Mayor's Message

Mayor's Message 

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