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Isle of Palms Covid-19 update #20

April 29, 2020

Isle of Palms City Council Meeting Agenda Tuesday, April 28, 2020

April 28, 2020


I hope everyone is getting along as well as possible during these trying times. Who would have thought of an unprecedented pandemic event when everything was going along just fine? I wish everyone the best, stay healthy, and please keep a sense of humor. We are all doing the best we can to keep everyone safe using the sound medical advice. Please remember to follow the city’s website at http://www.iop.net and click on latest news at the top. So far, we have had 19 Covid-19 updates. Also, please watch our livestream council meeting tonight by going to YouTube and liking the City of Isle of Palms. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your mayor. Jimmy

Special Emergency Council Meeting, April 20, 2020, 1pm, & Joint Statement by Charleston’s 4 Public Beaches

April 20, 2020

Please know, we, the city feel for each and everyone. Our business community, our vacation rental companies, our individual rental owners, our residents and especially those who have contracted Covid-19 or have lost someone to this. And yes, this affects our city as well, most importantly, we are trying to protect our first responders and public safety personnel. They have to decontaminate after every contact with an individual with a shower, washing their cloths, and decontaminating their equipment and vehicles. This takes time, by limiting those who come on the island, we are lowering their exposure. The other side of this for the city, is that like our business community, the city itself is a business, a non-profit business that runs mostly off of the tourism business. When tourism is shut down, our income stream is shut down, yet, our expenses continue with police, fire, sanitation, and city staff. We are fortunate that we have saved for emergencies, that we have the money to finish our public safety building’s major renovation due to faulty construction in 2008. However, we are looking at other ways to save money, whether to do certain projects or not. Everything is on the table for discussion, but please know, we are not in dire financial trouble. However, we have to be fiscally conservative in how we spend and or borrow money going forward. Please keep up with our latest updates on our city website, http://www.iop.net and click at the top of the page under latest news. To date, we have had 17 updates, which include both our emergency ordinances and all of the Governor’s Executive Orders. Lastly, you can watch city council meetings live-streamed on YouTube by liking the City of Isle of Palms. Thank you for electing a great council and for allowing me to serve as your mayor.

Governor Henry McMaster’s Executive Order Closing the Public Access to the Waterways and Beaches of South Carolina, March 30, 2020

March 31, 2020

Prior to this, on March 21, the IOP limited access to the island for only residents, long term tenants, business owners, and vacationers. On March 23, Sullivan’s Island followed suit and blocked the Ben Sawyer Causeway to only SI residents, businesses and were allowing IOP residents to pass through to align with the IOP having allowed SI residents to pass through. On March 25th, the IOP limited all short term rentals of 29 days or less, and to allow those already here to finish out their reservation. We took these steps on the sound medical advice of Dr. Edward O’Bryan of MUSC. This is a fluid, unprecedented pandemic that we are constantly learning from as we go. Please bear with us, our job is to protect our residents, and our public safety personnel who have to decontaminate after every call they go on. Let’s all work together to flatten the spike. Please thank all of our city staff for the jobs they are doing, they too have families, yet they are on the front lines. Thank our businesses that are serving take out food, and those like the Harris Teeter who are exposed serving us daily. We feel horrible for all of our businesses who are being impacted. You can follow the timeline by going to http://www.iop.net and click on the latest news at the top of the page. God Bless, stay smart, stay safe and social distance yourself as much as you can. Jimmy

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.