"We'll get signs in the ground so our passengers know where to wait for the bus. We need new buses. Our fleet has reached its life by 65 percent."
Coast RTA representatives say they will also be using the money to secure their employees' positions. They say they are responsible for getting half a million people to work and to doctor's appointments, giving those people a quality of life they wouldn't normally have. The agreement is on the county's agenda to be discussed Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.