“This are unaudited, but I don’t think they’ll change a lot,” said Mayor Holtz as he read through the year end financials. Revenue for the year is $950,302.48, which is over the budgeted $860,400. The expenditures were dead on: $539,412.40 compared to a budget of $539,200. “McNulty [the former Mayor of Seabrook] should be congratulated,” said Holtz. Excess of revenues over expenditures for the year is $410,890.08, compared to $599,591.63 last year-to-date. “It’s still very good,” said Holtz, though he did point out that the revenue from business licenses for this year is already $10,000 less than last January. Holtz noted that while this is 30% of the Town’s revenue, the discrepancy could be due in part to people waiting to hear about jobs on the island for the year.
Councilman Sam Reed reported that he attended a meeting with LPA, the organization engaged by County Council to study both the widening of Bohicket and Main Roads, as well as the Johns Island Greenway. Reed noted that as of that morning, Linda McMillian of RoadWise [the trade name for LPA in Chas County] had reviewed 100 out of 424 comments on the Greenway collected from meetings and project display boards. Once the comments are reviewed, the final report should be made public soon after. “Hopefully, the report will compare the cost estimates of widening and the possible [Greenway] route,” said Reed. Lastly, Reed noted that he would be attending a meeting with Al Burnaford and Paul Roberts at Berkeley Electric in order to give a presentation on the Johns Island Greenway to a local Property Owners Association.
Working on the website
Councilman Terry Ahearn gave an update on a new website for the Town which will be set up so that it will link to the various other island entities’ websites, and work as a welcome portal for guests and residents alike. “We’re still in the thought process on how to create this, but we need a new website,” said Ahearn. Holtz remarked later in the meeting that, after speaking with the Town attorney, they are cleared to use Accomodations Tax funds for the website project, as well as general funds, if needed.
Lastly, Ahearn noted that, as the Council community relations officer, he is working with the Green Space Conservancy and would be meeting with them later that week to discuss the use of County Green Space funds.
Mayor Holtz, who also planned on attending the meeting, stated that the Conservancy is looking into alternative spots of land outside of the gate to which the Green Space grant funds could be applied. “We won’t come up with a firm conclusion at the meeting as it’s just a kickoff, but we do have some ideas,” said Holtz.
During the last Council meeting, Councilman Savin stated that he would be speaking with Scott Cave of Atlantic Business Continuity Services, the company which designed the Town’s disaster preparedness plan, about creating a condensed version of the plan for easier use, application and portability. Since then, Savin received a proposal of $500 for labor and $50 per binder for a condensed plan, and proposed that the Town accept the offer and request 10 binders for a total of $1000. Councilman Reed asked if funds were available for this expenditure, to which Mayor Holtz replied that they did have the funds and pointed out that $1000 isn’t a big contract. “If we got a little, thin binder at first, we would have said, ‘Is this all we get?’,” said Holtz, reiterating that the plan was built from scratch specifically for the Town and now they are just in the process of cleaning it up for everyday use. Council approved the expenditure unanimously.
Councilman Savin also suggested that the markers along Seabrook Island Road between the marsh and the walkway, before the gate, either need to be replaced with something that bounces back, or replaced with yellow reflective markers. “It’s just that cars keep hitting them,” said Savin. The Mayor asked that Town Administrator Randy Peirce look into alternatives to be discussed at the next meeting.
Jerry Farber joins Board of Zoning Appeals
Mayor Holtz announced his nomination of islander Jerry Farber to replace Dick Clarke on the Town’s Board of Zoning Appeals. “Farber was a planning commissioner for several year and we need him back,” said Holtz. Farber would complete the rest of Clarke’s appointment, which is set to expire December 31, 2010. The Council approved Farber’s appointment unanimously.
Qualey a candidate to replace Thurmond on County Council
Holtz also reported that the County Council representative for southern Johns Island, Paul Thurmond, will not be running for re-election as he is running for Congressman Henry Brown’s seat in the 2010 elections. “He’s done an excellent job for us as County Councilman,” said Holtz. Running for his County Council seat is James Island Town Councilman Joe Qualey, whom Holtz ran into after meeting with Thurmond for lunch. Holtz stated that he expressed his desire for Qualley to come to Seabrook as soon as it was convenient in order to give his stance on I-526 and the Johns Island roads. “He’s a nice man,” said Holtz. “He’s a lawyer downtown and has a lot of political experience. We’ll have him out here and find out what he has to say.”
New life for the Privateer
Town Administrator Peirce stated that he spoke with the purchasers of the Bohicket Marina and that they are talking about many new ideas for the Marina, including refurbishing the old Privateer Restaurant and possibly putting in an arcade. “But they’ll talk with the Planning Commission first,” Pierce assured the Council. “Good things are happening at Bohicket Marina.”
The Mayor elaborated on Peirce’s report, noting that he had heard a rumor that Red’s Icehouse might be considering going into the old Privateer space. “It’s not finalized,” he cautioned, “but they’re apparently in serious negations.”
Recognition of Boy Scouts centennial anniversary
“This is my first resolution,” smiled Mayor Holtz. “But I watched Mr. McNulty do this.” He flipped through the document. “There’s a lot of ‘whereas’ this and ‘whereas’ that … the Boyscouts are a wonderful organization, so I would like to declare February 8, 2010, as Boyscouts Centennial Celebration Day.” The Council approved the resolution unanimously.
“As an elected official, I’m proud to adhere to that oath,” said Councilman Reed. “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” Mayor Holtz agreed and noted that many of the Councilmen were involved with the Scouts in their day.
Doing something about drainage
Lastly, Mayor Holtz reported that the Town is looking into drainage to see if anything can be done about all the water building up around the island. Pierce stated that the Utility has a vacuum truck and will be scoping drainage lines to see if they can remove some of the silt that has accumulated over the past couple years. “We’ve just had so much rain, it’s way ahead of us,” said Peirce, pointing out that the water table used to be 10 feet below where it is today. “Now, with all the water we’ve had, the water just doesn’t go anywhere,” said Peirce. “But hopefully the drainage lines will move things on a bit.”
Charleston Visitor’s Bureau
Katie Chapman of the Charleston Visitor’s Bureau reported on the great PR that Charleston has been receiving recently, as well as the many efforts that the CVB is making to increase awareness of Charleston. The CVB is currently tracking Charleston mentions and hot trends and topics on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and various blogs. In terms of recognition, Charleston recently received several awards from TripAdvisor.com, including the French Quarter Inn and HarbourView Inn being rated as the #1 and #2 luxury hotels in the US, and the Historic Holiday Inn as #6 in their list of top 10 Family Hotels in the US.
Katie also noted that Charleston Restaurant Week was a huge success, with 38 restaurants participating and several of them extending their offers through the end of the month. The event gained significant national media coverage, including coverage in USA Today. “The restaurants are reported banner sales and are ecstatic and ready to do it again,” said Katie.
Lastly, Katie reminded the Council about the upcoming Southeastern Wildlife Expo on the weekend of February 12. For more info, visit www.sewe.com.