5.25 | Monday, April 22, 2013
tax funds millions of dollars of local road projects
APRIL 22, 2013 -- In 2004, Charleston County voters approved a referendum that established a half-cent sales tax and authorized county government to issue $77 million in bonds for road projects. The move also added a $95 million dollar bond for greenbelt conservation, all of which will be repaid through the transportation sales tax revenues.
Two years later, Charleston County voters passed a second referendum allowing the county to issue bonds for an additional $205 million for transportation improvements. The bonds allow staff to move forward with large road projects now, at today's construction costs, therefore getting more bang for our buck, rather than waiting until the funds are collected before building.
Collection of the transportation sales tax began in May of 2005 and will continue for 25 years or until $1.3 billion is collected.
Since the inception of the program, $288,458,000 in sales tax funds have been collected, with 65 percent going toward road improvement projects, 18 percent toward mass transit projects and 17 percent toward greenbelt projects.
The largest projects in the program are called "bonded projects" because they are financed through government bonds. Charleston County voters approved solicitation of these bonds in November 2004. Such bonds are levied at a rate of 0.5 percent over a period of 25 years or until $1.3 billion is collected, whichever comes first.
Charleston County also sets aside $10.5 million each year for smaller projects including road paving, resurfacing, drainage, intersection improvements, and bicycle/pedestrian paths and sidewalks. More than 300 of these smaller "allocation projects" have been completed to date.
Peter Valiquette, preconstruction manager for Charleston County RoadWise, explained that the allocation projects are generally submitted by municipalities, objectively evaluated and prioritized, and then selected for funding by Charleston County Council.
Of the 13 large bonded projects, six have been completed to date:
Substantially complete bonded projects include Johnnie Dodds Boulevard (considered "substantially complete" in December 2012 and crews are finalizing punch list items now).
Bonded projects currently under construction include Bees Ferry Road widening, Future Drive and Northside Drive Extension.
Coming bonded projects, for which construction has not yet begun, include Folly Road/Camp Road intersection, West Ashley traffic circle, Harbor View Road improvements [April 30 public meeting] and Maybank Highway improvements.
Charleston County Government has received numerous awards for the transportation sales tax program, including:
up past messes as big problems languish
2013 -- It's pretty ridiculous how House lawmakers with the job of drafting
major ethics reform to improve accountability and transparency in government
did their work in secret with virtually no public input.
that's the odd way things have happened in this year's legislative session,
characterized more by fixing dumb things done in the past than any grand
moves to fix real and lingering problems, such as the poor states of education,
health care and poverty in South Carolina.
messes that state legislators are working to clean up with about six weeks
left in this year's session:
these issues are responses to problems of our own making, other work being
done this year includes looking for ways to improve accountability for
charter schools, trying to fix high property insurance rates along the
coast, providing a $120 million incentive to Boeing so it will invest
$1 billion in an expansion, boosting small job creation and more. The
House also has passed measures to shorten the legislative session and
redirect the sales tax on cars to roads.
veteran observed that this year's session has been more of a breather
than recent ones in which lawmakers faced huge challenges to keep state
government going during the Great Recession.
state-funded part of the South Carolina budget has about $6.7 billion
in monies for legislators to spend -- about $400 million more than last
year. Signs that the economy is recovering also comes in the $159 million
in extra revenues received this year that were not expected last year.
So as the
state is slowly rebuilding government agencies severely cut during the
recession and getting a little time for recovery, state lawmakers seem
to be legislating around the corners and doing stuff that's comparatively
easy, instead of handling the big problems that continue to vex us.
needs leaders who will fly the flag of reform to fix education funding
so that the opportunities provided in rural schools match those found
in suburban ones. They need to ignore flash points like abortion, unions
and expanding access to guns in bars. Instead, they should figure out
a way to accept federal aid to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands
of people without health insurance. And it wouldn't hurt to find ways
to improve the justice system with alternative sentencing options that
will keep bad guys in jail, but have less expensive correctional options
for non-violent criminals.
Bottom line: Find common ground of big issues on which we can agree on and get moving on those things. Set a statewide agenda. And keep in mind that people don't have much faith in state legislators. The way to earn their trust and respect is to achieve, not just float on along.
