The City of Columbia City Council conducted a Planning Session on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 at the Zone at Williams Brice Stadium, Columbia, South Carolina. Mayor Robert D. Coble called the meeting to order at 8:49 a.m. The following City Council members were present: The Honorable E.W. Cromartie, II, The Honorable Sam Davis, The Honorable Tameika Isaac Devine and The Honorable Daniel J. Rickenmann. The Honorable Hamilton Osborne, Jr. arrived at 9:05 a.m. and The Honorable Anne M. Sinclair arrived at 9:56 a.m. Also present were Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager and Ms. Erika D. Salley, City Clerk.
CONSIDERATION OF BIDS, AGREEMENTS AND CHANGE ORDERS
1. Council is asked to approve a Contract for Professional Services between the City of Columbia and Joe Grant doing business as Grant Group, Inc. in the monthly amount of $4,286.00 from December 2005 until June 2006 for a total of $30,002.00. The City of Columbia shall not be responsible for any expenses. This firm is located in Columbia, SC. Funding Source: 1011103/638300
Upon motion by Mr. Cromartie, seconded by Ms. Devine, Council voted unanimously to approve a Contract for Professional Services between the City of Columbia and Joe Grant doing business as Grant Group, Inc. in the monthly amount of $4,286.oo from December 2005 until June 2006 for a total amount of $30,002.00. The City of Columbia shall not be responsible for any expenses. Mr. Osborne and Ms. Sinclair were not present for the vote.
ORDINANCES – SECOND READING
Upon motion by Mr. Cromartie, seconded by Mr. Rickenmann, Council voted unanimously to give second reading approval on a single motion to Items 2. through 4. as presented. Mr. Osborne and Ms. Sinclair were not present for the vote.
2. Ordinance No.: 2005-123 - Authorizing transfer of property known as Richland County TMS 08916-10-09 and 08916-10-12 to Vista Hotel Partners, LLC for development of the Convention Center Hotel – First reading approval was given on November 16, 2005. – Approved on second reading.
3. Ordinance No.: 2005-124 - Authorizing the closing and transfer of an unopened portion of Aiken Street to J. Robert White, James S. White, and S. Travis White – First reading approval was given on November 16, 2005. – Approved on second reading
4. Ordinance No.: 2005-125 - Authorizing the issuance and sale of not exceeding $8,750,000 general obligation bond anticipation notes, series 2006A and taxable series 2006B, of the City of Columbia, South Carolina, for the purpose of defraying a portion of the costs of construction a parking facility; fixing the form and details of the notes; providing for the payment and disposition of the proceeds thereof; and other matters relating thereto. – First reading approval was given on November 16, 2005. – Approved on second reading.
**Mayor Coble introduced Miss Courtney Morris of Irmo High School. Miss Morris and her father attended the meeting as part of a Government class project.
CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSION / ACTION
5. 2006 Legislative Priorities
A. State Legislative Overview
· Councilman Hamilton Osborne, Jr. joined the meeting at 9:05 a.m.
Mr. John West, State Capitol Group, stated that property tax is the biggest issue now although no draft proposal has been presented to date. He noted that the house version adds a 2% sales tax on all items except food to provide property tax relief. There is concern, because this could reduce funding to schools.
Mr. Ron Fulmer, State Capitol Group, stated that the Photo Cop Legislation is number two on the Senate contested calendar. This might increase rear end collisions, but decrease more severe head on and side collisions.
Ms. Mia Butler, McLeod Butler & Co., stated that the Gang Legislation is still pending due to issues like racial profiling and nuisances. She said that they have contacted various Legislators and suggested going back to the board and drafting a version that would be clearer. The latest Senate version doesn’t contain the nuisances and forfeitures and lessens racial profiling.
· Councilwoman Anne M. Sinclair joined the meeting at 9:56 a.m.
Mr. Ron Fulmer, State Capitol Group, stated that the Capital Projects Sales Tax Bill was sent back to Committee. This tax is needed as another funding option for cities. He said that the Pre-Trial Intervention Program Bill is on the Senate contested calendar and the House version is being revised. There is good bipartisan support for this bill. There would be a mandatory $140.00 program fee. Mr. Fulmer explained that the Billboard legislation is at the top of the Senate’s calendar and it will pass. He said that the Hog Farm Bill prohibits cities from enforcing any regulation that’s stricter than State law. That has gone back to Committee, but might come back up again. The Methamphetamine Legislation identifies Methamphetamine as the drug of choice for soccer moms. The Bill would require customers to present a State identification to purchase Sudafed. They would have to sign for the drug and there’s a limit on the amount that can be purchased. The list of purchasers would be sent to SLED for constant monitoring.
