Monday, May 31, 2010


We really did try to resist the temptation of referring to those cute little "pieces of Jack's puzzle" one more time but, alas, we failed. We promise this will be the last time.......or maybe not.

Prior to this past year, heavy equipment for BC was obtained under a lease/purchase plan. This arrangement worked very well on a number of levels, the most important of which was BC didn't have to shell out the huge full purchase price for new equipment. Then, along came Mr. Davis/ Mr. Schurlknight with a new and better idea. They thought it would be more economical to BUY the equipment outright. Here's the way the plan was supposed work. They would open up the bids to one and all. They would be fair to all bidders. There would be no opportunity in this process for fraud. In practice, as long as the piece of equipment was bright yellow and had the letters "CAT" across the nose, it met specification. This new plan worked so well that, last year we bought a model year 2008 piece of equipment at a model year 2010 price. We never said there wouldn't be some kinks in the plan.

Now, here's a bragging point if we ever saw one. BC has lost 10 times the number of jobs we have gained in the last 3 1/2 years. And, through clever negotiations, we have managed to lure an industry guru away from that bastion of economic development, Dillon County.

This newly established policy is simple: Take all the money you can from every fund, entity, citizen, or school child to replace all the money you've already spent from the existing fund balance. Done.

This policy is even simpler: Take all the money from the fund balance plus all the money you can take from every fund, entity, citizen, or school child and spend it on things you really don't need. Well, maybe you do need the Democrats' votes so we don't know whether this ultimately qualifies as "a need"or not.

This initiative has proven itself to be a bit dicey. Well known, dependable companies have been passed over for at least one contract in favor of "local boys". We heard this system was working really well until one stopped payment on his campaign contribution check. Oh well, the best laid plans.........

Give us a break! What fool couldn't balance his budget if he had the ability, not to mention the gall, to dip into everyone else's pockets?

Oh drat, we've run out of puzzle pieces. Unfortunately for us, we still have a lot of issues left.

If you care about the future of Berkeley County, be sure to vote in the Republican Primary on June 8th. Please consider the Conservative ticket for Supervisor/Council:

Elect Henry Brown, Supervisor
Elect Terry Hardesty, County Council District 6
Re-elect Dennis Fish, County Council District 5
Re-elect Cathy Davis, County Council District 4


If you have achieved enough years, we are certain that, by now, you have become familiar with how an effective liar operates. The lie being told has to contain just enough truth to make the statement plausible. After this basic foundation is laid, the really accomplished liar can build upon this platform and spin whatever yarn that is to his benefit. In this post, we plan to re-expose a few Grand Daddy of all lies that particularly get on our last nerve. In the process, the purveyors of these prevarications will, also, be exposed.

First, a little history. (you knew it was coming)

The County budget has a lot in common with your household budget, with the possible exception that you can't take money from your neighbor to make your budget balance. With the County budget, as with your budget, dollar amounts of the expected expenditures and revenues are estimated. These actual amounts can end up being either greater or lesser.

Before Davis/ Schurlknight took office, a few past County budgets included small amounts , on paper, from the fund balance as an accounting maneuver to make the estimated budget balance. However, only once, prior to the Davis administration, was any amount of the fund balance actually used to cover expenditures. Pre-Davis/Schurlknight, the proceeds from the FILOT (Fee In Lieu Of Taxes) from Google went to pay back a Santee Cooper loan. Approximately 63% of all other FILOT revenue went to the schools. The County fund balance was at 16.78%, ($7,289,721) well above the 15% comfort zone. Our Economic Development rating was at the highest level, "Developed". The Economic Development fund was never raided. A full 100% of the Local Option Sales Tax revenue was applied to property tax relief. The fund balance of the BCW&SA was recognized as separate and apart from BC funds. As such, it was not incorporated into the BC general fund. And, water rates were 30% cheaper than they are today.

