A Word from Our Mayors
Author: Lisa Sulka & Drew Laughlin
The Old Town master plan laid the groundwork for improvements to roadways in Old Town. Improvements have been made along May River Road and Bruin Road, including the addition of on-street parking, sidewalks, drainage improvements, curb and gutter, landscaping, lighting, and hardscape (benches and trash receptacles). Some of this work was accomplished with grant funding of $200,000 from SCDOT.
The final phase of work on May River Road is now underway. This project will add parking, curb and gutter, sidewalks, lighting, landscaping and hardscape from Pin Oak to Whispering Pine. Sidewalks will be added from Whispering Pine to Buck Island Road on the north side of May River Road. The Town was successful in obtaining grant funding through SCDOT for this project, which has doubled from $200,000 to $400,000.
This last phase is in final design, and the landscaping design work is underway. Lighting has already been conceptually designed. SCDOT and Federal Highway Administration grant funds come with a heavy load of paperwork and detailed step-by-step approvals, but this lengthy process is well worth the $400,000 savings to local taxpayers.
On a related note, town staff has gained recognition from SCDOT in terms of our ability to manage these projects locally, and approval processes which took over a year on the last project have taken just a few months with this grant. While the grant funding for this project is a relatively new program under the Federal “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP 21), the SCDOT has systems in place to manage the grants and the town has experience and relationships to facilitate a quicker and smoother grant-funded project.
At this point, the project is moving toward easement acquisition. No purchase of property is necessary, but some easements will be required for pedestrian access, drainage, and grading/construction access. Once this process starts, cooperation from property owners will assure the construction process moves forward more quickly. Approval of the easements and approval of the bid documents by SCDOT will be necessary before the Invitation for Bids (IFB) is advertised. Both SCDOT and town council must approve the successful contractor before construction begins. Immediately following the infrastructure construction, lighting will be installed. Landscaping will occur right after the lighting installation to ensure that the other work does not harm newly planted material.
The grant funding will come on the front-end infrastructure work this time rather than at the end of the job. We are confident this scheduling will provide a quicker transition from infrastructure construction to finishing touches with landscaping. As always, town staff is available to discuss the plans with any interested citizen, and Karen Jarrett can be reached at (843) 706-7802 for more information.
Town Council often recognizes the critical work our public safety and Shore Beach Patrol personnel perform daily. I want to highlight just a few 2013 statistics that reflect their value to the community. A more exhaustive range of statistics will be published in the August edition of the town’s “Our Town” newsletter.
Fire Rescue Department
Bureau of Fire Prevention: Conducted 2,181 fire safety inspections including 466 fire inspections for business licenses, 961 existing building inspections and 754 fire inspections for new/renovated construction; 208 construction plan reviews for new/renovated construction; 101 planning project reviews/inspections; 357 public education presentations; 125 fire extinguisher training students; 232 car seat installations; 58 CPR, AED, and first aid courses taught to 499 students; 49 free smoke alarm installations and 1,130 files of life distributed. The department inspected approximately 2,911 fire hydrants, conducted 35 fire cause/origin investigations, and issued 120 burn permits. Communications (911 Dispatch): 59,438 total telephone calls; 41,267 inbound calls, 18,171 outbound calls, an average of 162 telephone calls a day and 17 or more fire or EMS dispatches daily; and 96 percent of all incoming calls are answered within 5 seconds. Operations: 6,301 total emergency incidents; 4,472 EMS responses; 3,445 EMS patients transported; 170 EMS patients treated but not transported; 1,829 fire suppression and other responses; 137 actual fires; incident response travel times for all calls 82.5 percent less than or equal to five minutes); and minimum average daily staffing level of 32. Support Services: 4,472 EMS incident reports completed; 6,301 fire incident reports completed; annual household hazardous waste round up—29,500 pounds of hazardous materials collected and 46,000 pounds of electronic waste including 265 TV’s; and over 780,000 pounds of hazmat and e-waste collected since 2008.
Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office
Drug Task Force: 94 state cases; 104 arrest warrants obtained; 24 controlled buys; 29 premise searches; 67 traffic stops; 56 vehicle searches; 43 warnings issued; 57 uniform traffic tickets issued; 101 county tickets (a charging document that goes with an arrest warrant for tracking the case through court); and 153 arrests. Enforcement Patrol: 78,558 calls for service-; 3,351 incident reports; 649 arrests; 240 arrest warrants obtained; 1,850 uniform traffic tickets issued; and 4151 warnings issued; Traffic Team: 7,357 calls for service; 451 incident reports; 95 arrests; 33 arrest warrants obtained; 2,290 uniform traffic tickets issued; and 1,422 warnings issued. Evidence: 4,286 new evidence items.
Shore Beach Services
Thirteen and a half miles of beach patrolled to render assistance to beachgoers; three personal watercraft utilized for offshore rescue and ordinance reminders; 300 trash and recycling containers serviced on the beach; 11,639 beachgoers advised of ordinance violations; 32,547 beachgoers given first aid; 763 lost persons reunited with their party; five beach matting installations at town beach parks; 45 dog litterbag stations on the beach; 1,237 persons in the water prevented from having their safety compromised; 110 persons and 72 boats in the water brought or assisted to safety; and 111 responses to 911 calls on the beach.