News briefs for July 19th

7 mins read

City of Beaufort statement on SCE&G Bill Enclosure

City residents may be in receipt of a letter, included in their electric bill, that describes the circumstances surrounding an expected 2 percent surcharge for utility work that moved overhead SCE&G electrical lines underground, as a part of the Boundary Street project.

SCE&G has yet to provide the required final accounting documents in order to finalize the work, and therefore the city has not signed off on SCE&G’s portion of the work. 

“We have been in communication with SCE&G regularly throughout the wrap-up of the Boundary Street project,” City Manager Bill Prokop said. “We are working closely with SCE&G on the final closeout of the project and are surprised by the notice before that closeout occurred.”

The 2 percent city-wide surcharge was approved in 2014 and was an intricate part of the Boundary Street project. It was expected to start this fall and the length of time the surcharge will be in place is now being calculated based on the actual construction costs of that portion of the project. The approval in 2014 was based on pre-construction estimates. The surcharge will expire once the costs to install the underground wires to SCE&G are recovered.

LWV offering voter education and registration at Water Festival

The League of Women Voters of Beaufort will have a table in the non-profit expo section at the Beaufort Water Festival to inform citizens about the club’s activities planned for the November mid-term elections.

The LWV will be present from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 21, to discuss the group’s voting website, Vote411.org, where you can learn about your local polling place, the candidates and where they stand on issues that affect your lives, sample ballots, and much more. The group also provides resources for military and overseas voters and will assist with voter registration.

The League of Women Voters of Beaufort are members of the League of Women Voters of South Carolina, a non-party affiliated organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Membership is open to all persons of at least 16 years of age. To learn more about the League, email lwvbeaufort@gmail.com or request to join the Facebook page, “League of Women Voters Beaufort Area.”

Beaufort County Association of Realtors releases June market reports

Housing markets across the nation are most assuredly active this summer, and buyer competition is manifesting itself into several quick sales above asking price, according to the Beaufort County Association of Realtors’ June market reports.

While the strength of the U.S. economy has helped purchase offers pile up, the Fed recently increased the federal funds rate by 0.25 percent, marking the second rate hike this year and seventh since late 2015. Although the 30-year mortgage rate did not increase, buyers often react by locking in at the current rate ahead of assumed higher rates later. When this happens, accelerated price increases are possible, causing further strain on affordability.

New listings were up 24.1 percent to 283. Pending sales decreased 1.3 percent to 234. Inventory grew 24.0 percent to 1,133 units.

Prices moved higher as median sales price was up 27.4 percent to $251,000. Days on market decreased 6.0 percent to 78 days. Months supply of inventory was up 21.6 percent to 6.2 months, indicating that supply increased relative to demand.

Inventory may be persistently lower in year-over-year comparisons, and home prices are still more likely to rise than not, but sales and new listings may finish the summer on the upswing. The housing supply outlook in several markets is beginning to show an increase in new construction and a move by builders away from overstocked rental units to new developments for sale. These are encouraging signs in an already healthy marketplace.

Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church unveils plans for memorial

Architect Michael Arad has revealed design plans for a permanent memorial honoring the victims of the Emanuel Nine tragedy. Arad, the architect behind the National September 11 Memorial in New York, conveyed his inspiration for the Emanuel Nine Memorial at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church following a ceremony celebrating the church’s 200th anniversary.

The memorial honors the nine victims and five survivors of the June 17, 2015, tragedy, the largest racially motivated mass murder in recent American history. Located on church grounds, the memorial features a courtyard with two fellowship benches, facing each other with high backs that arc up and around like sheltering wings. At the center of the courtyard, the curves of the benches encircle a marble fountain where the names of the Emanuel Nine are carved around the fountain’s edge. Water emanates from a cross-shaped source, filling the basin and gently spilling over the names of the nine. The opening between the benches toward the back of the courtyard reveals a cross above a simple altar, providing visitors a quiet place to linger in thought and prayer.

The memorial includes a survivors’ garden, which is accessed by a pathway from the courtyard. Dedicated to life and resiliency, the garden is surrounded by six stone benches and five trees, symbolizing the five survivors – the sixth signifying that the church is also a survivor.

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