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Sullivan’s Island Mayor’s Message: April 2019

Dear Island Neighbors,

Happy Spring! Or something.

From the hot days we had this “winter” (remember New Year’s Day?) and the chilly days last week after the vernal equinox signaled the alleged onset of “spring”, I think our new reality may be seasons with mood swings and commitment issues.

But regardless of whatever climatological hand we’re dealt, here are some items you may find of current interest.


It’s budget time at Town Hall. Council and staff are in the midst of planning our Town budget for the Fiscal Year 2020, which begins July 1. This is an annual process of substantial importance for the Town and its functions and priorities. Nonetheless, it usually attracts as much citizen interest as the Paint Drying videos on YouTube. (OK, I initially thought I was making that up, but then learned they exist!)

However, we will continue to discuss and vote on this important matter over the next couple of months, as we go through the process of holding three separate readings on the ordinance, which sets the budget.

In this context, I’m very proud to say that we have had much validation from outside expert sources of the financial health of our Town government. We of course annually have a systematic audit by an outside firm, and the most recent report again gave us good marks for financial controls and processes, and noted that our “unassigned fund balance” (basically, our fund for emergencies) is highly appropriate for the special needs of small coastal communities.

More to the point of financial health, last year the Town issued Installment Purchase Revenue Bonds to finance long-needed capital improvements, particularly the wastewater collection and treatment system. In the process the Town’s overall fiscal health had to be scrutinized by the outside agencies we have all heard of. We received bond credit ratings from Moody’s and Standard & Poor that were the second best possible.

You may have seen some of the workers and trucks already involved in repairing our wastewater collection system (AKA sewer mains), and you will soon see much more work on the upgrades to our wastewater treatment plant and much-needed renovations of our fire station. You can rest assured that the financing of these projects has been anticipated and planned for.


Don’t forget that our Fourth Annual Farmers’ Market is now located at the Stith Park, next to Town Hall. Feel free to park in the lot behind Town Hall, accessed from behind the fire station from Station 20 1/2, or in the Town lot across I’on behind the Post Office (in front of Battery Thomson).

 Lots of great vendors, food, and music…check it all out at SIFARMERMARKET or preferably, at the actual Farmers’ Market.

The Market will be open on Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m., through June 27. Come on out, meet your neighbors, hear some music, get some goodies, support our vendors, and have some fun!


There’s a reason nearly all our cross streets are called Stations. Maybe you know why. But do you ever wonder why you don’t see any Stations 1 through 8 here?

And do you ever wonder how folks got here from anywhere else before we had the Ben Sawyer Bridge and the bridge at Breach Inlet?

Wonder no more, if you can make it to the latest great program from the Battery Gadsden Cultural Center folks. On Thursday, April 18, 6–7 p.m., at the Fort Moultrie Visitors’ Center, Dr. Nic Butler, historian of the Charleston County Library, will generously offer another very engaging talk, “Trolleys & Ferries on Sullivan’s Island.” You’ll learn about our fascinating Island transportation history going back to the 1870s, and the relation of that history to our current Island.

Dr. Butler offers a treasure trove of history on the Charleston area on his blog and podcast, “Charleston Time Machine”, which you can access at


 Don’t forget that our next Town election will be Tuesday, May 7. Three Council seats are at stake.

Our polling place is the Sunrise Presbyterian Church, which generously offers their facility. On Election Day, it will be open from

7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Absentee voting is available before then through the Charleston County Board of Elections and Voter Registration.

Unfortunately, if you are not currently registered to vote on the Island, the deadline for registering to vote here (April 6) has passed. Being registered elsewhere in Charleston County or SC doesn’t qualify you to vote on the Island.

For more information on this election, go to

As I said last month: Please learn about the candidates and their positions. But if you encounter letters, postings, signs etc. that do not indicate their author or sponsor, they are best disregarded. Ballots should be anonymous, but not campaign claims.

See you around the Island!

Pat O’Neil, Mayor

 (Cell) 843.670.9266 | |


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