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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.

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