The City of Columbia City Council met for a Work Session on Wednesday, May 25, 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 9:10 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. Special Property Tax Assessment for Historic Properties / Bailey Bill Legislative Changes – Ms. Krista Hampton, Development Center Administrator
Ms. Krista Hampton, Development Center Administrator, introduced Ms. Amy Moore as the new Historic Preservation Planner. She informed the members of Council of revisions to the Bailey Bill (a property tax abatement), that requires the City of Columbia and Richland County to bring their Ordinances into compliance. She said that the revisions actually make it easier to use and it offers the City of Columbia greater flexibility. She requested guidance on the following matters: how long would the abatement last; the investment threshold; where to establish the minimum required expenditure; what the period of investment should be; preliminary certification and establishing a processing fee to recoup some of the administrative cost.
Councilman Hamilton Osborne, Jr., stated that providing a financial incentive for property that doesn’t have an historic or cultural value will only drain resources from the City without any economic gain. He said that he would like for City Council to have some control over the projects. He suggested that there be an application of approval by Resolution. He added that he would not vote for an Ordinance unless it included a method for City Council to manage the process.
Councilman Sam Davis asked if there was a perceived listing of inventory that would qualify?
Ms. Hampton responded that any of the individual landmarks, as well as any contributing historic structures within the designated districts would qualify. Currently there is no incentive for owner occupied property owners to rehabilitate their structures. She stated that the Ordinance was enacted in 1992 and that only sixteen (16) projects have been completed since then. She added that participation would increase once the revisions are made because the investment threshold would be lowered. City Council could chose to extend the abatement up to twenty (20) years, but Ms. Hampton recommended that it only be extended for fifteen (15) years. The current abatement is up to ten (10) years.
Councilman E. W. Cromartie, II explained that the purpose of the abatement is to encourage rehabilitation and in essence you increase the value of the property and decrease the amount in the tax roll. He noted that the local government would create a better environment, historic structures would be rehabilitated and it would also create additional revenue.
Mayor Robert D. Coble suggested that staff draft the Ordinance as recommended by staff and then draft the Ordinance as recommended by Councilman Osborne. He further recommended that the Council accept staff’s recommendation. Mayor Coble requested that all the amendments be reviewed.
Councilman Cromartie requested a track record for all other municipalities that have enacted the Bailey Bill.
Councilman Davis asked if all units within a designated area would qualify?
Ms. Hampton explained that each unit must meet certain criteria such as maintaining its integrity to be considered a contributing structure.
There was a consensus of Council to direct staff to draft two (2) Ordinances for consideration. One Ordinance should incorporate the amended provisions of the Bailey Bill along with staff recommendations and the other should also incorporate the amended provisions of the Bailey Bill while providing for the project to be approved by City Council by way of a Resolution. Staff was further directed to provide the number of Historic Properties that would qualify for this Special Property Tax Assessment and the track record of other municipalities that have enacted the Bailey Bill
· Councilwoman Anne M. Sinclair arrived at 9:17 a.m.
B. Mass Water and Sewer Disconnection of Accounts – Ms. Dana D. Turner, Assistant City Manager for Commerce and Development
Ms. Dana D. Turner, Assistant City Manager for Commerce and Development, advised the members of City Council that the Water Distribution Division and the Water Customer Service Division would like to conduct a mass water cut off for accounts that are more than 90 days past due with the caveat that services would be restored after payment within 24 hours. She explained that there are 938 accounts that are between 60 and 90 days delinquent. There will be a concentrated effort to disconnect the 341 accounts that are past due. All disconnections would be done over a one (1) week period.
Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager explained that staff has been instructed to take extreme circumstances into consideration.
Councilman Hamilton Osborne, Jr. stated that a partial payment should be accepted.
Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine asked Mrs. Turner to explain when the notices will go out and when would the initiative begin?
Ms. Turner explained that the notices would go out within ample time and that this information will be posted on the City’s website and a press release would be generated.
Councilman Daniel J. Rickenmann asked if staff could identify customers that constantly don’t pay their bills. He suggested that they prioritize the list by moving such customers to the top.
Councilman Osborne stated that commercial accounts with high balances should be disconnected first.
Ms. Angela Adams, Customer Administrative Assistant, confirmed that they could concentrate on accounts with the highest balances.
Councilman Davis stated that he didn’t have a problem with the intent of the initiative, but requested that they use due diligence when dealing with elderly citizens.
Councilwoman Devine requested that the press release contain information on the various methods by which the water bill can be paid.
Councilwoman Sinclair encouraged staff to review the current system and to identify a process that would prevent this from happening again.
