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IOP Special Council Workshop June 13, 4pm

June 8, 2019

As we close in on our passing a budget, we keep finding more challenges, but before I go into this, let me say first, CONGRATULATIONS to our new City Administrator, Desiree Fragoso and to our new Police Chief, Kevin Cornett. We went through a lengthy process to seek applicants, more than a 100 applicants per position, and both Desiree and Kevin stood out as easy choices who will be taking our island community into the future. Now, back to the fun stuff, the budget. We knew we have drainage problems that are growing more frequent. We finished our Phase II project last year, and now we are working on Phase III which will be 3 drainage outfalls at 41st Ave, 36th Ave, and 31st Ave. These are just the outfalls and will cost 3.9 million, but we still have a lot more to do on the interior of the island. We also have $500,000 in our budget for smaller projects during the next fiscal year. On top of this, we increased our ditch maintenance contract with Eadies Construction from once a year to 3 times a year. We finally met with SCDOT who came out with several crews and worked on some hot spots around the island and have agreed to come back quarterly. Drainage is something we will be having to deal with for decades to come. We just introduced new ordinances that will make lot subdivisions harder and we are decreasing our lot non-pervious coverage from 40% to 35% and requiring pervious driveways, sidewalks, and pool surrounds. The IOP is taking the lead in becoming more resilient. Drainage was one of my campaign promises, however, we have discovered, after a lawsuit settlement on our Public Safety Building by front beach, that we have serious construction defects that were unknown. We have a building that cost us 6.5 million to build 10 years ago, and will now cost us almost the same amount to repair. The problems are similar to the ones we had in the previous building that we tore down and replaced. Just so everyone knows, this building was built before the current council was serving, this is just something we have to deal with. Lastly, because of poorly written leases, the city is responsible for the replacement of the docks for the marina tenant. Usually, one does a triple net lease where the tenant is responsible for the docks, taxes, and insurance, however, this wasn’t done. The city is seeking a dock rebuilding permit from the OCRM, which could take upwards of a year or longer for such a large project. The marina’s 5.5 million dollar bond referendum was what got me elected, we would have borrowed all this money to improve the marina, but because of 2 of the leases, which run till 2045, we would have got nothing in return. We do have 2 leases that expire at the end of the summer of 2020. The city has hired a professional commercial real estate company that will seek RFPs, (Request for Proposals) on the Morgan Creek Grill property. Any of the current tenants may also put in a proposal, but this time, we will think ahead about the city’s vision for the marina, its traffic flow and parking. These are just some of the big ticket items we are faced with. We are a small community that has the lowest tax rate around with limited income streams. Please look at your tax bill and see the portion that the Isle of Palms gets, and you’ll see that you are getting police, fire, sanitation and recreation for next to nothing. On my tax bill, I pay less than $100 a month for all of these services. Our taxes are low because of the tourism industry and 2nd home property owners. I’m extremely pleased with the results of our parallel parking along Palm Blvd and our protecting our residential neighborhoods from day visitor parking. It is still a work in progress, but if you want to compare our plan with the other 2 public beaches, please ride around both Folly and Sullivan’s Island on a weekend and then compare. It’s been a tough first 18 months, but I could not be more proud of what we have accomplished in spite of all of our challenges. Now that our major city positions have been filled, it’s time to take care of our city and our assets. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your mayor, and please remember, this is an election year, please consider running. It’s not easy, but it is rewarding giving back to our community.

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