Beaufort County Council approves airport tree replanting contract

zmurdock@beaufortgazette.comJanuary 27, 2014 

  • Business license meeting

    Beaufort County Council is considering overhauling county business-license rules -- or eliminating them altogether -- and wants feedback from businesses in the meantime.

    The council will have a public work session at 6 p.m. Wednesday in council chambers at 100 Ribaut Road, Beaufort.

    Councilman Jerry Stewart emphasized the county license only applies to business conducted in unincorporated parts of the county. Business conducted within Port Royal, Bluffton, Hilton Head Island and Beaufort would still be subject to municipal license requirements, which the county does not control.

Beaufort County Council awarded a contract for tree replanting at the Hilton Head Island Airport at its meeting Monday night in Beaufort, while also discussing possible community development grant projects.

Plans to replant about 1,300 trees at the airport are 2 1/2 years in the making, but are back on track. The work is set to begin in early February, according to county airports director Jon Rembold.

After years of litigation and bidding, Bluffton company Newtech Inc. will plant the trees and shrubs in a buffer area along the north end of the airport's property. The work will cost $450,000, Rembold said.

A Federal Aviation Administration grant will cover 95 percent of the cost, according to county documents. The remainder will be covered by a state grant and a county match, ultimately costing the county about $11,000.

The council also discussed possible community development grants with Michelle Knight, community and economic development director for the Lowcountry Council of Governments.

Each year the Lowcountry Council of Governments participates in the state's Community Development Block Grant program to further planning, economic and workforce development in Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties. The grants the council secures help fund housing, public facilities and economic development projects in qualifying low-income areas in those counties.

The state has $19.3 million to allocate through the program this year, but the funds are highly competitive, Knight said. Beaufort County typically has competed for infrastructure grants by partnering with the Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority, which often waives hookup fees when it installs water and sewer to neighborhoods through the program, Knight said.

For example, BJWSA will intall sewer infrastructure on a portion of Old Bailey Road in Okatie and hook up 40 households to the service.

A similar grant to install water service to homes on Lamon Drive in Beaufort came in under budget, so BJWSA will use the remaining funds to hook up the final 15 homes on the street, Knight said. That project extends reliable water service to 82 homes, more than 70 of which qualify as low-income, she added.

The Lowcountry Council of Governments often gets requests to build new sidewalks or improve septic tanks, both of which make good candidates for these types of grants, Knight said.

Final grants must meet certain criteria. Ideas for possible projects should be sent to Knight at mknight@lowcountrycog.org or to county community services director Morris Campbell at morrisc@bcgov.net.

Follow reporter Zach Murdock at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach.

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