Surfside Beach discusses pier postponement, public safety pay increase at citizens’ workshop

Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 11:20 PM EDT
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SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The Town of Surfside Beach held a citizens workshop Thursday to discuss the construction of the Surfside Beach Pier along with the town’s budget for the fiscal year.

“The ultimate goal is to make sure you have good, objective, honest information, so you know what’s going on,” said Bill Shanahan, Town Administrator for Surfside Beach.

The timeline for the pier to be completed was pushed back after a workshop between town leaders and contractors on Wednesday. It’s now expected to be done sometime between mid-December and March 2023 - over six years since the original pier was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew.

Officials and contractors both cited supply chain issues and complications in construction as reasons for the delay on the project, set to cost around $18.1 million.

The Town of Surfside Beach is currently in negotiations with three businesses to open up on the pier. These include a bait and tackle shop, an ice cream shop and one more business that hasn’t been disclosed.

Shanahan said it’s a business that will be, “really, really fun for our citizens and visitors.”

“This will be the only concrete post in this region,” he said. “Probably on the East Coast. It’s going to be something that will bring people to visit and the more people we bring to visit the more restaurants people eat at. The more clothes they buy, the more little knickknacks they buy - the less money I have to charge taxes to our citizens. So it’s a win-win for everybody.”

During Thursday’s meeting, citizens asked questions and voiced concerns ranging from if the parking lot would have electric car charging stations to if this pier could withstand upcoming hurricanes.

“The good thing about it is we went from wooden frames to metal frames. So now the buildings can withstand the hurricanes up to at least 180 miles per hour,” said Shanahan. “So this whole town might be gone, but that pier’s gonna be sitting there.”

The 2022-2023 fiscal budget was also presented at the meeting. It has no millage increase from last year and will remain at 43 mils, but it does include a 10% public safety pay increase.

“We’re having a very busy summer,” said Surfside Police Chief Kenneth Hofmann. “Our statistics are on the rise. So the officers are working really hard to keep the community safe and we’re lucky we have a supportive community in Surfside Beach and that makes a big difference, because money’s not everything in law enforcement. It’s about being appreciated too.”

The budget also did not accommodate for the department’s request for an additional position on the force.

“We did ask for an additional position, but it’s on hold right now. We’re hoping to look at it later in the budget year. I’ll keep beating the drum,” said Hofmann.

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