Richland County Council Meeting + June 20, 2006 + 6 pm
Members present were Anthony Mizzell, Joyce Dickerson, Valerie Hutchinson, Damon Jeter, Paul Livingston, Joseph McEachern, Michael Montgomery, Greg Pearce, and Bernice Scott. Kit Smith and Doris Corley were absent.
Holly Cummings , of the Midlands Education and Business Alliance, led a presentation of her group's benefits to the community. Unfortunately, their detailed presentation involving four different speakers, wasn't completed due to time restrictions.
The Richland Council has a five minute time limit on presentations and several recent groups didn't get the message and were cut off. MEBA was there to ask for $50,000 in additional revenue to continue their good work, which involves combining students, teachers, parents, and local business people to keep young local talent in the area.
The agenda was adopted with an additional proposal involving the area transit authority. When the item was placed on the agenda, another council rule came into play. There are two versions of Citizen's Input (CI). The first is for anything on the night's agenda. The other C I is for other issues.
When the transit authority item was placed on the agenda, Chairman Mizzell explained to those in attendance there would be an advertised public hearing on the issue, and anyone who spoke tonight might not be able to address this item again.
Since many people had come to address the council on this issue, and some of them went to a lot of trouble to be there, there were some rumblings. One advocate became vocal and was nearly asked to leave.
After Mizzell explained the council's position, and tried to reassure those concerned about bus service, Bernice Scott asked the citizens to please calm down, take a deep breath, and give the Richland Council an opportunity to solve the problem. Her plea worked and things settled down.
Killian Road Wal-Mart
Two items involving the Killian Road I-77 development were discussed. During public hearing, Robert Fuller , attorney for Bright-Myers, assured the council all citizens' concerns had been addressed and resolved. No one was present to speak against the issue, so he must have been correct.
Joe McEachern asked some questions about the legal issues in the development agreement and expressed some concerns about congestion. His vote was the only dissenting one.
The specific Wal-Mart proposal was discussed by McEachern and Val Hutchinson . Both praised Wal-Mart for trying to address citizen concerns but said the traffic would be too problematic if Wal-Mart was allowed to build. The issue passed 6-2. Scott abstained.
The bulk of the night's discussion involved the RTA contract. Several council members felt the transit authority had painted Richland County into a corner. Most members expect to do something to resolve the issue, and all of them realize they have much work to do. Three different proposals were passed, each one getting money from a different source.
The council will argue the benefits of each one and try to resolve the public transportation issue before the August recess.