Ms. Shirley Gossett, Legislative Liaison for the City of Columbia, explained that the Municipal Association has taken the lead on the Annexation Legislation, because it is not a Columbia issue. The Legislation would allow the City to annex commercial properties such as shopping centers instead of residential properties.
Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager, stated that in an effort to reduce redundancy, the following individuals should meet and identify who should take the lead on each issue: Ms. Shirley Gossett, Legislative Liaison; Mr. John West and Mr. Ron Fulmer, both of the State Capitol Group; along with Mia Butler of McLoeod Butler & Company; and Mr. Joe Grant of the Grant Group, Inc. He further requested assistance with identifying funding streams as they become available on a State level.
Mr. John West, State Capitol Group, asked for a specific list of projects.
Councilman Sam Davis explained that funding is needed for local storm drains and streets. He urged them to look at Federal funding that may be funneled down.
Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager, added that funding is needed
for erosion control as well.
Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine suggested that they look at Law Enforcement Funding
Councilman Daniel Rickenmann requested funding for small businesses. He urged them to compare the number of jobs created by small companies versus large businesses.
Councilwoman Anne M. Sinclair asked that the State Lobbyist produce the same effort and activity as the Federal Lobbyist. She insisted that the two groups couldn’t perform on different levels. She requested funding for the Owens Field Development Area, which no longer receives Empowerment Zone funding. She stated that the item shouldn’t have to be on the list for Federal funding to construct a street, because it’s a storm water project, an economic development issue and a flight issue. This road would be owned by the Department of Transportation. She said that this project could be presented in a variety of ways.
Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine urged the State Lobbyist team to keep the lines of communication open at all times, exchange information and to submit weekly reports. She requested that the entire Team meet and share these priorities as discussed here today and to be prepared to present an update on December 21, 2005.
· Council adjourned the session to break at 10:38 a.m.
· Council reconvened the session at 10:53 a.m.
B. Federal Legislative Overview
Ms. Barbara McCall, Barbara McCall & Associates, explained that the Highway Transit Bill also known as SAFETEA-LU is a major bill that’s larger than Medicaid. It’s an annual appropriation of $50 billion that’s based upon Federal gas taxes. She suggested that they discuss Federal funding that goes to the State on a regular basis. She stated that the Central Midlands Council of Governments would receive Federal funding for National Highway Systems, Surface Transportation Programs, Metropolitan Planning and Safety. The Surface Transportation Programs omits the Safety set aside and there is now a separate category for Safety Programs. She noted that Safety Programs could be pedestrian crossings, intersection improvements or traffic calming measures. Ms. McCall described the Safe Routes to Schools program that might fund special crossings, sidewalks or pedestrian bridges. She said that the Community Development Block Grant Fund was saved due to the efforts of local governments, but it was cut by 9%. Ms. McCall explained Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) as formula money that goes to the local transit authority to provide special transportation programs to get people to their places of employment. A New Freedom program was created to provide new para- transit services for disabled patrons. The funding can be used to augment an existing program. She noted that there are numerous State Block Grants that the local lobbyist teams should pursue. Ms. McCall informed the members of Council that any unspent congressional funds from 2001 might be rescinded to help fund the hurricane relief efforts. She will send a list of previously funded projects for the City to review. This also applies to Community Development Block Grant Funds and Empowerment Zone Funds. She said that the funds should be encumbered and the projects should be moving forward. She noted that there wouldn’t be an opportunity to do as many transportation projects next year. Ms. McCall encouraged Council to limit their funding requests to four projects.
The members of City Council identified the following four (4) major projects as priorities to be considered for Federal funding appropriations during fiscal year 2006/2007:
· Harden Street, Phase II
· North Main Street Improvements
· Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority Central Transit Facility
· Anti-Youth Gang / KOBAN / Law Enforcement
· Council adjourned the session at 12: 21 p.m. to break.
· Council reconvened the session at 12:58 p.m.
6. Performance Based Budgeting & the Role of Council - Ms. Christa Emminger / Public Budgeting & Finance Consultant
Ms. Christa Emminger, Public Budgeting & Finance Consultant, presented the concept of Performance Based Budgeting to the members of City Council. She described it as a budget preparation and adoption process that emphasizes performance management, allowing allocation decisions to be made in