Mayor's Message

Mayor's Message 

June 2024

Summer of 2024 is here! There are still times coming over the Connector or driving around our island I’m reminded how blessed we are to live on this beautiful island. What a great place to live, work and play.

Community engagement is key to any good, well-functioning municipality. Over the past 2 ½ years the city has been focused on enhancing the number of opportunities for residents to get involved, connect with the city and provide input on various topics. Some examples include the accommodations tax taskforce; the short term rental listening sessions; the community enrichment taskforce; an open forum with new marina operator; public forums to gather feedback on the Wild Dunes zoning ordinances; an open forum with the US Army Corps of Engineers to share details regarding the upcoming beneficial use beach project at Breach Inlet; an open forum to discuss the Wild Dunes shoal management beach project, upcoming community listening sessions to gather feedback about livability and tourism management; surveys to seek feedback on the different potential configurations for the IOP Connector, the implementation of Sunnie - the AI powered web and text chat platform where folks can receive alerts, and submit service requests on their phones, and ongoing improvements to the city website. I have also met a lot of you during the Coffees with the Mayor events held on the last Friday of every month in different locations around the island and during my weekly scheduled mayor’s office hours. Additionally, we have an ad hoc volunteer committee tasked with developing recommendations regarding beach preservation policies and funding. All of these opportunities have been valuable and instrumental for residents, business owners and the community to provide ideas and suggestions for new programs, initiatives, and priorities for Council to consider. Thank you for taking the time to provide your input. We will continue to look for opportunities that allow for increased community engagement.

Reminder about some upcoming events:

June 1st – Sand Sculpting Contest – 9:00 a.m. at Front Beach.

June 5th – Community Listening Session – 5:30 p.m. – 630 p.m. at the Rec Center. The City of Isle of Palms, in collaboration with Explore Charleston, the College of Charleston, and The McNair Group, is pursuing the development of a Community Enrichment Plan (CEP) using residents’ voices as the main driver of the process. Attendees will be able to provide feedback on issues relating to quality of life and tourism.

June 28th – Coffee with the Mayor – 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. at The Outpost at the IOP Marina. Whether you’re a resident, business owner or visitor on Isle of Palms, do you have questions about how things work in our city’s government? Want to get an update on current projects? Would you like to get involved in a volunteer role for our city? Interested in providing some constructive feedback?

Updated and additional information can be found at iop.net.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.
Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP
843-252-5359
ppounds@iop.net

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May 2024

I hope your Spring has been good so far. Spring breaks have come and gone and now the Summer busy season is next. Our staff has been preparing for the season for weeks with some of the initiatives reviewed in my last message – Traffic Planning Session with surrounding communities and support partners, outsourcing parking enforcement so our police staff can focus on other areas of enforcement, meeting with regional school systems alerting them to our increased staffing and enforcement focus. This proactive planning is critical to control what we can during our busy visitor season and ensure our residents and visitors enjoy a safe and orderly beach season.

As we eagerly anticipate the influx of visitors, I urge everyone to prioritize safety and respect for our environment. Let us be mindful stewards of our beaches, keeping them clean and preserving their natural beauty for generations to come. To our guests, I extend a warm invitation to explore all that our vibrant community has to offer. From local cuisine to a multitude of outdoor activities, there is no shortage of experiences to indulge in. To our residents, I thank you for your continued support and hospitality. Your warmth and generosity contribute to the welcoming atmosphere that defines our slice of paradise. As your mayor, I am committed to ensuring a memorable and enjoyable beach season for all. Together, let us enjoy the sun, sand, and surf, as we celebrate the essence of coastal living.

The long-awaited U. S. Army Corps of Engineers beneficial use project should be starting soon. This project will place
approximately 550,000 cubic yards of beach compatible sand on the intertidal surf zone of the beach from Breach Inlet to around 10th Avenue. This area has experienced significant erosion over the past 12-18 months and this project should help rebuild the dune system and dry sand beach in that area. We have also recently applied for a shoal management permit. If approved, this will allow us to assist nature with the shoals that pass from Dewees Inlet and speed the process of attaching to the shoreline and spread the sand in much needed areas on the north end of the island.

Reminders about upcoming events:

•May 4th – Isle of Paws Music Fest – 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Rec Center. Live music performances from local artists, pet-related vendors and services, food trucks and concessions and dog contest. Bring your lawn chair and four-legged friend for a fund day in the park. No dog, no problem – come out and enjoy live music in the park.

•May 15th – LENS Annual Banquet – 5:50 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at The Citadel Beach House. Tickets are available at lensiop.org.

•May 21st – Hurricane Expo – 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the Rec Center. IOP City officials and various community partners will be available to educate citizens and provide resources for hurricane preparedness. Guests are encouraged to bring their families, as there will be fun activities and food available on site.
Updated and additional information can be found at iop.net.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.
Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP
843-252-5359
ppounds@iop.net

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 April 2024

I do love the time of year we are entering – not the pollen – but the temperatures and longer daylight are always welcome additions.
Lot of projects are going on as you see when you make your way around the island. Some are obvious by sight, but a few are more behind the scenes. A couple to highlight:

•Beach Traffic Planning Session – for the 3rd year we met to prepare for the upcoming busy season. These meetings include mayors and Police Chiefs from IOP, Sullivans, Folly Beach and Mount Pleasant and representatives from SCDOT, Charleston County Parks, Charleston County Council, ABC News 4 and Explore Charleston. These meetings are a significant time investment from our surrounding communities and partners and allow for great collaboration efforts by many entities that care about beach traffic. IOP benefits through improved traffic flow on the islands and surrounding communities during our busiest times through signage, staffing, social media campaigns and other initiatives.

•New Parking Manager – IOP recently partnered with PCI Municipal Services to manage the city’s parking plan. There are no changes to parking fees, stickers,
passes or permits for residents or visitors at this time
Traditionally, the management of the city’s parking plan was handled by the police department. This partnership with PCI will allow the police department’s staff to focus more attention on priority calls for service, have higher visibility on the beach and improve the response time for service calls.

•IOP Website – I hope you were able to participate in the recent survey about the city’s website and provide some feedback for future enhancements. We will work on implementing your suggestions over the coming months. Thank you for taking the time to provide us with your feedback.
Also, some upcoming community events to make note of:

•March 29th – Coffee with the mayor – 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. at the Rec Center. Whether you’re a resident, visitor or business owner on Isle of Palms, if you have a question about how things work or are looking for an update on a project or you would like to get involved as a volunteer with our city or provide some constructive feedback, join me at the Rec Center for coffee.

•March 29th – Easter Egg Hunt – 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the Rec Center. Easter Bunny, egg hunt, jump castles, face painter, music and concessions.

•April 13th – Community Yard Sale – 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p. m. at the Rec Center. Over 50 vendors will be selling used and like new products.

•April 23rd – Shred Day – 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at Municipal Parking Lot B. There is a limit of 2 12” x 12” x12” boxes per person. No hazardous waste will be collected during the shredding event.

•April 26th – Coffee with the mayor – 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. at the marina.

•May 4th – Isle of Paws Music Fest – 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Rec Center. Live music performances from local artists, pet-related vendors and services, food trucks and concessions and dog contest. Bring your lawn chair and four-legged friend for a fund day in the park. No dog, no problem – come out and enjoy live music in the park.


Updated and additional information can be found at iop.net.


Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.


Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP
843-252-5359
ppounds@iop.net

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February 27, 2024

Wow – hard to believe it’s almost Spring!

Let’s talk about our beaches - recently, there has been a lot of activity and questions about the emergency work happening on our beaches. The City continues to address the erosion issues on the north and south ends of the island. Prior to 2023, the south end of the beach had been stable and accretional and only required periodic post-storm emergency berm repairs. The area in question became highly erosional in 2023 due to numerous storm events and abnormally high tides. You may know that our beaches are highly regulated for their protection, and it is important that the City comply with the standards set forth by the appropriate regulatory agencies who have jurisdiction. As soon as the shoreline eroded to the point that it met regulatory standards to allow emergency work, the city began restoring dunes to provide better protection against structural damage. You’ve probably noticed our contractor has been in the Breach Inlet area for the past few months restoring the dune system in the area that meets emergency conditions. At Beachwood East, the City’s contractor is placing sandbags where permitted to protect those properties from further damage due to erosion.

The city is coordinating with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on a Beneficial Use Project that is expected to begin in March 2024, where approximately 500,000 cubic yards of sand (with an approximate value of $ 10 million) will be placed along the intertidal zone between Breach Inlet and 10th Avenue. The city plans to leverage this project to use some of this sand to further enhance the dune system along this area. The project is expected to be completed within four months.

The city has assisted with funding major beach renourishment projects in the north end and post-storm emergency protective measures. In 2023, IOP City Council approved spending up to approximately $1.9 million to protect the public beach and property through a combination of emergency sand scraping, trucking in beach-compatible sand and placement of sandbags at Breach Inlet and Beachwood East.

Several years ago, the City established a Beach Preservation Fund funded by a 1% charge to all sleeping accommodations provided to visitors to our island. The current balance of this fund is $8.3M and it grows by an average of $1.3M annually. However, the city is forecasting a total need of almost $30M for beach projects in the next five to six years. These projects will need to be covered between public and private funding efforts so we must be good stewards of these funds for the benefit of all 7 miles of beach.

This year, the city created a Beach Preservation Ad Hoc Committee made up of council members and resident volunteers tasked with developing recommendations on current preservation policies, future projects and funding alternatives. This group has already started meeting and will continue to do so regularly.

The city remains committed to finding solutions for beach erosion that will protect the environment and benefit the overall community.
Maintaining a healthy beach is an ongoing collective effort and is of the utmost importance to city leaders and staff.

We always have exciting, fun-filled community events on the calendar:

Front Beach Fest – March 2, 12:00-4:00. Shopping, restaurants, food trucks, craft and artisan vendors along with free children's & family activities

Native Plants Classes at The Rec Center: Stop by and learn about the importance of gardening with native plants, which provide food and shelter for native butterflies, insects, birds and other animals. This has been a series of classes on different topics. The last class is Tuesday, March 5, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Easter Egg Hunt – Easter Bunny, Egg Hunt, Jump Castles, Music and Concessions. March 29, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the Rec Center.

Community Yard Sale – Over 50 vendors selling used and like new products. April 13, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Rec Center.

Updated and additional information can be found at iop.net.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.


Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP
843-252-5359
ppounds@iop.net

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January 25, 2024

Hello! I hope your new year has started off in a good way.

Each year when we get to November 30th, I usually breathe a sigh of relief – as it’s the end of hurricane season. However, since then we have had significant storms in successive months that have wreaked some havoc. During the December storm which had an almost 10’ tide and 8” of rain, there were areas of our island that haven’t had water damage since Hurricane Hugo. It certainly highlighted some areas where the drainage infrastructure may need adjustments or improvements. We’ll use this opportunity to re-evaluate the design of upcoming drainage infrastructure projects to ensure we are enhancing the level of protection for our community. However, we must keep in mind that island-wide improvements to build infrastructure to withstand 100-year events may be cost-prohibitive. Improving drainage infrastructure remains one of our top priorities and we will prioritize projects that increase our community’s resilience to these storm events.

There are a lot of projects going on around our island. Here are a few highlights:

•Community Enrichment Plan – this important initiative continues to move forward. Almost 800 of you responded to the community survey and the results were recently reviewed by the City Council. The next step is to form a committee of residents, business owners, city leadership, and tourism experts who will be tasked to develop recommendations based on survey results that address livability and tourism management concerns and facilitate community enrichment on a continuous basis.

41st Ave drainage outfall project – project started in mid-January and will take about 4 months to complete. From Waterway Blvd to the Intracoastal Waterway, the ditch will be piped to help prevent flooding in this area and will create additional parking for our marina visitors.

•Wild Dunes Harbor golf course – The Resort ownership is investing $8+ million in a renovation and upgrade project from March to October. That course will be closed during that timeframe.

•Beach maintenance and restoration – emergency restoration efforts continue around Breach Inlet and Beachwood East to maintain a dune system to
protect property and maintain access to the beaches. The beneficial use project with the US Army Corps of Engineers project at Breach Inlet should start in mid to late February. This project will place almost 600,000 cubic yards of sand which will allow us to rebuild the dune system and address erosion from Breach Inlet to 10th Avenue.

•Wastewater treatment plant – our Water and Sewer Commission is finalizing their project to add capacity to the existing Forest Trail plant at 41st Ave. and Waterway Blvd. They will soon start the deconstruction of the plant in Wild Dunes.

I encourage you to get involved in the community and here are a few upcoming events to get on your calendar:

•Wild Child Triathlon – February 25 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at Palmetto Hall at Wild Dunes Resort. IOP Law Enforcement Neighborhood Support (LENS) organization along with Wild Dunes Resort is sponsoring a kid’s triathlon for ages 6-12. More info can be found at runsignup.com/wildchildtri.

Front Beach Fest - March 2, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Vendors, local restaurants, food trucks, children’s activities, and live entertainment.

•Golf Cart Safety Expo – March 9, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Rec Center. Join the IOP Police Department and IOP Law Enforcement Neighborhood Support (LENS)Foundation to learn more about golf cart safety on the island.


Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.


Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP
843-252-5359
ppounds@iop.net

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December 5, 2023

Happy Holidays! No matter how you choose to celebrate this month, I
hope you can be surrounded by family and friends and enjoy the season. It’s such a blessing to live
where we do and still be able to enjoy outdoor activities most days. This is my favorite time of
year to take a walk on the beach, enjoy a bike ride or play golf. It’s also the time I prepare for the new year with a fresh to-do list and new priorities.

It has been a busy year for City Council and the City’s employees and I’m so proud of everything
we’ve accomplished and of our plans for
next year.

I won’t recap all our projects over the year since I have detailed those in
prior messages, however just a few quick updates:

• Drainage – our outfall project at 36ᵗʰ Avenue will be wrapped up early next year. The 41ˢᵗ Avenue
project will start during the first quarter. These projects will improve conditions on the amount
of standing water events experienced by residents and property
owners.

• IOP Marina – the construction of the new public dock at the Isle of Palms Marina, which includes
a 16’ wide pier with swings and benches, a new floating dock and kayak launches, all ADA
compliant, is expected to start during the first quarter of 2024.

