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Isle of Palms City Council – November 17, 2009

The Council welcomed new council members Sandy Stone and Douglas Thomas, and Council member Dee Taylor thanked them both for attending his and Council member Carol Rice’s last meeting.

Citizens’ comments

Former Mayor Clay Cable addressed the Council in regards to the new Consolidated 911 System.  “When they established the 911 system, we took the option of having a dispatcher for our two islands and the benefit was that when a call came in, if some old cuss like me dropped the phone, they could find me,” said Cable. “Recently, I woke up with a high heart rate and the new system did not have my location, and they had to ask me for all of my information. The ambulance showed up, but no firemen. They had sent the firemen to the wrong address. I don’t know who’s watching that, but we need to be aware of these things.” Mayor Cronin said that they would look into what happened.

Former Mayor Mike Sottile also spoke, thanking both Dee Taylor and Carol Rice for their years of service on the Isle of Palms Council. “It’s been a year since I sat in these chambers, but I’m here to thank two members of this Council who served with me for many, many years,” said Sottile. “Without your leadership, Carol, we wouldn’t have this state-of-the-art Recreation facility. And I never will forget standing in Dee’s business in 1992 and trying to talk him into running for Council. He did and he’s been here ever since. His leadership in Ways and Means helped us to do what we needed to do financially and because of him, we have the wonderful resources we have on the island and I thank him from the bottom of my heart. Both of you are a great credit to the City of the Isle of Palms.”

Special presentations to Carol Rice and Dee Taylor

Mayor Cronin presented a framed proclamation to Carol Rice, which lists all of Rice’s accomplishments during her eight years on Council and concludes that the City of Isle of Palms is grateful for her service. The audience gave a standing ovation. Chief Buckhannon also presented a parting gift to Rice of a “Get out of Jail Free” card. The fine print points out that it expires December 31, 2009, and is not valid on the Isle of Palms. Carol Rice thanked everyone and noted that public service is worthwhile. “I really enjoyed it and I’ll miss everyone,” she smiled.

Cronin then presented a proclamation to Dee Taylor, listing his accomplishments over the past 16 years, and concluding that Dee Taylor has been a Councilman of the highest caliber, and that the City of Isle of Palms is grateful for his service. The audience gave a standing ovation followed by the Mayor presenting Taylor with a large jar of jellybeans with the inscription “A paperless tool, from the City of Isle of Palms to the Best Bean Counter Ever”. “Now I’m speechless,” laughed Taylor. He noted that in his 16 years of service, he has served with 25 different Council members and, jokingly, 1 ½ attorneys. “I just want to thank everyone here and my family,” he smiled.

Lastly, Cronin remarked that he is asking for a sculpture to be placed on the Front Beach to be dedicated to the citizens who have served on the City Council, and would like to put both Carol and Dee’s name on it once they’re able to fund it.

Ways and Means

Council member Dee Taylor reported that the Ways and Means Committee met a few hours before the day’s Council meeting. Taylor read through two items, both of which were requested by Public Works and both of which had been approved by Ways and Means. The requests were for $26,179.80 to be awarded to Godwin Pumps for three pumps to pump storm water from drainage areas during excessive rain, and for an award of contract to Jones Ford for the purchase of a four wheel drive Ford F150 in the amount of $20,962 (not including sales tax and the installation of rhino bed lining) to replace a two week drive truck. Both items were budgeted and both costs came in under budget. Both items were approved unanimously.

Public Safety

Buckhannon noted that work is still being done on the new Public Safety building. One of the primary concerns has been the heating and air-conditioning system.  Testing has been done, said Buckhannon, and it was found that the system was not receiving proper power. The necessary adjustments have been made and other detail items on the punch list are still being completed.

Requests for proposals are in for the Civil Engineering project on 41st Avenue and Palm Blvd.. The City received a broad range of prices and Administrator Tucker theorized that the more expensive bids were from bidders treating the intersection as a roundabout. “If we’re able to accomplish the goal of getting through them all [requests for proposals] by the December assembly, we’ll hopefully have a recommendation for you so we can go forward,” said Tucker.

In terms of road work around the island, the sidewalk at 21st Ave. is slowly being replaced and the repaving of 41st Ave. has been delayed as the area needs some infrastructure replacements.

According to Buckhannon, the City of Charleston has requested to become a part of the new intergovernmental agreement for the Charleston County Consolidated 911 Dispatch Center. Councilman Buckhannon noted that an addendum would need to be passed to accept the City as a full participant. Council approved the addendum unanimously.

Furthermore, Buckhannon noted that they are looking into the Livability Hotline info being placed on refrigerator magnets. The City is looking into pricing, but residents can print out a replica at The Council also discussed the possibility of increasing the dog license fees to $10, noting that Sullivan’s Island charges $25, but no decisions were made.

Lastly, Buckhannon reported that the Fire Department is looking into changing the position of Assistant Fire Chief to Fire Inspector and the issue has been moved on to Personnel. “We also have some promotions in the fire department,” said Buckhannon. “Shaun Gadsden was promoted to Captain; Engineer Richard Hathaway was promoted to Lieutenant, and Firefighter Bill Pesature was promoted to Engineer.

