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Mayor's Greeting- January 2024

Wed, 01/17/2024

Mayor Pat O'Neil

Dear Island Neighbors,

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I hope all of you and your families had a great holiday season and are on your way to a happy and healthy 2024. 

Apparently, our recent Christmas theme was "On Comet! On Cupid! On Donder and Flipper...wait...Flipper?”.  The Nor’easter that visited us on December 17 gave us both the predicted rain flooding and the extremely underpredicted tidal flooding, capped off with several more inches of rain in our stockings on Christmas and Boxing Days!

Regrettably, the results of all that weather were quite visible and especially obvious to residents who experienced flooding at home or on their streets, and to anyone who checked out the beach. Shortly after the Dec 17 event, Town staff got a quote from a contractor we had previously used for post-storm beach and street cleanup, and we engaged them to get started as soon as possible. The tab will be somewhat over $100,000, showing why we have emergency reserves. Odds are slim of a federal disaster declaration which would reimburse us for that expense, but we have the documentation needed should that opportunity arise.

As always, we owe many thanks to our Town staff who were on the scene during and after these events to try to keep us safe.

MORE ABOUT THE WATER WE DON’T WANT
These recent experiences demonstrate the importance of several Town storm- and stormwater-related projects at various stages as of now. (You can read about them all at https://bit.ly/SICTP

  • Sullivan’s Island Stormwater Master Plan ($150K Federal Grant)- The Town has hired an engineering firm to conduct an island-wide study of existing conditions of all ditches, pipes, inlets and outfalls. The plan will identify a priority list of system improvements, cleaning or replacement to establish the best functioning drainage system possible for the Island. 
  • Island-wide Drainage Improvements ($9.2 million State and Federal Grant)- Master Plan data will be used to construct required  improvements across four watersheds; Station 16, 25, 28.5 and 31. Engineers will first design these improvements followed by construction of any needed ditches, pipes, inlets and outfalls to create a more functional system. Construction work is estimated to take place through 2025.
  • Resident drainage and flooding concerns survey: Our master plan team has created an online resident survey so they can formally document flooding/ drainage issues as part of their master planning work (noting time/location of flooding, severity, and photos). Please provide any information from your experiences so we can identify priority areas for grant and other purposes: https://bit.ly/SMPandIIS . Click the blue box on the right side of the page to get to the survey.

AND THIS ABOUT THE WATER WE DO WANT
On Tuesday, January 16 at 5:00 PM (before our regular Council meeting at 6:00), we will have a public hearing on possible changes to our rate structure for domestic and irrigation water usage. Please attend in person or view it online to learn about potential changes.

THANKS FOR SUPPORTING THE SIPD CHRISTMAS BIKE DRIVE
On behalf of our entire Police Department and other Town staff who helped with our SIPD Christmas Bike Drive, thanks to all of you whose generosity made this year’s effort a record-busting success!  Deputy Chief of Police Glenn Meadows, asks me to “send a ‘thank you’ to our community, churches and business partners for making the 3rd Annual SIPD Bike Drive benefiting Toys for Tots such a huge success. Because of the generosity shown by so many of you, we exceeded our goal of 300 bikes. We delivered 355 bikes and over 70 helmets to Toys for Tots, for distribution to children throughout the Charleston Tri-County area.”

Thanks to all of you who contributed bikes and helmets, and to Timmy Hayes Moving Company for getting the bikes to Toys for Tots HQ, and to all of our Town employees, too many to list individually, who assisted with the effort especially in assembling the bikes. However, we would like to spotlight three SIPD folks who really stepped up and assembled a very large number of bikes: Nehemiah Clarke, Kierah Beavins and Collin Livingston.

See you around the Island!

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