St. George Islanders mull incorporation

Published: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 12:44 PM.

He said incorporation would benefit island residents by increasing their control of their community’s destiny, putting islanders in control of planning and zoning, and allowing island residents to better protect the island’s fragile habitats. Colston said islanders would enjoy an improved quality of life under self-governance.

The area proposed for incorporation would extend from the western border of Dr. Julian Bruce State Park to Bob Sikes Cut.

Colston said the island has only one representative on the five-person county commission, but provides the county with 48 percent of its income from ad valorem taxes.

If the island incorporates, law enforcement, maintenance of parks and recreation areas, road maintenance, tax collection, elections, building permits and inspection and animal control would all remain under county control.

Colston said if the island determined it wanted additional law enforcement officers, the island government would have to provide funding for salaries.

The county would also continue to provide a landfill, health department, mosquito control and emergency management but the island would develop its own comprehensive land use plan.

If the decision makes it onto a ballot, only registered voters who reside on the island would vote on incorporation. The matter could be brought before voters as early as fall of 2016.

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