The Columbia City Council met for a Work Session on Wednesday, April 20, 2005 in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 1737 Main Street, Columbia, South Carolina. The Honorable Mayor Robert D. Coble called the meeting to order at 9:07 a.m. The following members of Council were present: The Honorable Hamilton Osborne, Jr., The Honorable Sam Davis, The Honorable Tameika Isaac Devine and The Honorable Daniel J. Rickenmann. Absent was The Honorable E. W. Cromartie, II due to medical concerns and The Honorable Anne M. Sinclair due to a business trip. Also present were Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager and Ms. Erika D. Salley, City Clerk.
A. Introduction to Engineering Program Participants – Ms. Lisa Muzekari, Senior Project Manager for B. P. Barber & Associates, Inc.
Ms. Lisa Muzekari, Senior Project Manager for B. P. Barber and Associates introduced students from Sanders Middle School that participated in the Introduction to Engineering Program. This program has been a partnership between B. P. Barber and Associates, Richland School District One and the City of Columbia for fifteen (15) years. The University of South Carolina joined the partnership two (2) years ago.
Mayor Coble and Councilman Sam Davis presented certificates to the students for successfully completing the Introduction to Engineering Program. This program has been a partnership between B.P. Barber and Associates, Richland School District One and the City of Columbia for 15 years.
B. **Spring Cleaning Columbia – Mr. Rick Semon, Director of Community Development
Mr. Rick Semon, Director of Community Development provided the results of the Spring Cleaning Columbia Event that took place on Saturday, April 16, 2005. He noted that the event was a community success.
C. **Youth Leadership Council Meeting – Mr. Archie Maddox, Director of the Commission on Children and Youth
Mr. Archie Maddox, Director of the Commission on Children and Youth invited the members of City Council to the Youth Leadership Council Meeting on Thursday, April 21, 2005 at 4:00 p.m. He said that the youth participants were looking forward to discussing various issues with government leaders.
D. Small Business Regulatory Review Committee
Upon motion by Mr. Davis, seconded by Ms. Devine, Council voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Mimi Maddock to the Small Business Regulatory Review Committee as recommended by Councilwoman Anne M. Sinclair.
CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSION / ACTION
E. Proposed Taxi Cab Meter Rate Increase – Mr. Peyton Greene, Checker Yellow Cab Company, Inc. General Manager
Mr. Peyton Greene of the Checker Yellow Cab Company appeared on behalf of the Checker Yellow, Blue Ribbon and Capitol City Cab Companies to present a proposal to increase the initial meter rate of $__by .20¢ and the per mile rate of $__ by .30¢ due to inflation and rising fuel costs. He contended that the City of Columbia’s rates are much cheaper than other cities. He requested that the City’s Ordinance be amended to reflect the proposed rate increases.
Councilman Hamilton Osborne, Jr. stated that he did not feel that this City Council was experienced enough to restrict regulations that would make all companies. He offered support of the idea of the taxicab companies having competitive rates, but insisted that all fees throughout one (1) company should be uniform.
Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine expressed concerns for citizens that may rely heavily upon taxis as a means of getting around. She said that they just might not be able to afford it.
Councilman Sam Davis stated that he agreed with Mr. Osborne to some extent. He suggested that they look at the population and the competition. He asked if there would be a downward adjustment in the fees once the price of gas declined.
Mayor Robert D. Coble stated that Councilman Cromartie has a proposal about disabled patrons, but was not able to be here. He directed staff to draft take all suggestions into consideration and to draft an Ordinance for discussion.
Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager, directed Ms. Dana D. Turner, Assistant City Manager for Commerce and Development to research and compare the policies and fees throughout the region.
Councilman Davis asked Mr. Greene to explain how they accommodate disabled patrons.
Mr. Greene stated that disabled patrons and senior citizens received a 10% discount.
Mr. Don Havird of the Capitol City Cab Company appeared before the members of Council in support of the rate increase proposal and requested that the City of Columbia place certain mandates on cab companies that would protect the patron’s Bill of Rights. He stated that the vehicles should be clean, smoke-free, and air-conditioned. Mr. Havird presented an extensive list of mandates to be considered.
Councilwoman Devine asked if the proposed regulations were market driven.
Mr. Havird stated that all drivers were independent contractors not employees.
Councilman Davis asked if the regulations could be a part of the company’s standards. He stated that Mr. Havird wanted the Council to create an authority.
Mr. Havird said yes, because they could do so much better.
There was a consensus of Council to direct Mr. Ken Gaines, Assistant City Attorney to amend the current Ordinance to reflect the increase in rates as proposed. Staff was further directed to research how other municipalities determine taxicab rates and how have they implemented regulations for the cab drivers.
APPEARANCE OF PUBLIC HAVING BUSINESS WITH CITY COUNCIL
No one appeared.
Upon motion by Ms. Devine, seconded by Mr. Osborne, Council voted unanimously to go into Executive Session at 9:45 a.m. for the discussion of Items D. through F. as amended and as time permits.
Council adjourned the Executive Session discussion at 10:03 a.m. to convene the regular meeting.
Council reconvened the Executive Session discussion at 10:35 a.m. as amended.
D. Discussion of negotiations incident to proposed contractual arrangements
- Market Place on Harden Street – Mr. Steven A. Gantt, Senior Assistant City Manager for Operations
Discussion of this item was deferred.
- Wardlaw - Mr. Steven A. Gantt, Senior Assistant City Manager for Operations
- Water Main Extension Agreement – Mr. Steven A. Gantt, Senior Assistant City Manager for Operations
- General Services Administration – Mr. Shawn Epps, Special Projects Administrator
- **Annexation – The Honorable Tameika Isaac Devine
- **Meridian Building
These items were discussed in Executive Session no action was taken.
E. Receipt of legal advice, which relates to a matter covered by attorney-client
- Renaissance Foundation
- **Williams Street Closing – (Mr. Osborne abstained from discussions due to a potential conflict of interest.)
- **Freedom of Information Request
These items were discussed in Executive Session no action was taken.
F. **Discussion of employment of an employee
This item was discussed in Executive Session no action was taken.
Council adjourned the meeting at 1:20 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by:
Erika D. Salley