By Emma Woodham, Staff Writer for Island Eye News
On Jan. 16, the Sullivan’s Island Town Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting. All members of the council were present and Mayor Pat O’Neil suggested that the meeting be kept short due to events that transpired on the island earlier in the day. According to Mayor O’Neil, early on Tuesday afternoon, substances were found in fourteen different mailboxes on I’on Avenue between 26.5 Street and 28th Street. Nearly a dozen agencies assisted with the investigation. All the materials were determined to be non-hazardous. Mayor O’Neil extended his gratitude to everyone who assisted, especially Sullivan’s Island first responders. “It was a great, great effort. It really did show our excellent relationship with these other agencies who responded so quickly,” Mayor O’Neil said. Mayor O’Neil asked that some items on the agenda be postponed until the February meeting so that all those present who had worked tirelessly all afternoon could go home and rest. Minutes from the December meeting were approved unanimously, and Mayor O’Neil asked if there was a motion to approve the second reading of the amendment to Ordinance 2017- 06, which relates to dog permits and badges. A second reading of this amendment was proposed in the last meeting, but no one voted to approve. After some advice from legal counsel, it was determined that the subject had not died and was still an item on the agenda for discussion. Councilmember Tim Reese pointed out that this does not affect the citizens of the island but is a good opportunity to garner additional revenue for the island. Mayor O’Neil noted that this is simply allowing the council to change the fees by resolution and not by changing the ordinance—not actually changing the fees at this time.
Councilmember Bachman Smith added that he does not think the dog permit fees should be changed by resolution, but Councilmember Chauncey Clark said that the town can change fees by resolution for other items and dog permits shouldn’t be different. “This is a way to off-set some costs,” Clark said. Councilmember Clark noted that he feels non-island residents would prefer to pay an annual fee for their dogs to be allowed on Sullivan’s Island beaches, rather than paying a parking fee on Isle of Palms every time they want to walk their dogs. He believes that if the fees are changed, plenty of discussion needs to take place before approving a change in order to maintain the level of transparency that the town currently has.
Councilmember Sarah Church stated that she does not support the change of the process. The second reading of the ordinance was approved. Mayor O’Neil opted to defer most of his report until the February meeting. City Administrator Andy Benke discussed recent correspondence he has received.
Catherine Main wrote to express her opinion on the condition of the bridge at Station 9. Two other residents of the island sent notes to express their thanks for the men who repaired the busted water main during the recent cold temperatures. Administrator Benke added that on Feb. 22 at 5:30 p.m., the Isle of Palms Rec Center will host an expo about the issue of coyotes on Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms. Lastly, Benke noted that a DHEC beach clean-up project recovered over thirty pounds of trash from a portion of the Sullivan’s Island beach over the course of six months. Councilmember Rita Langley asked a reminder be posted about the bike and pedestrian path along the causeway being closed Jan. 23-25 while trees are planted, so that anyone planning to ride, walk, or run along the pedestrian path is aware.
Mayor O’Neil reminded everyone that these trees are being paid for by a restricted fund dedicated solely to planting trees and environmental enhancement. In the Recreation report, Councilmember Church noted that there were a few minor changes to the landscaping plan for Stith Park. The new plan will simply use some different plants, and the cost is essentially the same. She added that it might be a good idea to put some grass seed out on the face of the mound since it is rather bare.
She said that winter rye grass isn’t too expensive and that she and Mayor O’Neil had discussed seeding half of it at a time so it doesn’t prohibit children from sliding down the mound on cardboard. She said she will bring an estimate of the costs to Council. Lastly, she stated that the Town is taking applications for the 2018 Farmers Market until Feb. 16, and they are available on the Town’s website. Councilmember Chauncey Clark reminded everyone of the Sullivan’s Island Fire & Rescue Oyster Roast on Feb. 3 at 5 p.m. under the Big Tin Fish Fry Shack.
Mayor O’Neil moved that the council move into executive session and the motion passed.
The next meeting of the Sullivan’s Island Town Council will be on Feb. 20 at 6 p.m.