• Beach Access Path Improvements – The beach access paths at 26A, 36A, 46ᵗʰ and 52ⁿᵈ have been
selected for improvements in 2024. Surveys have been completed and design is underway. Two of these
beach access paths will include ADA compliant
improvements and the other two will be improved to help with standing water issues that limit access to the beach after rain
events.

• Beach Maintenance and Restoration – Our work around Breach
Inlet to protect residences and provide a place for people to enjoy the beach continues as we
approach the start of the larger project in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers early next
year. The City is also actively addressing erosion issues at Beachwood East.

• 21ˢᵗ Avenue sidewalk – the City is working with Charleston County on improvements to the existing
sidewalk at 21ˢᵗ Avenue. These include widening and extending the sidewalk to Palm Boulevard.
Over the years this sidewalk has become difficult to use due to vegetation encroachments and tree
roots disrupting the asphalt. We anticipate construction to begin next year.

• Rec Center – the new fitness court and improvements to the dog park are completed. Go see them
and give them a try! Be on the lookout for new programming around these improved facilities.

I hope you were able to participate in the Holiday Street Festival. Our Rec Center team always does
such a nice job on this event providing an opportunity to re-connect with neighbors or meet new
residents in our community. The last City sponsored event for December is Santa’s
Cookie Workshop at the Rec Center on December 19ᵗʰ from 2:00-3:30. Register by December 15ᵗʰ to
participate.

Our city offices will be closed December 22-26. Enjoy your holidays! Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.


Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP
843-252-5359
ppounds@iop.net

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November 2, 2023 

Happy Thanksgiving a little early! We have so much to be thankful for living where we do. I hope you get to spend time with friends and family over the upcoming holidays. We are headed to Lake Keowee with our whole clan. I’m looking forward to the lake and foothill views and hiking – and of course eating like it’s my last feeding.


Each year, election season always produces heightened emotions, spirited discussions and possibly frayed relationships. I hope now that it is about over, we can return to more normal conversations, repair relationships and focus on the challenges that lie ahead and support those elected to serve you – your neighbors.


Someone recently suggested City Council needed to be focused on bigger issues like overcrowding and the growth around us. I couldn’t agree more, which is why we recently kicked off our Tourism Management Plan, which we are calling our Community Enrichment Plan, I have discussed in recent messages. This will provide residents, business owners and visitors the opportunity to give input to the City about what is important to you and what we should be doing about managing our thriving tourism economy. I’m hoping you received an email from the City with a link to the survey. If not, go to iop.net, and complete the survey from that link. The survey will be available until mid-November. Also, it’s why we recently held a tourist season debrief meeting with Sullivans, Folly, Mount Pleasant, SCDOT, Charleston County Parks and Channel 4 to review what has been working the past two seasons and what we can improve upon during our busy tourist season.


Even though all the recent headlines have been about the election, referendum and related topics, please know our city staff is laser focused on delivering all the projects City Council has determined are priorities for our community. City Council receives monthly updates on all the projects going on or upcoming. These are also detailed on the City’s website, iop.net, with routine updates. If you don’t see something you think we should be working on, please don’t hesitate to email Council or visit me during office hours or attend a monthly coffee. There are many opportunities to be engaged and I hope you will take the opportunity to make your voice a part of the discussion.
We had many great community events in October so our staff will take a much-needed break for November to enjoy time with friends and family. However, for December a couple of events to be aware of:

December 2 - Holiday Street Festival 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Front Beach. Tree lighting at 5:30 p.m.

December 19 - Santa’s Cookie Workshop 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. at Rec Center


Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.


Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP
843-252-5359
ppounds@iop.net

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October 2, 2023

I get to this time of year and wonder where all the other months went?! Time seems to go even faster from mid-October on with the holidays and all the events surrounding those.

We recently held our annual IOP Employee Appreciation event at The Exchange Club. It’s a great time after our busy tourist season to pause and thank those that work so hard to make our community what it is! At this event, we also recognize milestone work anniversaries and announce the Leola Hanbury Employee of the Year.  Like all previous years, it is hard to choose just one individual given that all the nominations are very worthy. This year’s winner was Robert Asero from our Public Works Department.  Robert, Assistant Public Works Director, oversees stormwater and facilities maintenance. Robert’s efforts in effectively managing stormwater, minimizing flood risks, and maintaining our city's infrastructure have made a significant impact on the lives of our residents. He has shown an ability to tackle complex challenges with creative solutions and works tirelessly to improve our stormwater management system.

Robert, this award is a testament to your abilities, remarkable work ethic, and overall outstanding performance. We are grateful for everything you do to make our city a better place.

 We have a great staff serving our City.  If you see them around our community, take a moment to let them know how much you appreciate them.

Our entire City family has really stepped up.  In addition to running the day-to-day operations of the City, no small task in and of itself, we have asked our team to deliver many initiatives both large and small. We have been fortunate to experience very positive financial results over the past few years and City Council has been actively looking for ways to reinvest into our community for the benefit of our residents and visitors. Some of the projects going on right now or starting soon:

  • Drainage projects:
    • 36th Avenue outfall – NOTE: this project will require a detour on Waterway Boulevard from early/mid-October for about 8 weeks, hopefully less if the weather will cooperate.
    • 41st Avenue outfall – as part of this project, we will be piping the ditch from Waterway Boulevard to the Intracoastal Waterway. This will clean up that area and allow us to add additional parking spots at our marina.
  • Outdoor Fitness Court at the Rec Center
  • Dog Park improvements at the Rec Center
  • Waterway Blvd Multi-Use Path Elevation
  • IOP Marina Public Dock improvements
  • Undergrounding utility lines on 14th Avenue

There are many other projects that are in the design or permitting phase that will most likely get started next year. You can stay updated at iop.net.

 Also, some great community events coming up:

  • October 3 Police Department National Night Out 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Rec Center
  • October 6 Community Wellness Fair 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at Rec Center
  • October 7 IOP Connector Run
  • October 19 Farmers Market 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at Rec Center
  • October 20 Public Safety Open House 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at Public Safety Building 30 J C Long Blvd
  • October 20 Ghostly Tide Tales 5:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. at Front Beach
  • October 27 Coffee with the Mayor 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. at Marina
  • October 27 Halloween Festival and Golf Cart Parade 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at Rec Center

Thank you for the opportunity to serve!  See you around the island.

 

Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP

843-252-5359

ppounds@iop.net

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September 6, 2023

Fall can’t get here fast enough after the heat we’ve had this Summer! I love the Fall time of year on our island – cool enough to enjoy all outside activities with just a light extra layer.

Soon we will be kicking off an exciting project. We are calling this our Community Enrichment Plan. Improving quality of life for residents is one of the main priorities anchoring the City’s Strategic Plan. Resident’s quality of life also plays a significant role in tourism’s success, and it is critical to the community's overall well-being. The end result will be a plan, with tactical initiatives, to enhance the quality of life and overall experience for all who live, work, and play on the island.

In collaboration with Explore Charleston, the College of Charleston, and The McNair Group, the City is pursuing the development of a plan using residents’ voice as the main driver of the process. The travel and hospitality industry are vital to the island's identity and economy. The city aims to maintain an equilibrium of residents’ quality of life and tourism for the longevity and prosperity of Isle of Palms. Substantial community input and data will be collected to guide the city on how to productively deal with the complexities and challenges of regional population growth while ensuring Isle of Palms thrives as the most sustainable, family-friendly beach community in South Carolina. Data will be collected through surveys, focus groups and listening sessions. The first step in the process is to gather as much information as possible from the community. A survey will be available this Fall to gather feedback. Residents, business owners and visitors are encouraged to make note of how the city can improve from a residential and tourism standpoint. The second step is to form a working group comprised of various community members, including residents, business owners, city leadership, and tourism experts. The committee will be responsible for developing recommendations to address livability and tourism management and facilitate community enrichment on a continuous basis. All collected data and insights will be used to outline actionable recommendations for an ongoing plan that will create improvements that foster livability, sustainability and responsible economic development.

Please stay tuned as more updates on the project are forthcoming.

Don’t forget about some great upcoming events. Check our website, iop.net, for any changes or
updates to these or other events.

• September 21 Farmers Market 4:00-7:00 at Rec Center
• September 29 Coffee with the Mayor 9:00-10:00 at Café Paname
• October 3 IOP Police Department National Night Out 4:00-7:00 at Rec Center
• October 6 Community Wellness Fair 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at Rec Center

• October 7 IOP Connector Run
• October 19 Farmers Market 4:00-7:00 at Rec Center
• October 20 Fire Dept Open House 4:00-6:00 at Public Safety Building (30 J C Long Blvd)
• October 20 Ghostly Tide Tales 5:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. at Front Beach
• October 27 Coffee with the Mayor 9:00-10:00 at TBD
• October 27 Halloween Festival and Golf Cart Parade 4:00 – 6:00 at Rec Center


Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.

Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP 843-252-5359
ppounds@iop.net


August 18, 2023

It’s hard to believe it’s time for back-to-school sales! Summer has flown by. I hope you and your family and friends have enjoyed another beautiful season on IOP or wherever you were able to spend it.

I have received positive comments from many residents about the improved traffic flow on the island this tourist season – I’m glad you’ve felt a difference. As you might guess, this has been a collaborative effort involving IOP staff, SCDOT, County Park staff, Mt. Pleasant, Sullivans Island, CARTA and ABC News 4. Last year we held pre and post season meetings with all parties to plan and debrief. We had a planning meeting this past Spring and will schedule a debrief meeting this Fall after the season to identify ways we can improve and continue to collaborate to improve traffic conditions in our community during the busiest season. We will continue to keep our focus on this important initiative.

This Fall is shaping up to be a busy one. We have many projects ready to be started over the next few months. Many of our projects require permits from multiple agencies which can create long lead times. Our construction window for our major projects is also limited as most projects are scheduled between September and May to avoid our large crowds and minimize disruption. Some will involve road detours or noise or dust, but they will be worth it in the end. Here are a few of the projects we will be starting soon:

• Outdoor Fitness Center at Rec Center
• Dog Park Improvements at Rec Center
• Drainage Outfalls Improvements at 36th and 41st Avenues
• Beach Access Path Improvements –footbridges at 23rd, 26th and 30A beach access paths
• City Hall Renovation
• IOP Marina Public Dock expansion/enhancements
• Underground power lines on 14th Avenue
• Dredging at the IOP Marina
• Design/permitting for Waterway Boulevard Multi-use Path between 21st and 41st Avenue


Our Fall event calendar is busy as well:


• August 25 Coffee with the Mayor 9:00-10:00 at IOP Marina Outpost
• September 21 Farmers Market 4:00-7:00 at Rec Center
• September 29 Coffee with the Mayor 9:00-10:00 at TBD
• October 3 IOP Police Department National Night Out 4:00-7:00 at Rec Center
• October 6 Community Wellness Fair 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at Rec Center
• October 7 IOP Connector Run
• October 19 Farmers Market 4:00-7:00 at Rec Center
• October 20 Ghostly Tide Tales 5:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. Front Beach
• October 27 Coffee with the Mayor 9:00-10:00 at TBD
• October 27 Halloween Festival and Golf Cart Parade 4:00 – 6:00 at Rec Center

Any changes, updates or additions to our calendar can be found on the City’s website - iop.net. Also, please follow the City, Rec Department, Police and Fire Departments on social media for the latest.

My wife and I were recently in Highlands, NC - a beautiful part of our country. However, it’s always nice to come home. I hope we never take for granted where we live or lose that magical feeling when you top the Connector and look out over the ocean and feel like you’ve just been transported to paradise – because you have been!


Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.


Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP
843-252-5359
ppounds@iop.net

 


June 28, 2023

Happy July 4th! We are blessed to live in the greatest country. I hope you are around to enjoy our fireworks show starting around 9:00 p.m. on the 4th.

As we wrap up the City’s fiscal year (June 30), I wanted to recap where City Council and staff have been focused over the past year. It’s easy to lose sight of all that was accomplished without a moment of reflection – even for us! Our staff does a great job of running the day-to-day operations of our city along with juggling the projects City Council identifies as priorities focused on our residents and visitors. Many of our projects require permits from various agencies that equate to long lead times to get projects started. I have had to learn to manage my own expectations about project timeframes and start dates.

There has been a good deal of discussion recently about what it means for someone to be “resident friendly or focused.” I know we can each have our own definition of the term, but I believe the phrase means doing what’s best for the greater good for our residents and not any one person’s or group’s agenda.

I think this Council has been very resident friendly and focused during our first 18 months together as you will see reflected in the list below. I believe our efforts have been on the right things and will continue to be.

I know we aren’t going to agree on every issue or maybe any issues, but we can still work together for the greater good. I have a screensaver on my phone from the singer TobyMac – “Even if we disagree about everything, we can still be kind to one another.” I firmly believe this and try to act accordingly. We live in paradise here on IOP and I would like our focus to continue to be on working together for our broader community and improving it where we can.

Here is a quick recap of our major initiatives over the past 18 months:

IOP Marina – Approved the transfer of the leases to a new tenant, Coastal Marine Holdings represented by area resident Mike Shuler, who during the due diligence phase purported to be very focused on the residents of IOP and he is remaining true to his word. This new tenant has been doing major renovations to the marina store and is redoing the parking lot to increase efficiencies for parking cars and boat trailers. He added a fenced area based on feedback from residents for dry storage to improve the aesthetics of the area and increase security for boats in storage. All of this has been done at tenant’s expense per the terms of the lease. The tenant has also stated boat launch fees and parking will always be free for IOP residents. The plan is for all renovations to be completed by early July and everything open and operational by mid-July. The City added a boardwalk along the Intracoastal Waterway to help all enjoy the beautiful views from that area. Also, we have applied for the required permits to rebuild and expand the public dock and will soon be adding greenspace along the boardwalk.

Wild Dunes – Passed ordinances protecting the recreational areas in Wild Dunes and limiting any future development of condos or hotels.

Short term rentals – Council voted to not implement caps or limits at this time but to continue to watch the trends and metrics regarding our
number of rental licenses to ensure a balance is maintained between full time residents, part time residents and rental properties.

Livability focus – Increased the staffing in our Police Department for code enforcement officers who are focused on livability issues for our residents and visitors. Also, added a short-term rental coordinator to the Building, Planning and Zoning Department team to monitor and enforce short term rental licensing regulations.

