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IP Builders wins Discovery Center contract

City leaders have given their okay to begin contract negotiations between city managers and a local company that will build the Discovery Center, the new headquarters for the city’s Wildlife Sanctuary.

IP Builders, a local contract company, has won the lowest bid for construction of the new center. As a result of that bid win, Walterboro City Council has formally authorized the city’s managerial staff to begin working on a contract with IP Builders, Inc.

The Discovery Center will be the educational headquarters for the Wildlife Sanctuary, which is formally known as the Great Swamp Sanctuary. The sanctuary is an 800-plus-acre swamp filled with boardwalks, walking and biking trails and historical markers. The center will serve as a pre-stop to this attraction for people wanting to learn more about the sanctuary. The center will also house live animal exhibits, static (not-living) animal exhibits of species native to the area and bathrooms and a retail space.

The entire new construction will also feature an outdoor amphitheater: according to city leaders, this amphitheater will be used for multiple entertainment sources for the city, including the annual Rice Festival.

The actual Discovery Center is going to be built on the grounds of the former county parking lot, which sits at the end of East Washington Street and Hampton Street, across the Colleton County Courthouse. Walterboro City Council has already voted to buy that land from the county for construction. A part of these grounds will also serve as a parking lot for the incoming center.

In addition to city council approving IP Builders, Inc. as the lowest bidder to build the center, council also gave first reading to a new ordinance that will use a maximum of $2.5 million in the city’s Hospitality and Accommodations Fee Revenue Bonds to help build the center.

As a part of the building process, council has pledged to reimburse the city for any tax dollars (out-of-pocket expenses) that might be used to build the Discovery Center before these bonds can be issued.
City budget creates some commercial increases

At a recent May 1st meeting of council, city council also voted in favor of first reading to an ordinance that adopts two of the city’s biggest budgets: the city’s general fund budget and the city’s Enterprise Budget.

The Enterprise Budget contains the city’s water and sewer funds. That budget also includes the operating budget for the city’s Sanitation Service.

As a part of the now-approved budget, council voted to increase several commercial sanitation fees, and to also create new fees for people who are caught tampering with the city’s water and sewer liens. According to Walterboro Manager Jeff Molinari, the following fees have been approved:

• Increase the consumer deposit on new water service from $50 to $100
• Create a new $100 tampering fee
• Create a new a $400 terminate/restore fee
• Create a missed appointment fee on the 2nd visit of $25
• Increase the fee on residential sanitation by $2, from $23 to $25
• Increase the fee on commercial sanitation from $23.18 to $27.82
• Increase the fee on commercial dumpsters from $190.58 to $228.70
• Increase the fee on extra pickups on commercial dumpsters from $24.86 to $29.83
• Increase the fee on sharing a dumpster from $95.28 to $114.35
• Establish an indigent defense fee of $40

Before any budget is approved, council must issue to majority-votes and then adopt the plan.

Heather Walters (1460 Posts)