Councils and Community

14 Mar Councils and Community

One of the things that became most apparent during our two-day city council retreat (at BJWSA board room) is that the two city councils I have chaired over the past seven and a half years appreciate the importance of consensus building. Even though we may have healthy disagreements, the councils never challenge each other personally over who loves Beaufort more than the other.  This runs so counter to the way most elected officials are acting these days. I’m proud of our council and the staff who support our decision making and implementing the policies we adopt.  By working together, we can bring progress to our community.
As outlined a couple of weeks ago, there are many plans for the coming year. The principal focus will be on completing projects that are in progress and others that are in the queue.
For those interested in Short Term Rentals, please note that the City Council will soon appoint a Blue Ribbon Task Force to develop recommendations for improvements to the ordinance. If you have a skill or experience related to such, you may want to apply to serve on the task force.  To do so, write a letter outlining your interest, experience and general views so that when considering applicants for appointment we can be certain to have a balanced approach. Send you letters of interest to City Council Clerk Ivette Burgess at
The State Legislature threatens to restrict business licenses of local governments. My current concern is what will happen if we lose them or they are significantly reduced, causing an 18-20% loss of revenue with no means of making it up.  Read item #7 in the city managers report from last week if you would like to learn more.  Though it has been a while since I served in the SC House, I find it hard to fathom that there is a value to the state collecting and make the rules for local business.  In the mid 1970’s the Legislature passed Home Rule which was to grant more control to local governments. Since then, they have through Act 388 imposed limitations not the least of which is putting a burden on businesses and rental properties, capping ad valorem taxes tying them to an index and a number unfunded mandates. Furthermore, due to lacking transportation dollars they have laid the burden of maintaining their roads, sidewalks and storm water systems on local tax payers. I do not think this is done out of spite, but rather the fact that many legislators know little about about running a small city or even a large county.  It is our burden to educate them before it is too late.
Also note the many public input sessions scheduled on the in-progress Beaufort Code. This is very important. Before City Council considers the proposal, we need for you to review it and share you views.