Pickleball and basketball courts – Added two pickleball courts and refurbished the basketball courts at the Rec Center. Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and our residents needed more opportunity to play without having to use the existing tennis courts.

ADA parking and beach access path at Palm Blvd and 34th Avenue– Provided another much needed accessible parking and beach access area in the middle of our island so those with disabilities can more easily enjoy the beach.

Paramedics – approved funds to add 6 paramedics to our Fire Department staff. These new staff members will also be trained firefighters, bringing more assistance quicker for our residents and visitors.

Financial results – Continued to build significant cash reserves even while implementing multiple drainage and infrastructure projects and keeping our property tax millage rate at the lowest level in the Lowcountry.

Underground utility conversions – Successfully buried utility lines at Palm Blvd and 21st Avenue and will continue to look for other areas in, partnership with Dominion, where we can place overhead power lines underground to improve the resiliency of our power supply and aesthetics of our island.

Resident engagement – Welcome comments at all Council and Committee meetings; held multiple resident listening sessions to seek input on topics such as the marina and short term rentals. Soon we will be providing another opportunity for a group of residents and business owners to help craft a tourism management plan to help guide us in dealing with our tourism industry and its effects. The City of Charleston has had a plan for many years. It includes tangible, actionable items both short and long term focused on dealing with the growing tourist crowds.

I hope this partial list helps you quickly see the many things we have been working on and where our focus has been. There are many other items I could add to the list that have happened over the past year, but these are the major highlights. We have several other projects that will get started this Fall. More to come on those as we finalize permits and design work and get past our busy tourist season.

There are always a number of great events happening around our island. Check our website, iop.net, for the latest information and be sure to follow the City and our Rec, Police and Fire Departments on social media for updates and events.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.

Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP
843-252-5359
ppounds@iop.net


May 4, 2023

Hello.  The busy tourist season is upon us! Like last year, staff and I have hosted and attended meetings with key personnel from surrounding municipalities and other support agencies to continue planning and preparing for the season to ensure the right resources are in place to help us mitigate the impact of increased beach traffic in our community.  I am hopeful this proactive planning will yield even better results than last year.

After the unfortunate event on our island on April 7, our staff and Public Safety team held multiple after-action review meetings to prepare recommendations to City Council for any equipment, technology or staffing they felt were needed.  These recommendations included adding an ordinance to require a permit for large gatherings on public property, including the beach and beach access paths, add a Canine Unit to enhance efforts in crime prevention, detection, apprehension, officer safety and community service, add security cameras along beach access paths in the commercial district and Sea Cabins pier, purchase a prisoner transport vehicle. These were presented and approved at our April City Council meeting and will be further discussed by our Public Safety Committee. We will continue to have these discussions and ensure there are tangible, actionable items we can implement and make certain we are fully supporting our Public Safety team. Also, Our City Administrator and I have had productive discussions at a County Council level about additional public safety support during our busy season and these will continue. I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with our Police Department’s preparation and handling of the April 7 events and how grateful I am for the IOP business and community support during and after these events.  IOP showed its true colors and I’m proud!

A few quick updates on other initiatives and projects:

 

  1. Marina – If you’ve been by to check it out, you know great things are happening at the marina site! The store at the Isle of Palms Marina has been undergoing extensive renovations and the parking lot is being reconfigured and paved with pervious asphalt. The tenant plans to open the store by early to mid-June. The 6-foot boardwalk along the Intracoastal Waterway is completed and looks great! Be sure to check it out and the public dock available for kayak and stand-up paddle board launching.

  2. IOP Connector –At its April meeting, City Council voted to request SCDOT to implement changes to the IOP Connector bridge to include a 10’ multi-use path for bicycle and pedestrians and for vehicular traffic - one southbound lane and two northbound lanes towards Mount Pleasant. The Town of Mount Pleasant will make their own lane configuration recommendation soon. Then, SCDOT will complete the necessary design and engineering work at both intersections (Palm Boulevard and Rifle Range Road), identify whether additional right-of-way is necessary, develop construction plans, cost estimates and a construction timeline.

  3. Palm Blvd. – at our April City Council meeting, SCDOT also provided a quick update on their consultant’s progress in developing conceptual drawings of potential improvements to Palm Boulevard if we utilize the entire right of way to accommodate parking and dedicated pedestrian, bicycle and golf carts lanes. They plan to come back and present those alternatives in the next few months.

  4. Tourism Management Plan – in collaboration with Explore Charleston, the College of Charleston, and the McNair Group, the City will begin working on a comprehensive effort to develop a plan with actionable strategies and recommendations that focus on preserving and enhancing our community’s quality of life amid a vibrant tourism and hospitality industry. This plan will include strong community input and data that will guide the City how to productively deal with the complexities and challenges of regional population growth so that the Isle of Palms continues to be the most sustainable, family-friendly beach community in South Carolina.  Much like the City’s overall Strategic Plan, this plan will help drive our initiatives towards tourism and tourism management. 

  5. Walkability study – also in collaboration with Explore Charleston, the City will engage a firm to perform a walkability study and present recommendations to improve the City’s pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure to enhance mobility and connectivity to commercial and public spaces on our island.

  6. Drainage – our 30th Avenue project is done. The 36th Avenue project, which will also require a road closure and detour for several weeks, is scheduled to start in September after our busy beach season.

There are lots of great community events coming up which I’ve shared below, but in addition, the Recreation Department is offering exciting new programs for folks to enjoy. The Department will host free yoga classes on the beach at 25th Avenue on Tuesdays at 7:30 a.m. and on Thursdays at 7:30 a.m. join them for a Serenity Sea Stroll and Stretch class. Additionally, free Meditation classes at the Public dock at the Marina are back on Wednesdays at 8:00 a.m. There are many new opportunities for you to meet up with friends and neighbors and focus on your health and mental wellbeing.

Upcoming Events:

  • May 6 – Music in the Park at the Rec Center, 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • May 9 – Shred Day at the Municipal parking lot at Front Beach, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • May 16 – Hurricane Preparedness Expo at the Rec Center, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • May 20 – Bike Rodeo at the Rec Center at 10:00 a.m.
  • May 26 – Coffee with the Mayor at the Rec Center, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
  • June 3 – Sand Sculpting Contest at Front Beach at 9:00 a.m.
  • June 15 – Farmers Market at the Rec Center starts again every 3rd Thursday of the Month through October from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Any updates for these and other events can be found at iop.net.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve!  See you around the island.

 

Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP
843-252-5359
ppounds@iop.net


April 12, 2023

Hello.  Like most of you, the events that recently happened on our island touched me deeply. Unfortunately, events like this are happening all too frequently around our country. However, when it touches our part of paradise it’s even sadder.

I said this at our press conferences over the weekend, I couldn’t be prouder of our Public Safety staff.  They were proactive by being on the beach before anything happened – unfortunately that didn’t deter some of the visitors involved. As residents, we should feel good about the level of professionalism and bravery of our team. If you see them around the island, let them know how much you appreciate them.

I am also very proud of our business community. They reacted very quickly to provide food for our staff and other first responders that came to assist. This is what being a part of a community is all about – caring about each other.

Our staff and public safety personnel will be having multiple action review meetings to:

  • Determine what we could have done differently
  • Detail any additional resource needs
  • List recommendations to any city ordinances that need to be modified or added to help our team be able to prevent these types of gatherings
  • Present to Public Safety Committee a list of recommendations for discussion and possible action

Then, City Council will take up any recommendations that come out of the Public Safety Committee review. We will be thoughtful and measured in any of our reactions or changes as a result of recent events.

Please be assured we will be taking a hard look at our current processes and procedures and resource needs and will implement additional measures to ensure the safety of our community.

Mayor Pounds


March 6, 2023

Hello!  Spring is upon us or at least the pollen season has certainly gotten an early start. Makes me wish we had a car wash on the island for those days when I can write my name in pollen on my car. Spring breaks will start soon, and our island will be filled with vacationers and visitors once again.

As you may have seen from my message last month, there was some editorial license exercised, without my permission, on my message submitted to the local newspaper so going forward I will publish my messages or other updates via the City’s website or social media outlets.

Great progress continues on our projects going on around our island:

Pickleball court construction and basketball court refurbishment at the Rec Center – these should be completed by mid-March and will be a great addition for our community.

Marina – the remodeling of the store continues and work on the renovation of the parking lot has started. The bulkhead repairs and boardwalk construction along the Intracoastal Waterway is progressing nicely and should be completed by the end of March.

Drainage – the work at 30th Avenue should be completed in the next 2-3 weeks, and the road reopened this week. The contractor will then move to 36th Avenue to finish that part of the project.

Overhead to Underground electrical lines – the project at Palm Blvd and 21st Avenue has started and should be completed by the end of March.

Traffic - Last year we had multiple meetings with our partners - Mount Pleasant, Sullivans Island, Folly Beach, SCDOT, Charleston County Parks, Channel 4 - as we approached our busy season to control what we could to improve traffic flow.  We will have a kickoff meeting for this season on March 17th to again try and do all we can via signage, personnel, social media or other messaging to address the increase in traffic on our island and the rules applicable to each beach community.

Upcoming Events

March 25, 8:00 a.m.- noon – Annual Yard Sale at the Rec

March 31, 9:00 10:00 a.m. – Coffee with the Mayor at Café Paname

April 7, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. – Easter Bunny Hunt at the Rec

Any updates for these and other events that will be added can be found at iop.net.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve!  See you around the island.

Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP
843-252-5359
ppounds@iop.net


February 10, 2023

Below is the full Mayor’s message as it was submitted to the Island Eye for the most recent publication. The printed version was edited by the Island Eye without my permission and did not contain the full message. 

Greetings. There is a lot happening on our island! A number of projects that have been in the planning stages for some time are nearing completion or in the middle of construction. Here is a quick update on a few of our current projects:

34A beach access path – by the time this is printed, this project, which will provide easy ADA access to the beach, should be completed. As of this writing, the only task left is to finish the 2 handicap parking spots along Palm Blvd. The new boardwalk and pervious concrete path look great and will provide easier beach access for years to come.

Rec Center – the basketball courts are getting a much-needed redo and 2 pickleball courts are being added. This project started in late January and weather permitting, should be finished in 30-45 days.

Drainage – Waterway Blvd detour around 30th Avenue is in place, and the contractor is working to install, as quickly as possible, the drainage infrastructure under the road at 30th Avenue. Once they finish there, they will move to 36th Avenue. We understand the construction and temporary detour is inconvenient and we greatly appreciate the community’s patience as we work on much needed drainage improvements.

Front Beach – the brick crosswalks on Ocean Blvd. which have been a maintenance challenge have been repaired in a way that should provide stability and reduce our maintenance of these areas.

Marina – the interior of the store has been demolished and repairs have begun. The work on the marina side of the parking lot – which will include a new layout and paving - should start in the next few weeks. Our contractor has started on the bulkhead repairs and installation of a 6-foot boardwalk along the Intracoastal side of the property from Islander 71 to and past the new public dock. This will create way to stroll beside the water and enjoy the beautiful view.

Overhead to Underground electrical lines – this project at Palm Blvd. and 21st has all the permits and easement approvals needed. We are expecting Dominion to start construction this month.

We have many other projects that are in the planning and permitting stages that should begin construction this Fall.

Short term rentals

There has been much discussion and debate over the past few months about short-term rentals. Here is some important context as of January 20, 2023, about housing and short-term rentals on our island:

  • Our total number of dwelling units is 4,569 - there are 3,113 single family homes and 1,456 townhomes, condos or duplexes. These figures may change any day as vacant properties are developed and existing dwellings are demolished.
  • Full-time residences have increased from 33% to 36% of all dwelling units since 2010. That’s approximately 130 units that went from being part time to full time residents.
  • There are currently 1,724 short term rental licenses issued. Single family homes account for about 50% of the short-term rental licenses and townhomes, condos and duplexes account for the other 50%. Our short-term rental compliance software shows roughly about 1,250 of these licenses have had rental activity in the past 12 months.
  • Feedback received seems to indicate that most residents feel licenses held by townhomes, condos and duplexes are not at issue. Most multifamily complexes on the island were built and sold as short-term rental properties. Many of these are in Wild Dunes. If those properties have a desire to do something different with short term rentals, most have homeowner associations that may limit or ban short term rentals if that is what those property owners want. So, for the moment, let’s remove them from consideration.
  • That leaves the 3,113 single family homes which 28% of them (859) have short term rental licenses. Of these, 5% or 162, are held by full time residents. Based on feedback received, full time residents should continue to be allowed to obtain licenses, Therefore, let’s omit these from the calculation.
  • That leaves 697 (859 – 162) of single family homes that hold a license, which is 22% of the single family homes (3,113) and 15% of our total dwelling units (4,569).

A lot of detail and numbers I know, but the point of all this is that based on feedback received from multiple channels, the residents’ concern seems to primarily be in traditional, single family residential neighborhoods which currently hold 22% of the short-term rental licenses issued to single family homes.

There have been bold headlines in various media outlets stating that our short-term rental licenses are quickly approaching 40% on the island and on the way to some higher number. While it is true that the absolute, total number of licenses issued is currently at 38% (1,724/4,569), I think you must look past the headline to understand what is really happening on our island. The 40%+ is an inflated narrative and causes people to think we have an emergency that we must address immediately. The argument that all short-term rentals are creating the traffic problems on the island is also misplaced, in my opinion. Simple observation of the traffic shows that it is a result of vendors, contractors and construction workers building or renovating homes, day trippers and other visitors to our businesses and restaurants. Construction will ease over time, but the day tripper problem will continue to escalate.

There has also been a high level of feedback asking the city to focus on livability issues – noise, garbage/recycling cans, occupancy limits (cars and people). Our Police Department has already started increasing its enforcement efforts through a new code enforcement officer. Additionally, City Council is in the process of finalizing revisions to the noise ordinance and discussions have started about what other staffing needs we might have to increase our enforcement efforts.
I hope this is helpful to get grounded in the facts and to see what’s really happening on IOP regarding short term rentals. I appreciate the dialogue to date and look forward to continuing to address short term rentals and what’s best for our island.

Upcoming Events

  • February 11 – Doggie Day at The Rec 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • February 24 – coffee with the mayor 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. at The Refuge
  • March 4 – Front Beach Fest – 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Front Beach
  • Any updates for these and other events that will be added can be found at iop.net

Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.

Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP
843-252-5359
ppounds@iop.net


January 13, 2023

Happy New Year! I hope this year is a healthy and happy one for you and your family.

Your City Council is off and running for 2023. January will be a busy month with our first meeting having occurred on the 3rd, 2 short term rental Council workshops on the 9th and 23rd, regular workshop meeting on the 10th, regular Council meeting on the 24th. Citizen’s comments will be on the agenda for all these meetings so please sign up to speak by 3:00 p.m. the day before the meetings.

Our staff recently completed a slide deck detailing our 2022 Accomplishments. It can be found at iop.net on the home page. It was a busy year with great progress on numerous projects and initiatives. Many of these projects detailed will be completed in 2023 with another slate scheduled to begin construction this year.

Use the city website, iop.net, to keep updated for any projects happening or other communications from your city. It is the best place to stay engaged. I would also suggest following on social media the city and our recreation, fire and police departments. They all provide timely information about traffic or other things happening on the island. To further enhance our communications efforts to our residents, early this year we will be hiring a new communications position in collaboration with the Charleston Visitors Bureau. This new staff position will also be looking at technology solutions to make receiving updates easier for our residents.

To our residents, thank you for attending the sessions we held throughout the past year and providing input and suggestions and for your continued engagement in making our island better. Your attendance and emails and other communications with Council are critical as we try to make sure our decisions are focused on what you want and not how we may personally want things to turn out. Many of you, about 160, have attended the coffees that have been scheduled throughout the year or others have dropped in during office hours and shared your thoughts – thank you! I would ask you to continue to focus on finding our common ground and building each other up. Your Council are your neighbors and friends trying to do their best in essentially a volunteer role – there is no playbook for how to be a good mayor or councilmember so for all of us patience is key.

I have been so pleased to see that no matter our differences in values or opinions, we all want what’s best for our City. We love it, we want to protect it and we are in a position to do that. We might disagree on an approach or strategy to get there, but we have time and time again had meaningful and respectful discussions when it comes to issues facing us on the island. We will continue to create public hearings and other opportunities – office hours, coffees, one on one meetings – for residents to weigh in on an issue or project or to just chat. I hope you will take the opportunity to get to know your elected officials as we all try to determine what’s best for our piece of paradise!

I think perspective is so important – generally in life and especially when dealing with the issues facing our city. I have the privilege of meeting quarterly with other mayors around our state. I hear the struggles they have – ensuring clean water for their residents, trying to entice a grocery store to their town so residents don’t have to drive 45+ minutes to the closest one, trying to get a restaurant to open in their business district…. It makes me grateful for the issues that we face. While things may not move as fast in municipal government as any of us would like them to, it’s important we maintain perspective and keep things moving at an acceptable pace.

I saw this 2023 comment recently – everybody will be wrong about something, myself included. Stay humble, flexible, open minded but with a razor-sharp focus and minimize distractions/noise. Good advice to enter the new year with. 

Upcoming Events

  • January 9 and 23 – City Council Workshop sessions to discuss short term rentals 6:00 p.m.
  • January 10 – City Council workshop 5:00 p.m.
  • January 24 – regular City Council meeting 6:00 p.m.
  • January 27 – Coffee with the Mayor – 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. at Acme 31 J. C. Long Blvd

Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.


Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP
843-252-5359
ppounds@iop.net 


December 16, 2022

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I hope you are able to spend some time with family and friends during this holiday season. What a great time of year to be fortunate enough to live where we can walk on the beach, play golf, relax by a pool or whatever else is your outdoor activity of choice – even in December!

2022 has flown by, which they all seem to do lately, and I thought I would recap some of IOP’s major initiatives this year:

  • Drainage –our projects at 30th and 36th Avenues are expected to be completed by Spring next year. The next project in the queue is the outfall improvements at 41stAvenue. The plan is to start construction next Fall once all permits are on hand. The comprehensive drainage masterplan, which will outline and prioritize the next stormwater improvement projects needed on the island, should be completed by year end.
  • 34A Beach Access/ADA Compliant Boardwalk – The new beach access boardwalk at 34A is underway and expected to be completed early in the new year. The project includes 2 handicap parking spaces along Palm Blvd. We are excited to continue to expand and increase beach access for people with physical disabilities.
  • Underground Utility Conversion – In partnership with Dominion Energy, our first scheduled project to underground utility lines will be at 21st Avenue. Construction is planned to start in the next several weeks. This project will improve aesthetics and improve our resiliency during weather events.
  • SCDOT – We have made great progress this year with this important partner.
    • We received the consultant’s report detailing restriping options for the IOP Connector and we had a special City Council meeting on the 13th to review the options. That presentation can be found at iop.net.
    • Next from SCDOT, at their expense, will be a complete study of the IOP Connector corridor (Highway 17 to Palm Blvd) and design options to enhance Palm Blvd which will include multi-modes of transportation and alternative parking options all designed to improve traffic flow and safety.
    • SCDOT will install Audible Pedestrian Signals at the intersection of Palm Blvd and the Connector to better assist our visually impaired residents to safely cross the street. This will be paid for and maintained by SCDOT.
    • The drainage project at the end of 25th Avenue, which involved the installation of a berm and valves to stop tidal waters from inundating the road while allowing stormwater to drain into the Intracoastal Waterway, was recently completed in partnership with SCDOT and our Public Works staff. This project has dramatically improved conditions in the area.
  • Rec Center – The City is adding two pickle ball courts at the Rec grounds and renovating the existing outdoor basketball courts. The project will begin construction in January.
  • IOP Marina – the new marina restaurant, Islander 71, opened in the Spring, the dock rehabilitation project was completed, the lease assignment to the new operator was approved and remodeling work on the store and parking lot area should start very soon.
  • Wild Dunes future development – City Council approved ordinances to amend the conservation district to include preservation of public and private recreational facilities, including the golf courses inside and outside Wild Dunes and the tennis facility inside Wild Dunes, and to cap the density in Wild Dunes to reflect the current existing units and approved lots.
  • Financial results – we ended our fiscal year in very positive shape – over $30 million in cash reserves, maintained the highest credit rating possible, have one of the lowest property tax millage rates in the area, have a manageable debt load with rates ranging from 1.6% to 4.14% with a significant portion maturing between 2023-2028, and we received a clean audit for our most recent fiscal year.
  • Employee focus – we took significant steps this year to take care of our city employees that work hard on our behalf: implemented the recommendations of
    recent wage and compensation study, adjusted how PTO is accrued to be more advantageous to employees; added the day after Christmas to the holiday schedule, and recently awarded a one time and ongoing cost of living adjustment for all employees.
  • Resident focus – we have increased the opportunities for our residents to get involved by conducting: a feedback session with the new marina operator, 3 listening sessions for short term rentals, coffees with the mayor, coffees with a cop and coffees with the fire chief all aimed at letting residents engage in conversations with each other and city staff.

I’m looking forward to tackling many more projects on our list – 41st Avenue drainage project, Waterway Blvd multiuse path, additional drainage work, greenspace and public dock reconstruction at the marina, continuing improvements to beach access paths, undergrounding additional electrical lines, review of short-term rental ordinances, and review of the noise ordinance and others to address livability.

Upcoming Events:

  • December 20 – Santa’s Cookie Workshop – 2:00 p.m. at the Rec Center.
  • December 23 and 26 – City offices will be closed for the holiday.
  • December 30 – coffee with the mayor 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. at the Rec Center.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.


Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP
843-252-5359
ppounds@iop.net


November 18, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving! We have much to be thankful for in this great country we get to live in and for the piece of paradise we get to call home.  I hope you can spend some time with family and friends and take a moment to reflect on all the things we have to be thankful for.

Here are nine fun facts about Thanksgiving to share around the dinner table.

  • The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 over a three day harvest festival. It included 50 Pilgrims, 90 Wampanoag Indians, and lasted three days.
  • Turkey wasn’t on the menu at the first Thanksgiving. Venison, duck, goose, oysters, lobster, eel, and fish were likely served, alongside pumpkins and cranberries.
  • Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday on October 3, 1863. Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who wrote “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” convinced Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday after writing letters for 17 years.
  • The history of U.S. presidents pardoning turkeys is patchy. Harry Truman is often credited with being the first president to pardon a turkey, but that’s not quite true. He was the first to receive a ceremonial turkey from the National Turkey Federation – and he had it for dinner. John F. Kennedy was the first to let a Thanksgiving turkey go, followed by Richard Nixon who sent his turkey to a petting zoo. George H.W. Bush is the president who formalized the turkey pardoning tradition in 1989.
  • There are four towns in the United States named “Turkey.” They can be found in Arizona, TexasLouisiana, and North Carolina.
  • The average number of calories consumed on Thanksgiving is 4,500.
  • Butterball answers more than 100,000 turkey-cooking questions via their Butterball Turkey Hotline each November and December.
  • The tradition of football on Thanksgiving began in 1876 with a game between Yale and Princeton. The first NFL games were played on Thanksgiving in 1920.
  • More than 54 million Americans are expected to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday this year

What’s the Latest?

As I mentioned in an earlier message, we recently held a beach traffic debrief session with several of our partners – SCDOT, Mt. Pleasant, Sullivans Island, Folly Beach, County Parks and Channel 4.  The goal of this meeting was to recap all the pre-season joint efforts and discuss what worked well and what didn’t and what could be improved upon for next season. Mayors, city administrators, police chiefs and senior directors were in attendance. There were a number of takeaways for next year – like starting the social media campaign earlier for the spring break crowds.

One of the more effective efforts this past season was the Channel 4 Beach Information Station: Know Before you Go campaign. The goal was to raise awareness about all things related to beach travel and safety. ABC News 4, Trooper Bob along with mayors and Explore Charleston partnered to produce a series of news stories and messages promoting beach information needed to plan a visit. For Folly Beach, IOP and Sullivans Island, it detailed weather, radar, tides, parking information, parking, beach and pet rules, dynamic traffic maps, traffic cameras, CARTA beach shuttle information and Charleston County Park information for IOP and Folly Beach. Between promotional messages, news messages, and social media posts there were over 11.5 million impressions by local viewers and visitors. A very successful joint effort in trying to reach those visiting our beaches.

We’ve had some lively meetings and public hearings lately with great attendance by our residents.  One thing I’m thankful for is the engagement and passion focused on making our island better. As we all continue to engage and discuss important topics, let’s lead the way in maintaining civility in our dialogues. The Municipal Association of South Carolina recently created the Pillars of Civility which include:

  • Be as eager to listen as to speak.
  • Concentrate on what you have in common, not what separates you.
  • Your time is valuable. So is everyone else’s. Respect it.
  • Act as you would expect someone to act in your home.
  • Ask questions to learn. Answer questions with respect.
  • Concentrate on facts, not theories.
  • Ask “what will persuade people in this room?” not “what will make a great tweet?”
  • Make your case on merits, not on what people want to hear.
  • Make your point about the issue, not the person.

I might add one to this list: Work to build each other up, not tear each other down. We are all facing whatever life throws our way. Bringing some empathy to the table as a default setting is a great way to approach each other.

You can find information for project updates and upcoming meetings on the IOP website (IOP.net).

Upcoming Events

November 25 – no coffee with the mayor this month due to the holiday. Next one is set for December 30 at the Rec Center at 9:00 a.m.

December 3 – Holiday Street Festival – 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Front Beach. Arts and crafts, food vendors, children’s activities, and live entertainment.

December 8 – Coffee with the Chief – 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a. m. Join Fire Chief Oliverius at Station 1, Public Safety Building Training Room at 30 J C Long Blvd.

December 20 – Santa’s Cookie Workshop – 2:00 p.m. at the Rec Center.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve!  See you around the island.

 

Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP

843-252-5359

ppounds@iop.net


October 17, 2022

It’s hard to believe the time is here to buy our Halloween candy – which means the remainder of the year will fly by even faster with the holidays approaching.

There will be some great upcoming, seasonal events, you will want to make sure and attend.  You can use the city’s website, iop.net, to stay updated on upcoming events and meetings. I hope you have had the opportunity to participate in some of our recent community events – the Police Department’s National Night Out was a huge success with great attendance, the community favorites such as the Farmer’s Market, the Community Wellness Fair and Ghostly Tide Tales. The resident listening sessions for short term rental regulations held at the Rec Center were well attended - it’s always nice to see and hear residents that have never met each other come together to discuss and listen to each other about such an important issue to our island. These meetings and events provide a great opportunity to meet our new residents, city staff or reconnect with long time neighbors and help us all stay focused on building and maintaining a sense of community of caring neighbors.

Regarding the recent short term rental meetings, thank you all again that took the time to participate in one of the three sessions.  We had approximately 150 attend and provide great feedback for Council to consider as they continue to review and study next steps. We are targeting the October 25th Council meeting to have our moderator present the overall meeting results and recap. One of the items that continuously came up during the listening sessions that Council and staff are currently working on is a revised noise ordinance.  We are hoping to have a first draft of a new noise ordinance for the October 25th meeting.  We welcome your feedback as we look to make enhancements to this ordinance to improve the enforcement of this important resident livability issue.

Your City Council recently participated in a half day retreat – or “advance” as our facilitator labeled it to signify moving forward – as a follow up to our January meeting. We felt it was important to have a check in to monitor our progress on agreed upon Council objectives and outcomes.  There was open dialogue on our progress or lack thereof in some cases.  I believe all thought it was a good use of our time as we continue to focus on what is important to our residents.

Don’t forget to vote on November 8th.  As a reminder for the upcoming election, there will be an IOP specific referendum on the ballot for residents to consider the size of City Council.

Project Updates

Please visit iop.net to get the latest update on the many capital projects going on around the island.

Upcoming Events:

October 20 – Farmer’s Market – 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Rec Center

October 28 – Coffee with the Mayor – 9:00 a.m. Marina Store back deck

October 29 – Halloween Golf Cart Parade and Carnival 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Rec Center

November 1 – additional public hearing for the new zoning ordinances – 5:00 at the Rec Center

November 11 – IOP virtual run after party. The IOP run on Saturday October 1 had to be cancelled due to winds and safety on the bridge due to Hurricane Ian. The event was changed to virtual, where you can upload your times any date in October through the websites IOPrun.com and Active.com. We will still have a party on November 11th, from 4pm – 8pm at The Isle of Palms Exchange Club to receive medals, shirts and honor the beneficiaries in person.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.

