By Katy Calloway, The Island Eye News Managing Editor
The April 16 Sullivan’s Island Town Council meeting got off to it’s usual start, with a warm welcome, the Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation.
A single resident approached the podium for citizen’s comments. A relative newcomer to the island, Mr. Emmett Lynch, first thanked Council for a wellrun municipality and expressed his affection for the community. He then got to the heart of the matter and described his distress at this year’s St. Patrick’s Day event stating, “I had never seen folks on the island walking and vomiting on the sides of the streets…inebriated people driving golf carts.” Lynch said he hopes that inviting people to Sullivan’s Island to party is not the direction that the Town is going.
Mayor O’Neil implied that the Public Safety Committee is planning to address these issues at their next meeting.
Council then jumped right into the agenda and minutes were approved unanimously without comments or changes.
There were two first readings, by title only, that were approved unanimously without discussion: 1. an ordinance to adopt the General Fund Budget for FY 2019-20, and 2. an ordinance to adopt the Water and Sewer Budget for FY 2019-20. The Mayor noted that each budget has to go through two more readings that may include some discussion.
A resolution to approve the expenditure of hospitality tax funds for boardwalk construction at Sullivan’s Island Elementary School and repairs at Stations 25 and 26. The resolution passed unanimously without discussion.
A second resolution for approving the expenditure of hospitality tax funds for the purchase and installation of automated license plate recognition cameras was also approved unanimously without discussion. The cameras have the capacity to snap pictures of license plates when they come and go from the island, and checks plates against a database of known offenders. The Mayor clarified that there has been an offer of private financial assistance, contingent on Council approval of funds to pay the difference. There remains opportunity for citizen contributions to this program. The resolution passed.
Two proclamations were then made, the first, Holocaust Days of Remembrance, happens annually. Members of the Charleston Jewish Federation were present to light a candle and acknowledge the Town’s designation of April 28-May 4 as Days of Remembrance in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.
The Town of Sullivan’s Island Arbor Day Proclamation was then made to celebrate Arbor Day and support efforts to protect trees and woodlands, and to urge citizens to plant and care for trees, to gladden the heart and promote the well-being of this and future generations. Happy Arbor Day on Friday, April 26. The Town will have a special celebration on Thursday, April 25 from 4-7 p.m. at the Town Farmers Market.
A motion was then made to consider requesting the Planning Commission to craft an ordinance for small wireless facilities equipment within the limits of the Town. Mayor O’Neil explained that this is the next step in technological progress, and evolution into 5G.
Councilmember Smith made it clear that these are not cell towers, but much smaller devices that attach to signage and structures already in place. The motion passed.
The Mayor’s report included the commendation of resident Larry Middaugh, who came in first in his age group, 80 yrs. and over, in the Cooper River Bridge Run. This is the sixth consecutive time Larry has come in first or second in his age group, which was previously 79 yrs. and under.
Town Administrator Andy Benke’s report included some housekeeping items including the reminder that select boardwalks are being elevated prior to beach season. He reviewed some upcoming legislature in Columbia that may affect Sullivan’s Island.
There was no Attorney’s report or reports from Boards and Commissions. The Municipal Elections Commission is geared up and ready for the election Tuesday, May 7.
Committee Reports were also sparse, including a Public Safety Committee thanks to police for their help with the St. Paddy’s event. The Committee is planning to discuss next year’s event at their next meeting.
There was a last comment from Councilmember Smith on the Water & Sewer Committee about the new sewer line that runs at Poe Ave. and Citadel St., there is a current negotiation taking place between the Town and four private property owners who lost some of their buffer area. The Town is working with these owners to replenish the width of buffer that was lost when the sewer line was put in.
With no further business, the meeting was adjourned. The next regular meeting of the Sullivan’s Island Town Council is scheduled for May 21 at 6 p.m.