Mayor Holtz stated that the 440,000 loan from the water company is back in the Town’s general fund. The Council discussed what to do with the money, and Mayor Holtz suggested transferring it into the emergency reserved fund. “It is my objective to move our emergency funds up to $1 million from the present $500,000,” Holtz said. Councilman Ahearn suggested that the fund should be continually increasing every year, especially in comparison with Kiawah’s $16 million emergency fund. Council decided to continue discussion of building up the emergency fund at the upcoming Ways and Means Committee.
In other financial news, year to date revenues are $864,331.58 versus a budgeted $807,410.77. Year to date expenditures are $524,485.78 against a budget of $559,417.28. “We are in a comfortable position,” Holtz said. “I don’t have any major headaches on finances.”
Councilman Reed commented on the status of I-526. “As you all know, County Council is scheduled to vote this Thursday on whether or not to move completion of I-526 from the County to the City,” he said. Reed added that there is a group of Johns Islanders meeting to discuss ways to keep Johns Island rural and undeveloped while simultaneously improving traffic safety. “This initiative would enable Johns Island and neighboring stakeholders to formalize around four primary points: conservation, agriculture, culture, and transportation,” Reed explained. The group hopes to combat efforts to complete 526 while creating a team to work together in interest of both sides. Big names on the Nix-526 team like Thomas Legare and Rich Thomas are working on behalf of this new group to see if there is a “win-win” solution for both opponents and proponents of the road.
Reed reported that he attended a Rotary meeting at the request of Jimmy Bailey. Joe Qualey was in attendance, commenting on the status of I-526, “We need to make a decision, one way or another.” Additionally, Reed attended a Fire Commissioners meeting, which he described as, “most interesting.” Reed reported that Kiawah has requested John Olson and Craig Weaver serve as the additional commissioners from Kiawah. There was also discussion about the hiring process for a new chief since current Chief Ristow has announced his resignation. The commission voted and approved funds to hire a consultant group to help find a new chief. During discussion of the hiring process, a member of the audience asked whether or not Ristow had officially resigned, or when his resignation would take effect. Ristow commented that he would stay on as chief until a new chief was hired. One of the commissioners made a motion that Chief Ristow be terminated as chief as of 8:05 p.m. the day of the meeting. “You can’t imagine the discussion and the debate,” Reed said. “Eric Britton asked that the motion be withdrawn, saying that it was despicable and unbearable.” Despite the uproar, Sam Brownlee and Albert Thompson voted to terminate Chief Ristow as chief beginning at 8:05. The motion was defeated 2 – 5.
Councilman Ahearn added on the subject of roads that former SC House candidate Carol Tempel is against the completion of I-526, adding that the Town is lucky Peter McCoy got elected. “I don’t have high hopes of the road going ahead, but I hope it does,” added Mayor Holtz.
Ahearn continued to add that the ATAX committee met for the second time this year. Two committee members indicated their resignation and the committee is now searching for appropriate and qualified members with backgrounds in real estate or civic connections to join the committee. “We did that and we identified Jonathan Spence and Sue Ingram,” Ahearn said. They also discussed ways to spend ATAX money in 2013, commenting on the effectiveness of the Southern Living advertisement as well as potentially highlighting Seabrook on the daytime show Live with Kelly and Michael. Mayor Holtz suggested the committee bring it up as a budget item.
Councilman Cummin reported that he attended a communications meeting as an observer. The committee discussed wi-fi for the whole island along with the expiration date of franchise agreements. Town Clerk Faye Allbritton checked with Kiawah regarding all-island wi-fi, who reported that they had not pursued the option because of all of the trees, which would create the need for towers, as well as the overall cost.
The Charleston Visitors Bureau is currently putting out a daily advent calendar offering up discounts for items and events throughout the Charleston area. To access the calendar, visit www.christmasincharleston.com. The Bureau is also running a promotion for the March issue of Southern Living. The issue will contain a Charleston editorial feature with six spaces available on a first come, first serve basis. “It’s a chance for members of the hospitality community to sale the Charleston area,” he said.
So far, twenty individuals are interested in taking the two-day HAM radio class, thanks to the Disaster Recovery Council meeting, Cummin said. Interested parties come from the Club, Camp, Utility Commission, and Bohicket Marina. Cummin is currently in the process of exploring options for an instructor.
Councilman Ciancio reported that the Disaster Recovery Committee met on December 7 and was well attended with representatives from the Town, POA, Club, Camp, Berkley Electric, Utility Commission, and CERT. Scott Cave facilitated the meeting and covered two general areas: lessons learned from Sandy and internal/external communications during an emergency. “The feedback that I got was very positive,” Ciancio said. “It was a good, short meeting. The summer meeting will be more extensive.”
Ciancio also attended a COVAR meeting and discussed the Debris Removal Ordinance. He explained that Council adopted the ordinance in 2009 in lieu of Katrina in 2009. “I explained that we discussed the deficiencies of the ordinance and that they needed to be amended,” he said.
Mayor Holtz suggested looking at the Town completing a Sandy simulation in June. “We have manuals, procedures, radios…but to get a Sandy, you have a unique problem,” he said. Ciancio said that the Mayor raised a good point and it would be something worth looking into.
The Water Commission reported that the $440,000 loan was back at the Town’s request. The construction project is going forward and is almost complete, with an expected completion date of the end of December.
Appointment of Town Attorney – Stephen Brown
Appointment of Zoning Administrator – Randy Pierce
Appointment of Town Clerk – Faye Allbritton
Appointment on Planning Commission – Roberta Boatti to replace Richard Clarke for a term to expire December 31, 2014
Appointment on Planning Commission – Cathy Patterson to replace Allen Thompson for a term to expire December 31, 2014
Re-appointment of Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee – Diane Holtz, Joan Hylander, Charlene Kreusch, Tom Peck, and Stuart Spisak for a term to expire December 31, 2014
Appointment of Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee – Jonathan Spence to replace Kathleen Rogers for a term to expire on December 31, 2014
Appointment of Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee – Sue Ingram to replace Eric Nielson for a term to expire on December 31, 2014
Appointment of Board of Zoning Appeals – David Osborne to replace Ike Smith (resigned) for a term to expire on December 31, 2015
Re-appointment of Board of Zoning Appeals – Robert Quagliato for a term to expire on December 31, 2017
Zoning Map for 2012
Town Administrator Pierce informed Council that every year, the Town has to update the zoning map located on the wall in Town Hall. Council approved the additions to update the new map.