CITY OF COLUMBIA
CITY COUNCIL WORK SESSION MINUTES
July 30, 2003
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, July 30, 2003 in the City Hall Council Chambers, 1737 Main Street, Columbia, South Carolina.  Mayor Robert D. Coble called the meeting to order at 9:06 a.m.  Council members present were The Honorable E. W. Cromartie, II, The Honorable Jim D. N. Papadea, The Honorable Anne M. Sinclair, The Honorable Hamilton Osborne, Jr., The Honorable Sam Davis and The Honorable Tameika C. Isaac.  Also present were Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., Interim City Manager and Ms. Erika D. Moore, City Clerk.

CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSION / ACTION

 A. **Comprehensive Land Use Agreement between The University Neighborhood Organization and The University of South Carolina

Mr. John Stucker, University Neighborhood Association President, told the members of Council that as a resident of the City of Columbia for thirty-one (31) years, this agreement is extremely important and it represents a major turning point.  He stated that this agreement pertains to parking and traffic on Pendleton Street.  Mr. Stucker told the members of Council that their support is needed to meet the goals they plan to achieve.  He said that they would have to trust the University, but also verify that they are doing what's right.

Ms. Shirley Mills, University of South Carolina Director of State Government and Community Relations, appeared before the members of Council on behalf of Dr. Sorenson.  She reaffirmed Dr. Sorenson's commitment to solidify the partnership between the University of South Carolina, the University Neighborhood Association, the City of Columbia and the National Advocacy Center.  She stated that the University would not be using state funding to develop an Inn at USC.  Ms. Mills thanked the many groups that worked together to develop this comprehensive agreement.  She urged the members of Council to give the University an opportunity to resolve the property issues on Pendleton Street.
 
Dr. Sussie Van Huss, The University Development Foundation Director, appeared before Council to  provide additional facts pertaining to the proposed Inn at USC.  She stated that representatives of the University of South Carolina and the National Advocacy Center met and determined that the Center needed a more self-contained environment.  She said that a Request for Proposals was issued and many invited and uninvited proposals were reviewed.  Dr. Van Huss explained that the Inn at USC would not be owned or managed by the University or supported by state funds.  She announced that IIMC would develop and manage the Inn under a 20-year agreement with the University Foundation.  Dr. Van Huss explained that the University is not interested in entering the hotel industry.

Mr. Mike Bailey, National Advocacy Center, informed the members of Council that the University of South Carolina has honored their existing cooperative agreement since 1998.  He stated that over 20,000 attendees are happy to come to Columbia on an annual basis.  Mr. Bailey acknowledged that the National Advocacy Center was not built large enough to accommodate the number of weekly attendees; therefore he approached the University for assistance.  He mentioned that the need is due to safety, transportation and security concerns also.  He stated that the National Advocacy Center doesn't have a problem with the Hotel and Motel Association.  Mr. Bailey informed the members of Council that the National Advocacy Center has a $9 million annual impact on the airport alone.  He announced that the National Advocacy Center recently built a Technology Education Center in the BellSouth Building on the corner of Hampton Street and Pickens Street.

 B. **The Greater Columbia Hotel & Motel Association - Mr. Tom Sponseller, President/CEO
 
Mr. Tom Sponseller, South Carolina Hospitality Association Director and CEO, told the members of Council that there are only eight (8) hotels in the downtown area and they all currently have low occupancy rates.  He stated that an Inn at USC would have an internal referral system and this is an unfair advantage.  He stated that the City's involvement in public policy is also unfair.

Mr. Robert Singletary, Clarion Townhouse Chef, stated that he is a twenty-four year employee of the hospitality industry and would like for the University to adhere to the same standards and criteria as others.

Mr. Tobey Ward, Greater Hotel & Motel Association Attorney, thanked the members of Council for not executing the Comprehensive Land Use Agreement.  He stated that the University of South Carolina should address the concerns outlined without an agreement.  He insisted that they are not in opposition to the development of an Inn, but they do oppose USC's involvement in this development in any way.

Mr. Frank Knapp, South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, stated that the organization opposes USC's involvement because they want to maintain a level playing field and no public entity should be involved in the hotel industry.

C. Columbia Action Council Budget Request - Mr. Allison Baker, Director of Parks & Recreation

Upon motion by Ms. Sinclair, seconded by Ms. Isaac, Council voted unanimously to approve staff recommendations to reduce the Columbia Action Councilís budget request in the original amount of $83,292.00 and authorized staff to determine a funding source for the additional $30,000.00 requested to cover Autumn at the Mills, the Veteranís Day Parade and WOW í04.
 
