I’m running for Town Council to 1) expand town services to better maintain our island in the face of rapid Charleston-area growth and 2) proactively find new ways to fund the cost of our growing service requirements.
I’m 37-years-old and have lived on Sullivan’s for 10 years with my wife Kate; we have two children that attend / will attend SIES and two dogs – we spend A LOT of time at the island’s beach, parks and restaurants. Like most, we moved to Sullivan’s because we like Sullivan’s – the way it is. We have a great island with a great culture and small town feel and I think nearly everyone would like to see that continue.
This, however, is becoming a taller order by the day. Sullivan’s Island, population 2,000, is responsible for managing and maintaining beaches for ~1/3 of the 775,000 Charleston area residents. We’ve all seen the impact of increased island use: the trash on the beach and access paths, the summertime gridlock, the parking problems, the dog-bags that are left behind.
We must expand Town services to better manage our growing visitor population and maintain the quality of our beach, parks, access paths and other public spaces. Many island spots are already in need of catch-up work to address deferred maintenance issues. I believe we are (unfortunately) at a point where we need a paid litter removal service to regularly clean our beach and parks. We need to better communicate to visitors the location of our public restrooms and the ample parking available at Town Hall.
We need to make it easier for residents to access the parks, commercial district and beach through expanded golf-cart designated parking. We need to work with SC DOT to repair and maintain our culverts to alleviate flooding. We need to stop reckless speeding on our back roads during summer traffic jams.
Our small Town will need to continue to expand resources devoted to many of these efforts to keep pace with Charleston’s population boom (3x national population growth.) Our annual budget, however, is relatively fixed at its current level.
How do we keep up? We need to begin the discipline of matchfunding visitor management costs with visitor revenues. For example: fees from visitor dog tags and bonfire permits should cover the management, clean-up and enforcement costs incurred by the programs. We need to actively explore paid parking to help fund traffic management in and litter removal from onstreet parking areas. We need to make it easier for our residents to privately fund projects – the Town should pre-approve a “wishlist” of capital improvements. It should also streamline the approval process for additional privately sponsored efforts.
In closing, I believe we need to move away from the singleissue, stack the deck politics of the last few elections and elect individuals who will be good stewards of our island for the next generation. I look forward to the opportunity to earn your vote, and hope you find that I will fairly and responsibly represent you. Our island is great, let’s do a better job of keeping it that way!
Greg Hammond is Director of Analytics and Valuation at the country’s largest privately held consumer finance company. He studied economics at Dartmouth College and worked as an investment professional at a Boston-area hedge fund before moving to Charleston in 2007. Charitable work includes managing data analytics for Meeting Street Schools. In his free time he travels, surfs and explores the beach with his family. Questions/comments/concerns? Email: Greg4Sullivans@gmail.com.