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Nov 19 2012

Kiawah Town Council – November 6, 2012

Citizens’ Comments

Resident Wendy Kulick addressed Council suggesting that the Code Red phone call system could have been used to notify homeowners of the breach in security with the State Department of Revenue. Kulick stated that this would be especially useful for non-permanent homeowners. Mayor Orban commented that the Town planned to do an email blast jointly with KICA, rather than a verbal Code Red. “We are aware of that and we are waiting for the dust to settle on this issue,” Orban said.

The Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO) Director Daniel Beckley thanked Council for their continued support of the orchestra. The CSO originally approached Council requesting a $100,000 donation. Council approved $50,000. Beckley hoped to get $50,000 more to meet their initial request. Judy Chitwood spoke on behalf of the CSO commenting that the orchestra is in the process of a wonderful turnaround. “We are thrilled with the way things are going,” she said. “The turnaround is due in large part to our amazing contributors.”

Second Reading to Adopt the Recodification of Municipal Code

Council discussed Ordinance 2012-6 to adopt the recodification of the municipal code. Council received a draft of the municipal code at the beginning of August, to review and make changes where necessary. Council originally planned to meet and review changes together, but because a fitting date couldn’t be found, the meeting was cancelled and councilmembers were to make corrections individually. Councilwoman Wermuth made a motion to defer approval until the December meeting, based on errors in the document. This motion to defer approval caused some issues among Council. Town Administrator Rucker commented that the planned meeting was to discuss footnotes, add comments, recommend changes, and discuss potential impacts of the ordinance. “We requested Councilmembers have their comments in by October 3. No comments or questions have been raised between then and now,” she said. Mayor Orban spoke up and addressed Wermuth, asking why she did not come back to the Council with suggestions and concerns until the day of approval. Wermuth responded that Council didn’t have the final document until last week, and that Council did not meet to discuss changes like originally planned. Attorney Rhoads said that legally, the Town would be on solid ground if they approved the second reading as is. “Our municipal code, right now, regardless of what you guys decide to do with this, is up to date,” he said. “This [ordinance] was to better organize it and make it easier to keep up to date.” After much discussion, Council approved the second reading of Ordinance 2012 – 6. Wermuth opposed.

Annual Audit Report

The Town of Kiawah island received a clean report for the 2012 fiscal year, and the Town continues to be in a strong financial position.

November is National Indian Heritage Month

The Town of Kiawah Island issued a proclamation officially proclaiming November as National Indian Heritage Month. “I urge all our citizens to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities,” said Mayor Orban. Mayor Orban’s wife, Virginia, thanked the Town on behalf of the DAR.

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

The Town of Kiawah Island issued another proclamation officially proclaiming November as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, at the request of the Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Network.

Ordinance to Amend Business License

Council approved Ordinance 2012 – 7 to amend the way business licenses are collected. Town Administrator Rucker stated that the ordinance is mandated by the state and all towns have to comply.

Debris Monitoring

Administrator Rucker informed Council that ATKINS debris removal services contract was renewed last year for one year. ATKINS requested to renew the contract again for an additional year to continue to serve as the debris-monitoring firm. There are no charges unless a disaster occurs. Councilman VanDerwerker suggested changing the language slightly, so that the Mayor or designee should be mentioned instead of the Town Administrator, in all cases. Rucker and Rhoads agreed to review the contract and replace or insert the appropriate language where needed. Council unanimously approved.

Charleston Symphony Request

The Town received a letter on October 31 from the CSO requesting an additional $50,000 to meet their original request of $100,000. Councilman Lipuma suggested that the Town wait and discuss the contribution as a part of the 2013-2014 year, meaning the item would be discussed in the spring. “We are truly strong supporters of the CSO,” he said. “But our budget is such that it is appropriate to raise this again for the next budget process.” Councilman VanDerwerker commented that this is not a request for next year, but a request for this year. Lipuma motioned to wait and discuss the contribution in the spring. The motion passed, with VanDerwerker opposing.

Purchasing a Town Vehicle

Town Treasurer Kenneth Gunnells stated that the Town purchases a new vehicle every three years because of the wear and tear. When that time frame is extended, the vehicles require more extensive repairs. $30,000 has been budgeted to fund a new truck to replace the current Dodge with a 2013 Toyota Tundra. The Town currently owns three trucks, and one is replaced every year. Gunnells stated that the Town should expect $11,500 from the trade of the existing truck, bringing the cost down to $22,000. Lipuma asked of the condition of the Dodge and Gunnells reported that the truck is in good condition because the axils were replaced last year. Mayor Orban and Lipuma suggested waiting a year to get another year out of the truck. A motion was made to buy a new truck for $30,000. The motion carried, with Lipuma and Orban in opposition.

Expend Fund from Contingency Line

Lipuma reported that the Town has chosen to enter as an intervener in two PSC cases. “This doesn’t mean we are going to intervene but there are issues that we have uncovered which will be discussed in executive session, which require us to bring an attorney in the field of public service,” Lipuma said. Council approved $5,000 from the contingency line to cover attorney fees.

Public Works

Councilman VanDerwerker reported that the disability changes to the Town Hall are done with the exception of the front doors, which would be repainted soon.

Environmental Committee

VanDerwerker reported that the Environmental Committee met on November 5 and the deer survey is nearly complete. The deer population appears to be stable. At the last meeting, the beach-monitoring contract was approved. He also stated that coyotes are on Kiawah Island. “The best thing to do is to monitor them,” he said. If the coyotes become an issue, they will either be trapped or shot. Town Biologist Jim Jordan said that there are currently four or five on the island.

