Senior Medicare Advantage plan insurance in North Charleston, SC
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Helping Seniors Make Better-Informed Medicare Decisions
Trying to pick a health insurance plan can be a chore for anyone. For many people, just mentioning the word "open enrollment" sends shivers down the spine. It seems like there's always a nagging feeling that you're wasting money, choosing a plan with poor in-network care, or both. One would think that health insurance gets easier as you approach retirement age, but the truth is that picking an initial Medicare coverage plan can be daunting.
Unfortunately, the confusing process of signing up for Medicare causes many seniors to forego healthcare coverage altogether. After all, Medicare enrollment can involve several federal agencies, including the Social Security Administration (or SSA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (or CMS).
At Senior Medicare Insurance Services, our passion is guiding seniors through the confusion of Medicare. That way, they can enjoy retirement with peace of mind knowing they are protected and ready for life after 65. We work with dozens of insurance companies, giving our clients the chance to choose a plan that best fits their lifestyle.
We choose to design our senior insurance plans with a focus on optimal benefits structure, lower costs, and personalized service. Some independent insurance agencies see their aging customers as nothing more than a financial transaction waiting to happen. In contrast, we treat each of our clients with respect and dignity as we help them navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. Combined with individualized service, we help older Americans make well-informed decisions about insurance. Whether you're in need of senior Medicare Supplement Plan insurance in North Charleston or simply have questions about signing up for Medicare, our team is here to help.
Guiding You Through The Confusion of Medicare!Request a Consultation
What is Medicare?
If you're approaching the golden years of your life, it's important you understand what Medicare is if you don't already.
Medicare is a federal health insurance program reserved for people older than 65 who have worked full-time for at least ten years. The Medicare program is paid for by a combination of worker payroll tax, premiums paid by Medicare enrollees, and the U.S. government.
There are four parts of Medicare:
The amount of money you pay for your health care depends on several factors, including:
- What kind of care you need, and how often it is needed.
- The type of Medicare coverage you choose.
- Whether there are alternative insurance policies that will help fill gaps in your coverage
- Whether a doctor agrees to charge you the same amount that Medicare will cover for a medical service
At Senior Medicare Insurance Services, we offer a number of health insurance solutions for seniors. Two of our most used services include Medicare Advantage plan insurance and Medicare supplement plan insurance.
Senior Medicare Supplement Plan Insurance in North Charleston
Sometimes called Medigap, the purpose of Medicare Supplement Insurance is to help fill in "gaps" that might not be covered by Original Medicare. You can think of a Medigap policy as a supplement for your Original Medicare benefits.
Private companies like Senior Medicare Insurance Services sell this type of insurance right here in South Carolina. While Original Medicare will pay for much of the cost associated with health care services you need, it may not cover all of your expenses. Generally, Medigap policies do not cover costs stemming from eyeglasses, private-duty nurses, dental care, hearing aids, or long-term care.
Depending on the Medicare Supplement Plan that you choose, it may cover out-of-the-country medical services when you travel abroad. Assuming you have Original Medicare coverage, your policy will cover its share of Medicare-approved health care costs. Once your Original Medicare coverage reaches its limit, your Medigap policy will pay its share of the fees.
Our Medigap policies are drafted to meet your specific needs, and can help cover remaining health care costs such as:
Important Information About Senior Supplement Plan Insurance
To dispel some confusion, you should know that a Medigap policy is not the same as a Medicare Advantage Plan. The latter helps you receive Medicare benefits, while the former supplements the benefits you obtain through your Original Medicare plan. As you begin to explore Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, keep the following important information in mind:
As you begin to explore Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans, keep the following important information in mind:
- To qualify for a Medigap policy, you must first have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.
- Payments on your Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan will be made to the private insurance company that you choose, like Senior Medicare Insurance Services. These payments are made every month and are paid in addition to the monthly payment you make for Medicare Part B.
- If you are the holder of a Medicare Advantage Plan, it is illegal for an insurance company to sell you a senior Medicare Supplement Policy. If you plan on switching back to an Original Medicare plan, you may be able to purchase a Medigap policy.
- If you have health problems as you age, your standardized Medigap policy is guaranteed to be renewable. So long as you pay your monthly premium, your insurance provider cannot cancel your policy.
