By Barbara Bergwerf for Island Eye News
I want to thank the citizens of Isle of Palms for allowing me to serve the city for the past eight years. It has been a privilege, a challenge and a pleasure.
My husband, Ben, and I have been on the island for 17 years. During that time I have been involved in conservation working with the Island Turtle Team, the Department of Natural Resources Sea Turtle Stranding Network, the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue and the Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
When I first ran for council my primary concern was to protect the environment. It still is. We have worked to eliminate plastic bags to protect our wildlife. We were the first city in the state to pass an ordinance banning single use plastic bags. This was achieved through a partnership with a group of island environmentalists and City Council. Citizen involvement is crucial to good government.
During the years I have been on council we have had a balanced budget, with most years actually having a surplus. We have managed the city through a recession without raising our property taxes and have maintained top level services for the residents.
When I came to council there were no limits to the size of vacation rentals and there were no limitations to visitor parking. Both of these issues have been addressed. We have a parking plan that controls visitor parking. This is still a work in progress and will be looked at after this years’ beach season to see what changes might need to be made. Balancing the residential quality of life with the inevitable influx of daytrippers is an ongoing challenge. Our city services are put under great pressure due to the number of tourists on the island.
Our police, fire and public Works do a fantastic job to keep our island safe. The council must do everything we can to support our public servants.
I’m asking for your support to send me back to council for another term. I promise to listen to, and work for the residents of the island, while continuing to protect our environment.