Hot weather means beach traffic management – The Island Eye News
Good morning! Spring has arrived with pollen and spring break visitors. Our crowds will only grow weekly from now on, so we are continuing to meet with our partners at Sullivan’s Island and Mount Pleasant to coordinate our beach traffic management for the season.
There will be messaging via the web and social media, although these efforts will not necessarily reduce the amount of traffic on the beach, it will help us by expanding our messaging reach to people from nearby communities by providing timely traffic. real, parking, weather and other information that should help them better plan their trips to the beach. The messaging plan includes traffic maps for Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, and Folly Beach that feature driving times and real-time traffic cameras.
Aerial maps of the three beach towns that would be used to clearly identify paid, paid and free parking in the three beach communities.
A beach information web page that would include the following information:
• Information on paid and free parking
• Parking rules
• Traffic maps
• Traffic cameras
• Busiest periods
• Integrate Waze
• Gas mate
• Beach rules
• Carta Beach Shuttle – ridecarta.com/services/beachreachshuttle/
• County Park Information for IOP and Folly
The messaging will include the best times to get to the beach based on traffic from previous years. Driving times will be streamed live and from real-time traffic cameras on Saturday mornings as people get ready to hit the beach and will share maps showing parking availability.
How do you know what’s going on?
The City’s website, iop.net, is the best place. There is a calendar detailing all the different upcoming meetings and events, a platform to view past committee or council meetings, messages from the mayor, updates on various projects and other information you may find useful. Under the Government/Mayor tab, I do routine updates via a Message from the Mayor section on our website to provide a bit more explanation or context into our decisions and actions. I hope you find them useful, as our goal is to be timely and consistent in sharing information about decisions that impact our community.
Frequently Asked Questions – Lodging Taxes
There has been a lot of talk over the past few months about lodging taxes, which are a major source of revenue for our City.
I thought it might be useful to provide an FAQ to ensure a common level of understanding of what they are and how they are used by the City.
1. What are the accommodation taxes?
These are taxes applied to any accommodation for the night – eg: hotel, short term rental, VRBO, Airbnb, etc.
2. What types of lodging taxes are there?
There are three (3) types:
• State Lodging – The tax imposed by the State of South Carolina is 2% of the base rental rate.
• Municipal Lodging – Tax imposed by the County of Charleston and the City of Isle of Palms. The combined tax cannot exceed 3% of the base rental rate. Currently, Charleston County imposes a 2% tax and the City of IOP imposes a 1% tax for a total of 3%.
• Beach Preservation – The fee imposed by the City of Isle of Palms is 1% of the base rental rate and is to be used exclusively for beach maintenance and access.
3. How much does the City receive in accommodation tax?
In fiscal year 2021, the city received a total of approximately $5.6 million in lodging tax revenue: $1.8 million in municipal lodging taxes, $2.5 million dollars in state lodging taxes and $1.3 million in beach preservation taxes.
4. How can the City use the municipal accommodation taxes it collects?
Revenues from the municipal accommodation tax can be used for the following activities:
• Tourism-related buildings, including civic centers, coliseums and aquariums
• Cultural, recreational or historical facilities related to tourism
• Access to beach, catering or other land and water access related to tourism
• Highways, roads, streets and bridges providing access to tourist destinations
• Advertisements and promotions related to tourism development
• Water and sewer infrastructure to meet tourism demand
• The City may also use these funds for police, fire protection, emergency medical services and emergency preparedness operations directly related to these facilities.
IOP uses proceeds from this fund for right-of-way maintenance, drainage improvements, parking management and enforcement, Front Beach holiday decorations, additional law enforcement support during the summer season, solid waste disposal, maintenance of beach access paths, special equipment for the fire department, several positions at the police and fire departments and operating expenses at the service public works.
5. How can the City use the state lodging taxes it collects?
State law dictates how state housing tax revenue should be allocated and used:
• The first $25,000 plus 5% of the balance received is used for general City operations
• 30% should be used solely for advertising and tourism promotion to develop and increase tourist attendance through the generation of advertising.
For the past 25 years, these funds have gone to the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) to market our area in the United States and around the world.
• The remaining 65% can be used by municipalities for the following activities:
I. Advertising and promotion of tourism in order to develop and increase tourist attendance through the production of advertising
ii. Promotion of artistic and cultural events
iii. Construction, maintenance and operation of facilities for civic and cultural activities, including the construction and maintenance of accesses and other roads and public services near the facilities
iv. The criminal justice system, law enforcement, fire protection, solid waste collection, and health facilities, as appropriate, to serve tourists and tourist facilities. This is based on the estimated percentage of costs directly attributed to tourists
v. Public facilities such as toilets, changing rooms, parks and car parks
vi. Tourist shuttle
vii. Waterfront erosion control and repair, including beach restoration
viii. The operation of the IOP Visitor Information Centers uses state lodging tax revenue for park maintenance, the 4th of July fireworks show and other special events, the equipment for fire and police, parking management and enforcement, maintenance and management of public restrooms on Front Beach, garbage collection on the beach and for infrastructure improvements in the commercial district. Additionally, state housing tax funds support several positions within the police and fire departments and 75% of the city’s marina debt service.
6. What is the distribution of the State Tax on accommodation?
For the City’s 2021 fiscal year, the 5% allocated to our general fund was $147,237; the 30% was $733,416 and the 65% was $1,589,078.
7. Why did the IOP choose the CVB to receive the 30%?
The City is required to select one or more organizations, such as a chamber of commerce, visitor and convention bureau, or regional tourism commission, that have an existing and ongoing tourism promotion program. If an organization like the CVB does not exist, the City could create a non-profit organization with a permanent tourism promotion program to manage and direct these funds towards tourism promotion and advertising.
8. Can a portion of the 30% state lodging tax be used for other projects or needs other than tourism advertising and promotion?
No. State law states that 30% of State Lodging Tax revenue shall be allocated and used solely for tourism advertising and promotion to develop and increase tourist visitation through the generation of advertising.
9. Who oversees all this income?
• Municipal Accommodation Taxes are monitored and managed by our Chief Financial Officer and Municipal Administrator and, like all other municipal revenue, management oversight is provided by the Ways and Means Committee and Council.
• Municipalities that receive more than $50,000 in state lodging taxes must appoint an advisory committee that makes recommendations to city council on how to spend that revenue.
In addition, the Tourism Expenditure Review Board, established in 2001 by the state legislature, is responsible for monitoring lodging tax reporting to comply with the law.
DISCLOSURE: This is not a legal document, but rather a simplification of Chapter 4 of Title 6 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. Please refer to state law for exact language. The language contained in the South Carolina Code of Law supersedes any language herein.
Upcoming events – check iop.net for details
April 16 – Easter Bunny Brunch
April 29 – Coffee with the Mayor
Thank you for the opportunity to serve! See you soon on our island.
Phillip Pounds, Mayor