Since Mr. Davis/ Mr. Schurlknight took office, all this has changed. With the leadership of Mr. Davis/ Mr. Schurlknight, the fund balance is now below 4%. This represents a loss of over $5 Million. This dynamic duo has taken a cool $1 MILLION from the Economic Development Fund to prop up their fund balance. They have taken $4 MILLION of industry fees earmarked for the school system and added this money to the general fund. They have taken 29% or (approx) $3 MILLION of our property tax relief from the Local Option Sales Tax each year for three years, a total of (approx) $9 Million. They have "borrowed" $10 MILLION from the fund balance of the Berkeley County Water & Sanitation Authority. They have raised water rates by 30%. They floated a $150 MILLION bond issue and drawn $50 MILLION from it because they didn't want to wait for the proceeds from the NEW Local Option Sales Tax to begin the Hwy. 17A project. Last but certainly not least, they have raised your County taxes by one mill this year.

This information deserves reiteration.

They took and spent over $5 MILLION from the fund balance.
They took and spent over $4 MILLION from the Schools.
They took $1 MILLION from the Economic Development Fund.
They took and spent 29% of your tax relief, $3 MILLION a year, for three years.
They "borrowed" and spent $10 MILLION from BCW&SA.
They took another 30% in water fees.
They floated a $150 MILLION bond issue. $50 MILLION was drawn.
They floated a $10 MILLION general obligation bond.
And, to make matters worse, they have raised the operating fund this year by 1 mill.

This money was spent in addition to the regular tax revenue that they, also, spent. To add insult to injury, they furloughed County employees which resulted in their reduced take home pay. GE&P would like to pose a tiny little question:


In his campaign ad in the Berkeley Independent last week, Mr. Jack Schurlknight is quoted, "As chairman of the Berkeley County Council Finance Committee, I was very pleased to see the County's first balanced budget in 18 years." In the first place, "the first balanced budget in 18 years" whether stated by Mr. Schurlknight or Mr. Davis, is a bold faced lie. A balanced budget is mandated by law. And, the BC budget was balanced every year for the 18 years before Supervisor Davis/ Mr. Schurlknight took office. Unfortunately, this has not "exactly" been the case for the first three years of Mr. Schurlknight's/ Supervisor Davis' tenure. We realize that we have allowed Supervisor Davis to slip into this post but, you have to understand that the activities of these two men are inextricably intertwined.

Mr. Schurlknight said "he was please to see" the first balanced budget in 18 years. Did anyone else notice he didn't actually say he had anything to do with it?

Here's the truth of the matter. Mr. Davis/ Mr. Schurlknight have to take responsibility for the situation in which BC finds itself. As these two brag about all their so called accomplishments, these events have taken place since they took office:

Numerous large industries have moved out of the County taking hundreds of our jobs with them.

Our unemployment rate is around 12%.

Economic development is at a virtual standstill or, at best, three to five years down the road. The County's Economic Development standing has been downgraded.

The morale of our County employees is at its lowest level in memory.

Cypress Gardens, as a tourist attraction and educational venue, no longer exists.

Most of our roads are nothing short of pothole heaven.

Due to several ill-advised water line projects, BCW&S is now dumping a large portion of its water supply into the ditches. This practice is an ecological disgrace.

And, as far as our financial state is concerned, we are tipping on the cusp of disaster. With the willing cooperation of Mr. Schurlknight, Supervisor Davis has constructed a financial house of cards worthy of Bernie Madoff. Even some members of County Council, when asked, have no earthly idea into which rathole all our money has disappeared. Straightening out the mess these two have created will take years.

So, when Mr. Schurlknight and Mr. Davis are voted out of office next week, don't think for one moment that BC's financial troubles will be over. When the full scale of our situation is finally revealed, more than one jaw is guaranteed to drop.

Friday, May 28, 2010


A GE&P contributer called us this morning with this really funny story. We just had to share. These are her very words.

