CITY COUNCIL WORK SESSION MINUTES
May 11, 2005
9:00 AM – City Council Chambers
3rd Floor City Hall - 1737 Main Street

The City of Columbia City Council met for a Work Session on Wednesday, May 11, 2005 in the City Council Chambers at 1737 Main Street, Columbia, South Carolina. The Honorable Mayor Robert D. Coble called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m.  The following City Council members 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. Salley, City Clerk.

CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSION / ACTION

  A.  **Black Expo 2005 Request for Funding – Mr. Darrin Thomas, Vice President of Thomas-McCants Media, Inc.
 
Upon motion by Mr. Rickenmann, seconded by Ms. Devine, Council voted unanimously to approve funding for the Black Expo in the amount of $35,000.00 from the City Manager’s Contingency Fund.

B. Development Corporation Reforms

Councilwoman Anne Sinclair stated that City Council had already made a decision about the reforms.  She said that staff was directed to review the Redevelopment Commission.  She stated that she would like to give staff direction or agree to leave them as is.

Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine stated that their previous discussion focused on the East Central City Consortium and not the Development Corporations.  She stated that Ms. Dana D. Turner, Assistant City Manager for Commerce and Development has held conversations with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and should share that information with Council.

Councilman E. W. Cromartie, II stated that no changes were necessary for the Columbia Housing Development Corporation or the TN Development Corporation, because there are no existing problems or concerns.

Councilman Sam Davis stated that all of the development corporations have unique personalities and purposes and that they all function differently.  He added that the HUD has not indicated any problems with him serving on the Eau Claire Development Corporation (ECDC).  He said that the residents of the area are also satisfied with ECDC.

Councilman Daniel Rickenmann said that the city is working with HUD and the Development Corporations to avoid future problems.  He suggested that these are not reforms and should be referred to as revisions or guidelines.

Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager stated that past problems have been resolved.  He said that the basic concern is establishing a process of consistency.  Who do the Directors answer to, the City Manager or the Board of Directors?

Councilman Cromartie stated that the Columbia Housing Development Corporation had the same problem ten (10) years ago, but City Council made it clear that the Directors also report to the City Manager.  He said that the Directors are employed and directed by the City of Columbia and there shouldn’t be a question about it.

Upon motion by Mr. Cromartie, seconded by Ms. Sinclair, Council voted unanimously to reiterate that it is absolutely understood and according to the Council-Manager form of government and South Carolina State Law, that the City Manager is the ultimate authority of all employees to include the Executive Directors of all Development Corporations for the City of Columbia.

Councilwoman Devine reminded the members of Council that HUD’s concern was whether or not the Development Corporations were operating at an arm’s length.

Councilman Davis asked what did HUD consider to be an “arms length” model?

Ms. Dana D. Turner, Assistant City Manager for Commerce and Development, suggested that City Council change the Development Corporations into Redevelopment Commissions to accomplish their objectives.  She added that there would be some additional benefits and that this would likely change the board composition.

Upon motion by Ms. Sinclair, seconded by Mr. Osborne, Council voted unanimously to authorize Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager, the Development Corporation Directors and other staff to meet to discuss changing the corporations to Redevelopment Commissions. They are to determine what impact this change would have on each corporation taking into account their area of expertise, funding and the board composition. Staff was directed to work with the City Attorney to ensure the validity of such changes.  A written report shall be submitted to City Council by May 25, 2005.
 
· City Council adjourned the Work Session at 9:58 a.m. to convene the Zoning Public Hearing.

· City Council reconvened the Work Session at 10:55 a.m.

C.  Proposed Water and Sewer Operating and Improvements, Proposed Water and Sewer Rate Increase and Change to the Proposed General Fund – Ms. Melissa Caughman, Budget Administrator
 
Councilman Osborne asked why do we continue to extract additional revenue from existing customers to support the growth of the region? He said that as a matter of policy new customers should pay the capital cost of providing service.  He proposed a rate increase that would be reserved for upgrades and the maintenance of current infrastructure, but not for system expansion.  He instructed the City Manager to analyze how the capital improvement expenditures are allocated.
 
Councilman Cromartie requested information on the amount of revenue that is collected outside of the City limits.

Mr. John Dooley, Director of Utilities and Engineering, stated that 2/3 of water and sewer customers are outside city limits.

Councilman Osborne further requested that staff study the feasibility of an impact fee for water and sewer.

Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager stated that staff would like to develop some options to present to Council.  He noted that the rate increase is a separate issue.

