By Meredith Poston, The Island Eye Staff Writer
The June 20 Isle of Palms City Council monthly meeting opened with Mayor Dick Cronin speaking of the City’s intent to open a Farmer’s market.
Mayor Cronin explained that the idea is still in the works; the County Park will serve a major role in the market project, and it will be a “City sponsored event.”
Moving on to the scheduled public commentary, an island resident spoke out against sound disturbances in his neighborhood, located near the Boathouse at Breach Inlet. Mayor Cronin advised the resident to attend a Public Safety Committee meeting, assuring him that “we want you to be satisfied. Thanks for coming.”
Next to speak was a former Navy SEAL who was there on behalf of SEALkids, a nonprofit dedicated to helping the children of the Navy SEAL community. SEALkids is organizing a fundraising event to be held later this summer in front of the Windjammer. The V.F.W. Post 3137, located next to the Windjammer, is in favor of the event, with a Post Commander attending to vocalize their support.
Council decided the request should be reviewed by the Public Safety Committee, to determine appropriate permits and possible impact on the area. “I just don’t have enough information,” said Mayor Cronin. Council then decided to schedule a special meeting to review this request.
Next on the agenda was the Ways and Means report; Mayor Cronin stated that “all areas are looking strong,” and that the City is well below their expenditures and is expected to be “available to execute a budget that is very aggressive for the next year.” Mayor Cronin reported that tourism funds and accommodation receipts are up, placing the City at a two percent increase over the prior fiscal year.
It was also reported that the City’s food and beverage facilities brought in $85,000 in revenue during the month of May.
Council unanimously passed a recommendation from the Public Safety Committee for a sole source contract award for a new rescue boat, motor, and trailer, as well as a motion to hire Berkeley Heating and Air to replace the HVAC in the City’s recreation facility. The next bill on the agenda was for the contracting of architecture and engineering services for a proposed fitness center; this passed, with three members of Council voting against hiring architecture firm LS3P for the development.
A motion for phase II drainage system development carried, with Mayor Cronin saying that he is “hopeful for good bid results.” Next was the passing of proposed marina enhancements; Council will move to the next stage of development, preparing for tier II preparation and possible public awareness meetings. Funding proposals were also passed regarding a sand renourishment project. The City was only able to allocate funds received from the state to re-nourish areas south of 57th beach access, which moves into Wild Dunes. Council hopes for future funding to renourish the sand on the northern end of the island.
The Public Safety Committee report was given by Councilman Marty Bettelli. There have been considerable issues with parking near the Wild Dunes beach access, with Bettelli reporting that it “is a vision problem, an unsafe situation, and police will be looking into it and seeing what can be done to rectify it.” The Public Safety Committee is also considering banning balloons from the beach, as well as other ordinances that “will work best for the Isle of Palms.” Golf cart regulations were discussed. It was reported that there are many sightings of adults driving with children in their laps, which is not illegal, however “we all know what the results of a possible collision could be,” stated Bettelli.
Golf carts cannot be driven after dark, and the same laws apply to golf carts as to traditional motor vehicles; operators must be a licensed driver with valid car insurance.
Councilwoman Sandy Fernecz reported on the June 7 Public Works meeting. She highlighted complaints regarding a dumpster located behind the IOP dinghy. A meeting will be held on July 17 to discuss relocating the dumpster so it is “less of a negative impact on the dinghy and the City itself.” Also reported was concern that “beach debris is mounting, as is garbage compared with lower debris in the residential areas.” Mayor Cronin thanked the Island Turtle Team for not only their care for turtles, but also for picking up trash.
The Real Property Committee report was given by Councilwoman Barbara Bergwef, who spoke of proposed, off-season revenue projects. The committee opposed overnight camping on front beach, and is investigating possible boat storage for Wild Dunes residents, who cannot store boats on their lots. There was disagreement over parking for the public at the marina, with Councilwoman Fernecz arguing that if someone wants to go to the marina but is not participating in typical events, they do not have adequate parking, stating that people need more than the allotted spaces that currently are limited and only offer thirty minute timeslots.
The meeting wrapped up with Council discussing local government funds, which will not be increasing, as there is underfunding throughout the state, as well as the gas tax increase that will go into effect later this year. The next City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 18 at 6 p.m.