The City of Columbia City Council met for a Work Session on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 in the City Council Chambers at 1737 Main Street, Columbia, South Carolina. Mayor Robert D. Coble called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m. The following members of City Council were present: The Honorable E.W. Cromartie, II; The Honorable Anne M. Sinclair; The Honorable Hamilton Osborne, Jr.; The Honorable Sam Davis; and The Honorable Daniel J. Rickenmann. The Honorable Tameika Isaac Devine is on maternity leave. Also present were Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager and Ms. Erika D. Salley, City Clerk.
A. Columbia City Ballet Update – Mr. William Starrett, Executive and
Artistic Director of the Columbia City Ballet
Mr. William Starrett, Executive and Artistic Director of the Columbia City Ballet, thanked the members of Council for their support. He introduced members of the Columbia City Ballet staff. He said that they are celebrating their 45th Anniversary and he is celebrating his 20th Anniversary as Director. He introduced some of the forty-four dancers that were in attendance. Mr. Starrett announced that they would be traveling to Memphis, Tennessee this week; Charlotte, North Carolina in February 2006; Miami, Florida in March 2006; and to Albany, New York this summer. He further reported that 40,000 people saw Jonathan Green’s Off the Wall during its tour through nine cities. In conclusion, Mr. Starrett thanked the members of City Council for their support.
B. Eau Claire Renaissance Faire – Ms. Becky Bailey, Eau Claire Renaissance Project
Ms. Becky Bailey, Eau Claire Renaissance Project / The New Survey, distributed the theme of their imaging campaign “Come Home to Eau Claire a Great Place to Live, Work and Visit”. It’s an effort to provide a variety of activities within the community that reach outside the community to others. She invited the members of Council to the Eau Claire Renaissance Faire, which starts on Friday, October 1, 2005 at 6:00 p.m. with the Runaway Runway Fashion Show at the Ensor Keenan House. She thanked the members of Council and Mr. Allison Baker for their support.
CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSION / ACTION
C. Economic Development Initiatives – Mayor Robert D. Coble and The Honorable E.W. Cromartie, II and Economic Development Contingency Account – Ms. Dana D. Turner, Assistant City Manager for Commerce and Development
Ms. Dana Turner, Assistant City Manager for Commerce and Development, presented several financial scenarios that would bring the Economic Development Contingency Account to a zero balance and provide funding for the Homelessness Summit process.
Councilman E. W. Cromartie, II explained that there is a need for City Council members to travel in order to seek funding for capital projects and to bring hi-tech jobs to Columbia. He recommended a $50,000.00 fund for City Council members, the Mayor, City Manager and designated staff members for travel related to economic development initiatives.
Councilman Osborne expressed support for Mr. Cromartie’s request, but noted that the budget has already been passed and the money had to be taken from somewhere. He suggested a lower amount of funding, but admitted that funding to other organizations had to be cut further to create the proposed fund.
Ms. Dana D. Turner, Assistant City Manager for Commerce and Development recommended approval of scenario six. She explained that the account has $698,700 in it this year and that funding had already been reduced for many organizations.
Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager, requested another opportunity to go back to the drawing board. He said that he has an equitable recommendation, but would like to defer the matter for another week.
Council requested a copy of each organization’s funding request to determine what the funding would be used for; a report on the Return on Investment for the City; and a report on the accomplishments of the organizations that the City has contracted with.
There was a consensus of Council to authorize staff to proceed with the payment of the Housing Trust Fund and incidental expenses related to the trip to Germany from the Economic Development Contingency Fund.
D. **Fiscal year 2005/2006 Budget Amendment to Set Millage Rate – Ms. Missy Caughman, Budget Administrator
Ms. Missy Caughman, Budget Administrator, explained that the fiscal year 2005/2006 budget included an estimated roll back millage rate of 88 mils and it included an increase in the transfer from the Water and Sewer Fund to the General Fund in the amount of $725,000. She stated that Council then made a motion to change the transfer amount back to the $4.5 million as it had been in previous years. Richland County has reported that the rollback millage rate for tax year 2005 is 83.6. Ms. Caughman presented the following recommendations to the members of City Council.
- Increase revenues for property taxes by $725,000.
- Decrease the transfer to the General Fund from the Water & Sewer Operating Fund by $725,000.
- The motion made by City Council to decrease the transfer would have also required that we decrease expenditures in the General Fund by moving funding for Community Promotions back to the Water and Sewer fund. Rather than decrease expenditures, we also propose that the $725,000 expenditures be allocated for fuel reserves.
- In the Water and Sewer Fund, the motion called for decreasing the Capital Improvements Program in the amount of $295,000 in order to cover the allocations for the development corporations and various agencies.
There was a consensus of Council to direct staff to amend the fiscal year 2005/2006 budget to reflect the rollback millage rate of 83.6 mills for tax year 2005 and to fulfill City Council’s motion made on June 8, 2005 to reduce the transfer to the General Fund from the Water and Sewer Operating Fund.
The members of City Council requested a listing of the millage rate in the City of Columbia from the previous fifteen (15) years.
E. Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade Request for Funding – Mayor Robert D. Coble
There was a consensus of Council to allow staff an opportunity to meet with the Parade organizers. This item will be discussed further on September 28, 2005. Councilman Daniel Rickenmann committed to raise $5,000.00 to fund the parade.
F. South Edisto Court Neighborhood Zoning Map Amendment Process – The Honorable Anne M. Sinclair
Upon motion by Ms. Sinclair, seconded by Mr. Cromartie, Council voted unanimously to direct staff to begin a rezoning process for the South Edisto Court Neighborhood.
· Council adjourned the Work Session at 10:02 a.m. to break prior to convening the regular meeting.
· Council reconvened the Work Session at 10:49 a.m.
G. Design Development Review Commission - Consideration of this item was deferred.
There was a consensus of Council to direct staff to provide additional information relating to the diversity of the current board members and their occupations.
Upon motion by Mr. Cromartie, seconded by Ms. Sinclair, Council voted unanimously to go into Executive Session at 11:02 a.m. for the discussion of Items H. through L. as presented.
APPEARANCE OF PUBLIC HAVING BUSINESS WITH CITY COUNCIL
Ms. Shirley Fields Martin, Greening of the Arts, reported that they have received great support from the community for the 2006 Greening the Arts Festival. She told them that she planned to return $5,000.00 to the City of Columbia subject to the funding being used to support another cultural organization. She said that the organization would appeal directly to the public for financial support.
· Council convened the Executive Session discussion at 11:23 a.m.
· Council adjourned the Executive Session discussion at 12:30 p.m. to reconve