CITY OF COLUMBIA
CITY COUNCIL WORK SESSION MINUTES
April 10, 2002
9:00 AM - City Council Conference Room
2nd Floor City Hall - 1737 Main Street
 
 
The City of Columbia City Council met in a Work Session on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 in the City Hall Council Conference Room, 1737 Main Street, Columbia, South Carolina.  Mayor Pro- Tempore Sam Davis, called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m.  Council members present were The Honorable E.W. Cromartie, The Honorable Jim Papadea, The Honorable Anne M. Sinclair, The Honorable Hamilton Osborne, Jr. and The Honorable Mayor Robert D. Coble.  Absent was The Honorable Francenia B. Heizer.  Also present were Ms. Leona K. Plaugh, City Manager and Ms. Erika D. Moore, Deputy City Clerk.

REVIEW COUNCIL AGENDA

The City Manager reviewed the Regular Meeting agenda with the Mayor and members of Council.

$ Mr. Cromartie joined the meeting at 9:24 a.m.

CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSION / ACTION

1. Columbia Tennis Center Update - Mr. Allison Baker

Mr. Allison Baker, Parks and Recreation Director, presented a new design for the Columbia Tennis Center at the existing location with two (2) additional tennis courts.

Mr. Jim Lawracy stated that parking would increase by 30% to eighty-five (85) parking spaces, traffic will not exit on Catawba Street and the American Legion parking lot will not be used.

Mr. Shelton, told Council that they are producing a player friendly, spectator friendly and a management friendly facility which does not currently exist.

Mr. Papadea suggested that they keep the existing site and build 15-20 courts at another location.

Mr. Cromartie asked the City Manager to provide a report indicating the number of people that used the tennis courts last year, the amount of income generated and the expenses of 2001.

2. National Women's Sports Day Report - Mr. Allison Baker

Mr. Allison Baker, Parks and Recreation Director, appeared before Council to report on National Women=s Sports Day and to request sponsorship of 2003 National Women=s Sports Day.

The City Manager suggested that funding for the National Women=s Sports Day be done through Community Promotions.

3. Columbia Action Council Budget Deficit - Ms. Cathy Alexander, Finance Director

Upon motion by Mr. Cromartie, seconded by Mr. Papadea, Council voted unanimously to authorize the City Manager to cover Columbia Action Council's deficit from prior years in the amount of $163,130.

Upon motion by Ms. Sinclair, seconded by Mr. Cromartie, Council voted unanimously to ask the Columbia Action Council and its board to review the costs, income, attendance, and potential sponsorship of all events and give recommendations to Council on the core events and events that can be eliminated.

Mr. Papadea suggested that a Parks and Recreation staff member serve on the Columbia Action Council Board of Directors or as an Ex-Officio.

Mayor Coble joined the meeting at 10:24 a.m. and now presiding.

4. Convention Center Bonds and Strategic Advisory Group, LLC. (SAG) Report
Dan McLeod, McNair Law Firm; Ed Boyles, Bank of America; and Jerry McClendon

Mr. Dan McLeod, McNair Law Firm; Mr. Jerry McClendon, Strategic Advisory Group; Mr. Robert Hobson, Banc of America Securities; Mr. Ed Menzie, Midlands Regional Convention Center Authority; and Mr. Brent Robertson, Financial Advisor briefed Council on the financial future of the Convention Center.

Mr. McLeod explained that Tourism Development Fees have been collected since 1996 and are on file for deposit in the City=s Finance Office.  He informed Council that $7,500,000 of the fees have been paid in the past year to the University of South Carolina to assist with the construction of their new arena. He also told Council that $2,500,000 was paid by each governmental entity.  Mr. McLeod stated that financing documents are being drafted in the form of a Certificate of Participation also known as a Lease Purchase payable from the Tourism Development Fees that are collected by the two (2) counties and the City.  He explained that under the present structure of the financing documents a debt service reserve fund was created which is 1 year's debt service on the bonds equal to the maximum debt service on this particular issue.  He said that in the event the tourism fees aren=t sufficient in any one year to pay debt service, that reserve fund is called upon to meet the short fall.  Mr. McLeod explained that there is provision that would give the City the option to appropriate funds on an annual basis to restore the balance in that shortfall.  He informed Council that this is a City of Columbia obligation that is payable from the Tourism Development Fees under an Intergovernmental Agreement binding the two (2) counties and the City to remit the monies.

Mr. Jerry McCLendon, Strategic Advisory Group, presented a summary of the historical and projected collections from Tourism Development Fees.

Mr. Robert Hobson, Banc of America Securities, appeared before Council to discuss alternatives on how to fundamentally structure the financing of the Convention Center:

The first alternative is to have the Tourism Development Fee be the only source of revenue that would back up the Certificate of Participation (this will allow the City to borrow approximately $30-32,000,000)

The second alternative would build on the revenue from the Tourism Development Fee and have an annual appropriation pledge from the city to make up shortfalls from any other available monies.
Using the second alternative the city could borrow approximately $41-42,000,000.  The guaranteed max priced contract came in at approximately $37,000,000.  The extra step would allow the city to borrow more, get higher ratings on the bonds and lower bond insurance.

Mr. Osborne abstained from the discussion do to a conflict of interest.

Ms. Maime Jackson, appeared before Council to express concern for the bus system.  Ms. Jackson stated that the buses are in dangerous conditions and  SCE&G does just enough to keep the buses running.  She told Council that there are constant blow outs, rain leaks from the holes in the ceiling, dirt enters through the exhaust system, doors close on patrons, not all buses are ADA compliant and drivers talk on cell phones while driving.  Ms. Jackson asked Council to insure that new buses are put out as soon as possible and recommended that Council consider discontinuing the trolley system and placing trolleys on a bus route from Dutch Square Mall to Midlands Technical College.

Upon motion by Mr. Cromartie, seconded by Mr. Papadea, Council voted unanimously to go into Executive Session at 11:36 a.m. to discuss the Anti-Discrimination Policy, Columbia Tennis Center real estate matter, DESA Contract, SCANA Bus Barn real estate matter, Tapps Furniture Store Update, Time Warner Cable franchise matter, and an annexation real estate matter.

5. *Anti-Discrimination Policy - Procurement - Mr. Richard Gergel and Mr. Franklin Lee
This item was discussed in Executive Session, no action was taken.

6. 2002 Neighborhood USA (NUSA) Conference Update - Ms. Katherine Trimnal
This item was held over, no action was taken.

APPOINTMENTS

7. Arts Task Force
This item was held over, no action was taken.

8. Accommodations Tax Committee
This item was held over, no action was taken.

9. Commission on Children & Youth
This item was held over, no action was taken.

10. Keep America Beautiful of the Midlands
This item was held over, no action was taken.

11.  Riverbanks Park Commission
This item was held over, no action was taken.

LEGAL BRIEFINGS*

12. *DESA Contract - Convention Center and Infrastructure
This item was approved during the Regular Meeting.

13. *SCANA Real Estate - Bus Barn
This item was discussed in Executive Session, no action was taken.

14. *Tapps Furniture Store Update
This item was discussed in Executive Session, no action was taken.

15. *Time Warner Legal Briefing
This item was discussed in Executive Session, no action was taken.

Mayor Coble adjourned the Work Session at 2:15 p.m.
 

Respectfully submitted by:
 
 

Erika D. Moore
Deputy City Clerk