Review Category : Beaufort News

Boundary Street construction to be re-bid by county, new start date

Longer than expected negotiations with area utility companies to move their lines underground along Boundary Street contributed to Beaufort County’s preference to re-bid contracts for the multi-million dollar Boundary Street Corridor construction.

The project will be re-advertised in October and contracts are scheduled to be awarded in December, with major work getting underway early in 2015.  A benefit of the construction delay is it allows time for engineers to review plans for the underground duct bank, where utility lines will be placed after they are removed from the SCE&G power poles, said Beaufort City Manager Scott Dadson.

“The county engineers and the City of Beaufort agree that hiring engineers to conduct a ‘constructability review’ of the duct bank part of this project is a good idea,” Dadson said. “It is essential that we relocate the overhead utility lines underground, but it has to be done right the first time.” That report should be complete by early August.

Beaufort County’s transportation department originally advertised the construction project for bids in January. Because of the exhaustive negotiations area utility companies, the original bids solicited in January aren’t valid and the County decided to seek new bids.

In addition to the constructability review, county staff is meeting with the utility companies every week to carefully review the utility duct bank plans and to identify areas of concern from their perspective. With the evaluation completed and the utility company concerns identified, the construction documents will be amended to incorporate the necessary changes prior to the October re-bidding.

Until the contracts are awarded and details worked out with the contractors, timelines and schedules for construction must be considered very tentative, Dadson said. “When we are dealing with a project this size, with its daily impact on thousands of drivers and its long-term impact on the city and all of northern Beaufort County, we are going to take the extra time to plan it as carefully as possible.”

The Boundary Street redevelopment project budget is funded through three sources; a Federal Highway Administration grant of $12.635 million; the Beaufort County one cent sales tax of $7.819 million; and the City of Beaufort’s TIF II estimated contribution of about $6.443 million.

The utility coordination has been one of the more challenging aspects of the project, noted Rob McFee, director of engineering and infrastructure for Beaufort County. A central component of the Boundary Street project in the federal grant application was moving underground the overhead utilities.

After a year of discussion and negotiations, this summer SCE&G, Hargray and CenturyLink reached agreements with the City to relocate their overhead lines along Boundary Street.

“Getting those agreements in place took longer than we expected, but moving the overhead utility lines to underground conduit will make Boundary Street safer and will certainly make it a more attractive gateway to Beaufort and the National Historic Landmark District,” Dadson said.

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SC sales tax holiday will be this weekend

The SC sales tax holiday will begin Friday, August 1 at 12:01 AM and will end Sunday, August 3 at 12 midnight.
Clothing, footwear, school supplies, computers, printers, blankets, bath towels, and pillows are only a few of the items that are exempt from sales tax during this tax free weekend. However, there are items that are not exempt.  To learn more information regarding exempt items, nonexempt items, and FAQs for the sales tax holiday, please visit the SC Department of Revenue’s website, www.sctax.org.

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Ribaut Road fire station nears construction

Construction on the new Beaufort fire station on Ribaut Road is expected to start in October and be completed by next summer, city leaders said. The one-plus acre site at 1120 Ribaut Road is ideally situated for fire protection, Beaufort City Manager Scott Dadson said.

The site is geographically positioned between Port Royal’s main station and Beaufort’s current Fire Headquarters near the intersection of Ribaut and Boundary Street.

“A lot of work has gone into locating and securing this site, designing an effective fire station that also fits our Lowcountry look, and working through the various permitting. We are thrilled to be moving closer to construction,” Dadson said. “The property is ideally located considering where most of our service calls originate and our partnership with the Town of Port Royal.”

The new facility will replace the outdated one beside Beaufort Middle School and across from Mossy Oaks Elementary on Mossy Oaks Road.

The entire fire station project, including site acquisition, design, construction and fixtures/furnishings, is financed through $2.2 million in City bond sales.

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Santa Elena Foundation names Dr. Beall as executive director

The Santa Elena Foundation Board of Directors named Andrew J. Beall as executive director. Beall assumes responsibility for operational leadership and administration of the foundation.

Organized by local business leaders, civic leaders, and scholars, the Santa Elena Foundation promotes the history of

Andy Beall

Andy Beall

European arrival on the North American coast. French construction of Charlesfort on Parris Island by Jean Ribault in 1562 drew a Spanish response. Spanish settlers established the community of Santa Elena in 1569, the first colonial capital in America. The story of European rivals struggling for dominance in North America involved French, Spanish, and English explorers and their interactions with nations of Native American peoples. The Santa Elena Foundation is dedicated to sharing the little known history of this “lost century” through archaeological research, a cultural interpretive center, and a living history museum.

Beall brings to this role extensive executive experience as a global corporate leader. His 30 years in the industrial equipment industry included responsibility for facilities in numerous countries. Living and working internationally, he led teams that established service and manufacturing operations to serve global customers.  Beall received his doctorate in business administration from the School of Advanced Studies at University of Phoenix.  Since settling in the Lowcountry in 2010, he has volunteered his time with a number of community organizations.

