Richland County Council meetings may be televised
At the Richland County Council meeting Tuesday, April 5, an exciting prospect for county citizens was discussed. The county council approved two measures that will lead to televised and video streaming of future council meetings. Now Tuesday nights won’t be limited to “Dancing with the Stars” and “ The Biggest Loser.”
Greg Pearce, chair of the A&F Committee, explained that the proposal was to decide as a matter of policy if the council wanted to provide this service to interested viewers, and then to investigate the costs to see if the initial estimate provided to Stephany Snowden of $51,000, is accurate.
Seth Rose stated the more public meetings will improve decorum, assist the council with transparency, and allow those folks who live on dirt roads and can’t stay up late an opportunity to see their county government in action. Bill Malinowski worried that since the county is having trouble filling committee vacancies maybe no one is interested in what happens on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Both measures were approved by a 6–4 margin.
During County Administrator Milton Pope’s report, he provided further information about the redrawn FEMA flood maps. In the fall of 2010, FEMA used newer, more accurate data to redefine the flood plain in Richland County. Forty–five hundred properties were removed from the flood plain, and 1500 were added.
The newly added property owners were required to purchase flood insurance if there was a mortgage on their home. FEMA is currently reviewing county data again. As more and better data becomes available, the agency is fine tuning the likelihood of a flood in a certain area.
Approval was given to form a committee and study how better to provide transportation to anyone released from the Glenn Detention Center. Richland County is trying to insure former incarcerated people don’t have a hard time finding transportation back home after serving time. A joint agreement with Columbia is among the possible solutions.
Much discussion and confusion resulted from a proposal to move the Regional Recreation Complex forward. Gwen Kennedy, reporting for the ad hoc committee, asked the council to approve M. B. Kahn Construction’s work authorization to begin development of the initial stages of the sports complex. This measure was quickly approved.
The discussion came about when the funding part of the committee’s request came before the council. Several council members, Rose being the most vocal, expressed concern the complex was taking funds earmarked for the Decker Mall property the county is currently negotiating for. Norman Jackson was worried the Lower Richland area will not get enough funding for their projects and will be treated unfairly.
Pearce finally offered an organized and thoughtful explanation of the project, assuring other members that this proposal was worded to assure the Decker property would not be affected by what happens with the sports complex. He also assured Jackson no one was treating his area differently. The resulting vote provided both the work and the funding to continue to advance.
Seneca Brewton Henry was added to the Community Relations Council and Patrick Palmer joined the Planning Commission.
Vice Chair Damon Jeter, Joyce Dickerson, Val Hutchinson, Norman Jackson, Gwen Kennedy, Bill Malinowski, Jim Manning, Greg Pearce, Seth Rose, and Kelvin Washington were present. Chairman Paul Livingston was absent.
More detailed information as well as complete agendas and minutes from past meetings can be found at the Richland County website: richlandonline.com