- Medigap policies only cover one person. If you have a spouse or family member that would like coverage, they must purchase a separate policy.
- You may only buy a Senior Medicare Supplement Plan from an insurance agent that is licensed to sell them in your state. Senior Medicare Insurance Services has been licensed to sell Medigap policies in South Carolina for years. We have helped countless seniors get the Medicare coverage they need and continue to do so to this day.
- In the past, Medigap policies were able to cover costs related to prescription drugs. As of January 1st, 2006, prescription drug coverage is not available on Medicare Supplement Plans. The best way to get coverage for your prescription drugs is to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, often called Part D. Contact our office today to learn more about paying premiums on Medigap and Medicare plans.
For many people, the best time to buy senior Medicare Supplement Plan Insurance in North Charleston is during the 7 months Medigap Open Enrollment Period. This period starts the day you turn 65 years old, so long as you hold Medical Insurance (Medicare Part B). Generally, during the enrollment period, you get more policy choices and better pricing. Once the enrollment period is over, you may not be able to purchase a Medigap policy. Contact Senior Medicare Insurance Services today to determine if you qualify for a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan.
Senior Medicare Advantage Plan Insurance in North Charleston, SC
A Medicare Advantage Plan is a kind of Medicare health coverage designed to provide seniors with all their Part A and Part B Medicare benefits. Many Medicare Advantage Plans will often include coverage of the following:
- Preferred Provider Organizations
- Special Needs Plans
- Private Fee-for-Service
- Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans
- Health Maintenance Organizations
In addition, most Medicare Advantage Plans give seniors coverage for their prescription drug needs. When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan through Senior Medicare Insurance Services, your Medicare benefits are covered through your plan and will not be paid for by traditional Medicare.
How Medicare Advantage Plans Work
Sometimes called "MA Plans" or "Part C," Medicare Advantage Plans are considered an "all in one" solution to Original Medicare. Senior Medicare Advantage Plans are only offered by private companies that are approved, like Senior Medicare Insurance Services. Seniors who enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan are still on Medicare. However, these individuals enjoy bundled plans that give seniors the benefits of hospital insurance (Medicare Part A), medical insurance (Medicare Part B), and sometimes drug coverage (Part D).
Medicare Advantage Plans are very popular because they cover all Medicare services and make life a little easier for seniors who have trouble understanding the nuances of Medicare.
When you contact Senior Medicare Insurance Services to choose your Medicare Advantage Plan, ask your agent about Medicare prescription drug coverage. Unless you already have drug coverage (Part D), you should seriously consider Part D coverage to help reduce costs associated with prescription drugs. You may also want to consider a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan to help fill gaps in coverage that Original Medicare will not cover.
Medicare Advantage Plan Insurance Rules
Medicare works by paying a set amount of money to the companies that offer senior Medicare Advantage Plan insurance in North Charleston. That money is used to pay for the care services that you need. Because Medicare Advantage Plans are different, you should expect out-of-pocket costs to vary depending on the plan you choose.
Different plans have different rules for how you receive services, such as:
- If you must go to facilities, suppliers, or doctors that belong to your Advantage Plan for non-urgent and non-emergency care.
- Whether you must get a referral to see a specialized doctor
Companies that offer Medicare Advantage Plans must follow strict rules, which are set by Medicare and can change every year.
Paying for Your Senior Medicare Advantage Plan Insurance
How much you pay for your Medicare Advantage Plan varies and depends on a few different factors. In most cases, if you need a kind of medical service, you will need to rely on the doctors and providers in your plan's service area and network to pay the lowest amounts. In some cases, if you choose to use a service outside of your plan's network of coverage, you may have to pay out-of-pocket.
We encourage you to contact our office today to learn more about Medicare Advantage Plans, how they work, what your options are, and how often you will have to pay out-of-pocket, if at all.
The Senior Medicare Insurance Services Commitment
Since our company was founded, we have led the insurance industry by providing our clients with the most valuable, helpful insurance solutions available. We are fully committed to our current and prospective clients by:
- Choosing to focus on personalized, one-on-one service. When you work with our team, know that we will always design your health insurance plan with your best interests in mind.
- Listening to your specific needs.
- Responding to all inquiries and questions promptly and with a friendly attitude.