Upon motion by Mr. Cromartie, seconded by Ms. Devine, Council voted unanimously to authorize staff to begin the mass water and sewer disconnection of accounts that are 60-90 days delinquent. Staff was further instructed to notify service agencies that assist individuals with paying such bills; to submit a press release and/or a water bill insert that explains the methods of paying your water bill; and to consider the circumstances that caused non-payment on a case by case basis.
C. Development Corporation Reforms - Ms. Dana D. Turner, Assistant
City Manager for Commerce and Development
Consideration of this item was deferred.
D. Council is asked to approve a request from ETV to close Key Road between George Rogers Boulevard and Berea Road n Saturday, June 4, 2005 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. for a Science Festival for Middle School Girls. Contact: Ms. Urica L. Pope
Upon motion by Ms. Sinclair, seconded by Mr. Cromartie, Council voted unanimously to approve a request from ETV to close Key Road between George Rogers Boulevard and Berea Road n Saturday, June 4, 2005 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. for a Science Festival for Middle School Girls.
CONSIDERATION OF BIDS, AGREEMENTS AND CHANGE ORDERS
E. Council is asked to approve the Purchase of Equipment and Upgrades to Channel 2, as requested by the Public Relations Department. Award to Image Reproductions in the amount of $51,942.00. This firm is located in Columbia, SC. Funding Source: 1011118-638500
Consideration of this item was deferred.
F. Council is asked to approve an Agreement for Construction Management Services for the Construction of the Southeast Park and Tennis Facility, as requested by Public Services. Award to DESA, Inc. The Construction Manager shall be paid 6% of the sum of the general contracts for the project. This firm is located in Columbia, SC. Funding Source: GL-PK06401-6366 and JL-4039999-6366
Councilman Rickenmann stated that a 6% construction management fee is too high. He asked if the construction manager would make sure the contractors remained within budget?
Councilman Osborne asked if a Construction Manager is needed when there is a General Contractor?
Mr. Tony Lawton, Director of the Office of Business Opportunities (OBO), stated that the industry standard is 4-8% as researched by Mr. Franklin Lee. He explained that it is also based upon the total project amount. He said that the higher the project cost, the lower the Construction Manager fee. Mr. Lawton told the members of Council that this initiative developed from the Construction Management Pilot Program. Mr. Lawton informed the members of Council that the agreement covers three (3) projects to include Southeast Park, the tennis facilities and the Columbia Tennis Center.
Councilwoman Sinclair asked Mr. Lawton to further explain the basis for paying the Construction Manager a 6% fee.
Mr. Tony Lawton stated that with this project they based the fee upon the number of projects and the amount of responsibility.
Mr. Allison Baker, Assistant City Manager for Public Services, explained that this process was different from the selection of a Construction Manager for the Drew Wellness Center in that they sought Request for Proposals and evaluated qualifications while considering the price.
Mr. Lawton explained that they submitted a Request for Qualifications and a committee ranked the firms and matched them with a particular project.
Councilman Rickenmann stated that he was not questioning the need for a Construction Manager, but he did see the need to include a clause that would safeguard the City’s interest and encourage value engineering.
Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager stated that we want to maximize our resources; to remain within budget; and to complete these projects within a timely manner.
A motion by Mr. Cromartie to approve an Agreement for Construction Management Services for the Construction of the Southeast Park and Tennis Facility was withdrawn.
Further consideration of this item was deferred.
G. Council is asked to approve the Construction of the Southeast Park, as requested by Public Services. Award to Cherokee, Inc., the lowest bidder, in the amount of $3,543,178.44. This firm is located in Columbia, SC. Funding Source: GL-PK06401-6366 and JL-4039999-6366
Consideration of this item was deferred.
H. Council is asked to approve a Contract for Professional Services to Provide Marketing and Public Relations Services for the City’s Streetscape Marketing Campaign. Award to i4 Design, LLC in an amount not to exceed $150,000.00. This firm is located in Columbia, SC. Funding Source: Economic Development Contingency
Councilwoman Sinclair stated that prior to voting on this item she needs to know more details about this marketing process. She said that there are other projects going on and they shouldn’t clash. She stated that the Five Points folks want to know why we are doing this now.
Councilman Osborne stated that the City spends a ton of money every year on marketing sources and he doesn’t think we’re getting a return on the investment.
Consideration of this item was deferred.
ORDINANCES - SECOND READING
Upon motion by Mr. Cromartie, seconded by Ms. Devine, Council voted unanimously to give second reading approval on a single motion Items I. And J. as presented.