Critical of Platt on secularism
issue of Charleston Currents, Eugene Platt complained about
being ignored by the media because he is a third-party candidate. However,
it's because of some media attention he did receive that I have decided
not to vote for Platt.
Secular Coalition for America grades
candidates based on positions of importance to secular Americans.
Eugene Platt received an overall "B" for his positions. However,
he got an "F" on this question: "What role would religion
play in the candidate's decision making in his or her role as a U.S. Representative?"
On Platt's campaign website, he says his "political positions are
informed by love for country and community and by his understanding of
another question from the Secular Coalition: "Does the candidate
support social policies that do not discriminate based on religion, such
as marriage equality?" Platt makes no mention of marriage equality
on his website. Could that be because the Gospels have nothing to say
about gay marriage?
vote for candidates who consult the Bible on how to vote. Many of us in
the Lowcountry are tired of religion being inserted into local politics.
If Platt wants to present voters with a real alternative, as he claims,
he might think about basing his votes more on his understanding of the
Constitution than of his Bible.
the other two candidates for the First District race received an "F"
(Mark Sanford) and an "A" (Elizabeth Colbert Busch) for answers
to the Secular Coalition for America questionnaire.
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. In today's issue, we shine the spotlight on SCIWAY, South Carolinas Information Highway. Pronounced sky-way, SCIWAY is the largest and most comprehensive directory of South Carolina information on the Internet. It includes thousands of links to other South Carolina Web sites, including Charleston Currents, as well as an amazing collection of maps, charts, articles, photos and other resources. To learn more about this extraordinary information hub that 7 million people visit a year, go to: http://www.SCIWAY.net.
Receiving tomb to get $118,000 in preservation work
The Magnolia Cemetery Receiving Tomb will undergo a $118,000 preservation stabilization effort as part of the Preservation Society of Charleston's efforts to preserve the city's architectural heritage.
The tomb, owned by the Magnolia Cemetery Trust, dates to around 1850, the time when the cemetery was built. It is attributed to Edward C. Jones.
brick and covered in stucco with a slate roof, the Magnolia Cemetery Receiving
Tomb was listed as a "Seven to Save" site by the Preservation
Society in 2011. The Society undertook the development of a preservation
plan for the Gothic Revival structure, which is threatened by erosion
on its marsh-side site
A new foundation supported with micropiles will be constructed beneath the tomb, which will also be reinforced and repaired.
The $118,000 preservation effort is funded in part by a major gift from the family of the late Ted Ashton Phillips and Federal funds from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, and administered by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.
Web site offers map of 760-mile coastal water trail
Coast Saltwater Paddling Trail (SECT)has a new Web that helps people
navigate continuous water trails that stretch from Virginia to Georgia.
first introduced in Charleston at the East Coast Paddlesports & Outdoor
Festival, is a primary source for all-inclusive information on navigating
the coastal water trails of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and
Georgia. Featuring detailed maps that highlight access sites, lodging
and supply centers, paddlers can now travel an unbroken trail of tidal
marshes and rivers more than 760 miles along the coasts of all four states.
create this one-stop tool for boaters, the National Park Service's Rivers,
Trails & Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA) teamed up with a number
of agencies, including the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation,
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Department of
Natural Resources, The Conservation Fund, the Coastal Regional Commission
of Georgia, the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and the Charleston
County Park and Recreation Commission.
County Park and Recreation Commission is proud to be a part of this national
trail system," said Josh Hall, outdoor recreation programs manager.
adventurous paddlers, the SECT also provides a connection between two
well-known regional trails: the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National
Historic Trail that stretches from Virginia to Delaware and the Florida
Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, which extends from the Georgia-Florida
border all the way around the state to the west end of the Florida panhandle.
What could be called the 'Appalachian Trail of water trails,' boaters
can now follow these three regional trails for approximately 5,275 miles
through nine states.
new Southeast Coast Saltwater Paddling Trail website is a comprehensive
resource that will not only make planning a trip by boat within or between
states much easier for avid paddlers, it will also provide useful information
for outdoor-lovers of all ages to get out and enjoy recreational boating
in the Southeast," said Justin Boner, real estate director for North
Carolina with The Conservation Fund.
