Tuesday’s editorial takes Atlantic Beach leaders to task for their lack of respect and courtesy for their neighbors:
Why should I care what sort of shenanigans are going on up in Atlantic Beach, we’re often asked. The town’s ineptness is amusing at times, but if they want to play those games, what’s it to me?
North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marylin Hatley offered a good answer to those questions last Wednesday at a meeting of local leaders (a meeting that Atlantic Beach Mayor Retha Pierce conspicuously missed). Dealing with the fallout of the town’s annual Bikefest rally cost North Myrtle Beach nearly $100,000 last year for police and public works services, Hatley said. Atlantic Beach’s neighbor to the north dedicated 100 of its own officers to the rally, brought in 15 extra from elsewhere (which they had to feed and house) and never billed Atlantic Beach for any of that expense. Instead, North Myrtle Beach taxpayers picked up that tab.
And that was for the three-day Bikefest the town normally puts on, not the extended, 10-day rally they hope to foist on the area this time around.
It’s not just North Myrtle Beach that gets hit in the wallet, though as the city that surrounds Atlantic Beach, it is most affected by the rally. Horry County and Myrtle Beach forces also must dedicate time and resources to dealing with Bikefest.
“If the Atlantic Beach event were contained within the town, it would be one thing,” said Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea. “But it spills over into the other cities and the county, none of which have seen any plans, issued any permits or even been asked to be part of the discussions.”
When it comes to Bikefest, Atlantic Beach has long acted like a clueless neighbor who throws a massive, rowdy party that spreads onto nearby property, blithely watches revelers trash the neighborhood, then leaves all the garbage for others to pick up. So it’s more than understandable that other local leaders are upset about the town’s sudden decision to extend the dates of the rally without bothering to ask anybody else. Given the situation, it’s only surprising that the criticism thus far has been limited to relatively tame words like “inconsiderate.”
We’ll go further. Taking such action without consulting neighboring municipalities was selfish, disrespectful, arrogant, childish and downright rude.
“I’m very concerned about this,” Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes said Wednesday. “It’s time for us to all communicate.”
Rhodes is right. But it’s hard to communicate when Atlantic Beach leaders don’t listen, don’t care or simply don’t pay attention.
As much as it might wish it did, Atlantic Beach does not operate in a vacuum. Its actions affect the other municipalities around it. The town’s leaders often complain that they’re not treated with respect, that they’re looked down upon by others in the area. Our suggestion: You have to be respectful to earn respect. Showing up to meetings to which you’ve been invited to explain yourself would be one good way to start.
To its credit, the town does have some dedicated people who sincerely wish to reroute it toward a better future and improve its reputation on the Grand Strand. But these shenanigans do not help. If the town ever wishes to be treated like an adult and an equal partner, it needs to start acting like one.