- Providing you with the best customer service in the senior health insurance industry, whether you have questions or are ready to move forward with a Medicare plan.
Our mission is to help give seniors the best Medicare assistance available so that they may understand the Medicare process and make an informed health coverage decision. We have the knowledge, skills, and experience to assist anyone interested in Medicare. Our personal goal is to become a lifetime resource for our clients and give them greater confidence in choosing their insurance plans.
Latest News in North Charleston, SC
Here's how much Boeing's workforce in North Charleston grew in 2022
Boeing’s South Carolina workforce grew by about 950 in 2022, part of a companywide surge of 15,000 employees around the world.Boeing shared its year-end employment numbers in conjunction with filing its 10-K financial performance forms with the Securities and Exchange Commission.The growth of the Lowcountry workforce brings the total headcount to about 6,500 at Boeing South Carolina’s two campuses, according to figures released by the company. The company said in a news release that it plans to hire another 10,000 w...
Boeing’s South Carolina workforce grew by about 950 in 2022, part of a companywide surge of 15,000 employees around the world.
Boeing shared its year-end employment numbers in conjunction with filing its 10-K financial performance forms with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The growth of the Lowcountry workforce brings the total headcount to about 6,500 at Boeing South Carolina’s two campuses, according to figures released by the company. The company said in a news release that it plans to hire another 10,000 workers worldwide in 2023.
Part of the Palmetto State hiring took place because delivery resumed for the Dreamliners produced at the Ladson plant. Production of the 787s had continued at a slower pace while the company and Federal Aviation Administration worked to address safety concerns.
Related: Boeing makes first 787 delivery since 2021
The company acknowledged that a return to deliveries accounted for some of the hiring, but not all of it.
Although the Dreamliner program is based at the North Charleston plant, other Boeing operations include:
• Boeing’s engine nacelle design and manufacturing center of excellence, supporting the 777X and 737 MAX programs, among others.
• Boeing Research and Technology South Carolina, the center of the company’s composite manufacturing development activities.
• One of Boeing’s four Information Technology Centers, which provides support to the entire Boeing enterprise across the globe.
• One of the primary U.S. Air Force base locations (Joint Base Charleston) supporting the C-17 fleet with technical and logistics solutions.
• One of three domestic BCA Engineering Design Centers, performing engineering work statement for BCA, BDS and BGS programs and projects.
• Senior Boeing executives leading enterprise roles such as 787 Engineering; 787 Quality; Ethics, Law and Global Compliance; and others.
“Our diverse Boeing South Carolina team demonstrates a commitment to safety, quality and integrity every day on the 787 program and across the many other Boeing programs and projects BSC supports,” Lane Ballard, vice president and general manager of the 787 program and Boeing South Carolina site leader, said in the news release. “I am proud of our growing team in South Carolina, and we will continue to invest in our teammates and the development of meaningful and fulfilling careers for generations to come.”
Boeing South Carolina is one of only three aerospace production sites in the world where twin-aisle commercial airplanes are assembled and delivered. It is the only site in the world that encompasses the full cycle of Dreamliner production, starting with fabrication using carbon composite materials and ending with final assembly and delivery to the customer.
The company has invested more than $83 million with charitable organizations in South Carolina, with an emphasis on education, arts and culture, health and human services, civic engagement and the environment. From their headquarters in Virginia, Boeing today said it would donate $500,000 to earthquake relief in Turkey.
Hicks: North Charleston vs the people undermining public education
North Charleston officials have threatened to pull out of Charleston County’s school district and start their own.That may be a tad extreme, but it’s hard to blame them.Because, fact is, these days the real extremists are the people in charge of schools — locally and statewide — and it often seems they have absolutely no interest in improving education.Consider last week’s Charleston County School Board meeting: Faced with a new report that thousands of their students aren’t reading at...
North Charleston officials have threatened to pull out of Charleston County’s school district and start their own.
That may be a tad extreme, but it’s hard to blame them.
Because, fact is, these days the real extremists are the people in charge of schools — locally and statewide — and it often seems they have absolutely no interest in improving education.
Consider last week’s Charleston County School Board meeting: Faced with a new report that thousands of their students aren’t reading at grade level, and the prospects of losing a city that provides a sizeable chunk of the district’s local revenue, what did board members do?
