CITY COUNCIL WORK SESSION MINUTES
April 27, 2005
9:00 AM – City Council Chambers
3rd Floor City Hall - 1737 Main Street

The Columbia City Council met for a Work Session on Wednesday, April 27, 2005 in the City Council Chambers, 1737 Main Street, Columbia, South Carolina.  The Honorable Mayor Pro-Tempore Anne M. Sinclair called the meeting to order at 9:04 a.m.  The following members of Council were present:  The Honorable Hamilton Osborne, Jr., The Honorable Sam Davis, The Honorable Tameika Isaac Devine and The Honorable Daniel J. Rickenmann.  Absent were The Honorable E. W. Cromartie, II due to medical concerns and The Honorable Mayor Robert D. Coble due to a business trip.  Also present were Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager and Ms. Erika D. Salley, City Clerk.

EXECUTIVE SESSION

Upon motion by Mr. Osborne, seconded by Mr. Rickenmann, Council voted unanimously to go into Executive Session at 9:07 a.m. for the discussion of Item A. as presented.

 A. **Receipt of legal advice which relates to a pending, threatened or potential claim
- North Columbia Pump Station
 This item was discussed in Executive Session.  No action was taken.

· Council adjourned the Executive Session discussion at 9:36 a.m. to reconvene the Work Session.

CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSION / ACTION
 
B.  Greening the Arts Festival 2005 Request for Funding – Ms. Shirley Fields Martin, Executive Director of the Greening the Arts Festival - This item was deferred.

C.  Pocket Park on Main Street – Mr. Matt Kennell, Executive Director of the City Center Partnership

Mr. Matt Kennell, City Center Partnership Executive Director, requested permission to proceed with the construction of a pocket park within the 1600 block of Main Street.  He noted that City staff has reviewed the plans and that the Construction Management Department would review the final plans.  He added that the Downtown Clean and Safety Team would work with the City of Columbia to maintain the park.  Mr. Kennell announced that the new landmark would be named after Rudolph C. Barnes, Sr. the founder of the Barnes Law Firm.  The firm also contributed $10,000.00 to this project.  Mr. Kennell stated that an additional $30,000.00 is needed to complete the project and that construction must begin prior to June 30, 2005 to save a $10,000.00 grant.

Mr. Jim Gambrell, Director of Economic Development, explained that Mainstream, the owner of Tapps has agreed to let the City of Columbia access $30,000.00 of its up-fit allowance to complete the project.

Upon motion by Ms. Devine, seconded by Mr. Davis, Council voted unanimously to approve the disbursement of funds to the City Center Partnership for the construction of a Pocket Park on Main Street in the amount of $30,000.00 from the Tapp’s Building Up-fit Allowance.

D.  Columbia Metro Conventions & Visitors Bureau Hospitality Tax Funding Application for fiscal year 2005/2006 – Mr. Steve Camp, President of the Columbia Metro Conventions and Visitors Bureau

Mr. Steve Camp, President of the Columbia Metro Conventions and Visitors Bureau, submitted an application for Hospitality Tax Funding in the amount of $1 million to continue their marketing and promotion efforts for the City of Columbia; it’s attractions, restaurants, hotels and the Columbia Riverbanks Region. He stated that they understand the mission of Columbia.  Mr. Camp explained that occupancy rates are increasing along with the number of meetings being planned.  He announced that the new Columbia Riverbaks Region logo would be featured as the Postal Service’s cancellation stamp for Columbia effective April 29, 2005.

City Council requested the following information for the past two (2) fiscal years and the upcoming fiscal year:  complete budgets, sources of income, expenditures and the results of marketing.

E.  Fiscal Year 2005/2006 Proposed Budget / General Fund Overview – Ms. Melissa Caughman, Budget Administrator
 
Ms. Melissa Caughman, Budget Administrator presented a brief overview of the 2005/2006 proposed General Fund Budget.  She advised that a Public Hearing would be conducted on June 1, 2005.

City Council requested the following information related to Fines and Forfeiture Revenue (total amount of fines issued, the amount collected and the amount paid to the State) and Community Promotions Funding (the amount budgeted versus requested and the amount expended through the committee process and by City Council).

