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About Jimmy Carroll

Jimmy Carroll was born in 1954 in Baltimore Maryland.   His father was a lifer in the navy and had heard about the Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island while stationed in Great Lakes.  Once in Charleston, Navy housing suggested their moving to North Charleston or Goose Creek.  Within the first 24 hours in Charleston, my parents moved to the island, the year was 1959 and the island had between 300 and 400 year round residents.  The development of the island was still in its infancy and had not yet been discovered as a vacation destination.  My family is on its 3rd generation being raised as islanders.

Jimmy attended Sullivan’s Island Elementary School from the first grade through sixth, then through Moultrie High School.  Jimmy went to the College of Charleston graduating in 1978 with a degree in Political Science with the intentions of starting USC Law school that follow fall.  Jimmy entered real estate for something to do that summer and now, Jimmy is still selling real estate.  He says today, it was the best decision he ever made, real estate is a people pleasing business.  It is not about selling real estate, but describing to others the island and community in which you live.  In 1981, his mother, Kathy, and he started Carroll Realty in a small rental office on Sullivan’s Island next to Station 22 restaurant.  They started with a $20,000 loan and slowly grew into what you see today.  1981 was not the best of economic times, in fact, interest rates were running 16 to 18%, but their beliefs were, if you could make it in hard times, you would excel in the good times.  In 1987, they were able to buy an old gas station at 103 Palm Blvd which they renovated into their office along with a sandwich shop next door and marina behind.  Shortly thereafter, in 1989, Hurricane Hugo came barreling through and destroyed their building, not to mention damaging, if not destroying a lot of island homes.   While a trying time, everyone came together to rebuild our homes, our businesses and our lives. Jimmy was a volunteer fireman on Sullivan’s Island for 14 of the 15 years he lived on Sullivan’s Island.  His soon to be wife threatened not to marry him if I insisted on staying on the island with the department.  He didn’t stay.  However, he spent days cutting trees and moving debris afterwards.  It truly made islanders the strong breed we are today.

Soon after Hugo, on Dec. 30, 1989, he was the first to be married in Stella Maris Church
with plywood down for the floors and folding metal chairs.  The following summer in 1990, the first of his 3 sons was born, Jimmy.  Two years later in 1992, his second son, Winslow and again, two more years later in 1994, his last son Capers was born.  He is proud that his sons grew up doing the same things he did, playing sports at the island rec center, learning to surf, fish and or just enjoying living in the lowcountry.

All along as he grew my family, he was growing his business.  It did not happen overnight, but was due to long hours and long weeks.  Some aspects of Jimmy’s personal life suffered because of this, but his sons were always first.  I gave back to the profession that provided for me.  I went through leadership at the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors, serving on many committees, chairing them and taking on more responsibilities.  He went on to eventually serve as both President of the Charleston Multiple Listing Service and later for the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors.  The largest association in the state with over 2500 members at the time.  In the year 2000, laws were changed to allow real estate companies to earn interest on their escrow accounts, he made a commitment at that time to donate those funds to Habitat for Humanity.  Since then, he has given enough to build at least 3 complete homes.  Like Habitat, Jimmy feels very strongly about giving a hand up, not a hand out.  His company has also given back to our island having supported youth sports every season, every sport, every year since their start in 1981.  He has served on various committees for the Isle of Palms over the years including the Beach Patrol and Control Board and on the Room Accomodation’s Tax Committee.  He has coached youth sports including baseball, basketball and soccer.  He is a past board member of East Cooper Habitat for Humanity and served on the Beachfront Management Committee to update the Beachfront Management Act that was created 20 years earlier.  Giving and serving has always been a part of Jimmy’s life.

Today, with 1 son out of college and serving in the Peace Corp and the other 2 sons at the College of Charleston, he finds himself with plenty of free time.  As opposed to sitting back and doing nothing, he wants to give back more to his community.   He has always been involved with what goes on around him.  He has always been vocal in his and his neighbor’s opinions on what goes on here on the island.  With his having served his community and profession for so many years, Jimmy ran for city council and was the 2nd highest vote getter, winning one of 4 seats out of 8 contestants.  Jimmy feels he has a responsibility to give back as much as he can.  Over the last several years, his concerns have been growing as to the direction he sees the island going.  We are lucky to live here, we have a responsibility to protect where we live for future generations.  Jimmy has seen groups and associations formed on the island over the years.  He believes in differing opinions, but does not agree with one group dictating how the island is governed.  Before being elected, decisions were being made concerning the island, in speeds never seen before.  Government was designed to move slowly, to allow the population time to understand the changes being proposed.  Before being elected, that has not been taking place, it seems that we have been trying to rush changes in our zoning to change the island.  Jimmy and several others on council including Jimmy Ward, Ryan Buckhannon and Sandy Ferencz are working hard towards a more open government.  Jimmy strongly feels the island needs to be governed by independent thinking individuals, not groups or associations.  It is about the island.

Jimmy hears some talk about how it is done elsewhere, or how we should be like Sullivan’s Island or some place back home.  To put it simply, we are not like other places, we are not Sullivan’s Island.  Sullivan’s Island has just over 50% of 4% accessed owner occupied properties, whereas the Isle of Palms has just over 1/3.  On top of this the last 1/3rd of the island are vacation rentals who also pay room accomodation’s taxes.  Our lifestyle is subsidized by non owner occupied properties.  While Sullivan’s Island has a great volunteer fire department, we have 2 fully staffed fire departments.  We have a great sanitation department that takes care of us on a regular schedule.  And while Sullivan’s Island has a small park with tennis courts and kiddy lot, we take care of all island kids organized sport needs in a fantastic facility not to mention functions for all age levels.  Over 85% of our budget is subsidized by non owners, why do we want to shoot the goose that lays the golden egg?

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