Debated the urgent need to start their meetings with a prayer. Which, just weeks earlier, parents and local religious leaders had urged them not to do.
Maybe because of Matthew 6:5-6.
North Charleston state Rep. Marvin Pendarvis, who introduced legislation Tuesday to form a separate city school district, says Charleston County’s school board is more focused on culture wars than test scores.
“It’s a dysfunctional board,” Pendarvis says. “There are good people on there, but they are in the minority. Injecting unnecessary politics is affecting the way we educate children. It’s distracting. This new board came in, and the first thing they’re talking about is banning books.”
A fair assessment.
Now, North Charleston isn’t talking about withdrawing from the county school district because the board is obsessed with dog whistles. But when folks inevitably argue schools shouldn’t be run by politicians (and they shouldn’t), there’s Exhibit A that they already are.
North Charleston officials are rightfully upset the city has eight schools on the state’s Orwellian-named “improvement designation” list, and three others that only recently dropped off — and there seems to be no consistent urgency to remedy that.
“It’s no secret that the quality of schools in North Charleston has not been good — the state report card shows that,” Pendarvis says. “Why is there such concentrated under-performance? We don’t see where the district has made North Charleston a priority. If they have, it has not manifested itself. People want to see change, and yes, that takes time. But if your child is of school age now, you don’t have time.”
North Charleston is booming, but city officials fear failing schools could hinder its economic outlook and hamstring its children. As Pendarvis notes, many families choose where they live based on the quality of the schools.
And, as Mayor Keith Summey notes, it doesn’t help that the district showers Mount Pleasant with amenities while the city that finances much of the district has one football stadium for four high schools. Which looks downright discriminatory.
Of course, even if North Charleston could run a better school district, it would still have to deal with radicals at the Statehouse. Republican lawmakers are so determined to unconstitutionally funnel public education money to private and religious schools, they want voters to change the state constitution.
Think about that. Officials charged with educating South Carolina students basically say the schools they control stink … so let’s give the money to private organizations we don’t regulate.
Which is the endgame of decades of talk about vouchers and school “choice.” They claim their motive is to give families of modest means the power to send their kids to the “best” schools. Yeah, right.
Giving $6,000 tuition vouchers to families that earn the state median income, or a little more, is no fix. Because the average private school tuition is close to twice as much, and many of those families likely can’t afford the difference.
So when much of that money goes unused, the Legislature will simply raise the income limits so their wealthy constituents who already send their kids to private schools get a tuition break. Watch.
Neither money nor (especially) the government can cure all of what ails education. Some of it is tied to outside factors, including poverty and family support ... or a lack thereof.
Those are serious problems that even well-meaning public officials struggle to address. Unfortunately, too many of the people controlling education policy today are decidedly unserious people playing Facebook politics with schools.
None of this bodes well for struggling schools. But if state lawmakers get their way, schools that are failing now will end up with even less attention and fewer resources. No wonder North Charleston officials are worried.
“My fear is what we see happen so often — the better students leave, and the ones left behind suffer, and those schools don’t get fixed,” Pendarvis says. “What are we saying to those kids?”
Well, at last week’s meeting, school board members seemed to suggest the best option for those kids is to pray.
Get a weekly recap of South Carolina opinion and analysis from The Post and Courier in your inbox on Monday evenings.
N. Charleston charter school ordered to close after violations, noncompliance
A charter school in North Charleston will close its doors after this school year following a history of violations and instances of noncompliance.NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A charter school in North Charleston will close its doors after this school year following a history of violations and instances of noncompliance, according to the Charter Institute at Erskine.Gates School has been in operation since August of 2021, “founded to serve students with a primary diagnosis of dyslexia,” according to the school&rsq...
A charter school in North Charleston will close its doors after this school year following a history of violations and instances of noncompliance.
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A charter school in North Charleston will close its doors after this school year following a history of violations and instances of noncompliance, according to the Charter Institute at Erskine.
Gates School has been in operation since August of 2021, “founded to serve students with a primary diagnosis of dyslexia,” according to the school’s website.
The Charter Institute at Erskine’s Board of Directors, tasked with authorizing charter schools in South Carolina, voted Monday to revoke the charter of Gates School “due to systemic findings of noncompliance of state and federal special education law.”