STREET CLOSINGS

Upon motion by Mr. Rickenmann, seconded by Mr. Davis, Council voted unanimously to approve Items F. through H. as amended.

  F. Council is asked to approve a request from the Mad Monkey to close the intersection of Main Street and Hampton Street on Sunday, May 1, 2005 from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. during the filming of HIV/AIDS awareness Public Service Announcement.  Contact:  Jeff Rogers, Line Producer – Approved subject to the sponsor hiring off duty Columbia Police Officers to provide traffic control and providing barricades and signage as needed.

G. Council is asked to approve a request to close the 1600 block of Roslyn Street at Graeme Drive on Friday, May 6, 2005 from 6:00 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. for a Neighborhood Block Party.  Contact:  Mr. Jim Papadea - Approved

  H. **Council is asked to approve a request from Allen University to close Pine Street between Taylor Street and Hampton Street on Friday, April 29, 2005 at 5:00 p.m. until Saturday, April 30, 2005 at 2:00 p.m. for its 135th Commencement Exercise.  Contact:  Ms. Alzen W. Smith, Special Assistant to the President - Approved

CONSIDERATION OF BIDS, AGREEMENTS AND CHANGE ORDERS

Upon motion by Ms. Devine, seconded by Mr. Davis, Council voted unanimously to approve Items I. and J. as presented.

  I. Council is asked to approve SS6872; Emergency Repairs and Replacement of Pumps and Valves at the North Columbia Lift Station, as requested by the Department of Utilities and Engineering.  Award to Godwin Pumps of America, Inc. in the amount of $341,754.10.  This firm is located in Charleston, SC. – Approved

J. Council is asked to approve Change Order #2 for SS790; Emergency Repairs and Upgrades to the North Columbia Pump Station, as requested by the Department of Utilities and Engineering.  Award to McClam & Associates, Inc. in an amount not to exceed $3,459,775.00. - Approved

APPOINTMENTS

K. Community Promotions Funding Advisory Committee

Upon motion by Ms. Devine, seconded by Mr. Davis, Council voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Ms. Sarah Walker and Mr. Eric Glenn to the Community Promotions Advisory Committee for a two (2) year term to expire on February 1, 2007.  Mr. Cromartie is to submit a recommendation for appointment and there is one (1) additional vacancy remaining.

L. Design Development Review Commission

Upon motion by Mr. Osborne, seconded by Ms. Devine, Council voted unanimously to approve the reappointment of Mr. Durham Carter to the Design Development Review Commission for a term of three (3) years, which expires on April 30, 2008. There are two (2) vacancies remaining.

M. Sumter Columbia Empowerment Zone

Upon motion by Ms. Sinclair, seconded by Ms. Devine, Council voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Ms. Phyllis Mills to the Empowerment Zone Board for a one (1) year term to expire on April 30, 2006.  Ms. Mills would serve as an Alternate Executive Board Member for Russell McCoy representing Council District III.

RESOLUTION

N. **Resolution No.: R-2005-019 – Allocating one hundred (100%) of the Local Options Sales Tax to Property Tax Relief

Upon motion by Ms. Devine, seconded by Mr. Osborne, Council voted unanimously to approve Resolution No.: R-2005-019 - Allocating one hundred (100%) percent of the Local Options Sales Tax to Property Tax Relief.

APPEARANCE OF PUBLIC HAVING BUSINESS WITH CITY COUNCIL       

Mr. Temple Ligon, The Columbia Star, invited everyone to attend a lecture at the Columbia Museum of Art on the history of the town plan for Columbia at 6:00 p.m. tonight.

Upon motion by Mr. Osborne, seconded by Mr. Davis, Council voted unanimously to go into Executive Session at 10:59 a.m. for the discussion of Items O. and P. as presented.

EXECUTIVE SESSION

O. Discussion of employment of an employee
 This item was discussed in Executive Session no action was taken.

P. Discussion of negotiations incident to proposed contractual arrangements
- Market Place on Harden Street – Mr. Steven A. Gantt, Senior Assistant City Manager for Operations
 This item was discussed in Executive Session no action was taken.

