“With all of the rain that we’ve had lately, and god knows we’re all under water …
we’ve got a big job ahead of us.” – Charleston County taxonomist Ed Harne.
A Spring of Service?
County Public Works, Transportation officials address nonstandard roads, mosquitos, stormwater at round table discussion
By Charlie Morrison
The arrival of Spring in the Lowcountry is something to be savored … a process that has already begun here on James Island, where spring is a sun-drenched afternoon spent idling in a hammock to the backdrop of birds chirping, a ball bouncing, or maybe the unmistakable hiss of a steak sizzling away on the grill. For all its wonders however, spring can be a difficult time for rurally-based residents of barrier islands like James Island.
Rural Charleston communities are the most adversely affected when spring storms wreak havoc, as the roadways that often serve these communities are typically nonstandard or “community” roads. That in mind, Charleston County District 8 Councilwoman Anna Johnson chose to invite to her latest, March 27 community round table discussion a contingent of representatives from the Charleston County’s public works and transportation departments.
The County provides a number of services to unincorporated Charleston County, including managing area roads and storm water drainage systems, handling the entirety of the County’s mosquito control efforts, as well as addressing various road repair and signage issues that pop up throughout the County.
That began in December of 2011, when Charleston County Council rescinded the body’s Community Road Policy of April 1965. Thenceforth, the County has progressed with the process of acquiring the right-of-way and permits necessary to officially bring these roads into the system. The process continues along methodically, with meetings like last Wednesday’s round table discussion greasing the wheels of cooperation by giving residents solid, actionable information about what their options are.
The maintenance of these roads and of the storm water drainage infrastructure that handles is essential to the mission of the City’s Public Works department. Public Works Director Jim Neal, however first focused his attention on another core function of his body. Managing the mosquito population. If we don’t control mosquitos in Charleston County nobody would come to visit us,” said Neal. “It is incredible how many mosquitos can be born in the one week following a storm, when standing water is present.”
Taxonomist and County employee Ed Harne, who heads up the County’s yearly effort to mitigate the area’s mosquito population, broke down the discussion in more detail.
“With all of the rain that we’ve had lately, and god knows we’re all under water … we’ve got a big job ahead of us,” said Harne, who has a staff of 19, a fixed-wing airplane and a number of trucks by which he and his team accomplish their mission.
Heartworms found in pets is the most commonly reported example of the mosquito population transmitting diseases, however last year’s reported Beaufort county death from West Nile Virus, along with two reported cases of Dengue Fever in the state raised the profile of the problem of mosquito carried disease throughout the year.
Neal joined a handful number of his colleagues in attending the meeting, the stated purpose of which was to introduce the community to the people, plans and processes necessary for the County to incorporate and manage the more than 300 nonstandard roads that have been identified within the County. Neal was accompanied by County Public Works and Transportation Department representatives Frank Pandullo, Benjamin Blanks, Ryan Petersen, and Kevin Limehouse, were all on hand to present and answer questions.
Charleston County Councilmember Anna B. Johnson of District 8 continues to hold monthly round table discussions for citizens to learn more about Charleston County Government programs and services. The meetings are held at 12:30 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of every month at the John’s Island Regional Library located at 3531 Maybank Highway on Johns Island. The topic for next month’s meeting is Community Services, specifically HUD funding.
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