After a lengthy discussion regarding the proposed Water and Sewer Operating and Improvements Fund, Water and Sewer Rate Increase and other changes to the General Fund, there was a consensus of Council to schedule a Budgetary Work Session for Wednesday, May 18, 2005.

Upon motion by Mr. Cromartie, seconded by Mr. Rickenmann, Council voted unanimously to authorize Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager to establish dates for City Council to conduct retreats on a quarterly basis.

D.   Billboard / Sign Regulations – Mr. Marc Mylott, Director of Development Services

Mr. Marc Mylott, Director of Development Services presented the following issues to City Council for consideration in relation to the proposed amendments to the current billboard / sign regulations.  He requested guidance on each item.

1) Annexation – Relationship to Richland County ban
Option 1-1:  Limit feasible sites to only those within the City limits as of the effective date of an Ordinance.
 Option 1-2:  No limits, except current distancing / spacing requirements

Councilwoman Sinclair requested that City Council adopt Option 1-1, because it would give property owners comfort in knowing that just because a piece of property is annexed into the City it won’t change.

Councilwoman Devine stated that Option 1-1 would limit the City’s options.  She said that each request could be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Mayor Coble directed staff to draft an Ordinance including both options.

2) District vs. District – Where to allow new billboards
Option 2-1: No new sites for billboards are permitted. Construction related to billboards is limited to replacing billboards that exist today.  Any replacement billboard face shall be the same size and height as the original billboard face or the standard associated with the adjacent road whichever is less.
 Option 2-2:  Establish a geography where billboards are permitted as of right
Option 2-3: Require City Council to approve billboard(s) to be removed as part of approving the zoning overlay to permit a new billboard.
Option 2-4: Permit new billboards only within the political district where the billboards are removed.
 Option 2-5:  Prohibit any new billboards.

Councilwoman Sinclair stated that this should remain a political decision.

Councilwoman Devine suggested that we include Option 2-3.

There was a consensus of Council to maintain the current overlay approach.

3) Replacement rate
Option 1-1:  Permit replacement billboards at the rate of 1:2 but permit new billboard sites at a much higher rate.  The City’s ability to change the replacement rate of Cap and Replace may have been eliminated by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s amendment.

Mayor Coble suggested that the City Attorney brief the members of Council in Executive Session.

4) Banking
Option 1-1: Persons may voluntarily remove billboards and earn square feet credits to be used toward new sites and/or replacement. The Zoning Administrator would maintain the bank.  Square feet credits expire after four (4) years.  The credits may be sold or transferred.  Every square feet removed within the first two (2) years of the effective date of Ordinance would equal four (4) square feet credits.

There was a consensus of Council to further review this option and to establish a Banking System.

5) Maintenance for all signs
Option 1-1:  On premise signs where businesses no longer exist or any vacant sign support structure would be removed as soon as possible.

There was a consensus of Council to accept this option.

APPOINTMENTS

E. Design Development Review Commission

Upon motion by Mr. Rickenmann, Seconded by Mr. Cromartie, Council voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Mr. Travis Butler as an At-large representative to the Design Development Review Commission for a three (3) year term to expire on April 30, 2008.

Upon motion by Mr. Cromartie, seconded by Ms. Devine, Council voted six  (6) to one (1) to approve the appointment of Mr. John Bowman as an Architect to the Design Development Review Commission for a three (3) year term to expire on April 30, 2008.  Voting aye were Mr. Cromartie, Ms. Sinclair, Mr. Davis, Ms. Devine, Mr. Rickenmann and Mayor Coble.  Voting nay was Mr. Osborne.

Upon motion by Ms. Sinclair, seconded by Ms. Devine, Council voted unanimously to go in Executive Session at 12:27 p.m. for the discussion of Items F. through J. as outlined below.

EXECUTIVE SESSION

 F. **Receipt of legal advice, which relates to a matter covered by attorney-client privilege
- Vested rights
 This item was discussed in Executive Session.  No action was taken.

 G. **Discussion of employment of an employee
 This item was discussed in Executive Session.  No action was taken.

H. Discussion of negotiations incident to the proposed sale of property
- Woodrow Street
- Kensington Drive
 These items were discussed in Executive Session.  No action was taken.

I. Discussion of negotiations incident to proposed contractual arrangements
- USC Research Foundation
 This item was discussed in Executive Session.  No action was taken.

J. Receipt of legal advice, which relates to pending, threatened or potential claim
- Mental Health Transportation
 This item was discussed in Executive Session.  No action was taken.

· City Council adjourned the meeting at 2:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by:
Erika D. Salley
City Clerk