Hammond to hand over keys to new Town of James Island

S.C. Secretary of State Mark Hamond (right) delivers the the Town of James Island’s Certificate of Incorporation at a ceremony attended by former mayor Bill Woolsey (left) and others.

S.C. Secretary of State Mark Hammond made it official today: James Island is a town once again.

“It’s a great day in James Island,” Hammond said in his remarks, echoing Gov. Nikki Haley.

Hammond delivered the Town of James Island’s Certificate of Incorporation at a ceremony this afternoon at the old Town Hall, 1238-b Camp Road.

Hammond handed over the new paperwork to the incorporators of the town, former Mayor Bill Woolsey, Leonard Blank, Inez Brown Crouch, and Kay Kernodle.

“There’s nothing easy about starting a city in the state of South Carolina,” Hammond said.

This marks the fourth time the town has formed its own government. The previous three bids didn’t pass legal muster. The city of Charleston successfully sued each time, leading the S.C. Supreme Court to disband the town.

By an overwhelming 85 percent-to-15 percent ratio, island residents in April backed a fourth attempt at self-determination. The town is smaller this time around but proponents say the move is a better option than waiting for the city of Charleston to move in and try to annex more land.

This new version is much more compact than the last and geographically spread-out attempt that was struck down by the state’s high court. By shrinking the boundaries and excluding neighborhoods such as Riverland Terrace, Sol Legare and the Grimball Road area, advocates tried to curtail legal questions about contiguity.

Charleston’s previous lawsuits successfully questioned if the town was a geographic whole, as required by state law, or a patchwork.

The new population lines include about 11,000 residents, or two-thirds as many as before

Charlestion Mayor Joe Riley has said the city is undecided on whether it will challenge the incorporation in court.

The filing period for the recently enacted new Town Council and mayor opened today at noon.

The election will be July 31. The four council members will be elected at-large. The terms for mayor and council are two years.

Candidates may file at the offices of Kernodle, Root and Coleman, 914 Folly Road, Suite 2, James Island.

Filing closes at noon on May 31.

Candidates must be qualified electors residing in the proposed municipality at the time of the election.

The filing fee for the office of mayor and for the office of council is $100.