The board had previously met Mar. 16, 2022 and voted to revoke Gates School’s charter for the same reason, but an appeal hearing from the school gave them a second chance at keeping their doors open and remedying “it’s ongoing noncompliance,” the Institute says.
Live 5 has previously reported on the school’s history of noncompliance, including when the Charter Institute at Erskine paused enrollment just months after the school’s opening due to staffing shortages, specifically special education teachers.
“The Board and our District are tasked with ensuring that every student’s rights are protected under the law and that our schools are complying with all legal and regulatory requirements imposed by our federal and state governments,” Dr. Steven Adamson, President of Erskine College and Chairman of the Charter Institute Board, said. “As we move forward, the Institute and the Board are committed to ensuring a smooth transition.”
As of April 24, 2023, about 95 students were enrolled at Gates School, according to the Charter Institute at Erskine. The Institute says it will notify parents of the closure and work with families to “provide a smooth transition for their students.”
Ashley Epperson, Director of Communications for the Charter Institute at Erskine, provided this statement regarding the school’s violations:
The Gates School’s history of noncompliance has been extensive. As a result of Gates School’s systemic noncompliance, their students with disabilities are owed more than 220,000 minutes of special education services that the school was required by law to provide. The Charter Institute, in an attempt to remedy this systemic special education noncompliance, provided ongoing support, trainings, and site visits to the school. In an effort to impress upon the administration of Gates School the seriousness of these matters, the Institute placed multiple sanctions on the school from 2021-2023, including the issuance of multiple notices of noncompliance, multiple corrective action plans, and multiple enrollment freezes.
Stephanie Sams, Founding Board Chair for Gates School issued the following statement after Monday’s announcement:
Gates School community is heartbroken and disappointed that the Charter Institute at Erskine Board disregarded the information from special education compliance experts that no statutory grounds for revocation exist. Gates School has always been dedicated to appropriate service and exceptional instruction and experiences for our dyslexic learners. Our focus will always remain on them and their best next steps. The Gates School Board and community will be taking under consideration those best next steps although I have been told that parents have already filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.
The Charter Institute at Erskine says this is the first charter the board has revoked. Over the past decade, 14 charter schools have been closed in South Carolina.
The Charter Institute at Erskine is compiling a full list of Gates School’s violations and instances of noncompliance.
Officials with Gates School have yet to respond to a request for comment.
Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.
SC lawmaker files bill to establish North Charleston School District
A state lawmaker is proposing a bill that would remove North Charleston from the Charleston County School District and create a new district.Published: Wed Feb 22 2023NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A state lawmaker is proposing a bill that would remove North Charleston from the Charleston County School District and create a new district.District 113 Rep. Marvin Pendarvis filed the bill Wednesday afternoon, saying that needs are not being met in the city of North Charleston.“We’re here because we care ...
A state lawmaker is proposing a bill that would remove North Charleston from the Charleston County School District and create a new district.
Published: Wed Feb 22 2023
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A state lawmaker is proposing a bill that would remove North Charleston from the Charleston County School District and create a new district.
District 113 Rep. Marvin Pendarvis filed the bill Wednesday afternoon, saying that needs are not being met in the city of North Charleston.
“We’re here because we care about the quality of education in our schools,” Pendarvis said. “We’re here because the city of North Charleston, there’s a number of underperforming schools that lie within the City of North Charleston. We’re here for good reason, and I hope through collaboration and continuing the conversation we’ll be able to get something done.”
State law lays out how school districts can be formed and broken up.
According to 59-17-20, only an act from the state legislature or by authorization of the county boards of education can break up a district. Even then, the boards of education still need to meet certain conditions.
In a statement from the office of Attorney General Alan Wilson those conditions are as follows:
In (b), both districts involved would have to have a petition signed by at least four-fifths of the registered voters in the district. In (c), the districts would need only one-third of the voters to sign a petition but would then also have to have a vote on it called by the county board of education.
Earlier in the day, North Charleston’s mayor confirmed the city is exploring what would be required to withdraw schools in the city from the Charleston County School District.
Mayor Keith Summey said on Wednesday morning North Charleston City Council will explore breaking away from the school district to create their own.
“I think council is concerned about the number of failing schools that we have and what we can do generate more opportunity for the kids coming up in North Charleston,” he said. “It’s not anything that’s in concrete. It’s something that we’re looking at the possibility of.”