Volunteers can earn "water wings" while helping local parks
third year, the Charleston Parks Conservancy is launching its Aqua Angels
program in which volunteers donate at least five hours of time from May
to September watering parks in downtown Charleston, West Ashley and Daniel
last five years, the conservancy has planted thousands of flowers, shrubs
and bulbs in more than a dozen Charleston city parks. Those plants require
regular care and maintenance, including a big drink of water during the
warm months of summer and early fall.
year, Aqua Angels spent about 400 hours watering in the parks. Even though
the Conservancy carefully selects native and drought-tolerant plants for
the parks, they still need a drink, especially in parks with new plantings
that have less established root systems, the organization said.
is the perfect volunteer opportunity for people who have less flexible
schedules and need to volunteer at a time that works for them," said
Neves Richards, volunteer director for the Conservancy. "If you can
hold a watering hose, you can help us keep Charleston's parks blooming
and beautiful all year long."
will host an Aqua Angel Kickoff Luncheon from noon to 1 p.m. May 1 in
Allan Park, 365 Ashley Ave. in Charleston. Have a picnic in the park and
learn more about this volunteer program and how to earn your "water
wings" this summer.
Roper St. Francis wins study's recognition as top hospital system
A new study
shows Roper St. Francis hospital system is one of the nation's top 15
for the first quarter of 2013.
are on a continuous journey to deliver high quality, patient-centered,
coordinated care and we welcome the transparency associated with our present
progress," said Dr. Todd Shuman, medical director of quality at Roper
St. Francis. "Our organization gains valuable insight from the external
assessment provided by organizations such as Truven. This national recognition
is the result of hard work by all members of the Roper St. Francis family
and provides knowledge that we are progressing in the proper direction
to our vision of delivering the best outcome for every patient, every
to a press release, Roper St. Francis was named to the Top 15 Hospital
Health Systems list compiled by Truven Health Analytics and published
in Modern Healthcare magazine. The Truven Health 15 Top Health Systems
study culled data from more than 300 organizations and singled out 15
hospital systems that achieved superior clinical outcomes based on a composite
score of eight measures of quality, patient perception of care and efficiency.
The study highlighted how the local hospital system had better survival rates than peer groups, lower mortality rates, fewer complications, shorter stays and better patient safety. To learn more about the study, visit this site.
Table Rock is a small mountain that rises dramatically above the surrounding landscape northwest of Greenville. It rises to 3,197 feet above sea level with a relatively broad summit shaped like a table, a characteristic that is said to have inspired the name given to it by Native Americans of the region long ago. Table Rock, located in the inner Piedmont belt, is just south of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness and Recreation Area, including Caesars Head and Jones Gap, both of which share a similar geologic history.
Like Caesars Head and Sassafras Mountain, Table Rock formed through the process of plate tectonics. Geologists believe that a continental fragment or island arc moved, as one plate slid under another, and then collided with ancient North America during the Ordovician period about 430 million years ago. The force of this collision generated heat and produced magma. This formed a large batholith miles underground that later cooled and hardened to form granite. Today the exposed rock of this batholith is found from Virginia to Alabama. During later collisions in the Devonian and Pennsylvanian to Permian periods, this granite was squeezed and reheated in a metamorphic process that turned the granite into a metagranite, or granitic gneiss. Over millions of years the land was uplifted, the ancient mountains eroded, and so the intrusive igneous rock of Table Rock was exposed at the surface.
base of Table Rock and visible along the trails at Table Rock State Park
lies another interesting rock, amphibolite, which is metamorphic basalt
derived from the ocean crust that was also emplaced during collision.
These amphibolite schists and metavolcanics of the surrounding area have
eroded faster than the harder metagranite of Table Rock, and so it has
weathered to form an isolated hill called a monadnock.
Moms' Run, 2013
We encourage you to check out our sister publications:
Charleston Currents offers insightful community comment and good news on events each week. It cuts through the information clutter to offer the best of what's happening locally.
Charleston Currents is provided to you twice a week by:
Address: P.O. Box. 22261 | Charleston, SC 29413
We hope you'll keep receiving the great news and information from CharlestonCurrents.com, but if you need to unsubscribe, click here.
© 2008-2013, Statehouse Report LLC. All rights reserved. Charleston Currents is published every Monday and Thursday by Statehouse Report LLC, PO Box 22261, Charleston, SC 29413.
