Work Session
WEDNESDAY, May 25, 2000

Columbia City Council met for work session on Wednesday, May 24, 2000, in the second floor conference room of City Hall, 1737 Main Street, Columbia, South Carolina.  Mayor Robert D. Coble called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m.  Council members present were:  The Honorable E. W. Cromartie, II., The Honorable Francenia B. Heizer, The Honorable Jim Papadea, The Honorable Anne M. Sinclair, and The Honorable Sam Davis.  Also present were City Manager Michael A. Bierman, and City Clerk Vivian A. Krigline.

1. Presentation by Mr. Doug Phillips - Regional Transit Authority

Mr. Doug Phillips briefed Council on the proposed regional transportation authority of Lexington and Richland Counties.  The purpose of the transit authority is to be in a position to assume service of the transportation system at the time SCE&G is no longer responsible.  Discussion included improvements needed to the DART (elderly/handicapped) systems.

Upon motion by Mr. Davis, seconded by Mr. Papadea, Council unanimously voted to approve the agreement creating a regional transportation authority of the geographic area of Lexington and Richland Counties and the Municipalities therein to be known as the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority.

2. Presentation by Mr. John Stucker of University Neighborhood Re: College Parkway Project

Mr. John Stucker of the University Neighborhood appeared before Council to discuss and request assistance with a project to improve the pedestrian crossing from College Street into Five Points.  Mr. Stucker asked Council for financial assistance to complete phase two of the project.

Ms. Sinclair made a motion to assist with the project, allocating $10,000 from the contingency account, the allow the project to move forward.  Upon second by Mr. Papadea, Council unanimously approved Ms. Sinclair’s motion.

Mayor Coble asked to be kept informed when discussions with Norfolk-Southern Railroad begin.

3. Review of Audit Report Prepared by J. W. Hunt and Company, LLP

Mr. Bierman presented a draft of the management letter prepared by J. W. Hunt and Company, LLP, for the 1998/1999 fiscal year audit.  There were no findings in the audit report.

4. Mayor Coble reported that Representative Clyburn has informed him that funds have been allocated for the empowerment zone program in the upcoming federal budget.

5. Items for Council Approval:

A. Consideration of Bids:

1. Request to Purchase Seven Chassis for the Solid Waste Division from Love Chevrolet, using the SC State Vehicle Contract for a total cost of $208,481.63.

2. Request to Purchase Incinerator for Animal Shelter from Crawford Engineering Company for a total cost of $51,850.

Upon motion by Ms. Heizer, seconded by Ms. Sinclair, Council unanimously voted to approve Items A. 1 and 2 on a single motion.

B. Request from Trinity Cathedral to close Senate Street from Gervais to Marion, on Sunday, June 11, 2000, from 6:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. for their annual picnic.

Upon motion by Ms. Heizer, seconded by Ms. Sinclair, Council unanimously approved the request from Trinity Cathedral as requested.

C. Resolution No. R-2000-026 - Authorizing Sidewalk Sales for Columbia Museum of Art at 1515 Main Street during normal business hours of 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays in May, June, July and August, 2000.

Council discussed the frequent sidewalk-sale requests and complaints received.  Ms. Heizer made a motion, seconded by Ms. Sinclair, to approve the request from the Columbia Museum for sidewalk sales during May and June, then to have the request reevaluated before approval for July and August.  During discussion, Council asked that the Downtown Business Association be assigned to monitor the sale and report back to Council.  After discussion, Council unanimously approved Ms. Heizer’s motion.

Council also discussed if procedures are needed for such requests.  It was agreed that each request will be handled on a case by case basis.

D. First Reading - Ordinance No. 2000-026 - authorizing Execution of a Quit-Claim Deed from the City of Columbia to the Federation of Women’s Clubs of Property known as 1511-13 Laurel Street, Richland County TMS #11403-01-15

Upon motion by Ms. Sinclair, seconded by Ms. Heizer, Council unanimously gave first reading approval
to Ordinance No. 2000-026, authorizing  the transfer of ownership of 1511-13 Laurel Street to the Federation of Women’s Clubs.