 

Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP
843-252-5359
ppounds@iop.net

 


September 23, 2022

We’re entering one of my favorite times on our island – Fall. Our crowds are smaller, and the temperatures are comfortable enough to still enjoy all the outdoors has to offer.

Now that we are past Labor Day and our busy tourist season, it felt like a good time to recap the first 8 months of your City Council’s progress. There are always a lot of moving parts and many distractions that can deflect our progress, but it’s been a busy 8 months and from my view, we have made solid progress on many projects and initiatives. We won’t be in total agreement on every issue or the path to get there, but I know what is top of mind for all of us is wanting what is best for our island. Healthy debate is welcome and is just that – healthy and necessary for our city to move forward and for this Council to be effective.
Here's a quick recap of some of the bigger items:

Traffic flow

Since taking office in early January, we proactively started having meetings with our neighboring communities, Mount Pleasant and Sullivans Island, to control what we could about traffic flow during the tourist season. We wanted to do all we could to help our residents and visitors experience better traffic flow this season.

We had numerous meetings with representatives from each community as well as the IOP County Park and SCDOT staff to discuss signage, extra personnel, and other ideas to help residents and guests get on and off the island safely and efficiently. Each meeting produced a list of follow up items we continued to push to completion and held our partners accountable. The team at Channel 4 along with Trooper Bob joined our discussions and developed a robust social media communication effort targeting beach visitors from the broader Charleston region with real time traffic and parking information.
We will be holding a debrief meeting with all these same partners in late October to review what worked and what can be improved for next year.

Effective Governance

  • Council eliminated the current committee structure for a trial period, which required multiple reports and redundant updates to City Council by our staff, consultants and other vendors, and replaced it with a workshop structure. The goal with the workshop structure is to facilitate all council members to be involved in projects, issues and initiatives from the start to completion.
  • On the ballot this Fall is a referendum to let residents decide about reducing the size of council from the current 9 members to 7.
  • We hired a lobbyist to help us have a better voice with our state legislators and to keep us apprised of pending legislation.
  • So far this year, we have been successful in securing $3.5+ million in grants and state budgeted funds to help support various projects around our island.

Protect resident quality of life

  • Improving traffic flow discussed above was a big focus.  We also placed an off-duty county sheriff at the Connector and Palm Boulevard intersection this season to assist with flow on and off the island.
  • Regarding short term rentals - we are hosting 3 resident listening sessions scheduled for September to let residents weigh in on the issue and provide feedback that will help Council develop and implement solutions. We held our first session on the 14th with around 80 participants attending, fully engaged and providing valuable feedback.
  • We continue to have recurring meetings with the SCDOT about the connector study, parking and other ideas. We are expecting their Connector study to be done this Fall and options for restriping later this year or early next year.
  • Hosted a 4th of July fireworks show after a two-year hiatus.
  • Started offering free kayak and paddle board outings for residents with Coastal Expeditions at the new public dock at the marina.
  • Started the Spirit of the Island Award recognizing residents making a positive influence in our community. Our inaugural winner was Jim Thompson for his unselfish service to the IOP Exchange Club.
  • Two major drainage projects under construction and another that soon will be. We also have an island wide drainage masterplan being completed to identify our next areas of project focus.
  • This Fall we will start our first project with Dominion Energy to underground some overhead lines at 21st and Palm.

Safe communities

This Summer we were fully staffed for our Beach Service Officer positions. We have hired an additional code enforcement officer to improve and increase enforcement efforts related to livability issues. We have hired a storm water and facilities foreman in Public Works to help with storm water management and maintenance, parks, beach access paths, public rights of way and city facilities maintenance.

Business focus

  • Hosting quarterly meetings with IOP businesses to facilitate effective communication between our business community and City government.
  • Participate in monthly meetings with the newly established IOP Chamber of Commerce.
  • Have been working on the marina lease assignment and improved parking layout for our marina with the goal of creating a City parking lot with vehicle and trailer parking spaces for residents.
  • Have been working on the marina lease assignment and improved parking layout for our marina with the goal of creating a City parking lot with vehicle and trailer parking spaces for residents.
  • Started building a coalition with other municipalities around the state to ascertain interest in joining our efforts to review the Accommodations Tax structure and uses which will require support from our state legislators.
  • Finished our fiscal year with approximately $32 million in reserves and continue to have the lowest property tax millage rate in the area.

Accessibility

I keep scheduled office hours 2 days a week for people to drop by or make appointments to discuss what’s on their mind. I also have a coffee with the mayor the last Friday of each month at 9:00 a.m. with the location detailed on our website. The next one will be held at The Refuge on September 30th.
Don’t forget to check our website, iop.net, for the latest updates on various projects underway.

There are many other projects and initiatives going on in your city. I hope this quick recap gives you a sense of our focus and efforts to date. For city government to be effective we must have a staff taking care of the day-to-day efforts to keep things moving. Thankfully we have a capable staff that does just that. We have a great staff that make up the IOP family of 93 employees! Take some time the next time you see one of them and let them know you appreciate what they do for our community.


Upcoming Events:

  • October 1 - IOP Connector Run and Walk 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
  • October 14 – Ghostly Tide Tales at Front Beach 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • October 29 – Halloween Golf Cart Parade and Carnival 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Rec Center


Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.


Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP
843-252-5359
ppounds@iop.net


August 26, 2022

As usual, our busy season flew by quickly! I have heard from several of you that our traffic flow during our busy times seemed to have been better this year – except during the occasional storm at the end of a beach day.  I agree and hope that some of our pre-season work with our neighboring cities, SCDOT, Channel 4 and Trooper Bob, Charleston County Parks and Recreation, CARTA and our own staff helped make this happen.  We will schedule sessions after the busy season is over for the City to lead an after action meeting with our partners to discuss what worked well and what didn’t as we make plans for next year.

What’s the Latest?

Resident Input Sessions – On September 14th, 21st and 28th at 5:00 p.m. at the Rec Center, the City will hold meetings for residents to participate in a discussion regarding short-term rentals. This will be a time for you provide feedback about concerns related to short-term rentals, ideas about how to best regulate them and get your reaction to the recommendations that have been developed so far. These sessions will also be an opportunity for residents and property owners to learn about the work and analysis that’s been done over the past year, understand how short-term rentals affect our city finances, participate in a breakout discussion and discuss next steps.  You will only need to attend one of these sessions. We are holding 3 to give as many residents the opportunity to participate as possible. If there is a need for additional sessions, we will determine that after monitoring attendance for the 3 sessions.

Marina – work continues to transfer the existing leases to the new potential operator. Recently, the city installed a temporary ADA parking surface to create two handicap accessible spaces adjacent to the public dock.  Don’t forget about the new golf cart parking along 41st before you enter the marina.

Also, in partnership with Coastal Expeditions, we have developed an additional series of six itineraries exclusively for Isle of Palms residents.  Learn more about the place you call home and how to enjoyably explore it on your own!   

  • The outings will depart from the new IOP Public Dock at the Marina. 
  • Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis. Each outing is limited to 15 participants. You can register at iop.net/experienceiop/themarina/ioppublicdock
  • The outings will be free for Isle of Palms residents. Residents will be expected to show proof of residency or proof of ownership upon arrival.

Rec Center – The end of the month is the deadline for proposals from interested bidders for the construction of improvements to the outdoor basketball courts and the construction of new pickle ball court. Our goal is to have a contract executed by the end of September.

Drainage – work has been delayed a bit due to supply chain issues with the concrete pipes. Work should resume soon with a completion date for the outfalls at 30th and 36th still to be by the end of November. This work will require some road closures. We will be posting notices to our residents in these areas and via social media and the Island Eye as we get closer to these dates.

IOP Connector – we recently had an update meeting with SCDOT about the study being done on the bridge. They are still on track to deliver alternatives to us in the Fall.  There will be an opportunity for the public to consider the alternatives presented and give feedback.  The plan is still to have any changes implemented prior to our next tourist season.

Underground Utility Conversion – we are still on track to have our first project at 21st and Palm Blvd completed this Fall. This will be a 1–2-week project that will require some lane closures and traffic control.

34A Beach Access/ADA Compliant Boardwalk – bids were received mid-August, and we are planning to have a contract executed by the end of August.

Upcoming Events:

September 15 – IOP Farmers Market 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Rec Center

September 23 – Community Wellness Fair 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at Rec Center. In collaboration with Delta Pharmacy and East Cooper Medical Center, the City will provide free cholesterol screening, blood test and vaccines. The registration forms are available on the City’s website at iop.net

September 30 – Coffee with the Mayor – At 9:00 a. m. on the last Friday of each month, I am hosting coffee with residents who wish to talk about City projects, issues and concerns. Location will be updated on our website when finalized.

October 1 – IOP Connector Run and Walk 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a. m.

You can find information for upcoming meetings and more detailed updates on our projects and upcoming events on the IOP website calendar (iop.net) under Upcoming Events.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.

 

Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP

843-252-5359

ppounds@iop.net


July 21, 2022

Civility. Respect. Solutions. This was the focus of a Municipal Association of South Carolina (MASC) annual meeting some Council members and staff recently attended. The MASC Board added to their strategic plan an initiative that included restoring civility in government as a top priority.

We have entered an era where threatening, mocking, deriding and dismissing are the norm.  Gone are the days when ideas and opinions were at least respected even when they were not heeded. Compromise and collaboration are treated as four-letter words, and insults are more celebrated than thoughtful solutions.

The English poet Lady Mary Montagu once wrote that civility “costs nothing and buys everything.”  She was right.

When you are disagreeing with a colleague or friend, civility makes the difference.  It’s the difference between conversation and controversy, between a friendship and a falling out.

One of the sessions at this recent meeting was titled “Conflict to Conversation.” The speaker outlined 6 steps toward better public dialogue. They are:

  1. Own your leadership imperative – focus on leadership that joins residents together in recognizing and solving community problems
  2. Champion Community Values – focus on the core values of the community
  3. Give ‘em what they want – residents most want to feel respected and heard
  4. Convene Courageous Conversations – allow people who are interested to meet, to talk and think together, to explore options and possibilities and to exercise their own leadership
  5. Avoid Binary Choices – public dialogue need never be a win/lose proposition
  6. Acknowledge Uneasiness – Mr. Rogers said: “If it’s human it’s mentionable. And if it’s mentionable it’s manageable.

The MASC Executive Director led the audience of 350+ in the following civility pledge – I pledge to build a stronger and more prosperous community by advocating for civil engagement, respecting others and their viewpoints and finding solutions for the betterment of my city or town.

I’m always amazed at these gatherings of peers around our state.  Some mayors, councils and staffs are grappling with getting clean water to their residents, some are trying to lure a grocery store closer than the current one 30 miles away, some are dealing with population explosions and/or reductions and all the associated issues with either. As an island paradise, IOP should lead the way in turning things toward more civility in our corner of the world!

What’s the Latest?

Marina – work continues to transfer the existing leases to the new potential operator.  We had great attendance and questions at our recent public meeting – thank you for making the effort to attend and hear from our new potential operator. Also, with the help of Representative Bustos and our lobbyists, we were recently informed there is money in the upcoming state budget for dredging the IOP marina. The amount is $1.5 million, and we should be receiving that later this year.  We will soon begin coordinating with stakeholders and the permitting process.

Rec Center – we are seeking proposals from interested bidders for the construction of improvements to the outdoor basketball courts and a new pickle ball court. Proposals will be requested in August with construction planned for late this Fall.

Drainage – Construction on the outfalls at 30th and 36th has begun. This project will significantly help our stormwater runoff management. This work will require road closures in the coming months.  We will be posting notices to our residents in these areas and via social media and the Island Eye as we get closer to these dates. These road closures were scheduled intentionally to avoid peak summer crowds. Also, since we are in hurricane season, our contractor is aware of our needs should an evacuation arise, and provisions will be made to cover any open road areas in the event of an evacuation.

Comprehensive Drainage Masterplan – the next phase(s) of our drainage work is still scheduled to be completed by year end.  Our vendor is conducting an island wide review to identify and plan for improvements in high priority areas. Staff is working on a grant application to pursue grant funding for the construction of several projects that have been identified as the priorities through this initiative.

Underground Utility Conversion - The City has been working with Dominion Energy to identify areas we can move the overhead utility lines underground during the next few years.  The first project will be at 21st and Palm Blvd. and construction is scheduled for later this year. We have other undergrounding projects scheduled for the near future and we will update you as we make progress on those.

Emergency Preparedness – Hurricane season started June 1 and runs until November 30. Please take the time to prepare you and your family ahead of time. Recently, I was able to attend an emergency preparedness and hurricane response planning exercise put together by City staff with assistance from Charleston County Emergency Management. Staff continuously works to improve their operational readiness to ensure our community is protected when we need to prepare for and respond to emergencies and natural disasters. 

Upcoming Events:

August 13 – Annual Half Rubber Tournament 8:00-3:45 at Rec Center

August 18 – Farmers Market 4:00-7:00 at Rec Center

August 26 – Coffee with the Mayor - At 9:00 a.m. on the last Friday of every month, I am hosting coffee with residents who wish to talk about City projects, issues and concerns. To support local businesses, the locations will rotate around venues on our island – however during our busy season we will host this at City Hall, 2nd floor or the Rec Center.

You can find information for upcoming meetings and more detailed updates on our projects on the IOP website Calendar (IOP.net) under Upcoming Events.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve!  See you around the island.

Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP

843-252-5359

ppounds@iop.net


July 1, 2022

Happy July 4th! I hope you’re planning to take part in the golf cart parade and our fireworks show. On Monday the 4th, the parade starts at 10:00 a. m. at 4th Avenue and Charleston Boulevard with set up starting at 9:00 a. m. Fireworks start at 9:00 p.m. at Front Beach.

Ever wonder how fireworks got associated with the July 4th holiday? The first fireworks were used as early as 200 BC. The tradition of setting off fireworks on the 4th of July began in Philadelphia on July 4, 1777, during the first organized celebration of Independence Day. Ship’s cannon fired a 13-gun salute in honor of the 13 colonies. The Pennsylvania Evening Post reported: “at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks (which began and concluded with thirteen rockets) on the Commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated.” That same night, the Sons of Liberty set off fireworks over Boston Common. The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812, in which the United States again faced Great Britain. In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday; in 1941, the provision was expanded to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees.

