Highlights from the Town Council Meeting – February 27, 2018

Minutes of Council’s recent meetings were approved, and they are now available through the Town’s website:

Mayor Ron Ciancio noted that the Town’s financials are strong, adding that the Road Improvements fund for 2018 includes rollover of unspent funds from 2017 as well as $300K added from 2017’s excess of revenue over expenses.

Councilman John Gregg reported that the Public Safety Committee reviewed revisions to the Town’s Comprehensive Emergency Plan resulting from the January Disaster Recovery Council (DRC) training exercise. The March 15 DRC meeting will be used to review recommendations from the Town’s consultant and decide on appropriate follow-on actions. The Town has received the final payment from the its Request for Public Assistance to cover the cost of recovering from Hurricane Irma; total payment from the State was $106,972. In recapping the February 15 Public Meeting where Berkeley Electric Cooperative representatives discussed hurricane response and preparedness, Mr. Gregg noted that six of fifteen questions during the Q&A period related to Berkeley Propane’s recent delivery issues. Mr. Gregg announced that the 2018 Disaster Awareness Day, which has been co-sponsored with the Town of Kiawah Island and held on Seabrook for a number of years, is to be hosted by Kiawah Island on a date yet to be announced.

Councilman Skip Crane summarized the February 16 Public Meeting where representatives of Charleston County Building Inspection Services described changes to FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps and the appeal process that property owners could follow. He said that many of the 70-80 individuals from Seabrook and Kiawah Islands in attendance worked one-on-one with County staff to learn status of their properties. He noted that FEMA’s appeal period will end on April 18. Mr. Crane said that the March 16 meeting of the Town’s Communications Committee will focus on reviewing a prototype for a new Town website. He closed by noting that Council had attended a Strategic Planning Session on February 22 that was led by Bill Taylor of the Municipal Association of South Carolina.

Councilman John Wells began his report by thanking the Accommodations Tax (A-Tax) Advisory Committee for its work to recommend the A-Tax funding plan for 2018. The Town’s Contractor, Robert George & Associates is developing RFPs for construction work to be done on Seabrook Island Road between the Gate House and the traffic circle. Work will include lining pipes under the roadway and replacing storm water pipes.   Major progress has been made in working out details for the Town to have drainage easements along Seabrook Island Road. Mr. Wells added that details of these efforts will be provided in his article in the February Seabrooker.

Councilwoman Jeri Finke reported on the Seabrook Island Birders’ development of a brochure about protecting wildlife on the island, adding that the organization had requested $340 to cover the cost of publishing 2,000 copies of the brochure. Council unanimously approved a motion to authorize the $340 expenditure. Ms. Finke thanked Council members for providing comments on her draft letter opposing Offshore Drilling in the Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic Planning Areas (re: the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024), and said she expected that the Mayor would issue the letter by March 2.

Highlights of Town Officer Reports:

  • Mayor Ciancio asked Council to approve transfer of $200K from the General Fund to the Town’s Emergency Reserve Fund. The transferred amount represents a portion of the Town’s 2017 surplus. Motion passed unanimously.
  • Town Administrator/Zoning Administrator Joe Cronin reported that only one proposal had been received in regard to the November 2017 RFP for beach patrol services, and recommended approval of the proposal from Island Beach Services, LLC, dba Barrier Island Ocean Rescue. He said that the proposal reflects the following coverage:
    • From April 1 – May 26, one person using one vehicle, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
    • From May 27 – August 15, four people using two vehicles, 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
    • From August 16 – September 4, two people using one vehicle (with alternating shifts), 8:00 am-6:00 pm

Mr. Cronin said that funding for the $125,208 contract will come from the General Fund ($10K), County A-Tax ($40K), and State A-Tax ($75,208, as recommended by the A-Tax Advisory Committee).

The mayor asked for a motion to approve the Island Beach Services Contract in the form presented to council and to authorize his execution thereof. Upon motion duly made, seconded, and unanimously adopted, the contract was approved and the mayor authorized to sign.

  • Cronin announced that the next Shredding Event will be on March 30 from 10:00 am –  1:00 pm.
  • Utility Commissioner Jim Bannwart reported that SIUC’s wastewater treatment performance for January met all permit requirements. He noted that water was in high demand during January, probably associated with residents dripping faucets during the extremely cold weather. The Commission is continuing its negotiations for a new contract for operation of the sewer and wastewater facilities.

Mayor Ciancio asked for a motion to approve the first reading of Ordinance 2018-02, “An Ordinance Amending the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget to Appropriate $65,000 from State A-Tax Fund Balance.” He explained that the $65K represents funds that the State had erroneously paid to Charleston County instead of Seabrook Island. When this is added to the $80K in A-Tax funds received directly from the State, $160K will be available for distribution in 2018. Upon motion duly made, seconded, and approved, Ordinance 2018-02 was approved for first reading.

The mayor reported that the A-Tax Committee had recommended the following distribution for the Town’s State A-Tax funds:

  • $75,208 for Beach Patrol
  • $20K for July 4 Celebration
  • $17K for Kick-it at Bohicket!
  • $12,200 for the Governor’s Bohicket Invitational Billfish Tournament
  • $10K for the Alan Fleming Tennis Tournament
  • $10K for the Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network’s Dolphin Education Program

He noted that each of these items had been contemplated at the time of the adoption of the 2018 budget but, now that the A-Tax Committee has officially recommended these expenditures, it was appropriate for Council to adopt the recommendations. He asked for a motion to that effect and, upon motion duly made, seconded, and unanimously approved, these recommendations of the A-Tax Committee were approved.

The mayor asked for a motion to approve for second reading Ordinance 2018-01, “An Ordinance Amending the Development Standards Ordinance of the Town of Seabrook Island, South Carolina; Article 4.0, Establishing of Zoning Districts and Map; Section 4.10, Official District Map; so as to Clarify the Effective Date of Amendments to the Official District Map”. Upon motion duly made, seconded, and unanimously approved, Ordinance 2018-01 was approved for second reading.

Official minutes of this meeting will be approved at the next Town Council meeting (March 27, 2018) and published shortly thereafter on the Town’s website.

Tidelines Staff

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