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Pawleys Island: Utility agrees to help finance underground wire project
By Charles Swenson
Plans to put electric and cable television lines on Pawleys Island underground will move forward next year now that Santee Cooper has decided to help the town finance the project, Mayor Bill Otis said this week.
The town had planned to use a $1.5 million loan from the state-owned utility to fund a portion of the project and repay the loan with collections from island property owners. But Santee Cooper officials told the town in October that it needed to look elsewhere for the money.
At a meeting last week, the utility agreed to help finance the project, Otis said. Santee Cooper’s earlier decision was based on “a miscommunication,” he said. “They didn’t understand.”
The town will be able to borrow about half of the project cost, now expected to cost a total of $4.2 million. It will put utility lines underground for 421 properties and add a second distribution line on the North Causeway.
Electricity now reaches the island only along the South Causeway.
Otis was pleased with the utility’s change of heart.
“The proposal was more in line with what we thought we would get,” he said.
The town will pay $2.4 million toward the project cost. Each of the property owners will pay $350 a year to repay the Santee Cooper loan.
Details of the funding proposal still have to be worked out, Otis said.
The work will be done in three phases, starting with the causeways and the area between them on Myrtle Avenue. Then lines will be buried on the north and south ends of the island. Each phase will take about two years, Otis said.
Town Council plans to hold a non-binding referendum on the project in March. Approval from owners would lead to work beginning on easements and construction starting in the fall of 2014.