Mayor Bill Holtz reported that revenues are $25,326.93 less than budgeted, but since much of the incoming revenue is staggered, Holtz noted that they would wait and take another look at it at the end of the summer. In fact, he pointed out, the Town received $68,000 in June which is not reflected in these numbers. Expenses are pretty much in line with the budget and as of the end of May, the Town is running 35,666.60 less than budget. Year-to-date excess of revenues over expenditures are $83,882.98 compared to the budget of $73,543.31. “We’re doing fine and business activity is pretty much what it was last year,” said Holtz. “It’s not wonderful, but we can live with it if we have to.”
Martha Harris retiring
Martha Harris, Vice President of Government & Consumer Affairs for Berkeley Electric Cooperative, announced that she will be retiring at the end of September. She will be replaced by Mark Gaddy, former Manager of Economic Development & Key Accounts for Berkeley Electric. Everyone in Council expressed that they will be sad to see her go.
Councilman Sam Reed participated in a meeting with the Council of Governments at the Charleston County offices this past week. The meeting was mainly a chance to meet with and get to know representatives from the three counties, and Reed had the opportunity to meet with Charleston County Councilman Teddie Prior and briefly discuss the road situation on Johns Island. “He assured me that there would be a presentation to the entire [Charleston County] Council in July by the LPA Group,” said Reed.
Councilman Reed also reported that he would be attending the next CHATS meeting on the following Monday. As for the roads, Reed stated that an effort is being made to put together a documentary/presentation with pictures and comments about why the Johns Island Greenway should be strongly considered. “If there is opposition once some kind of announcement is made, we should be prepared with counter comments and positions,” said Reed.
Councilman Rob Savin asked if there was any indication of when Charleston County would vote on the Johns Island Greenway issue, and Reed said that there wasn’t at this time, but he would notify the Council immediately when he learned the date of the meeting.
Obviouslee Marketing proposed as Town website designer
Before reporting on the progress of the Town’s website, Councilman Jerry Cummin asked if the fireworks company hired for July 4 was aware of a new pyrotechnic safety law that just went into effect on June 11. Town Administrator Randy Pierce assured Cummin that the company would be responsible for staying abreast of the laws and would get all of the required permits before performing the show.
In terms of the Town’s new up-and-coming website, Cummin was happy to announce that they narrowed their choice down to one company, Obviouslee Marketing, and would like to ask the Council for their approval. Obviouslee’s pricing came it at 50% below the second lowest bidder at $8500 for a portal site and Town administration site. The company also recommended that the Town invest in Google Adword at $500 a month. Cummin recommended that the Town go with the Google Adword program for the first six months, then consider dropping to a lesser rate once established. Cummin further stated that Obviouslee strongly recommended including video on the site as it is a means of “optimizing” the site so it would show up more in online searches, and gave a rough estimate of $10,500 for production. “That’s something I think we should consider later on,” said Cummin, noting that it will take about 18 weeks to get the new site up and operational. Total, Cummin motioned that the Town accept Obviouslee Marketing’s proposal of $12,000 for the portal and administration sites, subject to review by the Town attorney.
Mayor Holtz asked if someone would be able to work with Obviouslee during the summer as Cummin will be going out of town until mid-August, but Cummin assured the mayor that he would be available to handle the website by phone and internet. Holtz thanked Cummin and Councilman Terry Ahearn for all of their hard work on the site, and motioned that Council accept the proposal pending the approval of the Town attorney. Council approved the expenditure unanimously.
Before closing his comments, Cummin thanked the website advisory committee consisting of Shawna Jarrett, John Thompson, Ken Ingram, and Caleb Eldridge for all of their help. “Their input was very helpful as many of them were already involved in their own websites,” said Cummin. “I really appreciated their input.”
