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Tim McGinnis: SC State Representative District 56

Family. Community. Integrity.

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A word about Water


Imagine you are paying more than double for water than your neighbor.
Same water, delivered through the same pipes, but you are paying twice what your friend across the street is paying.
Sound fair? I don’t think so.
But this is what’s happening to thousands of residential water customers in Horry County, many of them in District 56.
Those paying the premium for water are county residents who buy their water from the City of Conway.
Why? Because of a contract signed decades before neighborhoods like Waterford and Myrtle Beach National were even conceived.
Most people who live in unincorporated Horry County are Grand Strand Water and Sewer Authority (GSWA) customers. In fact, even the City of Conway customers who live in Horry County are buying the same water unincorporated residents buy, delivered through the same infrastructure. The big difference? They are billed by the City of Conway.
Late last year I asked the City of Conway’s Mayor and City Administrator to sit down with the CEO of GSWA to see if we could come to an agreement that would level the playing field and bring bills down for people who live in the unincorporated areas served by the City of Conway.
In fact, at that meeting the CEO of GSWA offered a generous amount of money to take over water service for these residents. The CEO said all it would require, in essence, is taking over the billing. The city declined.
I introduced a bill that would require municipalities to charge the same rate for their residents as those who live outside their jurisdictions they serve. Unfortunately, the bill did not go anywhere in the session cut short by COVID.
There is another issue here, representation. If you are a GSWA customer, you have a representative on the GSWA board who is appointed by legislators. That means someone will be held accountable for poor service. Of course, if you are a municipality resident, you elect your mayor and council who oversee the city’s water service.
This isn’t the case for these county customers buying water from the City of Conway. They have no representation, elected or appointed. County residents can’t vote for city officers, and because they aren’t GSWA customers they aren’t held accountable by the board legislators appoint.
So if these out of city, yet city customers have trouble with water service there is no official they elect directly or indirectly to turn to.
Again, does this sound fair?
I’ve had a bill drafted that I hope will be introduced next year that will change all of this.
It would require municipalities like Conway to charge the same rate to customers they serve beyond their borders, and it would require those customers to have some sort of representation.
Cities should not be able to make money off of hard-working people, many living on a fixed income.
I don’t believe there is a legislative fix for everything, but in this case people deserve more. Afterall, water is an essential service and there is not another option for these people. Just the unfair arrangement that has existed for decades.
As always if you’d like to talk to me about this issue or any others effecting you, give me a call 843-798-7440.

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The latest from Columbia 


Thank you for visiting the site! From time to time I will post the latest on issues facing District 56 in the State House. I hope you and your family have remained safe and whole during these unprecedented times. Serving you as the State Representative for District 56 has truly been an honor.

These divisive times are challenging for all of us. I believe South Carolina is a strong state and the future is bright. Together we will find a way forward through the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.

Our economy was booming until March.

On September 15, the legislature will meet to re-visit this year's budget.

When we drafted our original budget earlier this year we enjoyed a nearly $2 billion surplus. Now we will have to consider a new budget based on new forecasts which will reflect the damage the pandemic has wrought.

As always I vote based on three things, is this good for my community, for families and for businesses? 

As always I appreciate hearing from the people I serve. Please feel free to reach out anytime. My cell phone number is 843-798-7440, or use the contact section of the site to send me a message. 

God bless, and remember our state motto, "While I breathe, I hope!"

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530D Blatt Bldg.
Columbia 29201


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