I. Ordinance No.: 2005-042 – Annexing 20.8 acres, N/S I-20 at Clemson Road, Richland County TMS# 25603-01-01 First reading approval was given on May 18, 2005. – Approved on second reading
J. Ordinance No.: 2005-051 – Granting encroachment to R. Wayne Smith for installation and maintenance of a stone retaining wall along 3335 Keenan Drive First reading approval was given on May 18, 2005. - Approved on second reading
ORDINANCES – FIRST READING
K. Ordinance No.: 2005-023 – Amending the 1998 Code of Ordinances of the City of Columbia, South Carolina, Chapter 2, Administration, Article II, Mayor and Council, Division 2, Council Meetings, to add Sec. 2-62, Term limits for members of city boards, commissions, committees and development corporations
Councilwoman Devine suggested that the following clause be added: “Unless otherwise prescribed by the by-laws of that board or commission.”
Councilman Cromartie suggested that the Ordinance make an exception for City Council members.
Councilman Osborne stated that if this Ordinance were a Resolution he would vote for it. He noted that any violation of this Ordinance would be considered a crime.
There was a consensus of Council to direct staff to draft an Ordinance and a Resolution to include the revisions that were discussed here today.
L. South Columbia Development Corporation
Upon motion by Ms. Sinclair, seconded by Ms. Devine, Council voted unanimously to approve the reappointment of Councilwoman Anne M. Sinclair and Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine and the appointment of Councilman Daniel J. Rickenmann, Mr. John Bozard, Mr. James Daniel, III, Ms. Melodie Inqwerson and Mr. James Padgett to the South Columbia Development Corporation’s Board of Directors. The City Council members will serve a one (1) year term from July 1, 2005 until June 30, 2006. All others will serve a three (3) year term from July 1, 2005 until June 30, 2008.
APPEARANCE OF PUBLIC HAVING BUSINESS WITH CITY COUNCIL
Ms. Shirley Fields Martin, Greening the Arts Festival 2005, presented tokens of appreciation to the members of Council. She introduced Chief Chavis of the Beaver Creek Indians and Mr. Wade Johnson representing the American Jazz Ensemble. She stated that the festival attendees filled two (2) hotels near Ft. Jackson and Cayce.
Chief Chavis, Beaver Creek Indians, thanked the members of City Council for their support. He said that the festival made history. He noted that it was the first Native American Pow Wow in the City of Columbia.
Mr. Wade Johnson, All-American Jazz Ensemble, stated that Jazz is on going and it’s wonderful music to listen to. He said that they are trying to maintain consistency by making this an annual event.
Ms. Martin asked to borrow $25,000.00 to pay volunteers and other participants. The loan would be repaid within twelve (12) months. She said that it would be tragic for the festival to end on a sour note. She noted that they don’t have the collateral to go to a bank.
Mayor Coble asked Ms. Martin to submit a written request to the City Manager.
Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager suggested that Ms. Martin also request funding from the other jurisdictions, which benefited from the festival.
CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSION
M. **Accommodations Tax, Hospitality Tax and Community Promotions Funds
Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager stated that after discussions with Police Chief Crisp and careful analysis of the volume of calls for service, along with future expansion, it is recommended that we increase Police Officer positions over a three (3) year period from 330 to 400. He stated that we would hire twenty (20) additional Police Officers beginning January 2006. He explained that this could be accommodated through the Hospitality Tax Fund. Mr. Austin explained that they are identifying areas with higher call volumes and will assign two (2) officers per unit to be dispatched to those areas. He further recommended the administration of a Public Safety Tax so that we can look at the full gamete of public services. Mr. Austin stated that twenty (20) officers would cost $500-600,000.00 and that additional vehicles would not be purchased.
Councilwoman Devine inquired about the recruitment mechanism that would be used to fill vacancies.
Mr. Austin stated that Chief Crisp has commissioned a Strategic Management Study that focuses on recruitment and retention.
Councilman Davis suggested that the cost of new officers be locked into the General Fund Budget in the future.
Mayor Coble stated that it is appropriate to utilize the legal maximum percentage of Hospitality Tax Funding to pay for additional Police Officers.
Upon motion by Mayor Coble, seconded by Mr. Cromartie, Council voted unanimously to go into Executive Session at 11:02 a.m. for the discussion of Item M. as amended.
N. Discussion of negotiations incident to proposed contractual arrangements
- University of South Carolina Research Campus Memorandum of Understanding and Intergovernmental Agreement
- **UPN 47 – Mr. Tony Lawton, Office of Business Opportunities
These items were discussed in Executive Session. No action was taken.
· Mr. Cromartie left the meeting at 4:10 p.m.
· Council adjourned the Work Session at 5:05 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by:
Erika D. Salley