"As is my custom, I listen to recorded Scripture on my drives to and from work. This morning the subject was Revelation. Just as I heard the verse "....and the beast shall rise from the ashes..." my eye caught some activity on the side of Hwy. 78. Standing there, was none other than Mr. Bill Wilcox waving a Dan Davis campaign sign. I got what will no doubt prove to be my best laugh of the day."

GE&P believes this is a perfect example of Divine intercession.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


For those of you who were unable to attend the County Council meeting on May 24th, we have some news. Maybe it's not "new" news but it is certainly old news confirmed.

We will begin with a little County Council 101 for those who don't have a full understanding of the process. For those who do, please be patient. A Committee, such as Finance, consists of all members of Council. One member is the Chairman of that Committee. The Chairman does not have a vote on his/her Committee. There are four Conservative Republicans on County Council, Cathy Davis, Philip Farley, Tim Callanan, and Dennis Fish. There are two Liberal Democrats, Steve Davis and Caldwell Pinckney. There are two RINOs, (Republicans In Name Only), Bob Call and Jack Schurlknight. The Supervisor and Chairman of County Council, Dan Davis is, also, a RINO.

The two Liberals and the three RINOs have formed some sort of unholy alliance in order to control County government. This is how it works. Supervisor Davis comes up with an idea, usually one that wastes the BC taxpayers' money. At the regular meeting, the four Conservatives vote against the proposal while the two Liberals and the two RINOs join forces to vote for it. Presto! A tie vote. Then, the Chairman, Supervisor Davis, is forced to break the tie. Surprise, surprise, Mr. Davis gets exactly what he wants and there goes your money.

A logical question to the thoughtful mind would be, "Why would the two Liberal Democrats cooperate in such a deal?" We cannot even suggest the reasoning of these Liberals. We can only state the facts as they happened. After Dan Davis was elected, there was a $2.4 Million water line, that Mr. Pinckney had been screaming about for over a decade, installed to Mr. Pinckney's front door. There are less than 10 tap-ins to this line at a cost to the taxpayers of $300,000 per tap-in. Of course, we would never suggest that there is any connection between these two occurrences. In the 2010/2011 budget there is a tiny bit of spending for a new library and other facilities in Mr. Steve Davis' District. Can anybody say Millions of dollars? Again, there is probably no connection between the this and Mr. Davis' support.

As to the two RINO Councilmen, we have no theory about them. We have opted to avoid the frightening prospect of getting into Mr. Call's thought process. Concerning Mr. Schurlknight, to quote one of his relatives, "Jack hasn't had his hands on the football since kickoff". So GE&P has no thoughts as to why these two have aligned themselves so closely with the Democrats and the Supervisor's efforts.

Now, let's get back to the happenings of the May 24th Council meeting. The meeting was uneventful until the Finance Committee meeting. When Mr. Schurlknight brought up Bill No. 10-20 for second reading, the popcorn hit the fan. This Bill is an ordinance providing for the 2010/2011 BC budget. In this budget, Supervisor Davis has, for the third year, pilfered 29% of our property tax relief from the proceeds of the Local Option Sales Tax.

When Mr. Schurlknight began third reading, Mr. Fish moved to reject the budget in its entirety. The motion immediately received a second. Mr. Schurlknight seemed prepared for this motion and immediately began reading off a litany of items in the budget which absolutely, positively, with out a doubt, had no other source of funding except from the proceeds from the 29%. He repeatedly ignored Mr. Fish's call for the vote. As Mr. Schurlknight read off each item, Mr. Callanan would ask where the funding for that item came from previously. Each time he was told, "From the general fund". Mr. Callanan kept asking, "Where did that money go?" He never got an answer.

