County Councilman Josh Whitley provides an update on services
As always, thank you to The Daniel Island News for seeking a county update.
As folks often hear me say, for Daniel Island residents, county services include mosquito abatement, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and the public library services. Over the past year, we have added recycling to the list.
All other government services for Daniel Island are handled by the City of Charleston or our capable community associations. For county services, I am happy to give a good report.
As to EMS, our call response time is decreasing in our zone (Zone 8 is all of Daniel Island through Jack Primus Road on Clements Ferry). Last year’s response time decreased on emergent calls to 8 minutes and 9 seconds. The national average is 8 minutes, 59 seconds. Further, residents should know that when the medic for zone 8 (Medic 8) is on a call, the zone 7 medic (Medic 7) shifts to our coverage area at Jack Primus Road.
With the widening of Clements Ferry Road, Medic 7 has been a tremendous and accessible back up to give our area necessary coverage. Last year Medic 8 had 963 calls (2.6 calls per day) and the numbers are trending the same this year.
In a final bit of good news, Berkeley County Council has invested in EMS and our people and, as of this writing, we have zero EMS vacancies (a feat unthought of just a few years ago) while a neighboring county has dozens of vacancies.
The library continues to be an asset to our community. We circulate more than 4,000 items per month on Daniel Island. I am particularly grateful to Joan Chardkoff for agreeing to serve on the County Library Board as our representative. Over and over, I receive positive feedback regarding the beloved staff at our library and I am proud of the work they do.
As to infrastructure, 2019 has been a banner year. When I originally ran for county council in 2015, my platform was the widening of Clements Ferry Road, which had completely stalled. I truly believe the widening has been a significant quality of life improvement for thousands of our neighbors. One reported to me that her commute changed from 40 minutes in the morning to 11 minutes. That is a game-changer.
Also, we opened the roundabout at Daniel Island Drive and Seven Farms Drive. The construction process was flawless, and $900,000 under the previous administration’s budget, and the traffic improvement has been tremendous. Most importantly, it is a safer alternative than what was there prior, and I hope it will be a point of community pride for many years.
Finally, as to recycling, RePower South is up and running. This has been a long time coming. I am proud of this partnership and what they are doing to extend the life of our most valuable asset in Berkeley County: the landfill. If we get this right, we are truly making a difference for great-grandchildren we will never know. I am optimistic we can extend the life of the landfill from 75 years to more than 150 years, and will continue to report on our progress.
As always, thank you for the opportunity to serve. I wish each of you a wonderful holiday season and please do not ever hesitate to reach out.
Berkeley County Councilman