By Pat O’Neil for The Island Eye News
On Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, I filed papers to run for re-election as Mayor of the Town of Sullivan’s Island.
Two years ago, the citizens of the Island overwhelmingly chose me to serve the remainder of the term of our late Mayor Mike Perkis. I decided to seek a new, full term only after very thoughtful consideration of the responsibilities this position carries and the opportunities it presents for service to my Island neighbors.
This decision was reinforced by the highly positive responses I and my supporters received recently when seeking the signatures of Island voters to place me on the ballot for the upcoming May 2 election. I was touched and strengthened by the consistently favorable reactions of the people we approached.
In the two years of my leadership as Mayor, much has been accomplished through highly productive teamwork. Very little can be done by any one Mayor or Councilmember or staff member working alone! We have a very collaborative and constructive Town Council, supported by an amazing Town staff headed by our extremely capable Town Administrator, all working with our talented and engaged citizens.
The last two years have seen a number of important achievements by this great team, including, to name just a few:
• Improved communication outreach to our citizens, e.g., establishment of our Town Twitter account (1200+ followers and growing!) and my monthly Mayor’s column in the Island Eye News
• Construction and completion of our new Town Hall, a beautiful and valuable asset for the Town for decades to come
• Modernization of Town services to citizens, such as accepting online payments for water bills, fees, licenses, etc.
• Improvement of our Council and Committee meeting processes to make them briefer, more productive and more businesslike
• Preparation for, and recovery from, Hurricane Matthew
• Initiation of our exceedingly popular Farmers’ Market
• Opening of our nature trail in the protected land around Station 16, which created the opportunity for an Audubonsponsored bird-banding project that demonstrates the high ecological value of this unique natural resource
• Leadership in the successful effort to ban offshore drilling which could pose a threat to the Island’s (and Lowcountry’s) environment and quality of life
• Most important, a greatly enhanced sense of community among our residents
We still have much to do in the next four years, including major upgrades of our wastewater treatment facility, implementation of the next phase of our protected lands management plan, continued efforts to control the impact on the Island of the exploding growth surrounding us, development of a capital recovery plan to systematically budget for future maintenance and replacement of our major capital items, and continued efforts to address stormwater management within the state-owned collection system. We must also commence a thoughtful, long-term resilience plan to protect the Island in the face of rising sea level.
I will have more to say about all this in the near future. For now, I am asking our citizens to consider my record of the last two years as Mayor and the prior 14 years as Councilmember, and based on that to support me for Mayor in the May 2 election!
Please do not hesitate to call or email me if I can be of assistance or provide any desired information.