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Sand for beaches and functioning drainage systems are top priorities for Hilton Head next year.
They are among $24 million in capital improvement projects the Town Council discussed at a budget workshop Tuesday.
More than half -- roughly $12.9 million -- might be spent on sand to replenish the rapidly eroding shoreline at the island's heel.
The town also plans to spend about $1.67 million on drainage system improvements, said public projects director Scott Liggett.
The drainage projects would be partially funded by a proposed stormwater utility fee increase, from $83 per year for an average household to about $108, Liggett said.
The town has gradually assumed stormwater responsibilities from gated communities, many of which have old, failing systems, Liggett said.
Council members haven't voted to raise the fee yet, but Mayor Tom Peeples said it's necessary. "This is the one way we can get 70 percent of the island a benefit for their tax dollars," he said. "We can't just take on responsibilities and then act surprised when we have to fund them."
Other expenses include $4.1 million to refurbish town-owned buildings, demolish abandoned buildings, replace the fire station at Shipyard Plantation, and design a new fire station for Sea Pines.
The town also plans to spend $4.3 million on its pathways and road improvements, including a long-awaited roundabout to improve traffic problems at Dunnagan's Alley and a traffic light at Leamington Plantation and the Fresh Market Shoppes on William Hilton Parkway near Palmetto Dunes.
Some of that funding --$200,000-- would go toward designing an access road into Windmill Harbour, the gated community near the bridges to the island.
The smallest slices of the improvements pie were monies allotted to new facilities -- $989,000-- and parks development-- $412,0000.
One new facility would be an emergency town hall in the town's old fire training center on Dillon Road. The facility would have plumbing and electricity for town government to function in the event a natural disaster such as a hurricane damaged Town Hall, Liggett said.
Most of the parks development money, about $312,000, would go to park upgrades such as trash cans, benches and lights for the dog park, he added. Another $100,000 would be set aside for the Island Recreation Center, possibly for an expansion of the center's swimming pool, he said.
One item absent from the parks budget was a proposed sailing and rowing center, a project island sailing enthusiasts have been trying to fund for several years. Town Council members hoped the center, which would be jointly funded by the town and private citizens, would be partially funded by the town in the upcoming year. An initial estimate for the center was roughly $2.6 million and Council members asked staff to design a scaled-back version. It didn't make the cut this year.
Town Council will vote on the budget June 15.