Highlights from the Town Council Meeting December 19, 2017

Mayor Ron Ciancio began the meeting with the approval of the minutes of recent meetings and a review of the Town’s financial statements for the month of November.  He noted that the Town had $4,596,413 in total assets and $4,760 in total liabilities.  November’s revenues were about $5,000 under budget, primarily due to lower receipts for contractor Business Licenses; the month’s expenses were $34,541 below budget, primarily due to lower than expected expenses for roadway improvement, legal counsel, and maintenance.  Accommodations Tax “restricted” revenue for 2017 was about $64K higher than last year at this time.

Utility Commissioner Jim Bannwart reported that SIUC’s operations are normal and within permit requirements.  Financials for November show a $6,500 net increase.  The backup generator for pumping station #2 has been installed and will start up soon.  SIUC has learned that the Charleston Water System will implement a 4% rate increase effective March 2018; the increase will be passed through to SIUC customers but should amount to only about $2/month for each account.

Councilman John Gregg reported that the Public Safety Committee continued its review of the Comprehensive Emergency Plan.  They concluded that a FEMA document about how to conduct Damage Assessments should be adopted as guidance for our volunteer damage assessors, and they will add it as a new appendix in the Plan.  In addition, they will prepare copies of the FEMA Guidance and reporting form in water resistant packaging for use by assessors in the field.

Mr. Gregg noted that the Comprehensive Emergency Plan can now be accessed via the Town’s website.  The next Public Safety meeting will be on January 15.  The Disaster Recovery Council met on December 4th to plan the training and exercise session that will be held on January 10th and 11th; these half-day sessions, led by consultant Scott Cave, will be held at Town Hall starting at 9am.

Town representatives participated in a December 1st conference call regarding the Town’s Hurricane Irma Public Assistance Request.  As a result of that call, Tommy West of Hawthorne Services (the contractor in charge of SIUC’s operations) attended a December 15th “scoping meeting” where he agreed to prepare documentation of overtime expended by Hawthorne staff during SIUC’s response to Hurricane Irma.  There will be a follow-on meeting on January 10th.

Councilman Skip Crane reported that the Communications Committee will hold its first meeting on January 9th. The agenda for the upcoming meeting will include development of Policy to guide issuance of the Town’s tweets and other communications efforts to increase the Town’s visibility.  Mr. Crane also reported that Town Council will hold a Strategic Planning Session on February 22nd, to be led by Bill Taylor of the Municipal Association of South Carolina.  This will be the third year in a row that the Town has held Strategic Planning sessions to enable Council to prepare for  longer range issues which it anticipates will be faced by our community.

Councilman John Wells reported on his research into a dolphin education program offered by Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network (LMMN).  (This topic continues an investigation that Councilman Jody Turner had initiated.)  Objectives of the LMMN program are to increase awareness of residents and visitors about dolphin conservation, to educate residents and visitors about dolphin strand feeding behavior, including laws protecting wild dolphins from harassment and information about how to safely view the behavior without disturbing the dolphins, and to gain information about the dolphins and their habitat.  Mayor Ciancio expressed interest in the proposal and recommended that further discussion be deferred until January since participation would require updating the budget to allow for the $10,000 fee to participate.  In the interim, Mr. Wells will talk with SIPOA about participating, and also with Kiawah officials since Kiawah is currently working with LMMN.  A question from the audience introduced the topic of monitoring along the Edisto Beach as well, since residents have noted strand feeding there.  Mr. Wells closed his report by noting that a draft contract to re-line 200 feet of piping along Seabrook Island Parkway is under review by Council, adding that an RFP for the work should be released in January.

Mayor Ciancio processed a number of motions related to meeting schedules and personnel appointments.  All items presented were unanimously approved:

  • Meeting dates for Town Council, Town Ways & Means, Planning Commission, SI Utility Commission; the approved dates will be posted on the Town’s website
  • Town Attorney – Stephen Brown of Young Clement Rivers
  • Town Clerk – Faye Allbritton
  • Public Safety Committee members’ reappointment (terms to expire November 2019): John Gregg, Ed Maher, John Fox, Allan Keener, and Rob Savin
  • Planning Commission members’ reappointment (terms to expire December 31, 2019): Wayne Billian and Robert Driscoll
  • Board of Zoning Appeals: Ava Kleinman to complete David Osborn’s term (which expires December 31, 2020) and reappointment of Robert Quagliato (term to expire on December 31, 2022)

In confirming Ms. Kleinman, Mayor Ciancio expressed thanks to David Osborn for his service to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

The Mayor noted that the Town’s Zoning Map is updated each year to reflect all zoning changes that were approved during the year (e.g., new construction, lot combinations, change of status from single-family residential to agricultural-conservation, and corrections that might be necessary).    As Council had, during the course of the year, approved each individual zoning change, the map was being provided for informational purposes only.

Town Administrator/Zoning Administrator Joe Cronin reminded all in attendance that Town Offices will be closed for the holiday on December 22nd and 26th-27th.

There were two ordinances for second reading.  Ordinance 2017-05, “An Ordinance to Rezone 2718 Old Oak Walk from Single Family Residential to Agricultural-Conservation” was passed.  Ordinance 2017-06, “An Ordinance Amending the Town of Seabrook Island Employee Information Packet so as to revise the Policies and Procedures Related to the Provision of Insurance Benefits for Active and Retired Employees of the Town of Seabrook Island” also passed.  Mayor Ciancio noted that changes to the policy are not substantive; they memorialize policies that have already been in practice.

In a final piece of Miscellaneous Business, Resolution 2017-07, “A Resolution authorizing the Temporary Discharge of Firearms by the Seabrook Island Property Owners Association (“SIPOA”) within the Town of Seabrook Island for the Purpose of Thinning the Deer Herd” passed.  The resolution will allow marksmen contracted by SIPOA to use firearms as needed for its wildlife management program during the period between 5:00 pm on December 19, 2017, and 5:00 am on March 1, 2018.

In closing the meeting, Mayor Ciancio reported that Randy Pierce will retire on December 31st after serving 19 years as Seabrook Island’s Town Administrator.  The Mayor noted that Mr. Pierce had served through the terms of six different Mayors and then expressed thanks to Mr. Pierce for his service and contribution to our community.

Official minutes of this meeting will be approved at the next Town Council meeting (January 23, 2018) and published shortly thereafter on the Town’s website.

Comments or questions should be directed to the Town of Seabrook Island.

– Tidelines Staff

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