Back in Business
Budget in hand, Town of James Island sets to task of restoring services
By Charlie Morrison
Last Thursday evening, the newly-elected members of the Town of James Island’s Town Council convened their first regularly scheduled, official meeting since the Town incorporated for the fourth and likely final time earlier this summer. A special gathering was held Thurs. Aug. 2 to certify the elected officials, appoint Planning Commission and Board of Zoning appeals members, and conduct other business.
But it wasn’t until last week’s meeting that the commission got down to the real business of running amunicipality business that always begins with budget. The theme of the night was unanimity, as the body passed four ordinances, all by unanimous, 5-0 votes.
Like the three other motions passed, the Town’s 2012-13 budget received passage of first and second reading at last Thursday’s meeting. Roughly a third of the size of the last incorporated Town’s budget, this version reflects the Town’s physically diminished size. The budget projects revenues at more than $1.95 million and expenditures at just more than $1.7 million. The document reveals much about how the Town will be organized, as staffers such as a Town Administrator, Planner, Building Inspector, Clerk, Finance Clerk, and two receptionists have been budgeted for.
S.C. House of Representatives District 115 candidate Carol Temple was in attendance, opening the public commentary on the budget with her endorsement of both the Town and the budget. “You all have completed a Herculean task in reforming this Town,” said Temple. “And having worked with millions of dollars in grant monies for the Charleston County School District, this looks like a transparent budget and you all should be commended.”
The other three ordinances that passed at last Thursday’s meeting all relate to the Town collecting revenues. First and second readings of ordinances re-establishing Town policy on business licenses and franchise fees received unanimous passage, as did an ordinance approving of the Town obtaining a revenue anticipation note. Though not technically a “loan,” the Town will be obtaining $75,000 in State money to operate in the here and now.
The Town anticipates paying back the note by December, after it begins collecting, in September, revenues from the Town’s share the local option sales tax money, and later on in November both state aid to sub-divisions and franchise fees.
Each of the four ordinances that received first and second reading passage will be heard a third and final time, complete with a public commentary period, at the next meeting of Council, Thursday, Sept. 20. Copies of the budget are available at James Island Town Hall.
Councilman Leonard Blank perhaps best summed up the tone of the meeting by answering Mayor Bill Woolsey’s call for any new business the Council might have for the meeting. “There’s a lot of new business but we don’t have to discuss it all tonight,” said Blank.
James Island Town Hall is located at 1238 Camp Road. For more information see the Town’s new website at http://www.jamesislandsc.us.