By Mimi Wood, Island Eye News Staff Writer
No small wonder the IOP City Council meeting opened to a full house on April 25; Ways and Means was chock-full of hot topics. Citizens opined for well over an hour, immediately following Mayor Dick Cronin’s recognition of the IOP Police Force and their recently acquired Meritorious Accreditation from CALEA (see accompanying article on page 9.)
Josh Halpert, a vice-president of production from the Bravo Network, addressed council with a “revised ask” regarding the filming of a “documentary series” featuring a local resident who has previously appeared on the network’s reality show, Southern Charm.
Insisting that Bravo’s minimal production crew of “10 people or less, no trucks and no lights” would leave a “light footprint” on the island, and additionally pointing out the “ancillary benefits to the community,” from hiring local crew members to money spent in local restaurants, Halpert was unable to get even a motion raised by Council. “Looking for Love” will not be filming on the IOP.
Arising from Marty Bettelli’s Public Safety Committee, Council unanimously approved a motion to accept a proposal from AirMed Care Network, which will provide airlift transport to any insured permanent resident, property owner or long-term tenant of IOP in the event that a person, or a member of their household, experiences a severe injury, providing the incident occurs in Charleston County.
The cost of this Municipal Site Plan is just under $18,000 annually. “A small price to pay,” offered Barb Bergwerf, Chairwoman of the Real Property Committee. The policy will “directly help the citizens of the island,” stated Bettelli.
Wes McAden, a representative from AirMed, explained in the unfortunate event one suffers an extreme emergency, an individual could be personally responsible for an airlift, potentially $30,000.
According to McAden, most insurance companies either do not cover the cost of the service, or cover only a small portion of it. The communities of Kiawah, Seabrook, Edisto and McClellandville all currently participate in the program.
Prior to the vote, Fire Chief Ann Graham spoke in favor of the policy, noting how, especially in the case of a heart attack or stroke, “minutes can make all the difference.” Additionally, “the helicopter is a mobile ICU; the flight medics can perform more advanced procedures, that can’t be done in an ambulance.”
With residents in attendance generally voicing approval and excitement, a motion to proceed with architectural concepts for a new cardio room at The Rec passed, six to three. Concerns were raised by Councilmember Jimmy Carroll, who expressed “what started as re-allocating space and purchasing some new equipment has now snowballed into a 3000 square foot addition.” Also voting against the expense were Sandy Ferencz and Jimmy Ward.
The anticipated $50,000 cost of the construction-ready plans is available in the Recreation Department’s existing Building Fund.
A motion for the use of the municipal parking lot at Front Beach for boondocking in the offseason failed to obtain a second.
Boondocking, also known as wild camping, is the practice of camping in an RV outside a developed campground, without hookups for water, sewer or electricity. With that, the Council Chamber emptied of residents, and the meeting proceeded at breakneck speed.
Public Works noted that weekly recycling pickup begins on May 24. A reminder that August is the deadline if a referendum on Marina improvements is to be included on November’s ballot was also announced.
Discussions in the Real Property Committee included a new proposal on a 30-year lease from Morgan Creek Grill, the improvements to the Front Beach restrooms, and ways to diminish the anticipated $6.4 million Marina redevelopment proposal, noting that parking and traffic are top priority.
No anticipated increase in taxes was announced in the first reading of the FY 2017-2018 Budget. A public hearing will be held in conjunction with the second reading, prior to the budget being adopted.
The meeting adjourned after Proclamations supporting both National Police Week 2017 and National Safe Boating Week were pronounced.