E. Contract with State of South Carolina Budget & Control Board’s Office of Information Resources in the amount of $62,093 for construction and annual state charges for a joint fiber optic project for the city’s office buildings.

Mr. Bierman explained this contract with the State Budget and Control Board will allow the City to add fiber optic lines to the major city buildings (Police, Court, City Hall, Fire, 1225 Laurel Street, and offices on Calhoun Street).

Upon motion by Ms. Heizer, seconded by Mr. Papadea, Council unanimously approved the contract with the State of South Carolina Budget and Control Board’s Office of Information Resources.

Note:  The following items were added to the agenda during the meeting.

Council discussed a resolution supporting a national effort to tax e-commerce trade.  Mr. Meggs briefed Council that additional legislation will be coming from the state on this.  Upon motion by Ms. Sinclair, seconded by Mr. Papadea, Council unanimously approved the proposed resolution.

Mr. Fred Delk briefed Council on a request to sell property on Blanding Street to Mr. Andrew J. Duncan and Ms. Susan B. Duncan.  The property was originally to be sold to Mr. And Mrs. L. J. Stork, but they have backed out of negotiations to purchase the property.  Mr. Duncan now wants to purchase the property to combine with adjacent property to construct a home.

Upon motion by Mr. Papadea, seconded by Ms. Heizer, Council unanimously gave first reading approval to Ordinance No. 2000-036 - Authorizing the sale of a portion of Richland County TMS #09010-10-01 to Andrew J. Duncan and Susan B. Duncan (Blanding Street).
Upon motion by Mr. Osborne, seconded by Mr. Papadea, Council unanimously approved the reappointment of Mr. Chase to the Richland County Board of Assessment, as requested.

6. Review of Ordinances related to adopting the 1998 International Property Maintenance Code and creating a procedure for making property owners subject to prosecution for failure to abate violations of law on their premises.  (Ordinance  No. 2000-027 and other not numbered)

Council discussed ordinances related to adopting the 1998 International Property Maintenance Code.  Council also discussed a recommended procedure for stricter enforcement of maintenance for property owners.

Discussion included revising the current ordinance on boarded-up structures (residential and commercial), and a process to address repeat code violation/complaint offenders.

Mr. Osborne asked staff to follow up on property on Yorkshire Avenue where a construction site has been abandoned.

After discussion, Council agreed to have Ordinance No. 2000-027 placed on the agenda when appropriate, and to have the Legal Department and Inspections Department continue their review of the maintenance ordinance.    Council also asked that notification of the ordinances be sent to all professional and neighborhood organizations that will be affected with property maintenance issues prior to the ordinances being placed on the agenda.

7. Review of Zoning Ordinance Revisions

Ms. Julia Cogburn continued the review of proposed changes to the Zoning Ordinances.  Council asked for assistance with vehicles parking on grassy tree zones, and off-road parking.  Mr. Meggs agreed to draft an ordinance to prohibit parking in tree zones protected by square curbs.

8. Mr. Bierman briefed Council on the storm water utility process.  The plan will be ready for review by Council in July.  Council expressed concern with amounts charged residences who have more than the standard amount of paving in yards.

9. Upon motion by Mayor Coble, seconded by Mr. Papadea, Council unanimously voted to go into executive session at 11:15 a.m. to receive a legal briefing on contract matters.

Council returned to regular session at 12:10  a.m.

10. Review of Proposed FY 2000/2001 City of Columbia Operating Budget

Mr. Bierman reviewed the proposed budgets for Water/Sewer Operations, Water/Sewer Capital Improvements and Parking Operations.

Discussions included:  (1) acquiring additional land around the Metro Wastewater Treatment Plant for future expansion; (2) raising rates for parking to cover costs for improvements to the garages; and (3) increasing parking fines to $7.00 with 10 days to pay.

Mr. Osborne asked for a budget plan to reduce the general operating budget by $750,000 to avoid the proposed 3 mil tax increase.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:15 p.m.

Submitted by:

Vivian A. Krigline, City Clerk and
Peggy S. Breeland