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Pawleys Island leaders plan to have all wires underground in 5 years

  • Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  • Updated Friday, December 13, 2013 11:35 am

Pawleys Island Town Council is on track to have all utility lines underground within the next five years.

That is according to Guerry Green, chair of the Underground Wire Committee for the island, who gave a report at the council’s regular meeting Monday.

He also said it is possible that the project could be started as early as next September.

If all goes according to plan, work will begin on Labor Day in September and cease on Memorial Day in May.

Green and Town Council members agree that underground wire will enhance the beauty of the island while cutting down on power outages and getting people back on the island quicker after a natural disaster like a hurricane.

“We have had meetings with Santee Cooper Electric Company and Time Warner Cable Company,” Green said.

“When September rolls around, I don’t see why we can’t get it going.”

He said financial projections are looking better all the time, including Santee Cooper’s most recent agreement to temporarily finance any shortfall above the $2,467,000 town financial limit set previously.

There are still a number of things that “need to be ironed out,” Green wrote in a memo to council which he presented at the meeting.

“We have copies of all easements from Georgetown County Water and Sewer District and Santee Cooper, who will review them to see what easements fit their legal requirements. Santee Cooper will contact SCDOT regarding the location, size and the use of the rights of way parallel to the roads on the island. There will be approximately 420 new properties with underground wire, completing the project for the island. Easements will be required for many, if not all of these properties.”

Green wrote that the committee has asked about completing the North and South causeways first so the town can establish a physical presence of the beginning of construction.

“We could be doing the legwork of obtaining other required easements while this work is being done. We need to know the cost of the causeways and the time frame for getting permits and easements and completing this portion. Santee Cooper will get back to us with costs and time estimates for these activities.

He wrote that the committee is in “candid discussions with Time Warner regarding their franchise and mutually supportive financial arrangements which could improve our financial projections and the quality of Time Warner’s services to Pawleys property owners.”

“We will need construction plans from Santee Cooper in order to develop these arrangements in a way that is workable for Time Warner,” Green wrote.

He added in his memo that there are issues for council to keep in mind.

“As decided by the committee of property owners, investment will be by the lot, which will include about 28 unbuilt lots on the island. Pawleys Pier Village owners investment will be by the number of buildings (nine).

Following direction of council, we will conduct a non-binding referendum of involved (those where lines are above ground) property owners to determine the level of support in order for council to make the final decision.”

Town Council voted unanimously to put together information for a brochure to mail to Pawleys Island property owners.

Other business

Council voted unanimously to approve island residents Rocky Holliday and Ed Fox for the Pawleys Island Planning Commission.

Council voted unanimously to approve the town’s Hazard Mitigation Plan update for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The plan has been in place since 2009, but the town has to update the plan each year.

Council approved Christmas bonuses of $300 for each full-time employee and $110 for permanent part-time employees.

Council presented Mary McAllister, a former council member, with an engraved silver platter for her service to the Town of Pawleys Island.

Mayor Bill Otis announced that the town’s annual Christmas caroling event is set or Friday at 5:45 p.m. at Pawleys Park on the North Causeway to the island.

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