Horry County Councilman introduces ordinance to limit public comment at council meetings

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 6:29 PM EST
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Horry County Councilman Johnny Gardner introduced an ordinance Monday to limit public comment at county council meetings.

If put in effect, the ordinance would keep anyone from speaking during public comments more than once every 60 days.

Technically the county already has this rule, but it’s not in practice. An alternate list allows speakers to address the council during the public comments before the meeting if there’s time leftover or if a different speaker didn’t show up.

“Nobody wants to hear the same person get up over and over at every meeting and say the same thing,” council member Johnny Vaught said.

Under the ordinance, participants would still be able to comment on specific issues brought before council for a vote, like rezoning, but not any topic of their choosing before the meeting begins.

“It’s to eliminate cranks who want to stand up there and say their street is always dirty and personal complaints and don’t really have to do with the good of the county,” Vaught added.

Chad Caton, who attends county council meetings frequently, said he believes the council is just tired of hearing people like him talk every week, and believes elected leaders need to listen to their constituents.

“The whole idea of government in a democratic republic is that we get to speak. They work for us I don’t know where we can go with arbitrary rules and laws to keep us silent,” Caton said.

The ordinance is on the consent agenda for Tuesday.

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