Arts Council

Avner the Eccentric “had the audience rolling in the aisle” Lipuma said. The Charleston Symphony Orchestra held a concert outdoors at Freshfields which was well-received. The last event of the year will be on December 2, where the CSO strings and brass will perform at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, at 4 p.m

Fire Commission

Councilwoman Wermuth reported that the St. Johns Fire District met and brought back up the issue of requesting two additional commissioners from Kiawah Island. The motion passed in a vote of 4 – 3. The next step to add two additional commissioners to the district would be to have County Council approve the recommendation and get final approval from the governor.

Ad Hoc Fire Committee

Councilman Burnaford reported that the Ad Hoc Fire Committee is looking to put a proposal together for Council on the stand-alone fire district. Dick Murphy, Tom Kulick, and Sue Holloman from Seabrook are looking at the financial costs of running a stand-alone district. Burnaford commented that recieveing approval from the governor to add two additional Kiawah commissioners could take two to three months. “Putting people on there who have been on boards and who have run companies will help Johns and Wadmalaw run this business,” he added. Mayor Orban commented that he is pleased that the commission voted to request two additional commissioners from Kiawah. Councilman VanDerwerker added that in the last few months, he has had people from Johns Island approach him asking why Kiawah has demanded additional commissioners. “All I said at the meeting was that we hadn’t asked for it [as a Council] and we hadn’t discussed it,” he said.

Town Administrator’s Report

Town Administrator Rucker restated that the ADA project is nearly complete. She also reported that she attended a meeting last month at the resort regarding the Ocean Course relocation. “I do have maps of the proposed location as well as the preliminary schedule,” she said. Thomas and Hutton are handling the project. “Council should be aware that plans for relocating are underway.” Rucker has also met with resort representatives to help them understand the intent of the ordinance regarding business licenses as relates to larger events at the sanctuary. “One thing we have walked about is working to clarify and improve communications between the Town and the resort,” she said.

Rucker thanked Council for approving the municipal code. The code will be available online.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Orban asked Council if there is anything the Town wanted to do to support victims of Hurricane Sandy. He commented that the Town could host a drive, or pick an organization to send funds. Councilman VanDerwerker stated that generally, agencies don’t want clothes and food because it all comes in and they don’t know what to do with it. “They want cash to do what needs doing,” he said. Mayor Orban agreed that a monetary donation would be a good idea. Council decided to find a reputable and established organization to send support funds to. A motion was unanimously made and accepted to send $20,000 to a relief agency.

Mayor Orban also reported that the November Council meeting would be his last. “Good luck, Charlie,” he said.


The Town received several thank you letters from area organization in response to the Town’s donations. The Town also received a letter from the Municapl Association of South Carolina stating that state employees cannot be used as lobbyist, but paid employees can.

Citizen’s Comments

Tom Kulick commended Council on their decision to send funds to support Sandy victims. He also stated that he is pleased with the request for two additional commissioners from Kiawah to be placed on the St. Johns Fire District Commission. “It has been an uphill battle over the last couple of years,” he said. He continued to report that the commission unanimously approved of a new station on Wadmalaw Island on a budget of $4.8 million, which would be negotiated down. “It should also be public that Chief Ristow is resigning. Another good reason to have two more people from Kiawah is to take down some of the shenanigans that will happen when looking for a new chief,” he said. Councilman Lipuma asked who makes the selection when looking for a new chief. County Council has final approval, who then sends the names to the governor. When Ristow leaves, the Assistant Chief will be interirm until a new chief is hired. “Carl is just tired,” Kulick said. “I am going to miss him.”

Resident Marilyn Larach thanked Mayor Orban for his service on Council as well as Mayor. She also thanked Charlie for assuming his role as Mayor Pro Tempore. “I hope as we go forward everyone will be able to show respect to all council members,” she said.

Wendy Kulick mentioned that last meeting, she asked the Town Council to advertise opening positions on Town committees and boards online or in the Town notes, and she hasn’t seen this posted. Mayor Orban reported that they should be up in December. Secondly, she agreed that the Town should send money to Hurricane Sandy victims instead of goods or food. She thanked Council for following up with KRA regarding the development agreement amendment.

Council Comments

Councilman VanDerwerker thanked Mayor Orban for his service over the years. He thanked KICA for the use of the Sandcastle for voting, KICA for security staff, and the poll workers for their time and dedication.

Councilman Lipuma also commented on the success of the voting experience. “It only took about thirty minutes and it was handled effectiently,” he said. He reported that on October 12, he rode in the St. Johns High School Homecoming Parade as Grand Marshal, and on October 13, he represented the Town of Kiawah at the dedication of a Kiawah-sponsored Habitat for Humanity home in West Ashley. In response to the SC breach in security, he stated that it was an “unfortunate situation” and that we may not know for some time who might be affected.

Mayor Orban encouraged the Town to go out and vote in the Town election, on December 4. “We have six good candidates running,” he said.

Councilwoman Wermuth reported that she sent an email to Congress requesting official information on the breach in security, but has not heard a response. She also thanked Mayor Orban for his service.

Councilman Burnaford thanked Mayor Orban for his service, and stated that the December 4 election is big for Kiawah. “Of all the things in eight years, probably my biggest disappointment is the situation on roads,” he said. He said that he is disappointed that for two years, the Council is 3-2 on roads issues. “I would hope that we pose a question to the candidates on where they stand on this issue,” he said. “79 percent want this. That’s my view and I’m sticking to it,” he said. Wermuth stated that she was “still waiting” on a copy of the scientific vote completed regarding resident opinions on the roads. She stated that it is important to be a good neighbor. “We are doing it with our money, now let’s do it with our cooperation,” she said.

Council will meet again on Tuesday, December 4, at 2:00 p.m.

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