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IOP and COVID-19

March 24, 2020

Wow, who would have thought we would be where we are today, 3 weeks ago. The city is prepared for emergencies, especially hurricanes, however, this pandemic event is unprecedented. Please go to http://www.iop.net and look under latest news at the top of the page, we are on Update #6. As it stands, we in constant contact with the Governor’s office, with Charleston County, with DHEC, and with our surrounding communities. We held a special council meeting last Friday on how we want the city to proceed based on a number of factors. Council voted unanimously to limit access to the island to residents only, to those who rent here year round or vacationing. That all restaurants and bars are take out only. That those businesses that have licenses can do business. However, this is a fluid state of emergency that can change as the city leaders understand what is being told to them by the professionals listed above. Our goal is to keep you and our public safety personnel safe. Just so you better understand what our public safety personnel have to do, they have to decontaminate not only each responder, but their cloths, their equipment and their trucks after each call. We cannot afford to have them get sick. This comes at a critical time, when the public safety building was just starting its renovations and our public safety personnel were moved into trailers. We have since had to open up the sleeping quarters in the Public Safety building to give our personnel safe sleeping quarters. Please bear with us and as we are updated, we will make changes as need be. Please visit the city website daily for the latest updates. Be safe!

IOP City Council Agenda, Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 6pm

February 22, 2020

As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your mayor and for electing a great council. We have a tremendous amount of work for 2020. As a recent budgeting workshop revealed, everyone agrees that we need to keep drainage as our top priority. That we have to rebuild the docks at the marina as required by a lease extension for the marina management. For both the drainage outfalls and the marina docks, we are just waiting for OCRM permits. We are starting our public safety building renovation at 30 J C Long Blvd, a building built in 2008 for 6.5 million, yet needs to be totally revamped for almost the same amount. At the marina, there are 4 leases, 2 of which, were extended until 2045, so our hands are tied to what that lease says. The Morgan Creek restaurant property is going through a due diligence period with one of the 3 applicants, hopefully, we will soon see activity there and a restaurant that we can all be proud of. For the last parcel, we held a marina workshop that was extremely well attended, in fact, we maxed out at 96 residents. We turned away almost the same amount, but about half filled out the questionnaire we have. One can still go to http://www.iop.net and under latest news at the top of the page, look for the marina visioning workshop and fill out the questionnaire there. No decisions have been made, no one council member is getting their way, but we, as your council will make a decision based on the majority of what our residents want. While I may have a personal idea of what I’d like to see, I have promised to vote with the majority of our residents. Our job is to represent you, our bosses. As for everything else, we need to stay laser focused on our needs and not our wants. Again, thank you for letting me serve you.

IOP Ways and Means Committee Agenda, February 18, 2020, 6 pm

February 17, 2020

Attached, please find our agenda for the budgeting side of the city. Please know, we held a budgeting workshop last week on the 12th. We took a high altitude look at the projects we have and prioritized what needed to be done and what could wait. It was clear, drainage remains our top focus with lots of discussion of the city just doing phases or borrowing more, to tackle more at one time. As it stands right now, the city doesn’t have the money for drainage, nor, do we have the money to replace the docks at the marina that we are required to maintain because of the lease. These two projects alone are around 6 million dollars which the city does not have. The city is currently working on the complete renovation of the Public Safety building that was built in 2008 at a cost of 6.5 million, yet, needs to be redone due to faulty construction. The cost to repair is estimated to be around 6.2 million. Yes, the city did go through litigation, but with a settlement of 1.8 million, and the attorneys getting a third, the city received 1.2 million. Due to the city’s sound fiscal spending and savings, we are able to cover the difference. However, we have more projects coming, the multi purpose path along Waterway Blvd needs to be fixed, the front beach commercial road needs attention and most importantly, we need to make sure we are keeping up with competitive salaries for all departments. Our personnel are constantly being targeted by surrounding communities with higher pay and less travel time. It’s too expensive to train police and fire personnel only to have another department lure them away. We have to stay competitive. Financially, we need to stay laser focused on our needs and not our wants. Recently, we have had some on council lobbying for a community pool. An enclosed pool at that! I don’t know of any small town community of less than 5000 residents who have mini olympic sized pools. I look at our neighbors to the south, Sullivan’s Island, the most expensive neighborhood in the area and the highest income in the state, they don’t even have a recreation center, nor a public works department and has a fire department dependent on volunteers, yet has some of the highest taxes around. Your city leaders are doing a great job in providing the best services for the lowest tax millage in Charleston County. Look at your tax bill and see what portion actually goes to the city. On my house, I get police, fire, recreation and public works for less than $100 a month. However, I can see the need to raise taxes to cover items that need to be done, and even with a tax increase, we will still have the lowest taxes around. No one wants to raise taxes, but sometimes, it just has to be done. We don’t know yet what we need, we are just beginning our budgeting for the coming fiscal year. Thank you for letting me serve you, and for electing a good city council to work with. You are our bosses.