Public Safety

Administrator Tucker reported that she and representatives of the Isle of Palms met with the Ben Sawyer Bridge construction team and found that the timing on the bridge’s closing is still fluid, “but we’re looking at a possible closing date of December 4,” said Tucker. “The reason we cannot specifically say the date is because much of the timing is dependent on weather conditions, where the wind is more of an issue than rain.” The other issue is traffic management. Chief Buckhannon stated that the City of Mount Pleasant will be working with the SCDOT to make sure traffic lights are set for optimal traffic movement, and the Mount Pleasant traffic squad will monitor the lights, especially during peak traffic times, and will assist if needed. Isle of Palms police will be doing the same on the island. “It’s going to be a fluid situation, so there won’t be an officer there at all times,” said Buckhannon, “but traffic will be monitored closely.”

Tucker also noted that signs will go up in anticipation of the bridge closing. Visit for the most recent updates.

Public Works

Council member Bettelli reported on the Public Works committee meeting which was held on Wednesday, November 4, noting that the beach accesses have been cleaned and the SCDOT (Department of Transportation) has been repairing pot holes on the island.

In regards to the update on the 54th to 57th Ave drainage project, he noted that the City’s engineer Dave Stevens wasasked by the Lowe Wild Dunes investors to determine whether a line should be relocated in anticipation of future development. When Stevens went back to the site for evaluation, he found the line cannot be moved because of infrastructure already in place.  “We’re continuing to discuss the project,” said Bettelli.

Following discussions between the architect of 2001 Waterway Blvd. and the City attorney, Director Pitts and Douglas Kerr, the owners of 2001 Waterway Blvd. are willing to dedicate a drainage easement on their property to the City. The decision was made In light of the fact that some portion of the neighborhood storm water is going through the drainage easement on their property and, if there were to be some kind of problem, the City would not have the right to access the property to rectify the problem.  Councilman Bettelli moved to recommend to City Council to accept the dedication of the drainage easement.  The motion passed unanimously.

Lastly, Council member Bettelli informed the Council that the City has received $50,000 from the Charleston County Transportation Sales Tax to replace the Lauden Street outfall. The project will  increase the size of the output pipe under Waterway Boulevard to increase the rate of water drainage during heavy rains. Bids on the project are due around the first of December.


Council member Rice reported that the Recreation Committee met on November 10, and reported that the Recreation Department had the Agency of the Year award for North and South Carolina. Rice also reminded everyone that the tree lighting on the Isle of Palms will be held on Thursday, December 3, on the Front Beach at 6pm. “We continue to gather the email addresses of all of our participants at the Rec. Center for our new e-newsletter,” said Rice, noting that you can sign up at the Rec. Department. Recent improvements at the Department included the replacement of a few rusted items on the playground at no cost except for installation. “In closing, I just want to say that the staff at the Rec. is just incredible,” said Rice. “It’s been such a pleasure to be a part of the Council. It’s like family. Thank you.”


Council member Piening reported on the Personnel Committee meeting which took place on Wednesday, November 4. Piening noted that the recent City elections had created another vacancy on the Planning Commission as Sandy Stone has been elected to the Council. PIening stated that the process of selecting recommendations to fill the two vacancies will be postponed until the December meeting.  The December Personnel meeting is scheduled for 5:45pm on Tuesday, December 1.

Secondly, Council member Piening commented that changes need to be made to the Personnel manual as the City has eliminated the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) that has been paid to employees in the past.  The Personnel manual will be changed to eliminate references to COLA.

Finally, Piening asked Council to approve a new system which will be used to evaluate the City Administrator. The system uses a rating qualification range, which numerically rates the management of the General Fund. “If the General Fund is 3% under budget, the number will be 5, 2% under budget the number will be 4, budget neutral is 3, 2% over would be 2 and 3% over would be 1,” said Piening.  “I know this sounds cryptic, but we cannot vote on these things in an executive session. These have to do with the management of the General Fund and trying to come in under budget.” The motion passed unanimously.

safety sweepstake winners

Safety Sweepstakes winners for the month of October are: Recreation – Nick Bako; Fire Department — Jason Smith; Public Works – Kim Tapply and Police Department – Sergeant Derrick Ambas.

Real Property Committee

Mayor Cronin reported on the Real Property Committee meeting, which was held Friday, November 6. During the meeting, Marina manager Brian Barragan reported that business at the Marina has been brutally slow.  In fact, September was the worst month since he became Marina manager and the figures for October are not yet available.  He attributed the downturn to lack of transients that have visited in the past. On the other hand, Carl Pope of Morgan Creek Grill commented that she thought the restaurant was getting more transient business than in years past. Barragan also indicated that he was planning to ask the Fire Department to assist him, with the Administrator’s permission, in installing an anometer and a web cam that would show in real time.

Barragan also reported that he had evicted a Marina tenant for non-payment of rent and for bouncing a check, and that the Marina store will be closed for several days starting January 10, 2010, to repair buckled floors.

Lastly, the Real Property Committee discussed whether or not to offer a temporary period of relief to Morgan Creek Grill in light of the difficult economic climate.  The Committee discussed several alternatives, including the possibility of changing the monthly static rent amount to an amount based on season, but totaling the same; adding language giving the restaurant control over the restaurant docks, and adding language allowing for the commercial utilization of the restaurant docks for dinner cruises.  Mayor Cronin explained the next step is to discuss the issue with the Council, followed either by another meeting of the Real Property Committee or by a recommendation to Ways and Means.

Second reading of ordinance 2009 – 16 an ordinance amending title VI, chapter 2, article b, dogs, section 6 — 2 – 15(a)

This ordinance allows for the changing of the hours during which a dog is allowed on the beach without a leash. Tucker stated that the reason for the change is to allow more time for dogs under voice control to run off leash on the beach during the off season. The proposed off leash hours are 4pm – 10pm from September 15 – March 31.The motion passed unanimously.

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