Mayor's Message - September 23, 2022

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.


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,, 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