Mayor Bill Holtz opened the meeting with the Town financials, noting that it was easier to look at the year to date totals as opposed to monthly figures. The year to date revenue total is $254,305.59 against a budget of $223,990.46. Expenses year to date are $191,805.13 against a budget of $201,331.65.
“Overall, we’re $62,500.46 above expenditures, where we were $56,658.81 above expenditures last year. So basically the Town is comfortable,” said Mayor Holtz.
Permitting the Bohicket Marina Run
Pat Welch of the Bohicket Marina spoke before the Council to request that they issue the permit for next year’s Bohicket Marina Run as soon as possible so that they could begin properly organizing the run.
“We have to make a lot of financial commitments in advance, which is why we need to get approval early. There’s so much competition for the run out there and runners typically plan their runs far in advance. So the earlier we can get the word out, the better,” said Welch.
While there had been some discussion during the last council meeting about waiting until the beginning of next year to issue the permit, the mayor said that they didn’t want to argue over it.
“We’ll sign the permit if the Council approves. It’s just a long lead time for a permit,” said the mayor.
The Council approved the signing of the permit unanimously, and Welch thanked them for making the exception.
“We know you have a lot of competition in the spring and we don’t want to be what held you up,” said Mayor Holtz.
“I just want to say a quick word on the roads,” said Councilmember Sam Reed. Efforts, he noted, are still being made to keep the safety of the roads before the Council. “The issue is not dead by any means and things will definitely occur,” Reed assured the Council.
He also noted that the dedication of the flagpole at the Freshfields Village roundabout would take place on Wednesday, May 23, and invited the other Councilmembers to attend as the Town was one of the project donors.
Regarding the upcoming PGA, Reed stated that the Planning Commission was able to negotiate on the lease for the ingress/egress access point off of Seabrook Island Road into the parking lot field behind Freshfields. The Council had suggested some changes and prepared a lease modification document that the mayor was preparing to send to the PGA’s lawyer.
“They [the Planning Commission] approved it today and we’ll send it off to headquarters and they’ll return with the bond check we suggested. We added some key things like keeping the bike path open regardless of traffic so bikes can go through. They did include that we can’t use the PGA logo without their approval, but that makes sense,” said the mayor.
Additionally, he stated that the access point off of Seabrook would be an entrance and exit, but that no buses would be allowed through the Seabrook side; only cars and emergency vehicles.
“The PGA knows how to run a fine tournament, but it just makes you nervous with that number of cars,” he said.
Lastly, Councilmember Reed stated that he would be meeting with Tumiko Rucker, the Town Administrator for Kiawah Island, and the new executive director of the Kiawah Island Community Association, Jimmy Bailey, to discuss debris removal following a severe storm. The issue, Reed noted, is who would be responsible for what. “We just want to do what’s right,” he added.
Later in the council meeting, Councilmember Ron Ciancio noted that he would be attending a Marsh Association meeting in Hilton Head that Friday, a conference which brings together six private communities in Beaufort County to examine issues of mutual interest. Ciancio stated that they would be discussing debris removal and FEMA reimbursement in particular, and how to effect a timely and economic removal of debris after a natural disaster.
Mayor Holtz added that they definitely needed to plan for debris removal from roads and island access points, but cautioned that individual homeowners should also be sure to have a plan for clearing debris from their own homes.
Forming a Public Safety Committee
Following up on his proposal from the last council meeting, Councilmember Ciancio formally requested the formation of a Public Safety Committee. Consisting of five members, the committee’s short term goal would be to examine the procedures for business license permitting following a natural disaster.
“Contractors will descend on the island in great numbers and we’ll have an emergency need for their services. So we need to examine what we can and should do in regard to permits and licenses,” Ciancio explained.
The long term goal of the committee, he continued, would be to review the Town Emergency Comprehensive Plan on a continuing basis and propose revisions as necessary.
The Council approved the establishment of the Public Safety Committee unanimously.
Councilmember Ciancio also reported that the Town would be conducting its disaster exercise with consultant Scott Cave, the author of the Town’s disaster plan, in order to test communications and hold a functional exercise for CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). The following day, Ciancio noted that he, the mayor, and the town administrator would be attending the inter-island Disaster Awareness Day at Kiawah’s Sandcastle Community Center.
Later in the meeting, Councilmember Jerry Cummin also noted that they should have the new permanent ham radio in place at Town Hall in time for the exercise. If not, he said they could use the one currently utilized by CERT at the island fire station, which is a carbon copy of the one that will be placed at Town Hall.
Seabrook 25th Anniversary party
Regarding the island’s upcoming 25th anniversary celebration, Councilmember Ciancio stated that he received a contract from the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO), but that there are a number of issues that they needed to look into. According to the contract, the CSO would have the right to approve all publicity for the event before it went out, and they reserve the right to cancel the performance if the temperature falls below 65 or rises above 80. The contract also provides that if the show is canceled, all of the money paid would be forfeited.
Mayor Holtz asked that Ciancio and his team work on the contract negotiations and once they were happy with it, to bring it back before the Council for approval.
Councilmember Cummin reported that the official Town Council minutes will now be posted on the administrative section of the Town website. Also regarding the website, he noted that the calendar has been receiving some attention.
The Visibility Committee was set to meet the Thursday after the Council meeting, Councilmember Terry Ahearn reported, so there wasn’t much to report at the time. He did note that work is progressing with the two kiosks at Bohicket Marina, and the ad for Seabrook Island should be appearing in the next couple of days in Southern Living’s North Carolina edition.
The Utility Commission was not on hand to make a report, but Mayor Holtz stated that they called beforehand to say that financials are looking well.
Regarding the upcoming Governor’s Cup Billfishing Tournament at Bohicket Marina on June 6 – 9, the mayor signed the temporary use permit, noting that he “hopes it doesn’t rain and they catch a big fish.”
Ordinance 2012 – 01: Preservation of Green Space
Councilmember Ciancio requested that the Town approve the rezoning of 2812 Doves Nest, which was recently purchased by the island Green Space Committee for the purpose of preservation. The land is currently zoned residential and the Committee wishes to change it to conservancy. As part of the conveyance, Ciancio explained, the land must be maintained as greenspace for the benefit of residents of Seabrook Island.
The Council approved the rezoning unanimously, with Ciancio recusing himself from the vote due to his position on the Green Space Committee board. A second reading of the oridinance will take place next month.
What’s up with the trees?
Before closing the meeting, a resident asked if there was any news regarding the line of dying oak trees along Seabrook Island Road before the gate.
Town Clerk Faye Allbritton explained that the landscapers believed it was because of several excessively high tides and the influx of salt water, but that they hope the leaves will come back soon.
“We’ll keep an eye on the situation,” said the mayor.
The Seabrook Town Council meets on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 2:30 p.m. at Seabrook Town Hall, located at 2001 Seabrook Island Road. The next Town Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 26.