Voters asked to OK $5.5M

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By Sally Mahan

Voters on Fripp Island will head to the polls on Tuesday, Aug. 15, to cast their ballots on whether to fund $5.5 million in various infrastructure improvements requested by the Fripp Island Public Service District.

The money for the projects would be raised by the sale of bonds, which need voter approval. If the sale of bonds are approved, property owners will see a tax increase. 

For instance, a home valued by Beaufort County at $300,000 would see a tax increase of $72 per year. To calculate your tax increase, visit www.fipsd.org/projects.html.

The projects the Fripp Island PSD is proposing include:

Harbor River Waterline Replacement: The South Carolina Department of Transportation intends to replace the swing bridge spanning the Harbor River along U.S. 21 in Beaufort County. 

The Fripp Island Public Service District’s water main, which provides potable water service to Harbor, Hunting and Fripp islands, is located within SC DOT’s right-of-way and buried in the causeway approaches on both sides of the bridge. 

It is suspended from the bridge except at the mobile swing-span, where it drops down and is buried in the bottom of the river. 

The SC DOT’s preferred construction alignment will interfere with the district’s waterline for nearly the entire length of the construction. SC DOT policy requires utilities whose lines are located within DOT rights-of-way to relocate their lines at the utility’s expense. 

The district has obtained engineering estimates of up to $3.2 million for relocation of the line.

Fripp Inlet Revetment Repairs: The Fripp Island Public Service District’s revetment (a structure to prevent erosion) along Porpoise Drive, which protects the road and water and sewer lines under the road from erosion along the Fripp Inlet, was badly damaged due to Hurricane Matthew storm surge and wave action. 

Even though it was damaged, the revetment accomplished its intended purpose with no loss of water or sewer lines and minimal damage to the road. However, the necessary repairs to return the revetment to its previous condition are estimated to cost $2.3 million.

Voting will take place at the St. Helena 2C (Part) Fripp Island Community Center at 205 Tarpon Blvd.

For more information, contact the PSD office from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The PSD office telephone number is 843-838-2400.

The Fripp Island Public Service District was created by the South Carolina legislature in 1962, when development of the island was just beginning. Services provided originally included water supply, fire protection and erosion control. 

In 1993, with the acquisition of the island’s sewer system from the Fripp Company, the district’s authority was expanded to include wastewater collection and treatment. 

In 2003, operation and maintenance of the Fripp Inlet Bridge also became a district responsibility when ownership of the bridge was transferred from the Fripp Island Property Owners Association to the district.

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