What’s the Latest?
Drainage – Construction of 2 of 3 major projects – the outfalls at 30th and 36th – has begun. This project will significantly help our stormwater runoff management. This work will disrupt part of the Harbor Golf Course through the end of June and require road closures in August for Waterway and 30th and in October for Waterway and 36th. We will be posting notices to our residents in these areas and via social media and the Island Eye as we get closer to these dates. These road closures were scheduled intentionally to avoid peak summer crowds. Also, since we are in hurricane season, our contractor is aware of our needs should an evacuation arise, and provisions will be made to cover any open road areas in the event of an evacuation.

Underground Utility Conversion - The City has been working with Dominion Energy to identify areas we can move the overhead utility lines underground during the next few years. The first project will be at 21st and Palm Blvd. and construction is scheduled for Fall/Winter 2022. We have other undergrounding projects scheduled for the near future and we will update you as we make progress on those.

Comprehensive Drainage Masterplan – the next phase(s) of our drainage work is still scheduled to be completed by year end. Our vendor is conducting an island wide review to identify and plan for improvements in high priority areas.

Rec Center – we are seeking proposals from interested bidders for the construction of improvements to the outdoor basketball courts and a new pickle ball court. Proposals are due to the city by early July with construction planned for this Fall.

Marina – Lots happening at our marina! The Islander 71 is open, and the crowds are large and the views are great! Also, I hope you have had a chance to use the new public dock or take part in the Explorer Series for Residents. In partnership with Coastal Expeditions, we have developed a series of six itineraries exclusively for Isle of Palms residents. Learn more about the place you call home and how to enjoyably explore it on your own. The outings depart from the new IOP Public Dock at the Marina. Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis and each is limited to 15 participants. These will be free for IOP residents. Residents will be expected to show proof of residency or proof of ownership upon arrival. The dates for additional outings will be released this month. More details are available at iop.net.

You may recall the City received a letter requesting approval of assignment of the existing leases held by Marina Joint Ventures, Inc. and Marina Outpost, LLC with the City of Isle of Palms to Morgan Creek LLC, same ownership group that owns Bohicket, Old Village Yacht Club, St. Johns Yacht Harbor and Seabreeze marinas. We continue to have discussions and review due diligence information with the potential new marina operator. Since any assignment requires the City’s prior consent, we have begun our due diligence review process and are hopeful to have this process completed soon.

SCDOT – 1) We requested SCDOT add a camera to their 511 system at Palm Blvd and 14th Avenue. Our camera pointing towards the IOP Connector bridge has been a part of the system for some time. The recent addition will allow you to view down Palm Blvd towards 21st Avenue. Hopefully this will help as you plan you trips around and off the island more efficiently. 2) The study being done on the bridge is progressing well. SCDOT’s consultant continues to collect traffic counts and observe traffic flows during our peak season. They are still on target to come back in the Fall with recommendations for alternative bridge configurations.

Upcoming Events

  • July 4th – Parade at 10:00 a. m. starting at 4th Avenue and Charleston and Fireworks at 9:00 p. m. at Front Beach.
  • July 21st – Farmers market at Rec Center
  • July 23rd – IOP Beach Run
  • July 29th – Coffee with the Mayor - At 9:00 a.m. on the last Friday of every month, I am hosting coffee with residents who wish to talk about City projects, issues and concerns. To support local businesses, the locations will rotate around venues on our island – however during our busy season we will host this at City Hall, 2nd floor or the Rec Center.

You can find information for upcoming meetings on the IOP website Calendar (IOP.net) under Upcoming Events.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.

Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP


June 3, 2022

Hello! Our busy season has begun! Please watch for the crowds at crosswalks – and other places – as you make your way around our island.

I hope you were able to celebrate Memorial Day in some special way this year. Do you know the origin of this special day? Here is a little background just in case.

For many people, Memorial Day is the symbol of summer’s start. What’s lost to some is its original meaning - and day. On May 5, 1868, an organization of Union army veterans established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.

At Arlington National Cemetery, then-Congressman James Garfield spoke about the solemn occasion. “We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country, they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue,” he said.

The Union army veterans said Decoration Day should be observed on May 30 each year because the timing would permit flowers to be in bloom all over the country. Some local areas observed similar ceremonies starting in 1866. By the start of the 20th century, ceremonies were being held on May 30 around the country. And after World War I, the holiday was expanded to honor all American war fatalities.

Congress recognized Decoration Day as a federal holiday in 1938, and the name “Memorial Day” became more commonplace after World War II. But the federal government didn’t officially adopt that name until 1967. The Uniform Holidays Bill of 1968 moved the holiday to the last Monday in May. If you didn’t already, now you know.

What’s the Latest?
Drainage – Construction of 2 of 3 major projects – the outfalls at 30th and 36th – has begun. This work will disrupt part of the Harbor Golf Course through the end of June and require road closures in August for Waterway and 30th and in October for Waterway and 36th. We will be posting notices to our residents in these areas and via social media and the Island Eye as we get closer to these dates.

Marina – we continue to have discussions and review due diligence information with the potential new marina operator. You may recall the City received a letter requesting approval of assignment of the existing leases held by Marina Joint Ventures, Inc. and Marina Outpost, LLC with the City of Isle of Palms to Morgan Creek LLC, same ownership group that owns Bohicket, Old Village Yacht Club, St. Johns Yacht Harbor and Seabreeze marinas. Since any assignment requires the City’s prior consent, we have begun our due diligence review process and are hopeful to have this process completed by the end of June.

Underground Utility Conversion - The City is working with Dominion Energy to identify areas we can move the overhead utility lines underground during the next few years. The first area will be 21st and Palm Blvd. and construction is scheduled for Fall/Winter 2022. We have other undergrounding projects scheduled for the near future and we will update you as we progress.

Temporary Suspension of environmentally acceptable packaging products – Our local restaurants continue to struggle with supply chain issues, whether it’s food availability or eco-friendly containers for to-go orders. For the past two years, the City has been trying to help our local businesses by suspending the requirement that all to-go order containers be an eco-friendly, recyclable product. The temporary suspension ran out May 17th. Recently, City Council voted to extend the suspension until September 1 in order to allow our businesses time to use up their current stock of products and allow time for eco-friendly products to hopefully be more readily available.

Explorer Series for Residents – in partnership with Coastal Expeditions, we have developed a series of six itineraries exclusively for Isle of Palms residents. Learn more about the place you call home and how to enjoyably explore it on your own. The outings depart from the new IOP Public Dock at the Marina. Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis and each is limited to 15 participants. These will be free for IOP residents. Residents will be expected to show proof of residency or proof of ownership upon arrival. Next month, the City will release the calendar for additional outings for August through October. More details at iop.net.

Upcoming Events
Police Department Community Meetings. These meetings are intended to provide residents an in depth look at statistical information impacting their communities and have interactive discussions with public safety personnel. Our Police Department has been holding these meetings around our island the past month. There are 2 left with June 23rd being a make up meeting for anyone unable to attend an earlier meeting in your area. Thank you for your participation in these informative meetings.

  • June 9th Wild Dunes Property Owners Beach House – 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • June 23rd Public Safety Building – 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • June 10 - Coffee with a Cop – 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. next to the Front Beach Restrooms. Have some coffee and conversations with the officers that serve our community.
  • June 11– Sand Sculpting Competition – Front Beach 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • June 16 – Farmers Market – Rec Center 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. – will be held the 3rd Thursday of the month June – October
  • July 4 – Fireworks – Front Beach – 9:00 – 9:30 p.m.
  • Coffee with the Mayor – At 9:00 a.m. on the last Friday of every month, I am hosting coffee with residents who wish to talk about City projects, issues and concerns. To support local businesses, the locations will rotate around venues on our island – however during our busy season we will host this at City Hall, 2nd floor or the Rec Center. 


You can find information for upcoming meetings on the IOP website Calendar (IOP.net) under Upcoming Events.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.

Mayor Pounds


May 2, 2022

Hello! I hope your Spring is going well. The weather has been fantastic lately!

When you think of things that have been around or last 50 years, what comes to mind? At our last City Council meeting we recognized the Windjammer for their 50th anniversary. Quite an accomplishment for them. What a jewel for IOP to have this venue for this long. Thank you to all involved over the 50 years that started it, worked there, ate and attended events there.

Spring brings the task of drafting the annual budget for our City. We do this via an ordinance which has to be read twice at City Council meetings and includes a time for a Public Hearing. I’m thrilled to say there will be no tax increase for this next fiscal year keeping our millage rate one of the lowest in the area. The proposed FY23 budget is available at www.iop.net and a public hearing is scheduled for 5:45 p.m., May 24, 2022. We are budgeting for revenue of $22.5 million and expenses of $23.9 million. Some items included in the budget are:

  • Construction of Phase 3 drainage at 30th and 36th Avenue outfalls
  • Completion of Comprehensive Drainage Master plan
  • Improvements to the T-docks along the Intracoastal Waterway at the marina
  • Design and permitting for expanded public dock
  • Maintain, renovate or construct beach access paths
  • Reconstruct and reconfigure outdoor basketball courts and construct two pickle ball courts at the Rec Center

What’s the Latest?

Drainage – Construction of 2 of 3 major projects – the outfalls at 30th and 36th – will start in early May. This work will disrupt part of the Harbor Golf course and require road closures during August for Waterway and 30th and during October for Waterway and 36th. We will be posting notices to our residents in these areas and via social media as we get closer to these dates.

Marina – the City recently had our walk-through inspection for substantial completion of the Dock Rehab project. There are a few remaining punch list items, but this project is essentially completed. The new restaurant, Islander 71, should be open shortly after this article is printed. Lastly, we recently received a letter requesting approval of assignment of the existing leases held by Marina Joint Ventures, Inc. and Marina Outpost, LLC with the City of Isle of Palms to Morgan Creek LLC, same ownership group that owns Bohicket and Seabreeze marinas. Any assignment requires the City’s prior consent. We have begun our due diligence review process. Much more to come on this latest development.

Why all the changes?
Do the words go together – efficiency and local government? They can and should. In the business world – businesses of any size – must continually change, look for new sources of revenue, innovate, improve, look for efficiencies, and think of ways to do things differently to survive. The same should be done in local government - even though our revenue is somewhat secure and steady and we’re providing services and not products. Some of these business principles listed above should be applicable to running our city government.

That’s why I’m suggesting we look at a few items that can bring efficiencies and streamline some areas of our government. I don’t know if they will move forward or be approved, but I think with these changes we can create some time for our Council and staff, especially our Department Heads to be more focused on strategic initiatives and projects. I’m not suggesting change for the sake of change, rather looking for ways to make us more efficient and effective and help us keep pace with current government practices and trends. One of these items – replacing our committee structure with workshops - was approved at our most recent City Council meeting. We will implement it starting July 1 for a trial period of 6 months.

Upcoming Events
May 7 – Day in the Park – Music and Movie 3:00-7:00 pm. Bring your lawn chair and your appetite for an afternoon of good music and good food in the park. Musical performances by local bluegrass bands and local food trucks on site.

Coffee with the Mayor – At 9:00 a.m. on the last Friday of every month, I am hosting coffee dates with residents who wish to talk about City projects, issues and concerns. To support local businesses, the locations will rotate around venues on our island. You can find information for upcoming meetings on the IOP website Calendar (IOP.net) under Upcoming Events.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around the island.

Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP


Island Traffic Update 

April 8, 2022

What’s the Latest?

Since taking office in early January, we proactively started having meetings with our neighboring communities, Mount Pleasant and Sullivans Island, to control what we could about traffic flow for our upcoming season. Not knowing if we would be able to count on the County or SCDOT for help, we want to do all we can to help our residents and visitors experience better traffic flow this season. We started with numerous ideas:

  • have personnel at the traffic lights all along the connector to help keep traffic moving
  • change the way visitors pay to get into the County Park
  • have two lanes on the bridge going off the island
  • make better use of social media for real time traffic and available parking updates

We have had numerous meetings with representatives from each community as well as the County and SCDOT. Each meeting has produced a list of follow up items we will continue to push to completion and hold our partners accountable. Recently, the team at Channel 4 along with Trooper Bob have joined our discussions and have developed a robust social media communication effort targeting beach visitors with real time traffic and parking information.

Here is a quick recap of our meetings:

County – efforts here are focused on the IOP County Park (IOPCP)

  • IOPCP will implement any technique that will improve gate operations efficiencies
  • IOPCP will continue its gate soft-open (before posted hours) procedures on high visitation days to get a lead on the potential for early congestion
  • CCPRC agreed to pay half the cost of an off-duty Sherriff’s Deputy at Palm and 14th who will be dedicated exclusively to managing the intersection to mitigate traffic congestion
  • Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC) is in the final procurement stages of a parking app for our non-staffed facilities. CCPRC leadership will consider its feasibility and use at IOPCP once the technology has gone through the development stage
  • Scheduled meeting in April with Berkley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments and University of South Carolina to look at opportunities to utilize AI technology to send real-time information about the status of parking at IOPCP; and
  • Better utilization of CCPRC’s social media channels to inform our patrons of high impact days, traffic status and parking capacity

SCDOT – efforts here are primarily focused on the Connector bridge as well at the entire length of the IOP Connector

  • Connector bridge – SCDOT has engaged a consultant to review the bridge footprint and alternatives on how to accommodate vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians and emergency vehicles. General schedule: Data collection has started and will be collected through the summer; alternatives will be developed in the fall with the study culminating by the end of the year. Coordination with IOP staff and the City’s traffic engineer will occur throughout the project process. A review of IOP connector crash data will also be part of this task
  • Signal timings – SCDOT will review the traffic signal timings at IOP Connector/14th Avenue at Palm Boulevard and update as appropriate
  • County Park – SCDOT will reach out to County staff to discuss current queuing. SCDOT offered to have their school site review team review current County Park operations and provide recommendations.
  • IOP Corridor (Connector from US 17 to Palm Blvd) Active Transportation Review – SCDOT committed to pursuing an active transportation review of the corridor in weekend conditions before Memorial Day to review corridor operations and identify any improvements
  • IOP Corridor study – A follow-on to the Connector bridge study, this study will further review from US 17 to the intersection of Palm Boulevard and 14th Avenue . Study details to be further coordinated with SCDOT and neighboring municipalities. Meetings with neighboring municipalities to be scheduled for initial coordination.
  • Signs on IOP Connector – SCDOT to work with IOP on any requested changes to digital sign language alerting motorists to traffic conditions
  • IOP police department to place variable message sign at base of bridge messaging “Beach Traffic Ahead”
  • IOP formally requested a reduction of the speed limit on all residential roads and signs that note 25 mph speed limit except where otherwise posted (DONE). SCDOT to install signs and remove unnecessary signs (scheduled for April 15th).
  • SCDOT to complete an all-way stop control study at 25th Avenue at Waterway Boulevard

Mt. Pleasant/Sullivans Island – efforts here focused on coordination of traffic lights, communications

ABC 4 and Trooper Bob (local traffic reporter for Channel 4) will assist us this summer with messaging via web and social media outlets. While these efforts won’t necessarily reduce the volume of beach traffic, it will help us by expanding our messaging reach to folks coming from neighboring communities by providing real time traffic, parking, weather and other information that should help them better plan their beach trips. The messaging plan includes traffic maps for IOP, Sullivan’s and Folly Beach that feature drive times and real time traffic cameras.   Aerial maps of the 3 beach towns that would be used to clearly identify paid, metered, and free parking in the three beach communities.