Mr. Schurlknight continued to vigorously go about the work of his Little Daddy and defend the continued confiscation of the property tax relief promised to the citizens of BC. Finally, a committee vote was allowed and the budget was rejected. (Remember, Mr. Schurlknight is the Chairman of the Finance Committee and didn't have a vote on this issue in committee) The vote was 4 Conservatives, Fish, Callanan, Farley, and Mrs. Davis against 2 Democrats, Pinckney, and S. Davis and one RINO, Call. The result of this vote SHOULD have been a recommendation from committee that the budget be rejected. But, when the item came up during the full Council meeting, Mr. Schurlknight did as his Little Daddy told him and referred it out of committee. This move puts this item, the budget in its existing form, on the agenda for third reading at the June meeting. Mr. Schurlknight's action, in effect, nullified the wishes of half of Council.

Once again, the Tax and Spend RINOs joined with the Tax and Spend Liberals to defeat the efforts of the Conservatives to save the taxpayers' money. Mr. Fish, Mr. Callanan, Mr. Farley, and Mrs. Davis did everything in their power to prevent this money grab but the unholy alliance, Liberals plus Democrats, had five votes. That was the end of the story, for the time being.

This is where you, the voters have the ability to influence, dare we say control, YOUR county government. In case you dozed off, we would like to tell you there is an election coming up on June 8th. There are several positions in County government up for grabs in this election. We would encourage each and every one of you to take these races very seriously. Your and the county's financial future depend on the outcome. If you are impressed with the tenacity and the conviction with which Mr. Fish and Mrs. Davis have defended the taxpayers' interests on Council, please go out and vote for their reelections. They have both fought the good fight and deserve your support. But, the ultimate success of the 4 Conservatives on Council depends on having more Conservatives elected to Council. These four Conservatives cannot defeat the big spending RINOs and Liberals with a 4 to 5 vote. (Remember, Dan Davis breaks a tie vote)

If you have had your fill of the RINOs on Council with their self-serving big spending, replace Mr. Schurlknight with Mr. Terry Hardesty. Mr. Hardesty has a proven record of fiscal conservatism on the BC School Board. He has consistently voted to control costs and reduce spending. You can check his record. Mr. Hardesty was instrumental in locating and hiring a School Superintendent who is a true Conservative. The combination of this Superintendent and a Conservative School Board has made great strides toward eliminating wasteful spending in the School District. Mr. Hardesty will bring these talents and efforts to County Council.

There is an old country saying that, the easiest way to kill the snake, is to cut off the head. In the case of our County government, the easiest way to change the outcome is to replace the leadership. The future of Berkeley County depends on replacing its leadership and this means replacing Supervisor Dan Davis. Over the last three and a half years, this man has proven himself to be unworthy of his position. His ineptness and lack of judgement has been astounding. His financial decisions have defied logic. Through all the controversy of the last three and one half years, our concerns would not be as acute if any of us could believe one word that emanates from this man's mouth. Unfortunately, for us, that doesn't seem to be the case. Our conclusions are based on his official statements made to the citizens of BC over the last couple of months. Being cognizant of the actual facts, it was very difficult, to say the least, for us to suffer through the fairy stories Mr. Davis presented to the folks as truth.

GE&P has heard the concerns a few of you have voiced about electing Henry Brown for Supervisor. Some say Henry has been in office long enough and we need new blood. Others come right out and say Henry's too old to hold this office. We are not going to argue any of the negative comments. We are going to state the unavoidable fact of the situation. This fact is pure and simple. BERKELEY COUNTY NEEDS RID OF DAN DAVIS. Four more years of his leadership and BC will be in a financial hole so deep we may never be able dig out.

In this election we have two viable choices. We either leave Dan Davis at the controls and gamble with our financial future or we replace him with Henry Brown. A huge plus for Henry is that he will return honesty and integrity to the office. If we are realistic, we will admit that honesty is the basis for good government. Also, Henry has the experience to gather and lead a solid second tier of department managers. Henry will guarantee that expertise, ethics and integrity will be of paramount importance in these choices. GE&P encourages everyone to put aside the petty criticisms and peeves of the past and band together for the good of the County. We ask that you vote to elect Henry Brown as our County Supervisor.