In accepting this position, Dr. Beall observed, “I am so very pleased with the support the Santa Elena Foundation has received from the community and the immediate interest people show when they hear European settlers first arrived here 450 years ago.  For me this role is an opportunity to work with a remarkable team of people on a historic project significant for our community.”

The Santa Elena Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Beaufort County. The mission of the foundation is to expand the story of European colonization of North America through discovery, preservation, and promotion of Santa Elena, the first colonial capital in the present-day United States.

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Beaufort County temporarily suspends Accommodation Tax application process

The Beaufort County 2% Accommodation Tax Grant Program application process has been temporarily suspended due to lower than anticipated collections.

Each year, the Beaufort County 2% Accommodation Tax Grant Program distributes funds to qualified groups, organizations and government entities for tourism and marketing promotions. The funds assist and support the programs of qualified groups who attract visitors from 50 miles or more to Beaufort County. The funds for distribution are derived from a tax imposed on tourist lodging facilities. Last year, $500,000 was distributed to qualified groups.

Due to a reallocation of funding by the S.C. Department of Revenue, Beaufort County has sustained a lower balance than is traditionally held at this time of the year. To efficiently utilize the county’s resources, the grant program will be temporarily suspended until the receipt of its fourth quarter distributions. As soon as the application process is opened, the public will be notified.

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Candidates can still file for City Council seats

There will be a Municipal General Election on Tuesday, November 4, 2014, for the purpose of electing two Beaufort City Council members.

Citizens who would like to be a candidate may file with the city of Beaufort at 1911 Boundary Street, Beaufort, SC, at the city manager’s office. Filing for candidacy is open now and will close at noon August 15, 2014. The filing fee for City Council seat is $150.

This is a nonpartisan election and no party affiliation will be placed on the ballot.

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BJWSA receives award for financial reporting

Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority (BJWSA) has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada in honor of its Fiscal Year 2013 comprehensive annual financial report. The award is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting. BJWSA has prepared an annual financial report for the past 10 years, and this is the tenth consecutive year that BJWSA received the award.

Information about BJWSA’s annual report, including an electronic version, can be found online at www.bjwsa.org.

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Sheriff’s Office hosting ‘Storm Spotter’ class

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management Division will be hosting a “Storm Spotter” class on Wednesday, July 23. The class will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Emergency Operations Center on the second floor of the Sheriff’s Office. A representative from the National Weather Service Charleston will be present to give different aspects of impending severe weather. This session is free and open to the public.

Training will cover: Basics of thunderstorm development; Fundamentals of storm structure; Identifying potential severe weather features; Information to report; How to report information; and Basic severe weather safety.

For questions or registration, please contact Pamela Cobb at 843-255-4007. Seating is limited, so reserve your space now to join us for this important opportunity.

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Residents can sign up for free CERT training

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program provides training to Beaufort County residents to increase self-sufficiency in a disaster. Participants learn skills that will enable them to provide emergency assistance to their families and neighbors.

CERT classes are free of charge and are held at the Technical College of the Lowcountry (Building 23), 921 Ribaut Road, Beaufort.

The course is taught in five class sessions, 6 to 9 p.m.:

• Monday, August 4: Personal Preparedness and Hazard Mitigation

• Wednesday, August 6: Disaster Medical I

• Monday, August 11: Fire Suppression/Disaster Search Techniques

• Wednesday, August 13: Disaster Medical II/CERT Organization

• Saturday, August 16: Disaster Psychology/Terrorism Response and Completion Exercise.

For more information or to register, contact Julie Dimitrov at 843-812-2189 or email beaufortcountycert@gmail.com.

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Downtown construction updates

Charles Street traffic signal improvements: The installation of new traffic signal arms along Charles Street is nearing completion — the work is 85 percent done at Charles and Craven streets; 75 percent complete at Charles and Boundary; and 60 percent complete at Charles and Bay streets.

The contractor, Walker Brothers, returned Monday to finalize installation of the traffic lights on the new arms and to clean up the work site. Their subcontractor, Site Source, will return to the project to finish the remaining concrete work at Bay and Charles streets on July 28 after the Water Festival.

Downtown streetlight upgrade: As of Monday, July 3, 55 of the total planned 65 new streetlights have been installed and working in downtown Beaufort. The new, brighter lamps are located at Bay, Charles, West, Scotts and Craven streets. The contractor will attempt to install five more streetlights along Carteret Street, between Bay and Port Republic streets, by July 11.

With major downtown events scheduled this month, including the July 11 F-35B new squadron celebration in the Waterfront Park and the Water Festival July 18-27, work on the remaining five Carteret Street streetlights and landscape irrigation will resume after July 28.

It is anticipated that all work on the downtown lighting, traffic arm installations on Charles Street, final intersection striping, concrete work at handicap ramps and associated irrigation work will be completed by the end of August.

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