The effort, he says, is in a research phase to determine if the idea of pulling schools from the Charleston County School District is feasible, adding it would not be a “fast-paced” project.
Summey said he believes the city contributes more than what they are getting from the school district. He said the majority of failing schools in the district are in North Charleston.
“A community, at the end of the day, is only as strong as the education we can provide for our children, and we just want to make sure that our kids are getting the top chance that they can to get that education,” he said.
Summey said his vision would be for the schools to become a department within the city. He says he believes it would ultimately take a voter referendum, likely in 2024, for the change to happen.
North Charleston Mayor Pro Tem Jerome Heyward said he does not see one member on council not standing behind mayor in support of this.
“The city of North Charleston has been left out of the equation,” Heyward said. “Academic wise, we suffered over here because 30 of our schools are failing. It’s time for us to fix our schools.”
Summey said he has not yet heard from the school district, adding he would like to sit down with them.
“We’re just interested in making sure that children in North Charleston have the same opportunities as children in the entire county to get the best possible education that they can, and that’s not to say that the school district is not making effort,” Summey said. “It’s saying we don’t believe that effort to date has been successful.”
Charleston County School Board Chair Pam McKinney says she has not heard a single word from Summey or the city since she took office. She claims she learned of the mayor’s plan from news coverage.
“CCSD is proud to serve students from every corner of Charleston County,” McKinney said. “It is a priority for the board to ensure every child has access to a high-quality education. North Charleston students deserve a great education and that is exactly what we are working to deliver.”
The Charleston County School District provided a response to the city’s plans, saying the proposal to withdraw would duplicate administrative costs and result in less funding per pupil.
Mayor Keith Summey’s proposal to withdraw North Charleston schools from the Charleston County School District (CCSD) and instead house them in a department within the City of North Charleston would fail students. Such would duplicate administrative costs and result in less funding per pupil for both academic support and capital improvement.
Mayor Summey’s assertion that the City contributes more than what it receives from CCSD is untrue. In fact, North Charleston has historically received well above the CCSD average funding for construction and facilities maintenance.
North Charleston’s schools currently account for 30.32% of the District’s total student population yet receive approximately 35.6% of funds allocated for schools. In addition, the average budgeted per-pupil allocation in FY2023 for North Charleston schools was $16,645.18 compared to that for all other CCSD schools at $14,171.06; isolating North Charleston’s schools served through Acceleration Schools boasts a $19,532.61 per pupil allocation.
Claims that academic efforts in North Charleston schools have not been successful are also misleading. Most recently, for example, three North Charleston schools were removed from the state improvement designation list while others made significant gains.
Rather than benefiting students, withdrawing schools from CCSD would exacerbate educational disparities between geographic areas that CCSD has worked to address. Likewise, the assertion that creating a smaller district would ensure children in North Charleston have greater opportunities is simply misguided. Smaller schools and smaller districts have historically been less-able to offer such access and opportunity.
The District calls on Mayor Summey to address his concerns directly with CCSD leadership so that adults can avoid negative outcomes for students, parents, and educators. The Mayor has not reached out to the District directly since February 2022, after which he and Superintendent Kennedy met with other District and City officials.
The city refutes this, claiming the mayor reached out in May 2022 about an educational program.
Summey reaffirmed Wednesday morning he has not yet decided if he will seek re-election but expects to do so within the next 30 days.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.
North Charleston leaders poised to increase mayor’s salary to $218K
NORTH CHARLESTON — City leaders are on track to increase the salary of the mayor to $218,310 a year, a 12.6 percent increase over incumbent Keith Summey’s current pay of $193,880.The full City Council will take its first vote on the matter Feb. 23 after its finance committee earlier voted 8-2 to raise the pay for the city’s mayoral position, making North Charleston’s mayor the highest paid in South Carolina.If passed, the mayor and council member salaries would go into effect in January 2024 — afte...
NORTH CHARLESTON — City leaders are on track to increase the salary of the mayor to $218,310 a year, a 12.6 percent increase over incumbent Keith Summey’s current pay of $193,880.
The full City Council will take its first vote on the matter Feb. 23 after its finance committee earlier voted 8-2 to raise the pay for the city’s mayoral position, making North Charleston’s mayor the highest paid in South Carolina.
