Expansion, unity on tap for James Island

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) - As James Island's mayor and city council were sworn into office Monday evening, the group looked forward to their plans to expand the town and unite the island.

It's been nearly two years since James Island incorporated, something that's been challenged three times by the City of Charleston.

But at Monday evening's council meeting where the mayor and members of the council were sworn in, there are already plans for new growth.

Incumbent Mayor Bill Woolsey was all smiles as he and four members gave their oath as public servants. Woolsey said this time, his focus will be on reuniting the town.

James Island has seen its ups and downs over the last decade, even closing down for 10 months during a legal battle with the City of Charleston.

But now Woolsey says things are looking up.

"This time we are here to stay. The deadline to challenge the existence of the town passed almost two years ago," he said.

Woolsey says the current town is not as big as it once was - about two-thirds the size - but he has plans to reunite the town's past with its future.

"We would like to get them back. We have legislation that was filed in Columbia last session. It passed the House; it made it through judiciary committee and Senate. But this new session starts in January and we will work on that," he said.

And for the mayor, growing the town means an increase in community involvement.

"If our goal is to reunite our town, and if that happens then I will propose to increase our size of council to six. That would require a referendum. Those extra two people would provide representation to the other one-third of our population," Woolsey said.

Other big issues being tackled by the council and the mayor include roads and flooding. There are several projects already in the works to address those issues, he said.