GEORGETOWN — The Georgetown County Council unanimously approved a resolution March 28 to acknowledge its approval of the impending transfer of the Port of Georgetown from the South Carolina State Ports Authority.
A proviso approved in the state budget for fiscal 2022-23 requires County Council and the state ports authority board of directors to each approve the transfer for it to go forward. Under the proviso, the port would transfer to Georgetown County in "as-is" condition no later than June 30.
"(T)he County has determined... that the acceptance and acquisition of the Property of the SCSPA would promote the economic development of the Georgetown County and would be directly and substantially beneficial to the county, the taxing entities of the county and the citizens and residents of the county, and the economic welfare of the county, and be in the best interest of Georgetown County and the public good," the resolution read.
Georgetown County Attorney Jay Watson said there are still plenty of moving parts to be attended to before the transfer is finalized.
Watson also said he is unsure of whether the state ports authority has taken a vote on the matter, though the resolution states "the SCSPA has stated its intent and consent to approve and authorize the transfer of all of the Property."
State Rep. Lee Hewitt, a Murrells Inlet Republican, said he was asked about the port possibly being used for dock space by Georgetown shrimpers, who learned late last year that they would soon lose dock space at Independent Seafood along the city's waterfront.
At the time, Georgetown County spokeswoman Jackie Broach said the port would not present an immediate solution for that lost dock space, as it is "(not) in good shape."
Broach said the county does not have any concrete plans for renovation or demolition at the port, as environmental studies are still being carried out and unspecified "concerns" need to be addressed with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control first.
Hewitt said in January that he had asked whether it would be necessary to extend the state budget funding that the ports authority will receive when the port transfers. Though the funding expires in June, Hewitt said he was told it shouldn’t be an issue.