Before going into the business of Council, Mayor Wert asked for a moment of silence for Sid Williams and Earl Carrara, two Kiawah citizens who recently passed away. The mayor asked that everyone take the moment to offer their hopes and prayers to the families.
First reading of the 2010/2011 budget
In response to a public hearing held just before the Council meeting, Mayor Wert stated that the Council would work to answer several questions pertaining to the budget during the next Council meeting in June. He pointed out that this year’s budget has been cut back considerably and that currently, all charitable giving has been cut out entirely. “This was painful for all of us,” said Wert, “but if we’re in excess when the new budget comes in, we will meet and give the excess funding to charitable organizations that have been cut to zero this year.” Council approved the first reading of the budget unanimously.
Kiawah bridge revetment proposal
Councilman Steve Orban has mentioned the erosion around the bridge on the Kiawah Island Parkway during past Council meetings, and during the past month has had the situation evaluated. “It’s not quite an emergency, but something needs to be done,” said Orban, pointing out that there is significant erosion along the banks underneath the bridge and the slope has increased by a significant amount, mainly due to the excess of rain this past winter. After requesting proposals from Thomas & Hutton and Collins Engineers, Collins Engineers (the company that worked on the bike path at Cinder Creek and Blue Heron Park) has agreed to design an erosion control system and submit it to DHEC/OCRM for $9500, contingent on the assumption that no new survey is required. If a survey is required, Collins offered to perform the survey and required delineation of the Critical Line, and submit it to DHEC/OCRM for $12,500. Council unanimously approved an award not to exceed $25,000 for the project, though Orban restated that they could hopefully do the project for much less than that. “It’s really a small job, only about 150 feet needs to be stabilized,” said Orban.
Solid waste removal agreement
Town Administrator Tumiko Rucker recommended the approval of Carolina Waste Services, LLC to perform beach solid waste and recycling collections on the Kiawah beach in the amount of $40,500 per year for two years. As they were the lowest qualified bidder and the overall difference in cost to the Town is an additional $4,500 per year, the Council approved the contact unanimously.
Piano series returns and Arts Season Finale
Councilman Lipuma ran through the Arts Council events in April, stating that all of the events were well attended, and the Piccolo Preview performance at the Church of Our Saviour with violinist Yuriy Bekker and jazz saxophonist Lonnie Hamilton was very impressive. Because the Arts Council had a little extra funding left over for the year, two Piano Series encores will be held at the Sandcastle on May 19 and May 26 from 4 – 6 p.m. on both days. “Bring a friend, a bottle of wine and some cheese, and enjoy the music and the surf,” smiled Lipuma. The final Arts Council event for the year will be a Zydeco performance by accordionist J. J. Caillier and his band at Night Heron Park on June 30 starting at 6:30 p.m.
Lastly, Lipuma announced that the town received a very nice letter from Jane Riley of Communities in Schools, thanking them for the two town-sponsored performances of Peter and the Wolf at Angel Oak Elementary and Haut Gap Middle, both of which were very well attended. Riley also sent her letter to the Post and Courier and it was printed in the “Letters to the Editor” section.
Bike path etiquette
Councilman Orban announced that some “rules of the road” will be published in the next Town Notes regarding bike path etiquette due to some recent concerns. He also noted that the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training through the Kiawah Island Community Association is underway and trainees should be certified and available as needed by mid-summer.
The annual beach meeting is coming up shortly, where all parties with interest in beach safety (fire, police, beach patrol, the Resort, etc.) will meet and go over beach safety procedures and situation handling. The KICA Safety Committee has formed a small subcommittee which is looking into the issue of dogs on the beach and will submit their information to the Town Council. “We’ll hear from them, look at ordinance and see if we can change anything or keep as is,” said Orban.
Lastly, the 2009 municipal court report and 2009 daily activities report from the Charleston County Sheriff’s office. The municipal court report stated that Kiawah Island municipal court handled 239 traffic, criminal and town ordinance cases, and the Charleston County Sheriff’s Deputies reported an all time high of 432 traffic counts during 2009, up from 246 in 2008. Of the contacts made, only about 40% resulted in the issuance of a citation. The complete report is available at Town Hall.
Kiawah is green and giving
“It never ceases to amaze me, the green conscious of this island,” said Councilman McHugh before announcing that 190 people are already signed up to volunteer with the turtle patrol. Monitoring of the beach for sea turtles will continue from May through October and McHugh reminded everyone to turn out their lights at night to keep hatchlings from crawling in the wrong direction. McHugh also noted that the Town of Kiawah provided transportation for kids from Haut Gap Middle School recently so that they could go on a nature walk with Town Biologist, Jim Jordan.
Lastly, McHugh stated that Jim Jordan will provide info on where he believes bird sanctuaries should be along the beach in regard to the dogs-off-leash ordinance review.
Roads and oil spills
There’s still no report from LPA, the group reviewing the potential for the Johns Island Greenway and/or possible expansion of Bohicket and Main roads, said Councilman Al Burnaford, but they should hear something by the end of May. “One of the things slowing it down is Boeing and the amount of work and cost going into the North Charleston road issue,” said Burnaford. However, from preliminary info provided, it seems that the Greenway option is at the top of the list.
Lastly, in regards to the oil spill in the Gulf, Burnaford stated that the Town will be meeting with the County and discussing what needs to be done in the event of oil arriving on Kiawah’s shores. “We’re in this little coastal cavity,” said Burnaford, “so hopefully it will by-pass us, but we should be prepared.” Mayor Wert did point out that, as with the “tar ball” incident about six months ago, the federal government should pay the cost of cleanup and it shouldn’t affect Town or state funding.
Earth Week a success and Disaster Awareness Expo approaching
Town Administrator Tumiko Rucker thanked all of the residents who volunteered a few weeks ago to help clean up the bike path, parkway and Beachwalker Drive, announcing that more than 200 pounds of trash was collected. Also, during the recycling day, more than 3100 pounds of paper was shredded and two palettes of e-waste were collected.
This June 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Rucker urged everyone to attend the annual Disaster Awareness Day at the Sandcastle. The event, which will be held in conjunction with Seabrook Island, is open to the public and will include a free lunch provided by the Kiawah-Seabrook Exchange Club.
Lastly, Rucker announced that three benches will be placed along the bike path, and garbage receptacles will be placed next to each resting area.
Mayor Wert reasserted Rucker’s encouragement to attend the Disaster Awareness Expo on June 10, and reminded everyone to turn their lights off during turtle nesting season. He noted that the town is working with the County and DHEC to expedite the River Course cleanup and he is looking forward to a report from the dog committee, which will be reviewed in full by the Council to determine if action needs to be taken.
Lastly, Wert stated that a small celebration was held for those heavily involved in the bike path’s construction, and in thanks for all of his hard work on the project, Wert presented Councilman Orban with a bronze bike path dedication plaque.
Butch Neal stated that he has received several phone calls from professional beach services along the Gulf, asking if their concessioniere people could be placed along the East coast. Neal stated that while the oil spill may benefit summer tourism on the east coast, we all should keep in mind the pain that gulf coast residents and tourism industries are experiencing.
Wendy Kulick thanked the Council for proposing any excess fund from the next budget be given to charities that were cut this year, and thanked the Resort for helping to bring the AVID program kids from Haut Gap Middle School out to the island for a nature tour with Jim Jordan.”It was a great experience and a great example of what we can do,” said Kulick.
“We’re proud of our critters,” smiled Mayor Wert.
The next Kiawah Town Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 1, at 2 p.m. at Kiawah Town Hall, located at 21 Beachwalker Park. For more information, visit www.kiawahisland.org or call 768-9166.