Process to end Bikefest will include task force, request for state grant

The process begins this week to bring the Atlantic Beach Bikefest to an end.

Governor Nikki Haley has promised to help, following the Memorial Day weekend violence that led to three deaths.

"I think it's time that everybody in Horry County come together and say, 'No more,' " Haley told reporters Friday.

Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus says he will propose to local mayors that a task force of public safety officials be established to work on it.

"What we want to do is get the professionals, the ones that are trained and deal with this on a daily basis, to put together a complete, overall, comprehensive plan, county-wide plan," said Lazarus.

Lazarus wants county public safety director Paul Whitten to head up the task force, but all local municipalities to be included in it.

He also hopes to have state lawmakers from the area propose legislation that would allow local governments to temporarily hire police officers from other states.

"For example, somewhere like Atlanta. They have 4,000 police officers. Send us a couple hundred over the weekend that we pay, we can put up in facilities somewhere and be able to help us out in the policing."

But Lazarus doesn't think local governments need to pass new laws of their own.

"We have noise ordinances in place, we have loitering ordinances in place and things of that nature. I think it's just having the ability to enforce them with enough law enforcement here to do that," he said.

Lazarus said the cost to local governments for policing Bikefest is already in the range of a million dollars. But they'll need more and they'll look to get it from the state.

"What we're going to look to the state for is possible matching grant funds through some other allocations that they have available to help us out," Lazarus said.

Lazarus said more details of what's next will come out of Wednesday's Coastal Alliance meeting of mayors and county officials.