At annual retreat, Port Royal council looks to the future

emoody@beaufortgazette.comMarch 23, 2013 

A scene from Saturday's Port Royal Town Council retreat.

-STAFF PHOTO

Councilman Tom Klein held up a brochure about the town of Port Royal during the annual retreat Saturday and pointed to the blank bottom half.

"What do we need to put on here that is going to be key to promoting the town?" he asked.

From development opportunities to advertising to improved safety and public services, Town Council looked at ways to move the community forward while keeping costs down.

Concerning emergency services, Beaufort/Port Royal Fire Department Chief Sammy Negron said priorities include building a new station in Mossy Oaks that will service both municipalities. Construction could begin on the yet-to-be-determined lot by July, he said. The department is also working to replace the pumper truck damaged when it was stolen and crashed in February 2012, allegedly by a suspect who escaped from Naval Hospital Beaufort. The incident left a pedestrian dead. Pumper replacement costs are under $450,000, Negron said.

The department is working under a recently renegotiated contract with the city of Beaufort. It will also conduct increased fire prevention inspections mandated by the Insurance Services Office class 2 rating.

Police Chief Alan Beach asked council to consider hiring an additional officer a year for four years, a move he said would keep overtime costs down and help the department keep up with town growth. The courts department also wants to hire a part-time security officer at a cost of about $10,000 a year.

Beach said the department is looking at scheduling changes that would eliminate the need for officers to punch a time clock. They would instead work 86 hours every two weeks, a change he believes will save more than $14,000 a year. Tasers and vehicles also need to be replaced due to increasing repair costs.

When it comes to garbage and yard debris pick up, council wants town manager Van Willis to request proposals for garage pick up and to launch an education campaign to get residents to sort waste materials.

The town's garage trucks are aging, and staff and council are weighing getting whether to get new equipment or contract out pick-up services.

The Redevelopment Commission, which has met infrequently, is rekindling activity and asking councilmembers for direction.

"We want to look at a laundry list," commission member Ann-Marie Adams said. "I really don't care how long it is."

The commission now meets at 4 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month at Town Hall, 700 Paris Ave.

The town also wants to improve communication with the public and boost use of its website. Councilmembers want the site improved. Some ideas include online fine payment, business license information and more community information.

Additional projects discussed include improving parks and maps, finishing the proposed form-based code process, the viability of a dog park and landscaping throughout town.

The future of The Shed, renovations to Union Church and a proposed jellyfish operation at the shrimp dock are also being considered.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

Related content:

Port Royal retreat focuses on quality-of-life services, March 17, 2012

Port Royal OK's fire services agreement with Beaufort, Feb. 14, 2013

Nude man steals Port Royal fire truck, kills pedestrian, Feb. 24, 2012

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