Surfside Beach Town Council reverses controversial meeting rules ordinance, support more public input

Grand Strand

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Three changes were made after a controversial ordinance was reversed at Tuesday night’s Surfside Beach Town Council meeting, supporting public involvement and improvement to the meeting process.

The ordinance was approved last April and altered the structure for Surfside Beach Town Council meetings, restricting the amount of time and specifics for public input. Officials say they hope the reversed ordinance prioritizes transparency again.

Two extra minutes were added for each speaker contributing public input. The council voted to extend comment time from three to five minutes.

Two meetings will be held each month instead of one. The last involves a change to the designated time of regular meetings, pushing back the start time to 6:30 p.m., providing more opportunities for residents to attend after work hours.

“The people that are up here, we ran our campaign on transparency,” Surfside Beach Mayor Bob Hellyer said.

Hellyer suggested an additional meeting each month gives residents more voice and encourages involvement.

Town council said the change from two meetings to one created more special meetings, causing some confusion among residents and council and prolonged sessions.

Residents were in favor of reversing the ordinance, applauding the approval and saying they needed more time to get their point across, and three minutes just was not enough.

“If we can put our agenda on the meetings and have two meetings, I think that’s the way to be fair to the residents and let them be involved if they want to be involved, so I am all for the two meetings,” Mayor Hellyer said.

Funding was approved for new restrooms along the beach and for new battery-operated rescue equipment.

Count on News13 for updates.

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