By Emma Woodham, Staff Writer for The Island Eye News
The Sullivan’s Island Town Council convened for its last meeting of 2017 on Tuesday, Dec. 19. Nearly all members were present except for Mayor Pro Tem Chauncey Clark and Councilmember Tim Reese. Following the Pledge of Allegiance and invocation, Mayor O’Neil opened the floor to public comments, but there were none. Minutes from the November meeting and special workshop meeting on Dec. 4 were approved unanimously. Mayor O’Neil asked if there was a motion to approve the third reading and ratification of Town Ordinance 2017-05, amending Section 10-20 of the Code of Ordinances regarding business licenses. A motion was made, and the third reading and ratification were unanimously approved. Next, the mayor asked for a motion to approve a second reading of an amendment to Ordinance 2017-06. This amendment would raise the cost of dog license and badges for nonisland residents from $35 to $50. Councilmember Bachman Smith asked what would happen if no motion was made to approve, and Mayor O’Neil informed the council that if no motion was made to approve the second reading, it would die. No motion was made to approve, and the second reading did not move forward. Mayor O’Neil did suggest that this issue be revisited at some point, but Councilmember Sarah Church stated that she won’t support this issue in the future. Following this discussion, Mayor O’Neil proposed the approval of a resolution authorizing the repair of sewer lines along Poe Ave. and Florence St. Upon approval the town will simply be seeking bids for the cost of the project. Councilmember Rita Langley made a motion to approve, and the resolution passed unanimously. Council also approved the use of $10,000 from the Tree Fund to improve some areas in Stith Park, as recommended by the Tree Commission. Councilmember Church moved to approve the expenditure, and the motion passed unanimously. A resolution to approve and support town safety polices, something the town’s insurance company asks Council to do every year, was also approved. Lastly, a resolution to approve the use of money from the Hospitality Fund to purchase parking citation software was presented.
Administrator Benke explained that the current method of issuing, documenting, and collecting fines is timeconsuming and rather outdated. The new software will come with two handheld devices that are equipped with a customer parking ticket-writing software. In addition, the company will assist in following up with individuals who fail to pay their fines. Councilmember Mark Howard asked for an estimate of how much money the town collects in parking fines each year, and Benke informed him that it was somewhere around $90,000 with about a 65 percent collection rate. He hopes that with this new software company aiding the Town in reminding individuals of what they owe, the collection rate might increase. A motion was made to approve the use of funds from the Hospitality Fund to purchase this software, and it passed unanimously. In old business, Administrator Benke noted that the boat lift left on the beach at Station 10 following the summer hurricanes has been removed, and DHEC will work with the Town of Sullivan’s Island to recover the cost of the removal from the owner of the boat lift. He also added that Applied Technology & Management of Mt. Pleasant has reviewed DHEC’s proposed jurisdictional lines and will appeal on behalf of the town. Benke stated that a request for a park grant is due in early January. He is proposing that any funds received would be used to fix the seat around the oak tree and the sidewalk in Stith Park, both of which have fallen into disrepair. The Finance Committee reported that FEMA had finally begun to reimburse some of the monies spent on engineering studies conducted on the Wastewater Treatment Plant. In the Water & Sewer Committee report, Councilmember Smith noted that the funding proposals for the updates to the Water Treatment Facility will be presented to the Finance Committee soon. Greg Gress, Manager of the Water & Sewer Department, added that hydrant flushing will soon take place across the island. Councilmember Church reported that the Moultrieville Bicentennial event was a huge success in her Recreation Committee report. Roy Williams, a local historian, gave a presentation of the island’s transformation from Moultrieville into the present-day Sullivan’s Island. “It was interesting, funny, informative, and never boring,” Church said. Mayor O’Neil added that if Mr. Williams gives his presentation again, he would like to have a professional video recording commissioned to document the information. Following the committee reports, the council moved to adjourn to executive session. The next meeting of the Sullivan’s Island Town Council will be January 16, 2018 at 6 p.m.