Marini says the Myrtle Beach proposal is selling of shows or performing FRP shows at a venue there. No Playhouse money would be at stake. It would make money, he said. He cannot believe, he says, the level of vitriol and does not know why Young is “so angry.” He says Young’s comments are based on incomplete information. For instance, Young said Marini’s salary went up from $44,000 to $104,000. The $44,000 was from 2009, when Marini was employed only four months.
Meeting will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, to accommodate innkeepers.
Thompson: “One thing that concerned me about this bill … was our desire wound up being totally different in the final analysis.” That is, the board did not tie the increase directly to the Playhouse.
Board now trying to set a date for the forum for the Playhouse, which now includes motel owners. Wednesday, Aug. 8, “as a forum for anyone that wants to ask questions.”
Young fires back at Edney over Edney’s comments about Young and the parts department at General Motors, suggesting Edney should talk instead about losing his law license. This is the most personally hostile county commission meeting since O’Connor vs. Ervin Bazzle over school funding.
Charlie Messer expresses concern about the tax, says there is a whole lot of concern, and he came into the meeting ready to oppose the tax.
“This is probably the hottest issue I’ve had to deal with for the last 12 years,” he said.
That could be a third vote against the tax. Thompson is uncommitted.
Commissioner Mike Edney is defending the Playhouse.
As for North Myrtle Beach, he said, “My understanding is that would be a money-making thing for the Playhouse,” he said. “It has nothing to do with what we’re talking about.”
“I think this whole thing is a lot bigger than the Playhouse,” Edney said.
The board has supported industry and farming but needs to look at the Playhouse and tourism. “We don’t need to be attacking the Playhouse and nitpicking their (IRS form) 990 when we don’t do that to all the other non-profits we give money to do,” he said, calling Young’s accusations “improper.”
Chairman Tommy Thompson is for the delay and Larry Young is strongly against it. “They’re going to take our occupancy tax money and take it to North Myrtle Beach?” Young said.
Young wants to take a vote now. O’Connor says he is for the forum, and willing to delay the vote.
Thompson said he wants to hold a forum at which the “the Playhouse and its management, its tax people, chairman of the board” would attend, “and let’s hash all this out and let’s air all this information.” He said he does not “not willing to say yea or nay on changing the occupancy tax at this time.”
“The Playhouse likewise needs to be able to answer those questions” raised by Young.
The board adopted the Henderson Tourism Development Authority (not Henderson County, under the enabling legislation), and now is on the tax. County Attorney Russ Burrell is explaining the tax and how it would work. Playhouse has to report on how it uses the money.
The board appointed five members to the new county ABC board. The nominating commissioners and nominees are: Bill O’Connor, Beau Waddell, Laurel Park; Mike Edney, Patricia Ferguson Jones, Hendersonville; Charlie Messer, George Erwin, Fletcher; Tommy Thompson, Rick Holbert; Larry Young, Rick Livingston, Mills River.
The board appointed Waddell chairman, provided he accepts.
County commissioners are now on other matters, including ABC board appointments, and won’t get to occupancy tax discussion for a little while.
Thirteen speakers spoke, with little drama. Steve Carlisle, a former actor who has turned into one of the most vociferous critics of the Playhouse, ripped its current operations and management. It raised ticket prices and started a second theater during a recession, and is considering, he said, starting a theater in North Myrtle Beach.
Playhouse director Vincent Marini said he would “not honor” Carlisle’s remarks with a response because Carlisle had been spreading misinformation for three years.