Beaufort County Council voted 8-2 to advance a 1 percent, four-year, $300 million Greenspace Sales Tax referendum that could be presented to voters on the November ballot. It will be to purchase land, conservation easements, and buy down density to slow and prevent development. The money may also be used to pay off debt from past land purchases. There will be a public hearing and the third reading of the referendum before it is on the November ballot. County Council rejected a proposed streets, roads, bridges, and greenbelts sales tax referendum, which was a 10-year, $770 million sales tax to address the county’s need for street, road, bridge, and greenspace projects identified by the citizen committee. The proposal failed in a 5-5 vote and did not advance to a third reading.

The USC Beaufort Department of Athletics was officially approved as provisional members of NCAA Division II. The school applied in April 2021 when the Peach Belt Conference Board of Directors unanimously accepted USCB as a provisional member of the league. With USCB’s acceptance into the NCAA, the Sand Sharks are now full-fledged PBC members. USCB will transition into the three-year provisional stage that begins in the 2022- 23 season. If USCB successfully passes the annual reviews, the Sand Sharks will become a full and active NCAA Division II member in 2025-26.

 

Beaufort County Council approved a $142.1 million budget for the 2023 fiscal year. The proposed budget can be found at beaufortcountysc.gov/budget. Budget highlights include: 7% increase in tax revenue from population growth that led to a $6.2 million budget increase; $1.7 million in new county positions; highlights include $105,840 for deputy human resources director and $701,906 to run the 60-and- Better program and expand services.

Congaree Golf Club in Jasper County will host The CJ Cup the week of Oct. 17-23. The CJ Cup in South Carolina will feature a 78-man field. Last year Congaree hosted the Palmetto Championship. The Tom Fazio-designed course is off U.S. 278 near Gillisonville

The Moss Creek community expanded its racquet center with the addition of pickleball courts. Phase One of the project includes four courts, with an additional four courts planned in the next phase. The Moss Creek Racquet Center will offer a full slate of leagues, tournaments, clinics and instructional programs.

WIP AWARDS $111,000 IN GRANTS

Women in Philanthropy awarded $91,327 from the Women in Philanthropy Endowment Fund to four Beaufort County nonprofit organizations. An additional grant of $19,725 was awarded from the Dr. Julianne Bluitt Foster Memorial Fund, established from a bequest entrusted to support Women in Philanthropy. The $25,000 grants were awarded to Good Neighbor Free Medical Clinic; Low Country Legal Volunteers and The Children’s Center. Bluffton Self Help was awarded $16,325. The $19,725 grant from the Dr. Juliann Bluitt Foster Memorial Fund was awarded to Hopeful Horizons.

HILTON HEAD UNVEILS PROPOSALS FOR MID-ISLAND PARK

BY HILTON HEAD MONTHLY

Hilton Head Town Council is getting closer to finalizing one of the island’s biggest initiatives.

Recently the town council received an overview of plans proposed for the town-owned Mid-Island Tract and overall Mid-Island Initiative Area. Mayor John McCann believes the plans will “transform” the island.

TAX REBATES, ELECTION REFORMS HIGHLIGHT STATE LEGISLATIVE SESSION

BY MARK E. LETT

Sweeping election reforms —approved unanimously — by state lawmakers were part of this year’s state legislative session.

State Rep. Shannon Erickson, R-Beaufort County, said the efforts of Hilton Head resident Xiaodan Li and a group of Lowcountry citizen activists was instrumental in clearing the air — and clearing a path — for members of both parties to come together around election upgrades.

Incumbent P.J. Tanner defeated challenger JoJo Woodward in the Republican primary for Beaufort County Sheriff. Tanner received 62.4 percent of the vote to Woodward’s 37.6 percent.

For Beaufort County Council, in District 6 Tab Tabernik defeated Mike Covert (55.9 to 44.1 percent). In District 8, Paula Brown defeated John Zmarzly (55.4 to 44.6 percent). Incumbent Mark Lawson defeated Shellie West Hodges (67 to 33 percent) in District 9.

Hilton Head Island Town Council approved the fiscal year 2023 consolidated budget on June 7. The $119.5 million budget will reduce property tax millage for town property owners from 28.10 mills to 23.10 mills — an 18% decrease, a news release said. The budget provides an investment of $45 million for the Town’s comprehensive Capital Improvement Program and funds the hiring of a Director of Public Safety.

The filing period for the Town of Hilton Head Island’s general election runs from 8 a.m. Aug. 1 through 12 p.m. Aug. 15. The Nov. 8 election is to elect Town Council members for Wards 2, 4 and 5 and mayor. Filing for candidacy is at Town Hall, One Town Center Court. The Statement of Candidacy, which is required of any citizen interested in seeking an office, can be found at hiltonheadislandsc.gov/election/ and at Town Hall.

John Carlson has been named chief judge for the for the 2022 Hilton Island Concours d’Elegance. He is a University of British Columbia graduate who has spent 30 years in secondary education specializing in fine art and antique automobile restoration. He is serving his 21st year as President and CEO of the National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada Corporation.

The South Carolina Department of Revenue announced the sixth increase to the state motor fuel user fee. The increase, set to begin July 1, will increase prices $0.02 per gallon from $0.26 to $0.28 per gallon.

BY STEPHENIE PRICE

As the nation continues to reel from the Uvalde, Texas mass shooting which took 21 lives, communities are asking how to prevent these tragic and traumatic incidents. These incidents are leaving families, communities and our nation fractured.

As debates continue about solutions, what we know for sure is if our community’s children feel protected and advocated for, fewer young people will feel isolated which may reduce harmful actions. The Bluffton Police Department prioritizes reaching out to children and the community through these programs.