Picture this glorious day. It is June 9th. We have reelected Dennis Fish and Cathy Davis. We have elected Terry Hardesty. Combined with Tim Callanan and Phillip Farley, that gives the Conservatives 5 votes on Council. To add the icing to the cake, we have elected an honest man, Henry Brown, as Supervisor. Now, just let the remaining one RINO and the two Liberal Democrats try to steal our money. Thank you, Jesus.

Just as a side note, we have been pondering a puzzle. It seems BC bought a certain piece of heavy equipment this year. The paperwork says this piece of equipment is a 2010 model year and that we paid the 2010 price for such. As strange as it may sound, the serial number says the piece of equipment is a 2008 model year. Wouldn't the actual price of the older model be less than for the newer model if it was bought this year? Hmmmmmm Do we remember a big controversy where Mr. Davis insisted on changing from a lease/purchase system for heavy equipment to an outright cash purchase system? Thank the Lord there's no room for fraud here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


GE&P really enjoyed the beautiful half page ad District 6 Councilman Jack Schurlknight placed in the Berkeley Independent today. The ad was colorful, well designed and quite clever. According to the text of the ad, Mr. Schurlknight's intention is to "clear up some of the misinformation" circulating the county concerning his record. This is a good and honorable goal and we fully intend to assist Mr. Schurlknight's efforts in any way we can.

Mr. Schurlknight said, "I took an active role in developing Berkeley County's Strategic Plan". This statement is absolutely 100% true and accurate. BUT, here's where we find a missing piece of the puzzle and we would be happy to help provide some clarification. The problem we have is that Mr. Schurlknight didn't explain very well exactly what is involved in the "Berkeley County Strategic Plan". Here we can offer some help.

We can define the "Berkeley County Strategic Plan" in simple, easily understandable words. The BCSP is a brainchild initiated by Supervisor Dan Davis. One of the results of this grand plan has been the wasting of tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars (we don't have) on consultants who have suggested wasting millions of taxpayer dollars (we don't have) to renovate or build new facilities we don't need. There now, wasn't that simple?

Don't misunderstand. GE&P loves shiny new things as much as anyone. But, it is insane to go out and buy new things when one cannot pay for what one already has. No one in his right mind would decide to buy a beach house if he couldn't pay the mortgage on his home. No one would consider adding a new room when he couldn't buy food for his family. This is the precise result of a portion of the BCSP. We don't need new and better facilities when we can't even pay our loyal county employees. (GE&P will go into more detail on the restored furlough days in a later post)

We don't want to steal Mr. Schurlknight's thunder by disclosing any of the other pieces of his puzzle he plans to reveal over the next few weeks, so we aren't going to mention that, with a Republican majority, he cast the deciding vote to elect a liberal Democrat as the Vice-Chairman of County Council. Also, we will hold as a trusted secret that he strongly supports the Supervisor's efforts to steal 29% of our property tax relief AGAIN this year. We would never reveal that, when asked by another councilman, "How long do you plan to take the 29%", Mr. Schurlknight answered, "As long as we need to". As soon as we are sure it won't let the cat out of the bag, we are going to suggest that voters ask Mr. Schurlknight if he plans to vote for or against Mr. Fish's amendment to return the 29% of the property tax relief to the taxpayers.

We await with eager anticipation the next installment of Mr. Schurlknight's pieces of the puzzle. We stand ready and willing to fill in any of the voids.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


It appears the fun with Supervisor Davis just never ends. First, let us give you a little background information. Please keep in mind that the following events took place over several years.

The previous administration borrowed money from Santee Cooper to develop the Mt. Holly Industrial Park. When Google moved into the Park, it was arranged with Santee Cooper that Google's annual "Fee In Lieu of Tax" (FILOT) contribution would be earmarked to repay this loan. Also, in the agreement, it was stated that, "when the loan to Santee Cooper was repaid", a percentage of the Fee In Lieu of Tax (FILOT) revenue would be channeled to the school system. This was not a "maybe" or a "gentleman's agreement". This was all in writing.

