Pawleys Island Town Council is closer to securing funding for $2.8 million for the balance of funds needed to do its beach renourishment project.
On Monday, Sept. 16, Council held a special called meeting to take up first reading of two ordinances related to a bond issue for the project.
Marinex Construction Co. was set to stage an office trailer unit and other equipment Monday at the South End of the Island. It will start pumping sand on Oct. 1, Town Administrator Ryan Fabbri said.
The beach renourishment project will entail dredging 1.1 million cubic yards of sand from “borrow” areas offshore. The sand will be pumped onto beaches and placed in such a way that an “engineered beach” will result. It’s designed to provide a wide beach along much of the island.
Dunes that were washed away by storm surges from Hurricane Dorian recently and by several other storms and flooding will be rebuilt.
Cost of the project is estimated to be $14,481,000. The town has $6,076,853 in its beach fund. A grant from the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism totals $5,604,147. Proceeds from the sale of the bond will be $2,800,000.
The first of the two ordinances that Council gave first reading approval to on Monday establishes the framework of the bond. It also sets rules and regulations that cover how the funds are to be handled and secured.
“They authorize issuance of the bond, rules and regulations and things pertaining thereto,” Fabbri said. “They also establish a debt service fund, which we never had before,” he said.
The second ordinance sets up the agreement with BB&T, which will issue the bonds. “For BB&T, it’s almost like a regular loan,” Fabbri said.
The bonds will be redeemed or paid for through future Accommodations Tax funds. “We will have to put money in there every month, so that when the payment comes due, we will have the money to pay it.”
The beach reserve fund will be designated just for the renourishment project. That makes sure the funds are available when needed, and protects other Town funds from being used for the beach project, Fabbri said.
He outlined A-Tax revenues that the Town gets each year. The total from year to year is about $500,000, Fabbri said. State law designates that 20 percent – or about $100,000 for the Town of Pawleys Island – is put into the town’s general fund. The town spends about $50,000 per year for engineering services, repairs to walkways and maintenance of the South End and other parking areas. Debt service – principal and interest – will be about $224,000. That will leave an estimated $125,000 to $135,000 to go into the beach reserve fund to build up for any future renourishment projects.
Fabbri told Council the second reading for these two ordinances will come at the next meeting Oct. 14. Once approved, the bond will “close” with the bank on Oct. 16.
Last week, he said, Coastal Science and Engineering gathered data to see how much sand was lost to Dorian. “I expect a report any day now,” Fabbri said. “At the South End where there’s no dunes, they’re going to rebuild that.”
“Marinex eyeballed it (sand at the South End) last week. They said it’s less than 5,000 cubic yards. Imagine what 1.1 million cubic yards will be,” Fabbri said. “Property owners are going to have to bring in sand to fil in the low areas between the dunes and houses.” Building dunes will leave areas where water could accumulate, between dunes and houses.
Fabbri noted that 10 or so houses that had red tags placed on them by Georgetown County building officials are not severely damaged. Affected property owners have been notified. They will have to check with the county to find out whether the problems that lead to the red tags being posted are decks, stairways, erosion underneath the houses or something else. Property owners must obtain permits for the necessary work to be done. Once complete, a building official will need to ensure repairs have been done. Councilman Rocky Holliday suggested a list of frequently asked questions be put on the town’s web site.
Sarah Zimmerman asked, “Why did our power go out?” since a underground wiring project was complete.
“The power that feeds here, the lines are above ground,” Fabbri said. “If that goes out, we lose power. We’re not completely in the clear.”