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IOP Special Budgeting Workshop @4, followed by Ways and Means Committee Meeting May 21, 2019

May 21, 2019

As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your mayor. I love what I am doing for our island, however, this past year has been a daunting task, it is not a job for the feeble, nor is it really a part time job. I spend half my days working my regular job and half my day for the city. Whoever follows me, I hope they put into it, their heart and willingness to give up a lot of time. When I ran, I stressed that we needed to be fiscally responsible, to be prepared for when a storm hits and not if, and that we need to take care of our needs as opposed to our wants. As one council member once suggested, that we are flush with money, well, we are not. The city is faced with several large dollar projects which our Ways and Means Committee is diligently working on. My top priority was drainage and remains such, however, we have several other projects sharing the top “must do” list. Right now, we have Thomas and Hutton working on 3 drainage outfalls for 41st Ave, 36th Ave, and 31st Ave. known as our Phase III project. The estimated costs of this phase is 3.9 million. The planning committee is looking at strategies to make our island more resilient. It is time for us to start using pervious sidewalks, driveways and pool surrounds. Last year, we increased expenses associated with maintaining our drainage ditches more frequently throughout the year. Also, SCDOT performed significant improvements earlier this year to assist in stormwater management within SCDOT right of way infrastructure and they are committed to return to the city every quarter to continue working on these priorities. The Public Safety Building on J. C. Long Blvd built in 2009 has serious construction deficiencies that need to be addressed now. We have had Trident Construction, who built Station 1 on 41st Ave. doing investigative work and testing to identify all the repairs needed. The actual work will likely not start until January 2020 and won’t be completed until the next fiscal year. We are trying to keep paying without borrowing. Another “must do” project are the marina docks which the city is contractually obligated to replace. The city is pursuing the permits now, which could take up to year to get for a project this large. This is yet another project that will cost millions. In the future, any leases the city considers will be triple net where the tenant is responsible for taxes, insurance, ordinary and extraordinary maintenance. It would be nice to have island wide sewer, but we can’t afford it at this time based on our needs mentioned above. This is the first summer where our new parking regulations where parallel parking is required on both sides of Palm Blvd from 22nd to 40th Ave. I recently visited other public beaches and saw first hand how great our plan is working as opposed to where we were several years ago. We still have tweaking to do, but beach parking is much better organized and we have successfully reduced the impact on our residential neighborhoods. This council, of which I am proud to serve with, understands this, and we are working as hard as we can to keep our costs down while taking care of city assets. Our goal is not to have a tax increase, but that day will be coming eventually.
I pay $5,500 for my home’s taxes, of which, less than $1,200 comes to the Isle of Palms. That means, I get police, fire, sanitation and recreation for less than $100 a month, a steal and far less than all of our neighboring communities. Hope to see y’all tonight.

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