by Paul Bowers
Tonight, Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin will introduce a new ordinance and a new resolution, both of which could potentially lead to a permanent alcohol ban on the beach.
At a July 24 council meeting, Folly Beach residents submitted a petition with nearly 500 signatures asking for a binding referendum to be held regarding an alcohol ban. The petition became official when the Charleston County Board of Elections verified the signatures on Aug. 7.
Now the decision about a referendum has come down to the wire. The deadline for putting a referendum on the November election ballot is tomorrow (Aug. 15) at noon. Tonight, Council will consider Resolution No. R39-12-A, which would add a referendum to the November election ballot asking voters to decide if they want a permanent alcohol ban.
Council will also consider Ordinance No. 24-12, which would ban alcohol on the beach without taking a referendum. Goodwin explains that if R39-12-A does not pass tonight and 24-12 does not pass in a later reading, the council will be forced to call a special election on the issue at a date other than the November Election Day. Under South Carolina law, if a local council does not act in accordance with an initiative petition, "the adoption or repeal of the ordinance concerned shall be submitted to the electors not less than thirty days nor more than one year from the date the council takes its final vote thereon."
One reader wrote the City Paper today concerned that Goodwin wanted to ban drinking tonight without any further discussion. Goodwin denies that. "That's where people get confused," Goodwin says. "It's not what I want to do; it's what the law says we have to do."
The City Council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Folly Beach City Hall (21 Center St.). You can read a copy of tonight's agenda here (PDF).