Second reading of ordinance 2009-11: business license ordinance amendment
Council unanimously voted to approve ordinance 2009-11, which amends the rate table for the various classifications of businesses as described in section 4-323 of the Town Code. Copies of the new rate table are available at Town Hall.
Affirmation of the 2009 Ordinances
As the Town Council annually affirms the ordinances passed during the past year, acting Town Clerk Cathy Wilson asked for an affirmation, to which the Council agreed unanimously.
Annual committee member appointments
“Every year we go through and appoint or renew members to committees,” said Mayor Wert as he asked Councilman Lipuma to recommend his appointments for the Arts Council. “As you may recall, we had two people leave this past year,” said Lipuma. In light of that, he asked that Judy Perry be added to the Council’s group of regulars. “She’s qualified with a strong background in arts and music.” The Council unanimously approved Perry’s appointment, along with the rest of the Arts Council: Bill Blizard, Ellie Burnaford, Becky Hilstad, Linda Morganstein, Mary Johnson, Arie DeZanger and Julie Fenimore.
Councilman McHugh gave his nominations for the Environmental Committee, thanking everyone who worked on the Committee last year, all of whom wish to serve this year. “It’s amazing we didn’t have a massive walk out,” McHugh laughed. The Council unanimously approved this year’s Environmental Committee, which will consist of Dave Achey, Dale Anderson, Lois Bryant, Jim Chitwood, David Elliott, Aaron Given, Jim Jordan, Elizabeth King and Norm Shea. “I assume they all have solid waste pick up experience now?” the Mayor asked, smiling. “It’s growing as we speak,” McHugh replied.
Councilman Orban nominated this year’s Public Safety Committee, asking for the reappointment of past members Jim Broadus, Doug Dodge, Joe Pezzullo and Dick Sula. The Council approved the nominations unanimously.
Although the new members of the Board of Zoning Appeals were appointed in December, member Tom Burke’s appointment has expired and the Chairman of the BZA suggested that he would like Tom Burke to continue with the Board. Burke’s reappointment was approved unanimously and his term will expire again on January 31, 2013.
Planning Commission reappointment
Mayor Wert asked the Council to reappoint Larry Iwan to the Planning Commission for a term to expire on January 31, 2014. Iwan’s nomination was approved unanimously.
Ordinance 2010-01: annexation of roundabout
“This is something that slipped through the cracks when we built the roundabout [at Freshfields Village],” said Mayor Wert. “We never went through the procedure of annexing the land, so therefore we have the first reading of ordinance 2010-01.” The land is owned entirely by the Town of Kiawah and abuts the Town’s existing corporate limits. The Council approved the ordinance unanimously. A second reading of ordinance 2010-01 will be held just before the February Town Council meeting.
Revised regime solid waste collection costs
“This is basically for information only,” said Mayor Wert, pointing out that the contract with Republic Services of SC has already negotiated. Councilman McHugh noted that the new revised waste and recycling program is now officially five days old and is humming right along. “This contract reflects the inclusion of solid waste pickup for regimes and public areas in aggregate, and reduces cost by about 20% compared to contracts already in place with regimes,” said McHugh. “That’s not to say that this is a linear 20% savings across the regimes. There were some regimes where we made no positive impact and others no impact at all.” However, he stated that an oversight committee has been formed to monitor the program and that they will continue to look hard at the costs.
VC3 computer contract
Mayor Wert explained that the contract with VC3 authorizes the Town to renew their contract through June 30, 2013, but they will be reviewed on an annual basis, “and if we find the contract has not been fulfilled, we’ll be able to cancel it,” said the Mayor. Councilman Orban further explained that the contact is beneficial as it is a fixes price contract. “Before, we were paying by the hour for server fixes and installations.” With two servers, 14 computers, 13 printers and multiple software applications, Mayor Wert stated with a smile that the Town has a “media empire” that needs to be taken care of, and the contract also includes virus protecting. “As anyone knows,” said Wert, “while traveling, the worst words you can hear are ‘The system is down’.” The Council approved the contract unanimously.
Arts Council ticket policy change
“Let me start by saying that, since its inception in 2004, Kiawah Arts Council events have been increasingly popular in our community and neighboring communities,” said Councilman Lipuma. “We have encouraged our neighbors to attend events, and to that end we have been very successful.” He went on to explain that ticket demand has increased a lot in recent years, and many performances have been packed, if not sold out entirely. To that effect, Lipuma stated that the Arts Council would like to give priority to Kiawah property owners by allowing them to pick up their tickets three days in advance of the tickets becoming available to the general public. If approved, the advance ticket policy would come into effect on February 1, 2010. Mayor Wert stated that no motion was needed, but that there should be a general agreement on Council.
Councilman McHugh reminded the Council that there is some sensitivity to the issue. “Kiawah has to be seen as a participating member of community, and the Arts is a vehicle for bringing people to our island.” However, he stated that the proposal would provide a good balance and will still keep the island accessible to the larger community. The Council agreed on the proposal unanimously.
