2006-02-03 / Government / Neighborhood

Columbia City Council Meeting • February 1, 2006 • 9 am

By John Temple Ligon

Michael McQueen, Mayor Bob Coble, and appreciative co-workers and city officialsMichael McQueen, Mayor Bob Coble, and appreciative co-workers and city officials Roll call

City council convened at 9:10 Wednesday morning, February 1, in City Hall for its work session. All members of city council were present: Tameika Isaac Devine, Hamilton Osborne, E. W. Cromartie, Mayor Bob Coble, Anne Sinclair, Sam Davis, and Daniel Rickenmann.

CANDO

Rick Semon , director for community development, introduced Valena Jackson , who recalled last year’s accomplishments funded by Columbia Assisting Neighborhood Development Opportunities (CANDO). Since 2000, CANDO has distributed $1.6 million in grants, the average being $9,000. The total number of neighborhoods funded in 2005 was 27. The problem now is there’s no money to continue the program. Council asked city staff to find the funds to resume the CANDO programs.

Hilary McDonaldHilary McDonald

More funding recommendations

Libby Gober , city ombudsman, asked council to approve $4,000 in funding recommendations for the community promotions program. Council approved.

Executive session

Council adjourned behind closed doors to discuss several delicate matters, to include “Receipt of legal advice, which relates to pending, threatened or potential claim – convention center hotel – Mr. Jim Meggs, City Attorney.” Meggs was unavailable for comment.

City’s favorite employee

Michael McQueen , Truck III for the Columbia Solid Waste Division, was introduced by Melissa Gentry , public works director, as the city’s 2005 Employee of the Year. City Manager Austin presented McQueen with a check for $500, a free pass for a weekend at the Gervais Street Hampton Inn, and a gift certificate for a Vista dinner for two.

Lloyd HendricksLloyd Hendricks

Accounting

G. C. Robinett , the city’s chief financial officer, proudly proclaimed the city’s surplus at the end of fiscal year 2004–2005 (June 30) as $384,655. With total expenditures of $77,397,327, the surplus margin is half of one percent. Still, a surplus is a whole lot better than a deficit. CPA Anne Ross , the city’s outside auditor, reported a clear and clean set of books for the fiscal year. The city finance/ accounting staff was invited to come forward to accept the Award of Financial Reporting Achievement which was granted by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.

Trees and plants and flowers

Hilary McDonald , president of Columbia Green, reported her organization’s gift to the city of $9,854.50 for warm season annuals for various sites within the city limits. Site locations include Assembly/Elmwood, Blossom Street Bridge, Bull Street, City Hall, Crosshill, Fairfield, Gonzales, Midlands Tech, Millwood/Devine, Millwood/Gervais, Monticello/North Main, and Sunset Drive. All told, Columbia Green averages about $40,000 a year in gifts to the city for greenspace improvements.

Street closings

Council voted to pass the street closing torch to city staff. Never again will this report cover street closings, and never again will routine neighborhood street closing requests come before council. What’s next? An adequate bus system?

Consideration of bids and agreements

• $11,473 for the purchase of two utility vehicles for use at the Three Rivers Greenway.

• $12,571 for the purchase of 20 body armor vests.

• $13,300 for repairs to the #5 raw water pump at the Canal Water Plant.

• $13,571 for the replacement of the HVAC unit at 1225 Laurel Street.

• $14,450 for a preventive maintenance contract renewal on Perkins Elmer equipment, Lake Murray water plant.

• $19,299 for the purchase of a full– sized sedan.

• $47,810 for the purchase of 44 record management system workstation licenses.

• $72,368 for the purchase of four Chevrolet Trail Blazers.

Map amendments/rezoning –

second reading

• 3110–3122 Rosewood Drive, rezone from RG–2 to PUD–R to construct 20 townhouses.

Consideration of bids, agreements, and change orders

• $90,620 for the purchase of five intermediate size patrol cars.

• $139,762 for engineering services for design and construction of potable water and sanitary sewer pipeline relocations necessary to accommodate SCDOT bridge improvements along the US 176 bridge over the Broad River.

• $157,906 for the purchase of additional equipment for the mobile record management system.

Ordinances – first reading

• #2006–006, annexing 7736 Garners Ferry Road.

• #2006–007, amending the 1998 Code of Ordinances of the City, Chapter 18, Redevelopment Commissions to repeal Article III, Columbia Neighborhood Redevelopment Commission, in its entirety.

• #2006–009, authorizing land swap with Columbia Development Corporation of 413 Pendleton Street in exchange for 816 and 824 Washington Street.

Taxi

Council approved a request for a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity in order for Paul V. Chatlani to operate a cab company called Taxi Plus, 202 Dee Ann Street, West Columbia, SC 29170.

Rerouting traffic, again

Jerry Price , Main Street property owner in the 2500 block, protested the worsening traffic problems and lack of access to his property due to council’s changes to the traffic flow along Confederate Avenue and nearby streets. Lloyd Hendricks , former legislator for the area, confirmed Price’s complaints as all too real. Tom Gammon of American Blueprint, 2510 Main Street, said the same. All three Main Street representatives agreed the trouble started when council started with its signage and street alterations. City police park every morning prepared to slap a $186 fine on any motorist who fails to follow the council–ordered signs. The police are doing their job and doing it well, but the altered street usage is considered an abject failure by the three presenters, all respected businessmen and community leaders. Council asked staff for a street and traffic study and recommendations.

Next meeting

City council has planning sessions at noon, February 3, and at 9 am, February 4. The next work session is Wednesday, February 8, on the third floor of City Hall, corner of Laurel and Main.

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