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					State of the Town Address

Mayor William D. Swails

February 9, 2010



    It’s a great honor to address you tonight as your
Mayor with my first State of the Town Address. The Office
of the Mayor of the Town of Mount Pleasant has been held
by so many great citizens. Just in my lifetime, there was
Mayor Kruger Smith, Mayor Harry M. Hallman, Jr., Mayor
Cheryll Woods-Flowers, Mayor Dick Jones, Mayor Francis
Coleman, Mayor Groggy Darby, and of course, Mayor
Johnnie Dodds. I understand and appreciate the honor
that has been bestowed upon me by the citizens of this
great Town.

    Every year, the State of the Town Address recognizes
special individuals who have – over the past twelve
months – made a difference in the life of our town. We
applaud their dedication, we salute their commitment, and

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we admire their creativity. They are the drive behind the
success of Mount Pleasant.

    I would like to continue this tradition tonight, and
elaborate on a man who has given 24 years to the Town
of Mount Pleasant. This loyal public servant was recently
given the “Behind the Scenes Hero” award by the
Charleston County School District. It was a much
deserved honor and I can’t think of a better name for him.

    As he prepares to retire from the Town of Mount
Pleasant at the end of the year, I realize that this will be
his last address as our Town Administrator. I can sense
him cringing as I prepare to reveal his name. He is indeed
a behind-the-scenes hero who shies away from public
“attaboys.”

    It is my distinct honor and privilege to highlight the
work of this individual in the 2010 State of the Town
Address. Help me recognize and congratulate with a
round of applause … Mount Pleasant Town Administrator
Mac Burdette!

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    Mac Burdette began his career at Town Hall in 1986
when Mount Pleasant had a population of 22,000 and a
budget of $3.5 million. A major hurricane and a population
explosion later, Mac is now the Town Administrator of the
fourth largest municipality in South Carolina and has
helped implement some of the most innovative
management programs in the Southeast.

    With a current population of 66,000 and a budget of
$63 million, Mac has brought to the Town of Mount
Pleasant the talents Town Council needed to manage
such growth.

    Under his tenure, the Town of Mount Pleasant
implemented impact fees on new construction to help
growth pay for growth. He drafted a tree ordinance, which
has earned Mount Pleasant the title of Tree City USA for
the past two decades. He supervised the accreditation of
the police and fire departments – a first in South Carolina.
He helped us create a design review board for commercial
projects and design a municipal road building program.
He helped us draft an innovative permit allocation program
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to manage our growth. These achievements, and many
others, have helped to shape Mount Pleasant into the best
community in South Carolina.

    His more recent projects include the completion of the
Memorial Waterfront Park, the new Mount Pleasant
Farmers Market, and the ongoing revitalization of
Coleman Boulevard.

    Mayor Hallman would often refer to Mac as the “best
administrator in the state.” Mac, he recalled, has worked
with nearly 50 Mount Pleasant elected officials over his
career. “That’s a lot of egos,” Mayor Hallman would say
with a smile.

    I have personally worked with Mac for the past four
years and can vouch for his work ethic, his integrity and
his professionalism. His love for his community is second
to none.

    Over two decades ago, we welcomed a young
Clemson man with strong values and great potential to our
town and it has made all the difference. A patriot and
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family man, Mac has made Mount Pleasant his home with
the support of his wife Ann. Their children Ben and Sarah
Butler are great products of a community he has helped
shape. We all owe him a great debt of gratitude. Thank
you Mac!

     As our town administrator has often said, the
government of the Town of Mount Pleasant is not about
one man or one woman. Our government is the entire
Council, our great staff, and it’s the hundreds of volunteers
who serve on boards and commissions and as volunteer
coaches. I am blessed with an outstanding Town Council.
Four members of this Council are newly elected and four
are veterans. After three months, I am convinced we have
a group of hard working Council members who have no
personal agendas other than the advancement of this
Town for the benefit of our citizens. These eight
individuals are very smart and experienced from various
walks of life. There will not be any issue or problem they
cannot solve. They certainly will make my four years
much easier and enjoyable.
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     My presentation tonight is to address the current
state of our Town. Simply, the state of the Town is solid in
every respect, even though the state of our economy is
somewhat fragile. Everyone associated with the Town
understands there are thousands of our citizens who are
struggling to meet a payroll and to pay their mortgage.
We are going to do everything possible to avoid adding to
that burden.

     The Town itself is in an excellent position financially
because we began taking sound financial measures about
two years ago. I foresee no situation that would require
the Town to consider a property tax increase or an
increase in business license fees in the near future. We
are working very hard to maintain our current fund balance
of $12 Million. Our Administrator will bring us an operating
budget for fiscal year 2011 that uses our projected
revenues. We will live within our means. It will be a tight
budget but we don’t anticipate any change our in services.
We have frozen 33 positions, but I believe we’ll be able to
weather the storm without any furloughs or layoffs.
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     While our budget is tight, we have set aside special
funds for a number of important projects that will improve
the quality of life of our citizens and assist with economic
recovery. Of course, the most important of these projects
are the widening of US 17 North to six lanes and the
improvement of Johnnie Dodds Boulevard. Both of these
projects will be under construction during 2010. With
these two projects, along with construction of the overpass
at I-526 and US 17 and phase I of Bowman Road, we will
have our own economic stimulus program over the next
four years that exceeds $150 Million in expenditures.
These funds will come from Federal, State, and County
sources as well as Town funds such as impact fees, TIF
funds, and Hospitality Tax funds.

     I’m also excited about our efforts to improve our
business development for the short and long term. Every
member of this Council is committed to a Town
government that does everything possible to make this a
community that is friendly to business retention and
recruitment. We simply cannot sustain the quality services
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our citizens desire based on the revenues produced by a
residential tax base. We can and will expand our business
related tax base without sacrificing the quality of life we
have come to expect. An expanded business tax base will
mean more profits for business owners, more jobs for our
citizens, and reliable revenue growth so that we can
continue to provide quality services at an affordable tax
rate. Most of what we will work on will involve infill within
existing development areas. We are also excited about
the opportunities presented by the development of Patriots
Point, which brings us 200,000 visitors each year, as well
as the development and redevelopment of Johnnie Dodds
Boulevard, the development of Central Mount Pleasant,
the continued success of our wonderful Towne Centre and
expansion of the Market at Oakland. Everything is
positive at Town Hall, and we will work hard to translate
this attitude to our business community and our residents.

     Just think, over $150 Million in road projects will be
underway shortly, a new recreation facility at Carolina
Park is in the final stages of design, as is phase one of the
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Shem Creek public boardwalk and park; our Waterfront
Park has already enjoyed more than 50,000 visitors,
Patriots Point is working on an exciting master plan,
Coleman Boulevard is on the cusp of an economic rebirth,
our new Farmers Market far exceeded our expectations;
we will enjoy some fourteen major special events in Mount
Pleasant over the next twelve months; we have seen two
new beautiful public schools open within the last six
months, with a third to open this summer; our crime rate is
the lowest of any community near our size in the State; we
provide unparalleled public services for one of the lowest
tax rates in the entire State; we will enjoy the benefits of
two marvelous new hospitals in our Town by the end of
this year; we’ve had some very encouraging meetings with
representatives of Boeing, and our 2010/2011 finances will
allow us to meet the operational requirements of the Town
for this upcoming year and any emergencies that may
threaten. That’s a lot to be positive about.

     We have a wonderful team of elected officials, staff,
and volunteers. Again, that’s a lot to be positive about.
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posted:11/23/2011
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