Beaufort council seeks 'a wonderful city' at annual retreat

emoody@beaufortgazette.comFebruary 21, 2013 

Ideas and project goals were written on large pieces of paper and hung around the Dolphin Room at the Best Western Plus Sea Island Inn during the annual city retreat.

BY ERIN MOODY

Beaufort City Council members made a commitment this week to stick to the city's master plan, no matter what obstacles they encounter.

"We're going kicking and screaming into the future ... with all the aches and pains that are going with that," Councilwoman Donnie Beer said Thursday, the final day of the council's two-day retreat to discuss plans for the year. Much like previous years' retreats, talks emphasized communication, economic development and finances. Mayor Billy Keyserling called it "Year Two in a 100-year plan."

"This has been a huge year," Councilman Mike McFee added. "This has been a huge step in the right direction."

Difficult times could be ahead, though. Property tax reassessment and the end of a special tax district that helps pay for downtown services could mean revenue problems.

"Communication is going to be key," Beer said. "In the good times, people griped and complained if we even considered raising anything, and in the bad times, it's going to be even worse."

Council members also said the opposition often evoked by the city's redevelopment projects does not always represent the greater community's sentiment.

"I think there's a larger level of influence by a smaller group of people than necessary," Councilman Mike Sutton said.

He said council members, as the elected officials, have a duty to lead the community through the changes.

"We have some organizations out there who aren't on the bus, and we need to ignore them. If they're not with us by now, then they're against us," Sutton said.

Objectives include diversifying the economy, creating job opportunities, raising wages and using policy and codes to improve the city culturally, fiscally and environmentally.

"We're doing nothing more than trying to bring back those parts of Beaufort that made Beaufort a wonderful city," Keyserling said.

Related content

  1. Beaufort Redevelopment Commission mapping plan for 2013, beyond, Feb. 21, 2013
  2. Beaufort City Council, Redevelopment Commission plan for growth, Feb. 9, 2012
  3. Improved communication a key concern at Beaufort City Council retreat, Feb. 8, 2011

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