Budget discussions and other financial matters took up a large part of Monday’s two-hour Pawleys Island Town Council meeting.
One long-time resident offered his thoughts during the beginning public comment portion of the meeting.
Stacy Clardy said “My impression of what’s gone on here over the last 22 years. The biggest problem we’ve had is something called money. M-O-N-E-Y. … We’ve built a pretty good size.”
“I looked at the figures of how much lawyer fees we’ve paid over this period of time. It’s a staggering amount of money.”
“I said to myself, we need money. How are we going to do this? What came to my mind is, we should charge people to come over to Pawleys Island,” Clardy said.
“Put up a gate on the big bridge over there and have one-way traffic. It doesn’t cost very much for one of these. And only let them off when they pay their cost back.”
“This goes on all the time down in Georgia, at a place called Jekyll Island. Guess what? They have no problem with money.”
Clardy said “They declare it a public park. A state park.”
“Mr. Mayor,” he said to new Mayor Brian Henry, “I’m not making a recommendation that we ought to do that. I’m just saying we ought to look into it. It might be a way to go, and then you don’t have to worry about money anymore. Just have a good time. And then we don’t have to hire a lot of lawyers.”
Beach renourishment project
Money is a major component of getting the sand put on the beach for the renourishment project.
Steve Traynum of Coastal Science and Engineering updated thed Town Council members on the beac h renourishment project.
To date, about 236,000 cubic yards of sand have been put on the beach.
There have been some problems with weather, though .
“On a good day, they are pumping about 20,000 yards of material.” Traynum said it’s as expected, sometimes with a little bit more shell.
As normal wave action occurs, the shell and sand will be mixed more. Also, the sun will bleach out some of the shell and sand to be a more uniform color.
“Overall, we’re very happy with the quality,” Traynum said.
He said once the project nears completion, he favors vegetation over sand fencing.
The plants will help hold the sand in place better.
Sometimes, he added, sand fencing can be used to help direct people away from more sensitive areas.
Henry asked how much money is in the budget for vegetation.
Administrator Ryan Fabbri said about $80,000 is earmarked for thed vegetation portio n.
Those funds are from the South Carloina Parks, Recreation and Tourism grant.
A little later in the meeting, Council members approved a payment to Marinex Construction for $2.4 million for work done on the renourishment project so far.
Council also approved a payment to Coastal Science and Engineering for $23,195.48 for work done in the month of October.
The Monday, Dec. 9, meeting started out with a scheduled public hearing on the budget for the upcoming calendar year.
No member of the public signed up to speak.
The total Town budget is set at $8,607,900.
Of that amount, $7,436,000 is for the beach management project.
Fabbri noted that previously he had removed the cost of a new police vehicle from the budget, at a savings of about $45,000.
Also in accordance with Council’s recommendation, a full-time police officer position was removed from the budget.
The particular officer continues to do some part-time work.
Those reductions and some other changes have reduced the operating budget by about 3.5 percent.
Several Council members asked about ways the budget could be reducedeven further.
Fabbri said the budget was already devoid of fat.
With more discussion, Council decided to defer any further action for a week.
A special called meeting will be held next Monday, Dec. 16, at 5 p.m.
Council members want Fabbri to come back with an additional 1.5 percent in budget cuts, to equal a total of a 5 percent reduction in the proposed budget.
Since the Town operates on a calendar year basis, the new budget starts on Jan. 1.