ABC 4 and Trooper Bob also offered to create a beach information webpage that would include timely information about the weather, parking and beach rules, where parking is available, real time traffic maps and cameras, peak visitation times, CARTA’s Beach Shuttle and the IOP County Park.

Trooper Bob has also offered to share beach traffic information and messaging through his social media accounts which have a large following in our region. The messaging will include the best times to head to the beach based on traffic counts from prior years. ABC will also livestream the drive times and real time traffic cameras on Saturday mornings when folks are preparing to go to the beach as well as share the maps showing parking availability.

CARTA Beach Shuttle – The City will again participate in the funding of the seasonal beach shuttle from Mount Pleasant to the beach at IOP. The beach shuttle will operate from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  on weekends starting Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. The shuttle will depart Town Center in Mount Pleasant and drop folks at Front Beach where restrooms, showers and restaurants are available to make every beach trip enjoyable. The beach shuttle service will be free and riders will be allowed to bring beach chairs and coolers with them. In an effort to increase ridership numbers this season, CARTA developed a robust marketing plan that includes targeted advertisement in the Tri-County region including hotels and local businesses.

Meetings will continue as we approach our busy season.  We will keep you apprised of our progress.

Mayor Pounds 


Mayor's Message

April 5, 2022

Hello! Spring has arrived along with the pollen and spring break visitors.

Our crowds will only grow larger each week from here on out, so we are continuing meetings with our partners from Sullivan’s Island and Mount Pleasant to coordinate our beach traffic management for the season. A recent meeting included representatives from ABC 4 and Trooper Bob (local traffic reporter for Channel 4) who offered to help us this summer with messaging via web and social media outlets. While these efforts won’t necessarily reduce the volume of beach traffic, it will help us by expanding our messaging reach to folks coming from neighboring communities by providing real time traffic, parking, weather and other information that should help them better plan their beach trips. The messaging plan includes traffic maps for IOP, Sullivan’s and Folly Beach that feature drive times and real time traffic cameras. Aerial maps of the 3 beach towns that would be used to clearly identify paid, metered, and free parking in the three beach communities.

ABC 4 and Trooper Bob also offered to create a beach information webpage that would include the following information:

  • Weather
  • Parking info both paid and free
  • Parking Rules
  • Traffic Maps
  • Traffic Cams
  • Busiest times
  • Waze embed
  • Gas Buddy
  • Beach Rules
  • Carta’s beach shuttle
  • County Park info for IOP & Folly

Trooper Bob has also offered to share beach traffic information and messaging through his social media accounts which have a large following in our region. The messaging will include the best times to head to the beach based on traffic counts from prior years. ABC will also livestream the drive times and real time traffic cameras on Saturday mornings when folks are preparing to go to the beach as well as share the maps showing parking availability.

How to know what’s going on?
The City’s website, www.iop.net , is the best place. There is a calendar detailing all the various upcoming meetings and events, platform to view any past committee or council meetings, mayor’s messages, updates on various projects and other information you may find useful.

Frequently Asked Questions – Accommodations Taxes

There has been much discussion over the past few months about accommodations taxes, which are a significant source of revenue for our City. I thought it might be helpful to provide a FAQ to ensure a common level of understanding of what they are and how they are used by the City.

  1. What are the accommodations taxes?
    These are taxes applied to any overnight accommodations – for example: hotel, short term rentals, VRBO, Airbnb, etc.

  2. What kinds of accommodations taxes are there?
    There are three (3) types:
    • State Accommodations - Tax imposed by the state of South Carolina is 2% of the base rate of the rental.
    • Municipal Accommodations - Tax imposed by Charleston County and the City of Isle of Palms. The combined tax cannot exceed 3% of the base rate of the rental. Currently, Charleston County imposes a 2% tax and the City of IOP imposes a 1% tax for a total of 3%.
    • Beach Preservation - Fee imposed by the City of Isle of Palms is 1% of the base rate of the rental and must be used exclusively for beach maintenance and access.

  3. How much does the City receive in accommodations tax?
    In fiscal year 2021, the City received approximately a total of $5.6M in accommodations tax revenue: $1.8 million in Municipal Accommodations taxes, $2.5 million in State Accommodation taxes and $1.3 million in Beach Preservation taxes.

  4. How can the City use the Municipal Accommodations taxes it receives?Municipal Accommodations tax revenue may be used for the following activities:
    • Tourism-related buildings including civic centers, coliseums and aquariums
    • Tourism-related cultural, recreational or historic facilities
    • Beach access, nourishment or other tourism-related lands and water access
    • Highways, roads, streets and bridges providing access to tourist destinations
    • Advertisements and promotions related to tourism development
    • Water and sewer infrastructure to serve tourism-related demand
    • City may also use these funds for police, fire protection, emergency medical services and emergency preparedness operations directly attendant to those facilities.
    IOP uses the revenue from this fund for road right-of-way maintenance, drainage improvements, parking management and enforcement, holiday decorations in Front Beach, additional law enforcement support during the summer season, solid waste disposal, beach access path maintenance, special equipment for the Fire Department, several positions in the Police and Fire Departments and operating expenses in the Public Works Department.

  5. How can the City use the State Accommodations taxes it receives?State law dictates how State Accommodations tax revenue must be allocated and used:
    • The first $25,000 plus 5% of the balance received is used for general City operations
    • 30% must be used only for advertising and promotion of tourism to develop and increase tourist attendance through the generation of publicity.. For the past 25 years these funds have gone to the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) to market our region across the U. S. and world.
    • The remaining 65% may be used by municipalities for the following activities:
    i. Advertising and promotion of tourism so as to develop and increase tourist attendance through the generation of publicity
    ii. Promotion of the arts and cultural events
    iii. Construction, maintenance and operation of facilities for civic and cultural activities including construction and maintenance of access and other nearby roads and utilities for the facilities
    iv. The criminal justice system, law enforcement, fire protection, solid waste collection, and health facilities when required to serve tourists and tourist facilities. This is based on the estimated percentage of costs directly attributed to tourists
    v. Public facilities such as restrooms, dressing rooms, parks and parking lots
    vi. Tourist shuttle transportation
    vii. Control and repair of waterfront erosion, including beach nourishment
    viii. Operating visitor information centers

    IOP uses the revenue from the State Accommodations tax for maintenance of parks, the July 4th fireworks show and other special events, equipment for fire and police, parking management and enforcement, maintenance and management of the public restrooms on Front Beach, beach garbage collection, and for infrastructure improvements in the commercial district. Additionally, State Accommodations tax funds support several positions in the Police and Fire Department and 75% of the debt service for the City’s marina.
  6. What is the breakdown of the State Accommodations tax?
    For the City’s fiscal year 2021, the 5% allocated to our General Fund was $147,237; the 30% was $733,416 and the 65% was $1,589,078.
  7. Why has IOP chosen the CVB to receive the 30%?
    The City is required to select one or more organizations, such as a chamber of commerce, visitor and convention bureau or regional tourism commission, which has an existing, ongoing tourism promotion program. If no organization like the CVB exists, the City could create a non-profit organization that has an ongoing tourism promotion program to manage and direct these funds for tourism promotion and advertisement.
  8. Can a portion of the 30% of State Accommodations tax be used for other projects or needs other than advertisement and promotion of tourism?
    No. State law states that 30% of the State Accommodations Tax revenue must be allocated and used only for advertising and promotion of tourism to develop and increase tourist attendance through the generation of publicity.

  9. Who oversees all this revenue?
    • The Municipal Accommodations taxes are tracked and managed by our Finance Director and City Administrator and like all other City revenues, management oversight is provided by the Ways and Means Committee and City Council.
    • Municipalities receiving more than $50,000 in State Accommodations taxes must appoint an advisory committee that makes recommendations to City Council on how to spend this revenue. Also, the Tourism Expenditure Review Committee, created in 2001 by the state legislature, is responsible for monitoring accommodations tax reporting for compliance with the law.

    DISCLOSURE: This is not intended to be a legal document but rather a simplification of Chapter 4 of Title 6 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. Please refer to state law for exact language. The language contained in the South Carolina Code of Law supersedes any language here.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around our island.
Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP
843-252-5359
ppounds@iop.net


Mayor's Message 

March 11, 2022

Hello! Spring is almost here which hopefully means warmer weather. It certainly means the beginning of our busy season as Spring Breaks start happening during March and April. Also, don’t forget to set your clocks forward on March 13th.

The second month as Mayor is done, and like January, it’s also been a busy one. I had lunch this month with Tim Goodwin, Mayor of Folly Beach, who said being mayor is the best part time, 60 hour a week job he’s ever had! I’m starting to understand his comment. However, from my view the first two months have been great. We’ve made progress on several fronts and have started developing relationships with numerous, critical supporting partners and neighbors. Also, we had another great Coffee with the Mayor with about 20 attending and numerous residents stopping by during office hours. Thank you for participating and being engaged with what is going on around our island.

It's hard to believe it’s already time but we started our budget process for our next fiscal year which starts July 1. We will be holding a budget workshop on March 16th from 1:00 – 3:00 at the Rec Center which will be open to the public. I’m hopeful we can finalize our budget with one workshop and other discussions at our regularly scheduled Ways and Means Committee meetings. If you have an interest in learning more about our budget and the discussions that go along with it, please plan to join us at the workshop, or stop by during my office hours.

How to know what’s going on?
The City’s website, www.iop.net , is the best place. There is a calendar detailing all the various upcoming meetings and events, platform to view any past committee or council meetings, mayor’s messages, updates on various projects and other information you may find useful.

I am doing routine updates via a Mayor’s Message section on our website to provide a little more explanation or context into our decisions and actions. I hope you find these helpful as our goal is to be timely and consistent with sharing information about the decisions impacting our community.

Some Upcoming events – check out iop.net for details

  • March 16 – City Council Budget Workshop
  • March 24 – Quarterly meeting with IOP Businesses
  • March 25 – Coffee with the Mayor at IOP Marina Market
  • March 26 – Annual Yard Sale

What’s the Latest?
Drainage – we will hopefully be starting construction of 2 of 3 major projects – the outfalls at 30th and 36th – in April. We are still waiting on permits for our 3rd project at 41st Avenue. We recently received a grant of $1.4 million from the state to help with our drainage expenses. We are also in the middle of completing an island wide drainage plan to identify our next areas of focus.

Marina – this project will be close to completion by the time this article is printed. The docks and fuel hut should be completed or very close; the restaurant plans to open in April, the public dock is available for use, we’ve finalized the design for the greenspace and should have bids for construction back soon (hopefully we can get the greenspace installed before our busy season with the expanded dock being constructed this Fall), and we’ve created 16 resident only parking spots and 14 golf cart parking spaces for your use when visiting the new public dock, the new restaurant or the marina store.

New Fire Chief – City Council unanimously accepted the recommendation from the City Administrator to appoint Craig Oliverius as our new Fire Chief. He is the Deputy Fire Chief in the Town of Mount Pleasant, and we are confident that his experience, skills and vision will lead our department to the next level. His knowledge of the region, his experience working in an accredited agency and the relationships he has built throughout his career will help strengthen our department. We look forward to introducing our new chief to you.

IOP Connector – on March 4th we held the kickoff meeting with the SC Department of Transportation for the first phase of the study they will be conducting and paying for regarding the Connector. I’m hopeful we will get to a good decision through a collaborative effort. We will keep you apprised of our progress for this critical project.

There are many other initiatives going on these are just the highlights.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you around our island.

Phillip Pounds, Mayor IOP


Frequently Asked Questions- Accommodations Taxes 

March 7, 2022

There has been much discussion over the past few months about the accommodations taxes which are a significant source of revenue for our City.  I thought it might be helpful to provide a FAQ to ensure a common level of understanding. I hope this helps.

Frequently Asked Questions – Accommodations Taxes

1. Q. What are the accommodations taxes?

A. These are taxes applied to any overnight accommodations – for example: hotel, short term rentals, VRBO, Airbnb, etc.

2. Q. What kinds of accommodations taxes are there?

A. We have three types as follows:

i. Municipal Accommodations Tax imposed by Charleston County and the City of Isle of Palms. The combined tax cannot exceed 3% of the base rate of the rental. Currently, Charleston County imposes a 2% tax and the City of IOP imposes a 1% tax for a total of 3%.

ii. Beach Preservation Fee imposed by the City of Isle of Palms is 1% of the base rate of the rental and must be used exclusively for beach maintenance and access

iii. State Accommodations Tax imposed by the state of SC is 2% of the base rate of the rental.

3 Q. How much does the City receive in accommodations tax?

A. In fiscal year 2021, the City received approximately $1.8 million in Municipal Accommodations taxes, $2.5 million in State Accommodation taxes and $1.3 million in Beach Preservation taxes.

4. Q. How can the City use the Municipal Accommodations taxes it receives?

A. The revenue from this source may be used for the following:

i. Tourism-related buildings including civic centers, coliseums and aquariums

ii. Tourism-related cultural, recreational or historic facilities

iii. Beach access, renourishment or other tourism-related lands and water access

iv. Highways, roads, streets and bridges providing access to tourist destinations

v. Advertisements and promotions related to tourism development

vi. Water and sewer infrastructure to serve tourism-related demand

vii. City may also use these funds for police, fire protection, emergency medical services and emergency preparedness operations directly attendant to those facilities.

