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Oct 27 2017

Letter To The Editor: It’s All About The Details

Dear Editor,

As a past Councilmember, I was somewhat bemused by Jimmy Carroll’s campaign ad which was reaffirmed at the Mayoral Candidates forum. He clearly indicates that he likes to say no to just about everything and has yet to befriend accuracy and detail. Take, for example, his “millage increase” no vote, he implied there was a tax increase.

That is not accurate. The details are that all property values throughout Charleston County were re-assessed and the Isle of Palms adjusted the millage rate to maintain property tax revenue. The city did not add to its coffers … There was No property tax increase in 2015! In fact, the millage increase reduced my property tax by 50 bucks.

He implies that the city is not increasing the emergency fund balances … again not accurate. A simple review of the City’s audited financial statements shows that they are increasing even after Hurricane Matthew and Tropical Storm Irma.

Next he implies that using ATAX (accommodation tax) funds to fund tourism advertising keeps us from using it for beach renourishment, again not accurate. The ATAX details are that there are actually two separate funds State ATAX and Local ATAX. It is only the revenue from State ATAX fund that is mandated by State Law SC 6-4-10 to be used for tourism advertising. Other mandates from that law require $25,000 and plus 5% of the remaining revenue go to the City’s General Fund after which the 30% tourism mandate is applied (not the 40% Mr. Carroll stated during the forum). It is a significant dollar amount but far less than implied and is far less than the fees generated by Beach Preservation Act SC 6-1-610 which Mayor Dick Cronin initiated and guided through the South Carolina State Legislature during the 2013-2014 session. By mentioning the State Codes above I just want to point out that the running of a municipality and being an elected official is very proscribed by state law and requires all public officials to do their homework.

Which brings me to candidate Carroll’s advocating for a more transparent city; council meetings are taped and posted on the city’s website for all to watch; council and committee meetings are listed well in advance on the city calendar on the city’s website; lastly, his complaint about not receiving documents in a timely manner is simply less than credible.

I find this call for transparency completely inconsistent and concerning. SC State Ethics Laws SC 8-13-11 and 8-13-13 laws requiring transparency of public officials in the disclosure of economic interests and campaign finances have been ignored by Mr. Carroll.

Per state law, the termination of campaign filing requirements is based on filing a campaign report and “The form must be marked “final” see SC 8-13-1368. Mr. Carroll’s campaign account from 2011 has never been formally terminated from filing requirements and no quarterly reports have been filed since November of 2011 as required by law. Also, he has yet to file a campaign report for the mayor’s race which is required by law after the expenditures of $500. It is hard to believe he has not spent $500. Then there is the issue of disclosure of economic interest which by law all public officials must file by March 31 for the previous year. Mr. Carroll did not file his 2017 Statement of Economic Interest

I am not sure if this is mere oversight or demonstrable disdain for our ethics laws but I do know this; it is a lack of attention to detail and accuracy. Attention to detail and accuracy is a sign of caring and for all his words about caring and loving the Island his lack of attention to detail and accuracy demonstrates otherwise.

Brian Duffy

Isle of Palms

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