Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Darby talks cash, conservation in mayoral speech

Edisto Beach Mayor Jane Darby delivered a State of the Town address on Thursday, June 14th.

Surrounded by her elected council and town officials, Darby spoke pointedly about the town’s losses and wins during the last three years. She specifically focused on punches that the town took during recent hurricane seasons, but Darby says the town is financially making a comeback.

Darby began her half-hour speech to the town’s residents by praising the efforts of Edisto’s local staff members, who she said worked diligently in recent years to “keep the town safe” during the last several busy hurricane seasons.

In her speech, Darby also reminded residents that Edisto Beach took consecutive hits from Mother Nature: in 2015, the coastal town was hit by the now historic “1,000-year flood” and by a hurricane; in 2016, Edisto’s coastline was hit by three hurricanes; and in 2017, the town was flooded from Hurricane Irma. “Each of these storms caused damage,” said Darby, who also praised the beach’s recently-installed sand dunes. The dunes were created as part of the recent beach renourishment process. “They did what they were supposed to,” she said, of the sand dunes. “They protected our property.

“… Since our town is supported by tourism, we faced significant financial impact.”

Darby says the town’s basic infrastructure needs, communication and water systems were negatively impacted by these back-to-back weather events. Because of these storms, Darby said the town lost about $706,000 in local Accomodations-Tax funds. Additionally, she said the town lost more than $700,000 in accommodations tax, with the town also facing additional gross losses. The town has bounced back financially, however, by it using prior use funds and county and state funds. “We are pleased to report that we have closed the file on Irma,” said Darby, meaning the town is awaiting federal reimbursement funds for the cost of repairs and cleanup from the storm.

“Our tourism revenue is trending upward,” she said.

During her speech, Darby also spoke to the town about the state’s recent changes in new beach boundaries. In 2017, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) changed the construction lines on the beach. “These new lines had a severe financial negative impact on much of the beach,” said Darby. However, Darby says the town’s officials have since been attending state meetings and have also testified during hearings on the matter. Edisto leaders are also working with the S.C. Beach Advocates group. Because of their efforts, Darby says DHEC revised their original boundaries. “DHEC will review the lines again in 2024,” she said. “This is the next state-mandated timeline.”

In addition to financial and weather updates, Darby said town leaders are currently working on water improvements in the town and on street repairs. Darby also spoke of the town’s ongoing efforts to install new water lines and the town council’s recent adoption of new flood maps and plans. Darby says these new flood maps should result in “lower insurance savings” for Edisto’s residents.

“We constantly strive to enhance our citizens’ quality of life,” she said.

Heather Walters (1410 Posts)