Councilman Rob Savin reported on the Town’s first tabletop disaster drill and was happy to say that it went well and was very well attended. Scott Cave, the author of the Town’s Disaster Preparedness plan, kept the pace going and Savin noted that a lot of the island entities were surprised by what they would need to know and do in the event of a hurricane or storm surge. “We’re planning on having a meeting like this twice a year,” said Savin.
Savin also reported on this year’s Kiawah/Seabrook Disaster Day on June 12, and was disappointed by the low Seabrook turnout. “A lot of people attended and there was a nice lunch, but there were very few Seabrook people,” said Savin. “it makes me wonder if our financial support is worth it because no one from Seabrook seems to want to go.”
Council briefly discussed possibly holding the next disaster awareness day on Seabrook and Mayor Holtz agreed, saying that they would look into it.
Recognizing our veterans
September 11 is a day of celebrating our veterans, and Seabrook Islander Roy Mathis is working on coordinating a veterans’ celebration. According to Mathis, there are close to 300 vets signed up for the event, with 20 of them being World War II vets from Seabrook Island. The event will include a flyover and presentations, and the Council discussed the possibility of purchasing some mementos for the veterans for their service. Mayor Holtz motioned that $1,000 be set aside from the general fund to be put into special funds for the program, and Town Administrator Pierce said he would work on putting the project together immediately.
Jeep on beach patrol
In his report, Town Administrator Randy Peirce first asked that the Town give approval to this year’s Hazard Mitigation Plan as part of Charleston County’s plan with FEMA. The plan allows all participating municipalities to receive certain insurance points and discounts. “The plan is now over 1,000 pages, and if you wish to read it, it’s posted online at CharlestonCounty.org,” said Pierce. However, the specific section applying to Seabrook is only about 10 pages, at most, and basically lists what the Town does in terms of keeping up with zoning, county building inspections, etc. The Council approved this year’s hazard mitigation plan unanimously.
Secondly, Pierce asked for a quick correction to a previously approved budget for Atlantic Continuity Services’ help with the first Town disaster tabletop drill. The Town had approved $1500, but the original estimate was for $2500. “I think he earned it,” said Pierce. Holtz motioned for the approval and Council approved unanimously.
Lastly, Pierce noted that if anyone had noticed the Beach Patrol using a 4×4 Jeep as opposed to the usual 4×4 cart, it was because the cart was being service due to some electrical lines being chewed apart by mice. The cart should be back in service in less than a week.
Cruising with the Beach Patrol
Before closing the meeting, Councilman Cummin reported on a recent day that he spent with Bill Shepherd, head of the Seabrook Island Beach Patrol. Cummin was amazed by everything that Shepherd accomplished during the day. Along with keeping written records of his activities throughout the day, Shepherd also keeps an eye out for everyone in the water , takes care of nuisance problems like people leaving their beach tents up overnight, and unruly beachgoers. The best story, said Cummin, was when Shepherd ran into a female who had been drinking and thought that she was back on the French Riviera. “He had a tough time talking her back in to her bathing suit,” laughed Cummin. Overall, Cummin stated that the beach patrol does an excellent job, and encouraged other Council members to go out with them sometime and experience a day at the beach from their perspective.
“I appreciate your report because all we ever hear are the complaints,” said Mayor Holtz. “What jerry has reported is that one person has a lot to do on the beach.”
Holtz closed the meeting by reminding everyone to watch out for folks who wander out on to the sandbar just off the beach. While people can’t be prohibited from visiting the sandbar, it’s still a very dangerous spot, and Holtz was happy to report that the last time he saw people on the sandbar, he also saw the beach patrol watching them until they returned safely. “It’s when the tide changes that you have to worry,” said Holtz. “We should do everything we can to discourage people going out there, but we can’t keep them off.”
The Town of Seabrook Island has tentatively canceled the July 27 meeting, however, a permanent decision will be made closer to the date. For more information, contact Town Hall at 768-9121 or visit www.townofseabrookisland.com. The August council meeting will be held on August 24 at 2:30 p.m. in Town Hall, located at 2001 Seabrook Island Road.