Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. says the City of Charleston will not contest the latest incorporation of the Town of James Island.
In a memo to Charleston City Council and a letter to the attorney who previously served as James Island's legal counsel, Trent Kernodle, Riley said he and the city's lawyers had reviewed the town's latest application and decided that, unlike the previous three attempts, this one would probably withstand a legal challenge. Writing to City Council, he said he "always believed that a Town of James Island will be very difficult to sustain financially when the real cost of providing municipal services is inevitably realized." In the letter to Kernodle, Riley concluded by writing:
In closing, let me say that my issue with a Town of James Island has never been personal. As Mayor, I feel it is my duty to protect the City's welfare and that of its citizens, to include scrutinizing and contesting where appropriate actions that could adversely affect the City or its residents, now and in the future. I wish you the best in your future endeavors.
Bill Woolsey, the last person to hold the position of Mayor of James Island, says he spoke with Riley and expressed his hope that the town and city would be able to work together in the future. Reached by phone, Woolsey said he was "elated" by the news. "It was always a constant worry and fear that we would go through this again," he said, referring to the previous legal challenges from the city.
The Town of James Island will hold a special municipal election July 31 to fill four at-large Town Council seats and the mayorship. Filing for the open positions closed on Thursday, and seven candidates have filed to run for the council seats. Woolsey is the unopposed candidate for mayor.