The Town of Pawleys Island continues to search for ways to fund long-term projects, including beach renourishment. Tommy Howard/South Strand News

Pawleys Town Council continues search for funding strategies; beach renourishment moving forward

South Carolina - Officials in the Town of Pawleys Island say the latest beach renourishment project is on track and that crews should begin placing sand on the beach this fall.

Property easements are being secured so the dredging contractor that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hire can have needed access to do the work.

Part of the agreement with the Corps for the current project is that the Town of Pawleys Island will commit to paying its share of expected future renourishment projects. That’s estimated to be around $7 million, about every nine years. A separate, ad hoc Financial Planning Committee has been exploring ideas to generate revenue to fund those future projects.

One of the steps that Town Council is considering is hiring an attorney to help find ways to raise the funds that would be needed in about 2028 or 2029.

During a meeting on Monday, Town Council reviewed an engagement letter from Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A.

The Columbia law firm is experienced in dealing with the General Assembly and helping local and county governments develop funding strategies.

Scope of Work

The letter from Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd set out its “Scope of Work.”

  • Identification of suitable and acceptable means of imposing and collecting from owners of property located in the town taxes or other charges which may be held in reserve to fund future beach renourishment.
  • Drafting, for consideration by the South Carolina General Assembly, legislation necessary to accomplish the procedure identified in item 1.
  • Assistance with the Town’s efforts to promote adoption of that legislation, including, but not limited to, coordination with registered lobbyists, discussions with legislative staffers and members, and appearances at legislative committee hearings.

Attorney Theodore DuBose said that neither he nor other members of the firm are lobbyists, but they are familiar with working with lobbyists and members of the state legislature.

DuBose would handle most of the legal work. His standard billing rate is $450 per hour. If a paralegal’s services are needed, that would be billed at $160 per hour. If DuBose were to travel to Pawleys Island for a meeting, that travel time would be billed at the hourly rate.

Councilman Ashley Carter said, “The thing that concerns me is, we’re putting ourselves in the position of giving them a blank check.”

Several other Council members shared that concern. Guerry Green offered a motion to ask the law firm for an estimate of the total cost.

Mayor Jimmy Braswell added, “If they give us a range, then we could know this is the range and this will be the cost. To leave it open with the meter running, to me that’s scary.”

If such an estimate seems high, Green said, “we ought to get another quote. They have had a long relationship with the Town,” he said. He also noted that the firm specializes in this type of work.

Council approved Green’s motion to get an estimate.

Fabbri said all but one property owner so far has agreed to the easement for the beach renourishment work, and that owner is likely to sign in the next several weeks. Town Council approved a payment to the Durant Law Firm for $25,935 for the legal work in securing 39 easements.

Fabbri said the Corps estimates the project will go out to bid around the end of July. The expected bid award is Oct. 24.

The financial committee was scheduled to meet Tuesday, May 14.

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