D. Proposal for Collecting and Remitting Hospitality Tax Funding - Ms. Cathy Alexander, Finance Director

A motion made by Mr. Osborne, seconded by Mr. Papadea to follow the same collection and remittance process as Richland County without offering a taxpayer discount was substituted with a motion by Mayor Coble, seconded by Mr. Papadea to authorize staff to continue collecting the Hospitality Tax without offering taxpayer discounts and asked staff to review other taxes and how various jurisdictions handle discounts while considering the administrative cost involved.  A report should be drafted and presented to the members of Council in thirty- (30) days.
E. Underwriter Recommendations - Mr. Steve Gantt, ACM for Development Services

Upon motion by Mayor Coble, seconded by Ms. Sinclair, Council voted unanimously to approve the recommendations to hire Morgan Keegan as Senior Managing Underwriter and Loop Capital Markets as Co-Managing Underwriter for the Parking Facilities Revenue Bonds and Legg Mason as the Senior Managing Underwriter without a Co-Managing Underwriter for the Waterworks and Sewer System Refunding Revenue Bonds.

F. Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority Update - Ms. Dana Turner, Administrative Advisor

Ms. Dana Turner, Administrative Advisor, provided the members of Council with an update on the Regional Transit Authority.  She stated that the City of Columbia would release a $1 million check to the Regional Transit Authority in October 2003 as agreed.  Ms. Turner said that detailed figures regarding the Regional Transit Authority are not available, but ridership has increased and DART services have improved.

ORDINANCE - SECOND READING

G. Ordinance No.: 2003-030 - Granting encroachment to The Womanís Club for placement of a plaque near their former clubhouse at 1703 Blossom Street - First reading approval July 23, 2003
 
Upon motion by Ms. Sinclair, seconded by Mr. Papadea, Council voted unanimously to approve on second reading Ordinance No.: 2003-030 - Granting encroachment to The Womanís Club for placement of a plaque near their former clubhouse at 1703 Blossom Street.

ORDINANCE - FIRST READING

H. Ordinance No.: 2003-067 - Authorizing property exchange between the City of Columbia and South Carolina Department of Transportation

Upon motion by Mr. Cromartie, seconded by Mayor Coble, Council voted unanimously to approve on first reading Ordinance No.:  Authorizing property exchange between the City of Columbia and South Carolina Department of Transportation.  Mr. Papadea and Mr. Osborne abstained from voting due to a conflict of interest.

APPOINTMENT

H1. **Arts Task Force
 
Upon motion by Mayor Coble, seconded by Mr. Cromartie, Council voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Ms. Stacey Calvert to the Arts Task Force as a Richland County appointee.

APPEARANCE OF THE PUBLIC HAVING BUSINESS WITH COUNCIL

Mr. Eddie Lloyd, Waverly United for Action, Inc. Executive Director, appeared before the members of Council to request funding in the amount of $5,000 to retain a grant writer and cover other expenses.  He stated that the grant writer would identify additional financial resources for the non-profit organization.  Mr. Lloyd also requested that the Waverly Community be represented on the East City Consortium.

Upon motion by Mayor Coble, seconded by Mr. Cromartie, Council voted unanimously to go into Executive Session at 12:02 p.m. to discuss Items I. through K.

EXECUTIVE SESSION DISCUSSION
 
 I. Discussion of the evaluation of employees
  This item was held over, no action was taken.

 J. **Discussion of negotiations incident to the proposed sale of property
  This item was discussed in Executive Session no action was taken.

 K. Discussion of negotiations incident to proposed contractual arrangements
- AquaGrille
This item was held over, no action was taken.

-  Mr. Charles Williams, Consultant
This item was held over, no action was taken.

-  Annexation Coordinator
   This item was held over, no action was taken.

-  Convention Center Hotel
 
· Mayor Coble adjourned the Executive Session discussion at 1:54 p.m. to reconvene the Work Session.

Upon motion by Mayor Coble, seconded by Mr. Cromartie, Council voted unanimously to approve funding in the amount of  $650,000.00 for Interim Architectural Design Services for a period of 90 days prior to Bond Closing.  Mr. Papadea and Mr. Osborne did not vote due to a conflict of interest.

 Mayor Coble adjourned the meeting at 1:55 p.m.

 Respectfully submitted by:

 Erika D. Moore
 City Clerk