By Gregg Bragg, The Island Eye News Staff Writer
Mayor Jimmy Carroll warned of a long November meeting at the conclusion of the previous month’s Isle of Palms City Council assembly. True to his estimate, the meeting of Nov. 27 at lasted nearly 2 hours. Parliamentary obligations were dispatched, a summary of the previous month’s meeting was read into the record, and minutes were approved as the floor was turned over to residents for comments.
Paul Coleman introduced himself as the pastor of the new DeepWater church on IOP. He joked that it would be difficult for a preacher to adhere to the 2-minute time limit, but got right to the point. He said he appreciated what Council is doing, prayed for them as directed by the Bible, and consistent with his church’s tagline; “Love the Island and Beyond,” stood ready to assist the City in any way. Coleman lives next door to Saint Mark’s church on Palm Blvd., where his congregation meets each Sunday at 5 p.m.
Resident Leia Hamilton “implored” Council for access to the City’s rec center on behalf of the Sullivan’s Island Elementary School basketball team. She, some of the students, and their parents accounted for as much as half of all attendees at the meeting. Hamilton said the school on neighboring Sullivan’s Island was built without a gym, and the team needed a place to practice. The consortium promised to stay out of the way, and was prepared with a signed waiver releasing IOP from any/all liability. Her request was echoed by students and parents.
Councilmember Ted Kinghorn suggested turning the decision over to staff for a quicker response than waiting a month for a vote of council, which already seemed to have informal support.
Chris Kerr and Justin Kiddy of McCay Kiddy LLC were next on the agenda with a presentation of the City’s fiscal year 2018 audit. They made no pretense or jokes about limiting themselves to 2 minutes and opened by highlighting their “clean opinion” of IOP’s finances. The designation is industry parlance for “as good as it gets,” and means the materials provided were accurate. The City’s financial position remains strong.
Complete details are available by visiting City Hall, the City’s website, or watching the IOP YouTube channel around the 15 minute mark.
Mayor Carroll swapped Councilmember Randy Bell’s recap of the Ways and Means Committee for a list of action items.
Council voted 7-2 in favor of deploying a metal detector for Ways and Means Committee and City Council meetings. The arrangement will include a trained attendant and an armed police officer at an estimated annual cost of $3,500. Councilmembers Kinghorn and Rice voted against the measure.
Council unanimously approved up to $5,000 for a coyote study.
Council unanimously approved a contract with Thomas & Hutton for $100,800. The funds will be applied to completion of the Phase III Drainage Project.
Council unanimously approved up to $20,000 for McCay Kiddy LLC to perform audit/assessment related services with marina tenants to help Council determine the value of leases in the future.
Council voted 8-1 in favor of a proposal from Hill Construction to perform a detailed assessment of the restaurant building at the marina. The work will require $17,000. Councilmember Ryan Buckhannon voted against the measure.
Council voted unanimously in favor of authorizing the marina manager to increase non-resident launch passes to $500.
Council unanimously approved $5,000 of Accommodations Tax money to qualify IOP as sponsors of the 2019 Family Circle Junior Tennis Championship. The Mayor tried to end the Ways and Means Committee report at this point, but circled back to the last item.
Councilmember Randy Bell read a motion into the record authorizing staff to draft an ordinance that would transfer of 858 square feet of land at 1100 Pavilion Blvd. consistent with Mr. Wade’s survey and Mr. Hartnett’s appraisal, for $10,725 plus appraisal cost due to the City. The measure passed unanimously. “THAT ends Ways and Means,” said the Mayor.
Councilmember Susan Hill Smith opened her recap of the Public Safety Committee’s early November meeting with gusto. She seemed thrilled by the prospect of hosting LOWVELO for an outdoor bicycling event on IOP proposed for Nov. 2, 2019. MUSC’s Hollings Cancer Center is the beneficiary of funds raised from the event, and Dr. Gustavo Leone, Director of the Hollings Cancer Center pitched the committee, Smith recounted.
Smith moved for approval of a statewide Mutual Aid Agreement, which would provide participating cites with support from neighboring municipalities in the event of catastrophic events and require bilateral communications between IOP and its insurer. The motion passed unanimously.
Councilmember Carol Rice opened her Public Works report with a basket of updates. Phase II of the city’s drainage project should be completed in December, and phase III is already being scoped.
Beach accesses at 42nd and 31A have been cleared, leveled with sand shell, re-matted, and are looking good. Additional paths are slated for similar work. Trash volumes are down. Charleston County should complete work on the ditch at 32nd Ave. in January and underground storage tanks have been certified to hold fuel. She stated she doesn’t want to spend $300 each for [beach] trashcans with lids before seeing them, and then moved for Council to approve a different, if familiar, company to takeover trash collection on the beach.
The Garrells are IOP residents already licensed to rent chairs/ umbrellas to beachgoers. They purchased beach trash collection services from Bill Schupp Enterprises, intending to transfer the task to the list of those performed by JLG Enterprises. Council voted unanimously to award a one-year, “probationary” contract to the Garrells/JLG.
Rice also mentioned keeping an upgrade to IOP’s plastic ban on the City’s radar. The idea she described was more a matter of consistency amongst coastal communities, than a competition with their neighbors on Sullivan’s Island. The City’s legal counsel weighed in saying a compare/contrast was already in the pipe for completion early next year.
Councilmember Ryan Buckhannon reported a huge crowd for Ghostly Tide Tales and the Halloween Carnival. He also said fall sports were in full swing at the City’s recreation center.
However, he said the one-time price of $8,000 to enable free WiFi at the center was high enough to warrant broader consideration during budget negotiations.
The new floor at the rec center should be in by the end of the year, Buckhannon concluded.
Councilmember Sandy Ferencz warned the room of a long Personnel Committee report from the very beginning of her account. The committee met three times prior to November’s council assembly, leaving plenty to talk about.
Ferencz recalled the following topics for the benefit of attendees;
Committee members continue to ping-pong with the Mercer group over the content of brochures advertising open positions with the city. The attention to detail will help find the “right” people for City Administrator, Police chief, and Assistant Director of Public Works, but is also slowing the process.
The committee had a lengthy discussion of a new “longevity” policy to reward/retain long-term employees who have reached the top of their pay scale. Rating packets for the interim City Administrator Fragoso were distributed to committee members and Ferencz called for development of a “strategic plan” for the City to accompany the comprehensive plan. There were no action items for Council’s consideration at this time.
Councilmember Randy Bell highlighted activity for Real Property, though much of his report was addressed earlier in the meeting. However plans are still in the works to optimize parking on Pavilion Dr. The City’s attorney is reviewing deed restrictions in the hopes of facilitating “off season” use. The Marina is using “resident only” parking spaces for trailers, and safety considerations are being examined before discontinuing the option. A phased plan for dock rehabilitation/ remediation is being developed, starting with the fuel docks, to streamline the permitting process. The removal and replacement of the underground storage tanks at the marina was discussed and construction is expected to start in January.
The mayor then asked for a motion to approve raising the City’s insurance deductible from $1,000 to $5,000. IOP carries insurance through the South Carolina municipal insurance trust workers’ compensation fund. The move will save IOP $39,000 in premiums each year, and is a big win for the City based on the number of claims its filed in the past four years. The measure passed unanimously.
With no further business, the meeting was adjourned.