Five reasons to love Charleston
Back in 2007, Budget Travel magazine offered 25 reasons that it loved Charleston, which it observed "America's most genteel is behaving like a frisky debutante!" The top five reasons:
Gentle on the mind
"I like to start the day early. It keeps me out of trouble."
Insert your email address and click subscribe for free.
IN THE WEEK AHEAD
(NEW) Stand up to racism: April 24-27, YWCA, 106 Coming Street, Charleston. The YWCA will host four days of events to stand up to inequality and for human rights as part of the Stand Together Acclaim A New Day series. To learn about the kickoff, dramas and workshops, visit online here.
"Anything Goes:" Through April 27 at the historic Dock Street Theatre. Charleston Stage will offer Cole Porter's classic musical comedy as the grand finale of its 35th anniversary season. Tickets range from $38.50 to $57.50. Available online at: www.CharlestonStage.com
Burger luncheon: Noon, April 26, Fish restaurant, 442 King Street, Charleston. Local author Ken Burger will discuss his newest novel, "Salkehatchie Soup," at Blue Bicycle Books' Author Luncheon series. A champagne and dessert reception will follow in the bookstore, 420 King Street. Tickets are $25. More: BlueBicycleBooks.com
(NEW) Exhibition: "Indigo: Natural Blue Dye in the Lowcountry" opens April 27 at the Charleston Museum to explore the history of the crop and its role. The original exhibition runs through Sept. 2. More. Also on April 27, there's an Indigo workshop at the museum from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Register.
Where the Wild Things Run: 8:30 a.m., April 27, Caw Caw Interpretive Center, Ravenel. Run through the marshes and woods in this 5K race. Cost is $28 to $34. Online registration is open through April 26. More online at: www.ccprc.com.
Flame Fest: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., April 27, the Ponds, Summerville.
Southern Flame Food and Music Festival will bring blues, bluegrass and
barbecue to help raise money for the Summerville Miracle League. The event
is free, but there is a parking fee. More
Pencil Point: 11 a.m., April 27, Physician's Auditorium, College of Charleston. The Charleston International Film Festival will offer a screening of this S.C. Film Commission-award winning short film by Charleston-based composer Ayala Asherov-Kalus. More on the film.
Shaggin' on the Cooper: Gates open, 7 p.m., April 27, Mount Pleasant Pier. Charleston County Parks and Recreation will kick off its annual dance event series with live music by Groove Train. Other events will be monthly through September. Tickets are $10 per person; available in packages. On Folly Beach, "Moonlight Mixers" will open May 31. More.
CONTINUING AND IN THE WEEKS AHEAD
(NEW) Reasonfest: 7 p.m., May 2, Gage Hall, 4 Archdale Street, Charleston. The Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry will mark the National Day of Reason and raise funds for a local homeless shelter at this event, which will feature comic Jennifer Bianchi and poet/songwriter Jim Lundy. More.
(NEW) Splish, spash: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays starting May 4. Charleston County's three water parks open on weekends only on May 4 with full-time summer operation starting May 27 until mid-August. More.
(NEW) Golftoberfest: 11 a.m. May 7, Wild Dunes Resort, Isle of Palms. The Charleston RiverDogs will hold its 8th annual charity golf tournament inspired by Germany's Oktoberfest. Each hole will be named after an authentic Oktoberfest beer tent and include German-themed fun. Learn more: RileyParkEvents.com
Industry Day: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., May 9, Charleston Area Convention Center, North Charleston. The Charleston Post of the Society of American Military Engineers will hold its annual industry day with speakers and networking opportunities. Register here. Contact: Melvin Williams.
Color in Freedom Experience: Through May 20, Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. This interactive exhibit involving the Underground Railway experience offers 49 works by artist Joseph Holston. More.
Images due by June 6. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is holding
its annual photo contest for photos taken at the attraction between March
1 and May 31. Entry is $25. To enter and look at rules, visit the Lowcountry
Bird walks: 8:30 a.m. to noon, every Wednesday and Saturday. This is the time of year that a great variety of migrating birds fly through the Lowcountry so what better time to take part in one of the regular early morning bird walks at Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel. Pre-registration is suggested. Cost is $5. Walks also are conducted on James Island and Folly Beach.Learn more online.
Noble: Envision SC