If passed, the mayor and council member salaries would go into effect in January 2024 — after the city’s November municipal election.
The city contracted the outside firm of Management Advisory Group to analyze the salaries of the mayor, City Council and employees. MAG recommended a 20 percent increase for the mayor, which would’ve put the mayor’s pay at $234,000.
City staff instead recommended a 12.6 percent raise, equal to the raises employees have received over the past three years.
The firm also recommended an increase for other elected officials. The city’s Finance Committee, which includes all members of the council, voted the same day in a 6-4 vote to also increase the salaries of North Charleston City Council members from $20,657 to $23,260 a year.
MAG said the salary increases are meant to “more adequately compensate for the time and effort to do their jobs involved in the diligent performance of their responsibilities and bring the city in line with comparable cities within the state.”
MAG did a similar analysis in 2019, after which City Council approved the current pay for mayor and council. The new salaries will go to whoever is elected in the city’s November general election.
North Charleston has a full-time mayoral position, as opposed to some other governments where the mayor might serve in a part-time capacity.
First elected in 1994, Summey, 75, has remained tight-lipped about his political future, though several sources inside City Hall have said Summey has told them he does not plan to run for an eighth term. He told reporters at City Hall on Feb. 22 that he’ll make a decision within 30 days.
“I love what I do,” Summey said. “In a couple of weeks, I’ll be 76 years old. I have four beautiful grandkids. I’ve got to make up my mind. I’ll do a final sit-down in the next couple of weeks with my family and make it a family decision.”
Summey’s financial activity for a potential political campaign has been mostly dormant. His campaign finance reports show no fundraising activity for 2022.
North Charleston is one of two large South Carolina municipalities that use a strong-mayor form of government in which the mayor runs the city’s day-to-day operations acting as a chief administrator. In Charleston, Mayor John Tecklenburg earns $214,394.39 annually.
Elsewhere throughout the Palmetto State, mayors of larger cities mostly act as elected officials who preside over council meetings while hired city mangers run daily operations of local government.
Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson makes $228,314, according to 2021 data provided online by the city. At the time, then-Mayor Steve Benjamin earned $75,000. Greenville manager John McDonough earns $278,512, according to the Municipal Association of South Carolina. Part-time Mayor Knox White makes $24,000.
The uncertainty surrounding the North Charleston mayoral position is one of the reasons Councilman Bob King voted against the salary bump. King said he may have supported the pay raise if Summey had planned to run for reelection.
That said, $213,000 is still too high of a salary, King said.
Councilman Ron Brinson, who also voted against the pay raises, said the timing of the proposals isn’t ideal.
“I think with all that’s going on in the economy, it’s just not a good look,” Brinson said.
The full City Council will have to make a final decision on the new salaries. Council meets at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 to make an initial vote inside City Hall.
The city of Charleston secured $10 million needed to finish an ongoing drainage project at the frequently flooded corner of King and Huger Streets, the storm water department announced May 1.
While the city completed the first phase of the drainage project in early 2022, flooding continues to plague the intersection because the city didn’t have the funding necessary to start the second and final phase of the project.
As recently as September, the intersection was inundated during Hurricane Ian.
When it floods, the Charleston Housing Authority senior living community Enston Homes and the Circle K gas station are separated by ankle- or even waist-deep water.
The first phase of the drainage project, which cost about $7 million, improved the intersection’s drainage capacity by doubling the diameter of many of the pipes beneath the street. It also included upgrades to drains and catch basins nearby. But during a heavy storm and high tide, that only goes so far.
With a $10 million grant from the South Carolina Infrastructure and Economic Development Fund, the city can now move forward with the construction of a pump station, the final phase of the project.
It is expected to go out for bid later this year and be completed by 2025.
When operating, the pump station will be able to move about 70,000 gallons per minute into nearby Newmarket Creek.
“This drainage project will make a real difference for our citizens, and I want to thank the state for providing the critical support we need to get construction underway,” Mayor John Tecklenburg said in a press release May 1.
The pump station will include a seating area and a park-like atmosphere. It will be located on the northeast side of the intersection on a piece of land given to the city by Enston Homes. The Housing Authority is partnering with the city to complete the project.