· Council adjourned the Executive Session at 1:30 p.m. to convene the Billboard Committee Meeting.

1:30 P.M. BILLBOARD REGULATIONS REVIEW COMMITTEE

· The Billboard Committee Meeting convened at 1:36 p.m.

1. Presentation by the Small Business Regulatory Review Committee

Ms. April Heyward, Small Business Regulatory Review Committee Member, stated that their presentation would only address the options currently under consideration.  Those options are as follows: (1) No change in the existing Billboard Ordinance; (2) Banning all new billboards; and (3) Removing certain billboards through amortization.

Mr. Frank Knapp, Small Business Regulatory Review Committee Chairman, presented the findings of the Regulatory Review Process.  He stated that (1) Billboards are not a problem in the City of Columbia in terms of numbers, appearance or effect on economic development; (2) Billboards are an economic benefit to small businesses; (3) There is insufficient information provided to determine the direct impact that amortization would have on billboard companies and property owners receiving revenue from billboard leases; (4) H.3381 would only limit one billboard option; and (5) Amortization is a form of taking of property.

Ms. Heyward stated that it is in the best interest of small business that the number of billboards in the City not be reduced as a result of a unilateral mandate by City Council.  She stated that the simplest way of implementing this recommendation is for the City not to change the current Billboard Ordinance and to work within the existing Cap and Replace Guidelines to relocate billboards.

2. Presentation by persons from the Billboard Industry

Mr. Hal Stevenson, Grace Outdoor, stated that Cap and Replace is working.  He noted that a total of three (3) signs were removed within Districts 1, 2 and 3.  He said that small businesses need billboards for advertising.  He said that it’s displeasing to want to get rid of billboards.  He stated that Lamar Advertising, Viacom, Magic Media and various property owners make up the billboard industry.  Mr. Stevenson said that his company performs routine maintenance rides and they use vinyl instead of paper on their billboards.  He said that he would invite other billboard companies to the table.

Mr. John Hardee, SCDOT Commissioner / Second Congressional District, stated that derelict signs should be addressed.  He asked what did the City of Columbia consider to the problem with the Cap and Replace Program.  He said that the H.3381 amendment is the result of a compromise between the Municipal Association of South Carolina and the Billboard Industry.  Commissioner Hardee stated that SCDOT also make use of billboards for Public Service Announcements.  Mr. Hardee recommended the following Performance Standards: (A) All signs subject to this City Ordinance must be structurally safe and maintained in a good state of repair and (B) Any sign, which, after notice, does not conform to the maintenance standards in this Ordinance or which is abandoned is illegal.  A notice will be given by certified mail to the sign owner to repair the sign, which does not conform within fifteen (15) days.  He also presented written recommendations on a Banking System.

Mr. Blake Valentine, Lamar Outdoor Advertising, stated that a Banking System would allow the industry to resolve situations immediately.  He said that companies should be allowed to repair or replace billboards.  He stated that there should be a clear and concise method for identifying inoperable billboards.

3. Presentation by persons opposed to Billboards

Mr. Van Kornegay, Melrose Heights Neighborhood Association, stated that there is no cap on billboards, because there are already 200 billboards within the City of Columbia and the number is increasing.  He said that the gateways are choked with billboards.  Mr. Kornegay said that his community supports a ban on billboards.  He suggested that a billboard referendum be added to the City’s next election ballot.  He insisted that the Cap and Replace Program isn’t working because two (2) signs have come down and four (4) have been erected.  He further suggested that they reject the idea of banking because it would only perpetuate the matter.

Ms. Katherine Fenner, University Neighborhood, stated that billboards distract drivers and that the real public service would be to remove them all, because they make the city look trashy.  She requested the most restrictive means of getting rid of billboards.

Mr. Bill Manley said that the billboard at Angelo’s turned him against billboards.  He admitted that he likes to see billboards when he’s traveling.  He noted that the Columbia Council of Neighborhoods would meet on Thursday, April 28, 2005 at 5:30 p.m.
 
· The Billboard Committee Meeting adjourned at 3:09 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by:
Erika D. Salley
City Clerk