Kiawah to get two more members on St. Johns Fire District Commission

The town of Kiawah Island will have two more members on the St. Johns Fire District Commission, bringing its representation closer to its financial contribution.

Charleston County Council approved the change in the composition of the commission at its meeting today. Council now must select and recommend two new Kiawah representatives to Gov. Nikki Haley, who either must approve them, or select two others.

Commission Chairman Barry Hart said taxes from Kiawah residents bring in more than 60 percent of the district’s $10.5 million budget. But now, only one of the seven commissioners is from Kiawah. “Kiawah is grossly underrepresented,” said Hart, who lives on Johns Island.

The newly configured commission will be comprised of: four representatives from Johns Island, three from Kiawah, and one each from Seabrook and Wadmalaw islands.

Hart said the commission at its Monday meeting voted 4-3 in favor of adding the two new commissioners. That vote reversed an Oct. 8 vote in which commissioners voted 4-3 against adding the new members.

Tom Kulick, Kiawah’s current representative on the commission, called the decision wonderful. “For many years, I’ve thought Kiawah should have more representation based on our financial contribution.”

Hart said he was the commissioner who initially pushed to give Kiawah more representation on the commission. Kiawah and Seabrook island residents previously had been discussing launching their own fire district, a move that would be financially disastrous for the St. Johns Fire District. Those two islands, which also have half of the buildings in the district, likely would save money if they started their own fire district.

Hart said he thought it was a good idea to at least offer more representation to the Town of Kiawah before it decided to leave the fire district.

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.

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