By Emma Woodham, Staff Writer For The Island Eye News
The Town Council of Sullivan’s Island met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, July 17. All members of the council were present except for Town Administrator Andy Benke.
Following the pledge of allegiance and the invocation, Mayor Pat O’Neil opened the floor to citizen’s comments. Ralph Byers, an island resident of 6 months, told council that the kiteboarders on the northern end of the island are a danger to people swimming in the channel between the beach and the sand bar. Byers likes to swim for exercise in the channel, and he stated that there are too many kiteboarders and that they all have varying levels of skill. “Some of them cannot control their kites very well,” Byers said.
Sullivan’s Island Police Chief Chris Griffin stated that there are no restrictions on kiteboarders being in the water. Councilmember Tim Reese pointed out that he doesn’t think the town has any jurisdiction over the ocean, even though it is right off the beach. Councilmember Bachman Smith added that the reason the kiteboarders congregate on that end of the island is because they were asked to stay out of the area where the most people are in the ocean, further down the beach. Councilmember Chauncey Clark suggested that Byers chat with some of the kiteboarders about his concerns because they are a group who generally police themselves.
Following comments, Mayor O’Neil recognized Patrick Rutledge and Dr. Rochelle Rutledge for donating a painting to be displayed in the Town Hall. Mr. Rutledge formerly served on the Town Council and began painting after his time on the Council. The painting donated was one of his original works of art, a scene from Station 18.
Following the presentation, a new police officer was sworn in and CARTA Deputy Director of Operations Andrea Kozloski presented the Fiscal Year 2019 CARTA budget to the council. Mayor O’Neil noted that CARTA has been very progressive in the last few years and that the entire bus fleet now has wi-fi. All council members voted to approve the budget.
Council approved the minutes from the June meeting and then Mayor O’Neil presented the second reading of Ordinance 2018-04, which relates to the issuance and sale of bonds. This ordinance is how the town will fund the work on the wastewater treatment facility. A fee simple title was also approved for 2714 Brooks Street.
In the Mayor’s Report, Mayor O’Neil stated that he was glad the town obtained funding for the wastewater treatment facility upgrades. The bonds were offered, all with different maturities, and the interest rates were better than expected.
Town Administrator Benke was absent, but Deputy Administrator Jason Blanton presented a few items on his behalf, including an update on the repairs to the fire station. Right now, the town is waiting on some opinions about the scope of work that needs to be done.
The Town’s attorney had nothing new to report, nor did the Finance Committee. Councilmember Rita Langley reported that the next Land Use & Natural Resources meeting will be held sometime in August.
In the Water & Sewer Committee report, Councilmember Smith stated that the Poe Ave. project has been advertised and the town is looking for bids.
The Public Safety Committee report, given by Chief Griffin, informed the council that the new Call Box has been installed outside of the Town Hall. Any calls from the box will be sent to the non-emergency dispatcher who will be able to direct the call where it needs to go. This box is for any type of assistance— emergency or non-emergency.
Councilmember Sarah Church, Chair of the Recreation Committee, announced the 4th of July golf cart parade was a success, despite the inclement weather.
Lastly, Councilmember Mark Howard, Chair of the Public Facilities Committee, noted that Battery Gadsden is looking for quotes for electrical and HVAC systems. The Public Facilities committee will need to meet soon to discuss the bids, Howard said. He also noted that the final report on the Old Bridge erosion issues will be presented at the next Workshop meeting.
The next meeting on the Town Council will be on Tuesday, August 21 at 6 p.m.