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Click here to read the Opinion Letter by William Wilkins, Esq. regarding the rights and obligations of the Town under the accreted land litigation settlement agreement dated October 7, 2020

October 2021- Mayor's Greeting

Thu, 10/28/2021

Mayor Pat O'Neil

Dear Island Neighbors,

Happy Fall!

Plenty o’stuff this time. Please read on.

LAST CHANCE TO CATCH LIVE OUTDOOR DRAMA AT BATTERY GADSDEN!

Battery Gadsden Cultural Center (BGCC) is continuing its collaboration with PURE Theatre, the theatrical company that in October of 2019 presented Osceola's Muse.  On October 22nd and 23rd, PURE will offer the second work in this year’s programming, Buyer and Cellar, an outrageous comedy written by Jonathan Tollin.

For tickets and more details, go to puretheatre.org

HALLOWEEN SAFETY REMINDERS

Our Chief of Police, Chris Griffin, offers a number of suggestions to keep your Trick Or Treaters safe this Halloween. Here are a few of them:

  • Travel together: Avoid letting children walk alone. Always walk in large groups with a responsible adult or teenager.
  • See and be seen: Give children a flashlight or glow stick to hold while trick-or-treating to help them see, and to help others see them while they make their rounds. Fasten reflective tape to costumes and treat bags.
  • Walk smart: Walk on sidewalks when available, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
  • Safe treats: Tell children not to eat anything before you inspect it.
  • Choking hazards: If you have very young children, be sure to remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys.

GOOD NEWS FROM AUDITORS, AGAIN!

OK, it’s not often you hear “good news” and “auditors” in the same sentence, much less accompanied by “again”.

However, those of us with the Town (staff and elected) were happy to receive the most recent report for our Fiscal Year ending June of this year, from Greene Finney, LLP, our auditors.  As in recent years, we got what’s casually referred to as a “clean audit” but is more carefully described by auditors as an “unmodified opinion” ... accounting speak for “good job with the things we evaluate”.

To that latter point, it may be useful to note what the annual audit’s purposes are and are not, for any municipal government.

The primary purpose is to evaluate the accuracy of the Town’s financial statements and secondarily, to comment on the extent to which the Town’s internal financial controls adhere to what’s recommended for governmental entities. The audit’s purposes do NOT include evaluating other aspects of the Town’s financial functioning, such as the Town’s overall financial condition or whether the Town is spending money on worthwhile things. However, in the process of evaluating the accuracy of our financial statements, our auditors do provide us the best data on the fiscal-year-end status of our finances, as well as some contextual information that allows us to see how we stack up with certain recommendations for municipal governments in general. 

First and foremost, as mentioned, we again got an “unmodified opinion”, which means that our financial accounting statements, processes and results are what they should be. The report also noted that there were no problems worthy of mention. Revenues and expenses were allocated as they should have been.

And while their job is not to comment on the financial health of the Town, they did note that our financial condition was good. In particular, it was noted that our goal for an adequate fund balance (money available to spend when revenues are down or during emergencies) was appropriately in line with our situation as a barrier island community. There are national governmental minimal standards for governmental entities (enough to cover two months of operations) but everyone recognizes that in a community vulnerable to major catastrophic events, it should be much more than that. And ours is: It’s enough to allow us to function normally for more than eight months.

(And while this was not covered by the auditors, in our last evaluations by the national credit rating agencies Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, the Town got the second-to-top rating available to municipalities for the bonds we issued.)

You can see the presentation of our audit report by Emily Sobczak, Greene Finney Partner, at the archived video of our October 19 meeting and also download their complete report at https://bit.ly/tosiaudit.

FIRE STATION REBUILD UPDATE

You may have noticed that our project to rebuild the fire station and construct a storage and maintenance building is well underway.

Town Administrator Andy offers this report: “Site work is nearly complete and fire station demolition is complete. Block work on east and west elevations of fire station is underway and framing is expected to begin very shortly. Expectation is for the fire station to be ‘dried in’ by mid-December. Steel for the storage building is expected on site within two weeks.”

As you would expect, the site is completely fenced in for safety reasons. Should you wish to review the plans, please call Town Hall or email Andy.

SAVE THE DATE: HOLIDAY PARK LIGHTING...AND FIREWORKS!

Yep, you read that right. Our annual fireworks show, rescheduled from Independence Day because of Covid concerns, will this year be a featured part of our annual December holiday lighting kickoff. As just noted, the fire station is not currently available, so the lighting action will take place in Stith Park.

Says Councilmember Kaye Smith, Chair of Council’s Recreation Committee, “Save the date for Friday, December 3rd to celebrate the Tree Lighting in the Park with a performance by the Wando Choir, to be immediately followed by a holiday fireworks display.  It’s great fun for all ages.”

More details next month...

See you around the Island!

Pat O’Neil
Mayor
843 670 9266
Twitter: @oneilpm1
oneilp@sullivansisland.sc.gov