IOP City Council Meeting, Tuesday, January 28th, 2020, 6 pm

January 24, 2020

Happy New Year! As you can see, we have a full agenda for our first IOP Council Meeting. Plus, we are off to a very busy year. As you can see upon entering the island, we have a major landscape and sidewalk project going on at the base of the connector. We are finally doing a job with our Transportation Sales Tax program, every year, we prioritize, what projects are most pressing. Over a year ago, everyone was concerned about the danger at the base of the connector, the pedestrian and cyclist path ran out due to the connector’s turning lanes. We are moving the paths up onto the side along the Public Works building and running the path through the Leola Hanbury Memorial Park. Yes, it’s ugly now, but in a few short weeks, it will be done, landscaped and with an accent light shining up into the beautiful oak in the park for a nice entry onto the island. In fact, the park was rarely used, now, people will see it. Another big project getting under way is the setup of housing and office trailers next to our Public Safety Building. The building was built in 2008 and cost 6.5 million to build. But sadly, it was poorly constructed and we are now having the make it right, the estimated cost to repair is 6.17 million. Actual construction will begin in March, but it takes time to get everything set up, not to mention, over a year to renovate. Don’t forget, we have a big Residents/Community Forum being held at the Recreation Center on the 30th starting at 5:30. We want to hear from our residents on what their vision is for the last parcel at the marina. Do we want to continue with a water sports dock, do we want a community dock and park, or do we want a combination? Our job as your council, is to listen to what you, our residents want. If you cannot make this meeting, please, go to http://www.iop.net and click at the top of the page under latest news and fill out the Workshop Comment Form. Other big projects online for this year are the 3 drainage outfalls at 41st Ave, 36th Ave. and 30th Ave. We are waiting on permits from OCRM to get started. The estimated cost here is 3.9 million. Another big project is the rebuilding of the docks at the marina as required by our lease, this is another 2 million. These are big projects with costs that we haven’t funded yet, plus, this still does not resolve our drainage issues, it is merely a help. We need to be careful and stay laser focused on what the city’s needs are, as opposed to what some want, such as a swimming pool. I cannot even imagine the cost of building a commercial pool, an enclosed pool at that, the extra personnel it would take, not to mention the cost to maintain it annually. I have talked about our needs verses wants for years, I hope we are not sliding back down the wants cycle again.

IOP Ways and Means, Tuesday, January 21, 5 pm, 2020

January 18, 2020

Thank you for allowing me to serve you and for electing some really great new council members, Kevin Popson, Phillip Pounds and Rusty Streetman, plus, re-electing Jimmy Ward. We have some huge challenges, the major renovation of the Public Safety Building, Phase III Drainage, the replacement of docks at the marina, the re-leasing of the marina restaurant site, and the future of the last parcel at the marina. Please attend the “Marina Workshop Forum” being held at the 28th Ave Recreation Center on January 30th starting at 5:30. Our jobs as council are to listen to you, the residents, our bosses, on what you want to see at the marina, so your participation is critical. If you cannot make it, please fill our the form by visiting http://www.iop.net and click on “Latest News” at the top of the page and fill out the questionnaire, giving us your vision of what is most important for our residents. Thank you and Happy New Year!!!

IOP Municipal Inauguration, 6 pm, City Hall

January 7, 2020

Welcome aboard new council members Kevin Popson, Phillip Pounds, Rusty Streetman and re-elected Jimmy Ward. We have a lot of challenges ahead of us, but we have a great new council to get them done. Happy 2020!

IOP Special Council Meeting, December 10, 2019, 5:30 pm

December 10, 2019

This is the hardest vote I’ve had during my 8 years on council. I’ve opposed it for multiple reasons for many months. #1) We already have a littering law that is very hard to enforce. #2) We along with Charleston County are implementing an all plastics ban as of January 1, 2020. #3) I didn’t see the need for yet another law that would be hard to enforce. #4) I really don’t want our police on the residential areas of the beach, unless of course, they are called for a real crime or accident. They really need to be up on the streets directing traffic and all the associated problems of day visitors. Same thing applies to our BSO’s “Beach Service Officers”, they have better things to be doing. I can hear it now, cell phone call after cell phone call to the dispatcher saying someone is smoking. #5) I don’t like seeing our high dollar police vehicles on the salt encrusted beach sand, they shorten the life span of our vehicles due to corrosion. However, having said all of that, we have been leaders in the protection of our environment. The first to ban single use plastics bags and the harm they do to both our wildlife and marine-life getting tangled up in them and of course, eating them, either as bags or later, as they break down into micro-plastics. I personally adamantly opposed offshore drilling, and the devastating effects it would have on our coast. It was not a matter of if a spill would occur, but when. Do I think a cigarette ban is going to solve the problem of beach litter, no. I am not a smoker, never have been, and hate to be around smoking. However, this is more about education. We need to really push public education through all channels of the media, both print and social. However, I decided at last month’s council meeting to support it, because, I’ll do whatever it takes to protect our beaches and our environment, even if it means passing another law. Thank you for allowing me to serve you on council. I will not say anyone who votes against this is wrong, because I agree with them. At the same time, I agree with those opposing cigarettes on the beach because of the litter and the harmful effects on our environment.