The Isle of Palms City Council has a full plate for 2020. As we have been discussing for years, and planning for months, we are set to start our Public Safety Building renovation in March. We have five mobile office trailers to house both the Police and Fire Department headquarters. We have begun the relocation process and hooking the trailers to the utilities, cable and such.
The city’s new 75-foot ladder truck will be delivered in the coming weeks, plus our newly refurbished 95-foot ladder truck is in the final stages of completion. In addition, we continue to work with Thomas & Hutton on the final design and state and federal permitting process for the improvements to the three drainage outfalls located at the end of 30th, 36th and 41st avenues. The construction of the drainage project is estimated at $2.9 million.
The city is also waiting on the final set of permits for the IOP Marina dock rehabilitation project. The docks along Morgan Creek have exceeded the end of their useful life and need to be replaced. The city is working with Applied Technology & Management, who is developing the final drawings and specifications for the project. Once the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issues the final permit, the city will be able to complete the bid documents to competitively procure the repair work. The project will also include needed maintenance on the bulkhead. The goal is for construction to start after Labor Day. The cost of this project is estimated at $3.2 million.
Last month, the city held a public workshop to gather feedback about the community’s vision for the IOP Marina.
We had a packed house, and, due to the fire code, we could not fit in the room everyone who wanted to participate. However, lots of folks submitted a written form at the meeting, and many others provided feedback on an online form available on the city’s website – www.iop.net. The city is working on compiling the results of the public comments, the written comments and the online questionnaires. It’s not too late to go to www.iop.net and look under “Latest News” at the top and fill out the questionnaire on what you, our residents, envision at the marina. The city wants what our residents want; it is not about any one Council members’ vision but about what our residents want.
The city is also going through a due diligence period for the restaurant lease.
We feel confident we will be moving forward with something that will best suit our residents’ desire for a waterside dining spot.
This month, the city held the first budgeting workshop to discuss our goals for the next budget year and prioritize among the projects and needs the city is faced with in the coming years. It is clear that drainage remains at the top of the list. There were preliminary discussions about the possibility of pursuing a larger island-wide drainage project. We know this is a priority for our community, and we need to determine how to best approach it and how it will be funded. Other discussions included the rehabilitation of the Waterway Boulevard multi-use path and the future maintenance of the city owned portion of Ocean Boulevard between 10th and 14th avenues. There are all kinds of wish list items that some would like to have, but we need to take care of our needs first. Equally important to me is that we ensure that we take care of our city family. It is getting tougher and tougher to compete with the growth of neighboring cities and their need for experienced and professional employees. We as a city need to constantly understand that the cost of living in our area is higher than the national average and is always going up. Most of our employees must travel significant distances to get to work, and this travel is both time-consuming and expensive. Our employees are the best. They are professionals who are committed to serving our community, and we need to let them know that we support them and their needs.
The city needs to stay laser focused on all these important projects that will enhance and protect our quality of life and on retaining our highly-skilled and experienced personnel. We have the lowest tax millage around, and the city has not raised taxes for a number of years because we have always remained fiscally conservative. However, there comes a time when we need to increase revenues to pursue important projects and to ensure the same level of service for our community.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your mayor, and thank you for electing a great City Council.
Jimmy Carroll, Mayor