The annual loan payment to Santee Cooper was in the neighborhood of $1.2 Million. The total of the FILOT revenue from Mt. Holly was and is in the neighborhood of $2.7 Million annually.

Fast forward to January 2008. Mr. Davis came up with the bright idea to "borrow" $10 Million from BCW&SA. You see, the previous administration left over $17 Million in W&S's "Rainy Day Fund" and Mr. Davis found this situation too tempting to resist. According to Mr. Davis, he planned to pay off Santee Cooper with $5 Million of this "borrowed" money. (The March 2008 pay off to Santee Cooper was, in fact, $4.8 Million) Also, he planned to repay BC for the Cypress Gardens deficit of $4 Million. This action was somewhat like you taking money out of one of your pockets and putting it into the other since BC owns Cypress Gardens and, up to this point, no borrowed money was involved. Transferring this $4 Million into the general fund made these funds accessible and spendable.

Mr. Davis arranged for the W&S $10 Million "loan" to BC to be interest free. The County agreed to pay the loan back on a long term schedule at $500,000 annually. Keep in mind, this annual payment is to satisfy the entire loan of $10 Million, not just the $4.8 Million used to repay Santee Cooper.

As of about two weeks ago, information on this issue began to circulate. GE&P was very interested and began to to attempt to gather documentation. Eventually, the School District became aware of these facts and the cat was out of the bag. The School District conducted a cursory check on their FILOT account and found there had been no contributions from Google or any other Mt. Holly FILOT source in the previous two years. It seems reasonable the School District would have more than a passing interest in knowing where their money went.

Channel 2 News At 6 did a story on this issue on Tuesday, May 11, 2010. (As with so many other issues, the controversy comes down to statements made by the Supervisor, Dan Davis. ) In this interview, Mr. Davis is quoted as saying, "the Santee Cooper loan was repaid early using Berkeley County funds". (This is somewhat of a stretch as the funds were borrowed from W&S) Also, Mr. Davis is quoted as saying, "the money being received from the Mt. Holly businesses is being used to repay these county funds". In fact, only $1/2 Million is being used annually to repay W&S for the loan. BC receives in the neighborhood of $2.7 Million annually from the businesses in Mt. Holly Park. GE&P regrets having to use "neighborhood" numbers. The problem is that there are no official documents available on any of these transactions.

Now, we arrive at the genuine sticky wicket for Mr. Davis. If you will take the time to check the minutes of the 5/19/09 County Council Finance Committee meeting, you will discover that Mr. Davis proposed and achieved passage by Council to transfer the FILOT money from Mt. Holly into the County's depleted Fund Balance. You remember the "Fund Balance". This is one and the same Fund Balance mentioned in Mr. Davis' propaganda mail out earlier this spring. Do you remember how he bragged that he had replenished the "dangerously low" Fund Balance?This is the same Fund Balance that was at almost 17% when he took office. This is the same Fund Balance that declined steadily to 7.46% during his first three years in office. As a side bar, where is the accounting for where these millions of dollars were spent?

GE&P receives a great deal of criticism when we point out the fact that Mr. Davis often chooses to handle the truth rather carelessly. How can his statements on this issue be translated into anything other than gross prevarication?

Davis says, "Santee Cooper was paid off with County funds."
FACT: Santee Cooper was paid off with money borrowed from BCW&SA.

Davis says, "Mt. Holly FILOT funds are being used to replace BC funds used for the Santee Cooper pay off."
FACT: Mt. Holly FILOT funds are being transferred to the BC Fund Balance.

Davis says, "The BC School District can't expect any funds from FILOT until the debt for Mt. Holly is paid off ."
FACT: He has lumped the Cypress Gardens debt plus the remainder of the $10 Million loan from W&S into this pay off schedule and the annual loan payment comprises only a small portion of the FILOT revenue.

We wonder if those in control of the BC School District have their attorney on speed dial?