CITY COUNCIL WORK SESSION MINUTES
March 2, 2005
4:00 PM - City Council Chambers
3rd Floor City Hall - 1737 Main Street  

The Columbia City Council met for a Work Session on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 in the City Hall Council Chambers at 1737 Main Street, Columbia, South Carolina.  The Honorable Mayor Robert D. Coble called the meeting to order at 4:02 p.m.  The following members of City Council were present:  The Honorable E.W. Cromartie, II, The Honorable Anne M. Sinclair, The Honorable Hamilton Osborne, Jr., The Honorable Sam Davis, The Honorable Tameika Isaac Devine and The Honorable Daniel J. Rickenmann.  Also present were Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager and Ms. Erika D. Moore, City Clerk.

PRESENTATIONS

A.  Renovations to 1225 Laurel Street – Mr. Joel Stevenson, Director of the USC Incubator Program

Dr. Joel Stevenson, Director of the USC Incubator Program told the members of Council that they would be moving into the building at 1225 Laurel Street no later than June 2005.  He requested permission to renovate the lobby, to add an awning on the exterior on the Laurel Street side and to fix some of the offices. He added that the new name would be the USC/Columbia Technology Center once the City of Columbia is removed from the awning. He presented pictures of how the building looks now and renderings of the proposed renovations.  Dr. Stevenson stated that the USC Research Foundation would pay for the renovations in its entirety.

Upon motion by Ms. Sinclair, seconded by Mr. Cromartie, Council voted unanimously to authorize the USC Incubator Program to renovate 1225 Laurel Street by upgrading the lobby area and some offices and by installing an awning on the Laurel Street side of the building.  The City’s logo would be displayed on the awning until all City employees have vacated the building.  The cost to remodel is approximately $13,000.00 and the USC Research Foundation would cover all expenses related to the renovations.

B.  Compensation and Classification Study – Mr. Russell Campbell, MGT of America Regional Director

Mr. Russell Campbell, MGT of America Regional Director explained how MGT of America assisted the City of Columbia with a Compensation and Classification Study, which resulted in the implementation of a $2.2 million Compensation and Classification Plan.  He said that the process wasn’t designed to give all employees a salary increase nor was it a performance evaluation. He added that job titles were consolidated and reduced from 530 to 477. Mr. Campbell indicated that the City of Columbia was compared to fourteen other municipalities that were similar in demographics, economics, number of employees and form of government.  He stated that the City of Columbia pays competitive salaries for upper management positions but not for front line employees.  He recommended that Human Resources implement internal controls to maintain the integrity of the Compensation and Classification Plan and that the study should be conducted every 4-5 years.

C.  Next Energy Update – Mr. Neil McLean, Executive Director of Engenuity SC

Mr. Neil McLean, Executive Director of Engenuity SC, presented a progress report to the members of City Council.  He reported that they are building the infrastructure to help raise per capita income within the City of Columbia.  He stated that they are currently working on a regional entrepreneurial Education initiative with a goal of participation from Midlands Technical College, Columbia College, Benedict College, Allen University, the University of South Carolina and local school districts. He announced that Engenuity SC has secured a $400,000.00 grant that will be directed towards planning and building commercialization facilities in the city. He announced that Engenutiy SC was awarded the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Woodrow Wilson Award as an organization that promotes regional cooperation.

CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSION / ACTION

D.  River Alliance Request for Funding – Mr. Jim Smith, Chairman of the River Alliance Board of Directors

Mr. Jim Smith, Chairman of the River Alliance Board of Directors reported that the River Alliance is 50% complete.  He stated that the City of Columbia has committed to $50,000.00 annually as part of a compact to support the operating expenses.  He said that the city’s funding is leveraged by equal gifts from Richland and Lexington Counties and continued financial support from Cayce and West Columbia.  Mr. Smith requested the remaining $41,000.00 for the current fiscal year and $51,000.00 for the upcoming fiscal year.

Upon motion by Mayor Coble, seconded by Mr. Cromartie, Council voted unanimously to approve the request for fiscal year 2004/2005 funding in the amount of $41,000.00 from the surplus Hospitality Tax Fund.

E.  Homelessness Summit Request for Funding – Mr. Mac Bennett, Executive Director of Central Carolina Community Foundation and Dr. Moss Blachman, University of South Carolina Assistant Dean, Continuing Medical Education and Faculty Development
 
Upon motion by Mayor Coble, seconded by Mr. Cromartie, Council voted unanimously to approve the request for funding in the amount of $25,000.00 from the Economic Development Contingency Fund subject to the approval of a final budget.
 
 F.  **Greater Columbia Community Relations Council Request for Funding – Mr. Preston Winkler, Executive Director

Mr. Preston Winkler Executive Director of the Greater Columbia Community Relations Council requested funding in the amount of $50,000.00 to continue initiatives in addressing gangs and youth violence.

There was a consensus of Council to directed Mr. Winkler to meet with Mr. Allison Baker, Assistant City Manager for Public Services to avoid duplication of any services.  Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager was directed to determine a source of funding.  City Council will further consider this request on March 16, 2005.

APPOINTMENTS
 
G. Riverbanks Park Commission

 This item was deferred.

H. Columbia Parks and Recreation Foundation

 This item was deferred.

I. Columbia Tree and Appearance Commission

 This item was deferred.

  J. **Hospitality Tax Advisory Committee

 This item was deferred.

Upon motion by Mayor Coble, seconded by Mr. Cromartie, Council voted unanimously to go into Executive Session at 5:24 p.m. for the discussion of Items K. through N. as time permits.

EXECUTIVE SESSION DISCUSSION

K. Discussion of negotiations incident to proposed contractual arrangements
- CanalSide – Mr. Jim Gambrell, Director of Economic Development
- Capitol Places IV – Mr. Jim Gambrell, Director of Economic Development
- Township Auditorium
- Co-Location
- **Project Tiger – Mr. Jim Gambrell, Director of Economic Development
These items were discussed in Executive Session no action was taken.

L. Discussion of appointment of a person to a public body
- Sumter Columbia Empowerment Zone Board
This item was discussed in Executive Session no action was taken.

M. **Receipt of legal advice which relates to a matter covered by attorney-client privilege
- **Owens Field
This item was discussed in Executive Session no action was taken.

· Council adjourned the Executive Session discussion at 5:58 p.m. to convene the regular meeting.

· Council reconvened the Executive Session at 7:50 p.m. for the discussion of Item N.

N. **Receipt of legal advice which relates to a pending, threatened or potential claim

This item was discussed in Executive Session no action was taken.

· Council adjourned the meeting at 8:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by:
Erika D. Moore
City Clerk