Mayor Holtz called the meeting to order and stated that Town financials are “in fine shape” compared to budget. Year-to-date total revenues are $697,897.92 with a budgeted $657,962.63. Year-to-date total expenditures are $327,565.66 from a budgeted $249,896.68. “Excess of revenue over expenditures is in very good shape,” Mayor Holtz stated. “We’re running about $77,000 better than budget. Basically, we know we are spending money on promotion and other things as a Town, but we are balancing out.”
John Barter and Jim Ramich visited Council to announce their candidacies for Charleston County School Board. Barter stated that he is running for two major reasons. “First, I believe we have a moral obligation to take care of every child,” he said. “The second reason I am running is that I have had the opportunity to learn how to be an effective board member.” Barter stated that he serves on several boards including Charleston Promise Neighborhood, Charleston Education Foundation, and MUSC Foundation. He spent 20 years at AlliedSignal Corporation (now Honeywell) ending as Chief Financial Officer. “People know we have a dysfunctional board,” he stated. “I have a passion for education and knowledge of how to be an effective board member.
Ramich then addressed Council saying, “It pains me to see what is happening here in Charleston County, not only with a dysfunctional board but in terms of statistics. John and I were induced to run because there is a crisis at hand.” Ramich commented that he has experience as well, spending 25 years with Corning and ending his career there as Executive Vice President. Ramich has served on the boards of other international companies, and now works with local organizations such as Our Lady of Mercy Outreach and MUSC Heart and Vascular Hospital. Ramich commented that the state of South Carolina does not have a good evaluation system for teachers, creating a problem of unsuccessful teachers and failing students. “There are a lot of states that have objective evaluation systems,” he said. “There are three that don’t. Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina. That is not a group we want to be in.” He concluded saying, “John and I are passionate about this and we are working hard.”
Council was very supportive of the two candidates and encouraged them on their journey of improving the school system. “We are 100 percent behind you,” Mayor Holtz stated.
Government Relations – Roads
Councilman Reed commented that apart from issues with 526, things are pretty quiet. “Maybe 526 will get decided one way or another soon,” he said.
Councilmember Ahearn stated that the new Branding Committee would be meeting to work on developing a slogan for the island. The Visibility Committee is currently working on plans for 2013 as well as a budget. “The Visibility Committee is working quite well,” Holtz stated. “I am in favor of the Branding Committee but we have to see what the money aspect of that is.”
Town Website Emergency Services
Councilman Cummin stated that the Town has put together a list of contractors who will provide services in the event of a disaster, and that list is now available online under Code Red and listed as “Emergency Services.” Cummin stated that the Town does not endorse any of the contractors, but is just providing the list. “One of our biggest weaknesses is the inability to communicate with the individual homeowner in the event of an emergency,” he said. By making the list available, the Town hopes to better provide for the community in the event of a disaster.
On September 13, Mayor Holtz, Councilman Ciancio, and Town Administrator Pierce met with BB&T to discuss a line of credit for use in an emergency situation. The bank advised the Town to issue a single general obligation bond that the bank would purchase in a private offer. Ciancio stated that the effect of a bond and a line of credit would essentially be the same. The bond ordinance would require two readings, with the second reading taking place after the disaster. The bond would then be issued and funds would be made available from the bank. The Town plans to discuss options and get advice from McNair Law Firm. “We will have a more definitive report at the next meeting,” Ciancio said.
Ciancio stated that he spoke with Town Attorney Stephen Brown on the Debris Removal Ordinance. Brown has been researching similar ordinances passed by municipalities in hurricane areas regarding debris removal on private property. “Once those findings are made, we would be in a position to pass a resolution or an ordinance allowing us to do debris removal on private property,” Ciancio stated. “We are on the right path.”
The Public Safety Committee held their fourth meeting on September 17 and is continuing to review the Emergency Plan. “We want to make it as clear and as streamlined as we can. We will come back after we have completed our review,” he said.
Happy Birthday Seabrook!
“Plans for our anniversary celebration continue to go well,” Ciancio informed Council. At the time of the meeting, 617 people had registered to attend the celebration. “I think we are on pace to have a very, very good turn out.” In the unlikely case of rain on October 20 and the 21, Charleston Symphony Orchestra has made arrangements with the Holy Spirit Catholic Church told hold the concert there. The committee is continuing to decide what the best option is for dining in case of rain on both days. The Social Hall at the church as well as the Club Ballroom are both options, but no final decision has been made. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will assist with pre and post event parking as well as general traffic flow. “The Committee is doing a fantastic job,” Holtz stated.
Mayor Holtz reported that the budget is being prepared and a first reading will probably take place at the next meeting. “By the end of the November meeting we will be all done,” he said.
Town Administrator’s Report
Town Administrator Pierce reported that the beach patrol vehicle has deteriorated and is no longer in use. The vehicle received one bid and was sold for $401.01. Pierce suggested that the Town purchase a used jeep for around $10,000. The Mayor made a motion to move $10,000 from the General Fund into the Vehicle Fund. Council unanimously approved. Because patrol will not resume until Memorial Day, the Town has plenty of time to research the best option for a beach patrol vehicle. “If I can’t find one I can come back to Council. We do have some time, but if needed, I could come and ask Council for more money,” said Pierce.
Utility Commission Chair Jeffrey Bostok informed Council that the UC is on budget. “Operations are normal,” Bostok stated. Water was down for the month of August due to 11 inches of rain, but total usage for the year is still high. The wastewater project is on schedule and “going fine.”
Alan Fleming Senior Tennis Tournament
Councilman Cummin commented that the Alan Flemming Senior Tennis Tournament is coming up from October 3 – 7. Over 200 players are registered to compete, and Cummin encouraged Council to welcome the players. “This is very good tennis. Some of these players, when you see them play, look just like the pros,” he said. “It’s a great tournament and we are very proud of it,” Holtz added.
Seabrook Council will meet again on Tuesday, October 23, at 2:30 p.m.