Dewees Island just announced that it’s laying off the Assistant Island Manager as a way to save costs.
I’m all for saving money, but I wonder if the POA / Manager have a comprehensive plan in place for what the level of services should be vs. the target cost. With a specific set of goals in mind the POA / Manager might run a bunch of things differently. The Island might stop some things, start something things. Outsource some things, insource some things. But it can’t be done well without goals. And if there is a goal, it should be announced.
I’m in favor of SMART goals — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Resource-bound and Time-bound. In other words, what are we going to do this year? How are we going to know if we’re successful? Is it ambitions enough, but not impossible? Do we have the resources we need to do it and if not how can we get them?
Rather than starting with a what we have and what does it cost budget, I would start with a target budget per lot and work backward from there. In 2008, I think the POA budget was roughly $8,700 per lot. Much of the money goes to running the ferry, but it’s still a huge number when you consider that most POA / HOA’s in Mt. Pleasant are $1,000 per lot or less per year. And that doesn’t include the Utilities fees which are substantial and run by a separate company. If you add in property taxes and insurance, the annual costs really mount up. It’s my belief that part of the reason that roughly a quarter of the houses on the Island are for sale is the high annual cost.
The POA can control it’s part of the costs. I would like to see the POA shoot for a target budget of $5,000/year, which would cover running the island, running the ferry service, capital improvements such as the dock that I’ve proposed on the outside of the rice trunk, and continuing to build up adequate capital reserves. A $5,000/year budget would require substantial creativity. But I believe it can be done. If you have ideas on where the budget should be cut or more efficient ways to run the island, then let’s hear them. Please add a comment.
Here’s just one suggestion: Make the last run from the Isle of Palms to Dewees an on demand run. You would have to call ahead to get it. This would save not only fuel, but also 2 staff hours per run not used.