Deteriorating Public Safety Building could mean tax hike for IOP residents

ISLE OF PALMS, SC (WCSC) - Isle of Palms city officials are considering funding a massive repair project for the old Public Safety Building, which could mean a big hike in taxes for residents.

The building was built about 10 years ago, according to Isle of Palms mayor Jimmy Carroll.

Carroll said Tuesday that the building has several structural problems, which is causing concern for people who work inside.

“Well, we have to repair it," Isle of Palms City Council Member Randy Bell said. "We’ve had some internal issues with the, if you will, the livability of the building that’s affected the fire department, in particular.”

Carroll said the roof and siding will most likely have to be replaced, and repairs will have to be made to the parking pad, among other parts of the building.

Bell said the problems have been a long-time coming.

“There was deferred maintenance issues over a period of time that lead us to this point," Bell said. "But more importantly, we don’t know the magnitude of the problem in front of us.”

The Isle of Palms Ways and Means Committee is meeting Tuesday night to decide whether the city will move forward with the first phase of repairing the Public Safety Building.

If the committee votes to fund phase one of the repairs, the city will pay more than $95,000 for an evaluation of the building’s deficiencies.

That evaluation would also inform the city of how much repairs would cost.

For now, the city is planning for repairs to cost about $2 million to $3 million.

City officials said one option they were considering to get that money is raising taxes for people who live on Isle of Palms.

“We have a lot of taxes here already tied to the tourist industry and stuff, and I’m not sure how much more we can stand piled on top of it," Isle of Palms resident David Hudgins said.

Some residents like Hudgins are frustrated that the city faces so many repairs all at once.

But Bell says the repairs are necessary and need to happen soon.

“If this were my home, and I had moisture problems and a variety of other problems, I would repair them rather than put it off potentially into the future," Bell said.

City officials don’t have a timeline yet for how long repairs will take. That will come after phase one is finished and they know exactly what needs repairs.

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