IOP typically uses the revenue from these funds for road right-of-way maintenance, drainage improvements, parking management and enforcement, holiday decorations in Front Beach, additional law enforcement support during the summer season, solid waste disposal, beach access path maintenance, special equipment for the Fire Department, several positions in the Police and Fire Departments and operating expenses in the Public Works Department.

5.Q. How can the City use the State Accommodations taxes it receives? 

A. The first $25,000 plus 5% of the balance received is used for general City operations

B. 30% must be used exclusively for tourism advertisement and promotion. For the past 25 years these funds have gone to the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) to market our region across the U. S. and world.

C. The remaining 65% must be used for the following activities:

i. Advertising and promotion of tourism so as to develop and increase tourist attendance through the generation of publicity

ii. Promotion of the arts and cultural events

iii. Construction, maintenance and operation of facilities for civic and cultural activities including construction and maintenance of access and other nearby roads and utilities for the facilities

iv. The criminal justice system, law enforcement, fire protection, solid waste collection, and health facilities when required to serve tourists and tourist facilities. This is based on the estimated percentage of costs directly attributed to tourists

v. Public facilities such as restrooms, dressing rooms, parks and parking lots

vi. Tourist shuttle transportation

vii. Control and repair of waterfront erosion, including beach renourishment

viii. Operating visitor information centers

IOP typically uses the revenue from the state accommodations tax for maintenance of parks, the July 4th fireworks show and other special events, equipment for fire and police, parking management and enforcement, maintenance and management of the public restrooms on Front Beach, beach garbage collection, and for infrastructure improvements in the commercial district. Additionally, state accommodations tax funds support several positions in the Police and Fire Department and 75% of the debt service for the City’s marina.

6. Q. Why has IOP chosen the CVB to receive the 30%? 

A. The City must select one or more organizations, such as a chamber of commerce, visitor and convention bureau or regional tourism commission, which has an existing, ongoing tourism promotion program.

B. If no organization like the CVB exists, the City could create a non-profit organization that has an ongoing tourism promotion program to manage and direct these funds for tourism promotion and advertisement. 

7.Q. Can a portion of the 30% of State Accommodations tax be used for other projects or needs other than advertisement and promotion of tourism?  

A. No. State law states that 30% of the State Accommodations Tax revenue must be allocated and used only for advertising and promotion of tourism to develop and increase tourist attendance through the generation of publicity.

8.Q. What is the breakdown of the State Accommodations tax?

A. For the City’s fiscal year 2021, the 5% allocated to our General Fund was $147,237; the 30% was $733,416 and the 65% was $1,589,078.

9.Q. Who oversees all this revenue?

A. The Municipal Accommodations taxes are tracked by our Finance Director and City Administrator and like all other City revenues oversight is provided by the Ways and Means Committee and City Council.

B. Municipalities receiving more than $50,000 in State Accommodations taxes must appoint an advisory committee that makes recommendations to City Council on how to spend this revenue. Also, the Tourism Expenditure Review Committee, created in 2001 by the state legislature, is responsible for monitoring accommodations tax reporting for compliance with the law.

DISCLOSURE: This is not intended to be a legal document but rather a simplification of Chapter 4 of Title 6 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. Please refer to this for exact language.  The language contained in the South Carolina Code of Law supersedes any language here.


2 Quick Project Updates 

February 25, 2022

Marina Update

If you haven’t been to our marina lately you have missed a lot of progress! The new docks are completed, the fuel hut is just about done, the store has a new roof, some of the lots have been graded and refinished, the restaurant should be opening very soon, and we have created about 30 free parking spots. 

Resident Only Parking at IOP Marina

 16 of these are resident only and located just off what will become our new public dock and eventually our greenspace and 14 are golf cart parking spaces on 41st Avenue just before the entrance to the marina.  We will continue to look for creative ways to make free resident parking available but hope you will agree this is a great start!

41st Avenue Sidewalk

We recently executed a contract to have the sidewalk along 41st Avenue redone. This work should be completed before the new restaurant opens creating an easy and safe way for bikers and walkers to get to our marina.  The work started this week and should be completed by the end of next week.

Mayor Pounds 


 

 

 

South Carolina Beach Advocates - 2022 Annual Meeting

February 4, 2022

On January 31- February 2 at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, several Council members and members of City staff attended the South Carolina Beach Advocates Annual Meeting. The City has been a member of this non-profit organization since it was formed 8 years ago to educate the public, governmental authorities, and elected officials as to the environmental, economic, and societal impact of South Carolina's beaches and inlets. This year I was elected to serve on the Board of Directors.

This meeting provided us an opportunity to advocate for recurring state funding for beach renourishment and hear from:

  • Several federal and state legislators who provided updates on budget conversations and outlook for SC beaches,
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about some of their latest projects,
  • Service providers on new ideas and technologies being implemented around the country to preserve our coastal environment,
  • Coastal Science & Engineering on a field trip to Captain Sam’s Inlet to see firsthand how dynamic our islands are,
  • Our Governor, Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, and Chief Resilience Officer about current budgeting efforts, projects and initiatives aimed at making our state a leader in beach preservation and management.

This conference also provides a unique networking opportunity for us to discuss with neighboring coastal communities their efforts to tackle some of the same issues we are dealing with and to hear from engineering firms that are providing innovative solutions.

Next year’s conference will be held on IOP at Wild Dunes Resort on February 6-8.

Mayor Pounds


First Coffee with the Mayor

January 28, 2022
IOP residents having coffee with the Mayor.

Wow! Not knowing what to expect or how to plan for our maiden voyage, our residents as usual exceeded my expectations!

We had about 15 for our first coffee. Thank you so much to those that took the time to attend and participate in the discussion with your questions and comments.  The topics ranged from drainage, the marina, the connector, sewer, among others.  One of the best parts was I don’t think any of the residents knew each other before today. 

What a great start to what I hope will become a continued well attended event where new acquaintance can be made and we can participate in great dialogue.  The next coffee will be February 25th from 9:00-10:00 a.m.  Watch the City’s website for location.

 Mayor Pounds

 


First City Council Meeting 

January 27, 2022

We held our initial 2022 Council meeting this week.  It was a long agenda, but we were able to efficiently get thru it relatively quickly.  Here is a quick recap of some of our decisions:

  • Approval to start the design and engineering work for the new public dock at the marina which is part of the larger project to convert some of that area into a greenspace.
  • Approval for AV improvements for Council Chambers at City Hall. Our equipment is quite dated and needs an overhaul. This will improve our livestream capabilities and improve our close captioning options.
  • Approved an ATAX award for the Law Enforcement Neighborhood Support Program. This is a new group started in conjunction with our Police Department and the Exchange Club. This group will give back to the community by supporting initiatives that focus on island families, guests and those in need in exclusive partnership with our Police Department. There was a recent Island Eye article profiling this new group.  I encourage you to learn more about them.
  • We created a task force to help us in deciding our next steps for the marketing organization responsible for the 30% of the Accommodations Tax we are required by state law to spend on tourism promotion and advertising. This task force will be made up of residents and business owners and led by Rusty Streetman from City Council. The task force is charged to come back within 6 months with a go forward business model for our future. This is a critical decision for our City and needs to have as much input as possible before any decisions made.
  • Approved 2 resolutions:
    • 2022-01 requesting SCDOT to reduce the speed limit to 25 mph on all secondary roads within the City unless otherwise posted. This would not include Palm Boulevard or other roads that already have a lower limit.
    • 2022-02 opposing House Bill 4547 which would limit local government’s ability to regulate short term rentals. We felt it was important to let our state elected officials know our position on the proposed legislation.

You can watch the meeting from a link on the City’s website if you want more details or to review all discussions from our meeting. The next City Council meeting is February 22, 2022 at 6:00 p.m.

Mayor Pounds


Committee Meetings

January 13, 2022

You may have noticed most of the committees for your City Council met this week for the first time this year. The Council committees are where our department heads provide updates/reports on happenings within their areas and ongoing projects, project discussions start and deeper reviews and discussions are had for the City’s spending needs. At this week’s meetings the Chairs and Vice Chairs were also elected.

Next week on Tuesday, we will have our first Ways and Means meeting of the year where our financial results are reviewed in more detail as well as an update of ongoing capital projects.

The Committee meetings are a good way for residents to stay informed with what’s happening on our island. You can find agendas and meeting minutes here: https://www.iop.net/agendas-minutes. All meetings are posted on the online calendar and meeting material is posted at least 24 hours in advance. The City live-streams all meetings on the City’s Youtube page, where the recordings of past meetings are also available.  Also, another way to stay informed, is at our monthly City Council meetings where each Committee Chair provides a recap of their meetings as well.

All meetings are held at City Hall, are open to the public and provide a time early in the agenda for citizen’s comments. It’s a great opportunity to have your voice heard. 

Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to serve you.

Mayor Pounds


City Council Retreat 

January 7, 2022
City Council Retreat

This week our City Council participated in an offsite retreat Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning at The Post House Inn in Mt. Pleasant. With so many new council members joining this year, I felt it was important to step away before our work began for the year and spend time getting to know each other, building some camaraderie, defining what success will look like, review our strategic plan, receive training from the SC Municipal Association and discuss how we can best work and communicate with each other.

The two days together far exceeded my expectations. Our Council was fully engaged and participatory and walked away with a better understanding of their roles and each other. I’m confident our time together has laid the foundation for a successful year. A few Council members suggested a retreat should become standard operation procedure after each election.

I know any time we spend taxpayer dollars we need to be prudent and efficient. I think we were both this week and the payback will far exceed the cost of our time together.

Charlie Barrineau from the Municipal Association of South Carolina providing training to City Council. 

As a result of our retreat, you may see us trying some different things. I’m hopeful any changes we make will make for more efficient meetings and use of time by our staff. In advance, I appreciate your patience as we settle into our roles. Our committee meetings start next week so we will have some new committee chairs that will be learning as they go to some degree.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you,

Mayor Pounds

 


Inaugural Message 

January 5, 2022

Happy New Year to everyone! Again, congratulations to the newly sworn in Council members and to the ones returning - thanks for coming back after the couple of years we’ve had!

I felt it was important to have a few opening remarks as this Council tenure begins to help set the tone for what can be expected and how we will operate.

Each new year brings a certain amount of hope, promise, and anticipation. Some of us make resolutions before the start of the New Year, while some do it the way my wife does - accomplish a task and say it should have been on my resolution list and cross it off! No matter how you celebrate the New Year or what your intentions are, I hope we can all collectively decide to turn the page on provoking our neighbors via social media and return to civil discourse. Because at the end of the day, that’s what we are, neighbors. Friends. We’re here for one another. Or, at least, we’re supposed to be. Who else is going to lend us some sugar, help us push our golf carts home, or notify us when our dogs escape the yard?

When I began campaigning last year, I wanted to anchor my platform in something other than the known issues facing our island. Something that might make a difference in our day-to-day dealings with one another. Something that might take affect at a quicker pace. My hope was we’d all be reminded how vital it is to treat one another with kindness and respect—two things that seem to have fallen by the wayside over the past few years.

Thus, the movement, “Contagiously Kind” was born.

My thought process was this: At some level, no matter our differences in values or opinions, we all want what’s best for our part of paradise. I’d like to believe that at our cores, we’d prefer to engage in meaningful, respectful discussions when it comes to issues facing us all. Issues I’m well-aware we’re all passionate about in our own ways.

That being said, while I will lead to foster a kinder community, I will not be a pushover or think the world is all roses and rainbows, as some might have suggested on social media. I can assure you that I did not survive and thrive in the corporate world for over 35 years without rolling up my sleeves and standing my ground to fight when needed. I will do the same for IOP, but every issue cannot be life or death. We must pick and choose our battles on the important issues that face us and learn to negotiate or compromise while we seek common ground

with our surrounding and supporting partners. If we’re always the ones crying wolf, others will stop paying attention to us at some point. I would rather save my fights for the things that really matter for the greater good.

I remember recently asking a dear mentor, “As an elected official, how do you really know you’re doing a good job?” (absent at election time!). He answered, “Make your decisions for the greater good and you’ll be able to sleep well at night and keep things moving forward.”

I said this when I was elected to City Council and again as Mayor—it’s not about what I want anymore, it’s not about my agenda or my personal desires. I’m now privileged with a position to listen to residents—to our neighbors—and ensure I understand what it is that you want and need to live here comfortably and cohesively. 

So, in that listening vein, I plan to host events to increase dialogue and opportunities for face-to-face discussions. The first will be, “Coffee with the Mayor,” which will be held on the last Friday of each month. We will rotate around the restaurants on the island, so watch the city’s website for details each month. Secondly, I will be keeping scheduled office hours so that residents, business owners, or visitors can ask questions or learn about ongoing projects. And finally, I will introduce a frequent Mayor’s Message on the website and social media to provide context for decision-making and general updates.  

I will still be engaging in the quarterly meetings with our business community, which were initiated mid last year, and my hope is that the attendance and engagement from this critical group will grow.

Over the past few years, there’s been solid progress on many fronts and we are beginning the year in great financial shape. Thank you Jimmy Carroll and prior Council members for your efforts to get us to a good beginning place. I’m hopeful we’ll continue that progress. We’re already kicking things off in the right direction because, for the first time maybe ever, Council will be taking some time over the next two days to do a little team building, get to know each other a bit, define what success will look like, discuss rules of engagement (how will we work together, how do we get things done, how we will treat each other, how we will communicate with each other) and receive some training from the South Carolina Municipal Association, review our strategic plan and council handbook. With so many new council members, I felt it was critical to schedule this working session right after inauguration to help create a unified team all focused on the same agenda.

I know at our special meetings we don’t usually have a mayor’s invocation and we won’t tonight, but I’m going to read a prayer that I hope captures the spirit of what I’ve

been talking about and my expectations for how we, as a council, will operate going forward. Listen as I read the Prayer for Humility:

O Father, give us the humility which realizes it’s ignorance,

Admits its mistakes, recognizes its need, welcomes advice,

Accepts rebuke. Help us to praise rather than to criticize,

To sympathize rather than to discourage, to build rather than to destroy,

And to think of people at their best rather that at their worst.

This we ask for thy names sake.

Thank you for listening. I’m excited for our New year, this new council, and what we can do together. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any other Council member to share your thoughts or ask questions. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to serve you in this role.

Mayor Pounds