Councilman Lipuma went on to state that the holiday concert with CSO Concertmaster Yuriy Bekker was a great success, with over 900 people in attendance. “January will be very busy month,” he said, listing several upcoming events, including the Charleston Ballet performance “Would You Like to Tango?” which will be held on Sunday, January 24 at the East Beach Conference Center, and the Women in Art Film Series showing of the movie “Frida” on February 5.
Bike path, parkway and public safety
“We’re getting closer and closer to opening the bike path,” Councilman Orban reported. The guardrail pieces that the contractors were waiting on should arrive by mid-January and the Council hopes to have an official opening before the end of January. He noted that the frosty weather has not helped with landscaping, but they are trying to put in as much as they can so the trucks can be moved out of the way of the bikepath. “Just be patient and good things will come,” said Orban.
Councilman McHugh expressed how impressed he was with the Environmental Committee and how it’s wonderful that it brings together so many groups on Kiawah such as the Conservancy, the Community Association and the Property Owners Group. He reported that Committee member Dave Achey has been talking with KICA, and they are continuing to look at landscaping plans that are more “natural”, such as cutting back on mowing to let plants grow more naturally. “Achey is willing to help property owners redesign landscaping along those lines,” said McHugh. He also noted that, in terms of technology, the Community Association is currently using satellites to help preserve water through sprinkler control in the common areas. “The information on how to get this technology is also available to property owners,” said McHugh. “I thought it was pretty neat.”
Mayor Wert asked McHugh if he could answer a question which seems to be a “raging debate” on the islands. “When temperatures drop below freezing, should you water your plants to give them a thin film of ice for protection or not?” he asked. McHugh frowned and said “I can come down on both sides of that,” he said. “If the plant is driven by cold weather, I might ice it …”
“So you have no clue,” the Mayor smiled.
“Right,” McHugh laughed.
Councilman Lipuma interjected, pointing out that in Florida, citrus farmers are wetting down trees so the ice film would protect what’s underneath. “If you have begonias, forget it, they’re dead,” said Lipuma, “but I would sprinkle your plants; just don’t overdo it.”
External Affairs: Johns Island roads
Councilman Burnaford stated that he and Dr. Paul Roberts have met with several people concerning the Johns Island Greenway since the Greenway meeting on December 7, 2009. He noted that Seabrook has given them a great amount of support and that the Town of Seabrook Island has created their own Roads Committee headed by Councilman Sam Reed, “So there’s a lot of cooperation and meeting with different groups,” said Burnaford. “It’s not a ‘Kiawah highway’.” He and Dr. Roberts also met with the Mullet Hall equestrian group about the horse trail option along the side of the Greenway. “They seemed to be for it and for tying their current trails into the system,” said Burnaford.
As for the Greenway and widening studies, Burnaford reported that they should be finished in the next three months. “This will give us the cost of the Greenway, as well as the cost of widening Bohicket and Main roads, so we’ll have actual facts to work with,” he said. On a disappointing note, Burnaford remarked that County Councilman Paul Thurmond will not be running for his seat again at the end of the year (It was later learned that Paul Thurmond is running for Congressman Henry Brown’s seat in the 2010 elections). Thurmond has been a very strong advocate for the Greenway, said Burnaford, and he worked very hard with the County Council to approve it.
Finally, Burnaford stated that he, Dr. Roberts, Sam Reed and Paul Hyman met with the Post and Courier concerning recent articles about the Johns Island Greenway. “The Post and Courier is not in support of a specific issue,” said Mayor Wert. “We just thought the press could be more positive. It took all of 48 hours to have another headline downing Kiawah and Seabrook, however, so the jury is still out on that talk.”
Town Administrator’s report
As Town Administrator Tumiko Rucker has been out of the office due to surgery, Town Clerk Cathy Wilson gave this month’s report. Wilson stated that Town business licenses expire at the end of February, so renewals are currently being sent out. She also noted that, though it’s early, this is an election year for the Town, so if anyone is interested in working with the Election Commission, please let the Town know by dropping by Town Hall.
Mayor Wert thanked Wilson and gave her a “hearty round of thanks” for successfully navigating the Town through Christmas and New Years. He also noted that Rucker is on the mend and will be back by mid-January.
“My, how times have gotten better,” said the Mayor. “We now have two good Italian restaurants on the island: Tomasso’s in Turtle Point, and La Tela in Freshfields.” He also mentioned that last month, he asked everyone on the island to be generous over the holiday season, “and so far, from all reports, we can all be proud of what we’ve done,” he said. “While donations are down, they are not as down as they could be. I thank you and please thank your friends who took the time and money to donate.”
The next Kiawah Town Council meeting will be held on February 2, 2010 at 2pm, with a public hearing on ordinance 2010 – 01 just before the start of the meeting. Kiawah Town Hall is located at 21 Beachwalker Drive. For more info, call 786-9166.