JAMES ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - A new town administrator starts on the job Tuesday, leading James Island as it incorporates for the fourth time in history. The state of South Carolina issued James Island a new town charter in May. Voters elected a mayor and town council in July. With a budget of zero, rebuilding hasn't been easy.
"It's hard and challenging. It's not as hard as it could have been because we have experienced people," Town Administrator Hal Mason said.
It's Mason's first day back on the job as town administrator. He held the position for six months before the town was dissolved in 2011.
There are several objectives the town is working on right now.
"We're trying to do just the basics, making sure all of our ordinances and regulations are in place, making sure we're able to respond to town citizens, making sure that we're working cooperatively with the county," Mason said.
Mason says so far the town has an agreement with Charleston County for services such as law enforcement and public works. The town is also working on a green space initiative with money from Charleston County, and there are plans to repair some damage at Dock Street Park, the town's only public park.
"It's a great place to live, great place to raise your kids, great schools, nice shops, nice people," Mayor Bill Woolsey said.
Mayor Woolsey took the oath of office in August for the second time.
Town leaders are also working on a new comprehensive plan for the town, which will include input from the residents. Mayor Woolsey says he would like to see the business district on Folly Road have more of a town-like feel.
"One of my goals is to make it walk-able. Much of Folly Road is just impossible to walk," Mayor Woolsey said.
The town says it will partner with the City of Charleston for a study on the Folly Road Corridor, which could lead to some big changes in the future for James Island.
James Island has a population of 11,500 residents currently. Town officials say within the next year they hope to help people who want to be part of the town have a chance to annex their property into town limits.
The town took out a loan from a local bank for $75,000 to start the process of rebuilding town government. The town currently operates with two full-time and two-part time staffers, as well as a mayor and town council, but they hope to add more staff in the future.