By Katy Calloway, The Island Eye News Managing Editor
Sullivan’s Island welcomed two new councilmembers on May 7 and saw one hold on to his seat.
In what turned out to be an uncomfortably close election, decided by only 38% of the 1,686 registered voters on the island, Kaye Smith topped the ballot count at the polls by a total of 349 votes. In contrast, newcomer Greg Hammond was trailing after the polls closed, one vote ahead of Mark Howard, who finished last with 325 votes.
It was the absentee ballot count that turned the tide for the municipal election. Out of a total of 51 absentee ballots cast, Kaye Smith again garnered the most support, with 32 votes, while Hammond secured his position over Howard with 30 absentee votes to Howard’s 23.
In total, the results were as follows: Kaye Smith, 382; Bachman Smith, 362; Greg Hammond, 358; Rita Langley, 357 and Mark Howard, 349.
With two new councilmembers, Sullivan’s Island may have a fresh perspective on unresolved issues. Parking and traffic will be at the forefront of the agenda, as we begin to see the summer crowds trickle in. Stormwater management will continue to be a concern for the barrier island, as is sea level rise.
Second term councilmember Bachman Smith hopes to engage elected officials at the state and federal level to help address Sullivan’s stormwater management issues, as well as other coastal municipalities suggesting, “If we treat stormwater as more than a Sullivan’s Island specific issue and engage staff and elected officials from other coastal municipalities in a cooperative manner, we can get the ear of the folks who make the regulations that are tying our hands.”
The two new councilmembers will be sworn in at the June 18 council meeting.
Council convenes Tuesday, May 21 for its regular meeting. On the agenda is the second readings of the FY 19-20 General Fund Budget and Water and Sewer Budget proposals.