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June 17, 2015

City Council, June 16
Error in collection of environment impact fees on Daniel Island?
Citizens’ abuse of Citizens Participation and Public Hearings
Marc Knapp

With outside temperatures near the century mark (and it is still June) it was a slow moving day. The Ways and Means session was scheduled to begin at 4.30pm but when the Mayor looked in a few minutes before, there were only two people in the chamber. Undoubtedly, the extreme weather affected attendance. Four members of Council were also absent for most of last evening’s session though as the Mayor explained, this had nothing to do with the weather.

Continue reading "City Council, June 16"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2015

County Council, June 11
Most elected officials to receive “market" level remuneration
But Treasurer to receive much more
Warwick Jones

The Finance Committee wrestled hard yesterday over pay increases for elected officials. No member of the Committee had issues over the need for an increase. But how large should they be, and to what extent should they be adjusted in future for Cost of Living increases (COLA) and merit pay? After the making and dismissal of a number of motions, the Committee voted to increase remuneration to the “market" level determined by the County’s Committee for Auditing, Performance and Evaluation Standards (CAPES). There would be no COLA or merit increases unless such increases were also voted by Council for staff. There would not be longevity allowances. At the insistence of Chairman Summey, the remuneration of the County Treasurer was to rise to $124,000 from the $111,022 “market” level determined by CAPES.

Continue reading "County Council, June 11"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2015

County Council, May 28
Sites for libraries in James Island and West Ashley chosen
Library Board rebuffed
Warwick Jones.

The Finance Committee last night chose the sites for new libraries on James Island and in West Ashley. And they were not the recommendation of the Library Board. At a meeting a month ago, staff was tasked to create a list of all suitable and available sites for the libraries and for the Library Board to make a recommendation for review by the Committee. The lists had 12 potential sites for West Ashley and 9 for James Island. The recommendations were given to the Committee last night.

Continue reading "County Council, May 28"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:04 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2015

City Council, May 26
Issues over plans for Hampton Park
A grand plan for Johns Island Park
Marc Knapp

Issues over parks tended to dominate last night’s City Council meeting.

Continue reading "City Council, May 26"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2015

County Council, May 19
Millage increase proposed in General Fund budget
Strong property tax revenue not enough to offset all appropriations
Warwick Jones

Staff gave an outline of its proposed 2016 budget at the special Finance Committee meeting yesterday. Expansion of the library system and new hires under Public Safety would significantly lift expenditures. To balance the General Fund, staff recommended an increase in the millage rate from 40.7 to 44. 7. This would represent a tax increase of $160 on a residence valued at a million dollars.

Continue reading "County Council, May 19"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2015

County Council, May 14
Sheriff’s Department to get body cameras
Issues over funding for senior centers and non-profits
Warwick Jones

The most important item discussed and approved last night was the provision of body cameras for the Sheriff’s office. But more time was spent on discussing how to deal with requests for funding for senior centers, and non-profit organizations.

Continue reading "County Council, May 14"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2015

City Council, May 12
Tourist Management Plan adopted
But without the Planning Commission’s recommendations
Warwick Jones

It was a long meeting. We expected it would be because of the public hearing on the Tourist Management Plan. But a proposed change in the City’s procurement policy also generated substantial discussion and citizen comment.

Continue reading "City Council, May 12"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:31 PM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2015

City Council, April 28
Hours for night time taxi rates amended
Decision on hammocks in parks deferred
Marc Knapp

Against a background of a burning Baltimore, the seizure of a US registered ship by Iran, and chaos in the Middle East, part of last night’s City Council meeting had a surreal feeling. I refer to the discussion and debate about stringing hammocks in City parks. Isn’t this taking minor issues to an absurd level? City Council thought twice about its proposed ban and deferred the issue while staff attempted to find a compromise solution.

Continue reading "City Council, April 28"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:09 PM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2015

County Council, April 16
Decision deferred on site for new library on James Island
Staff to look for more possible sites
Warwick Jones

The Finance Committee directed staff to investigate the availability of other properties beyond the three discussed last night for siting a new public library on James Island. It was to report back within 30 days. The decision was a logical step in our view in the light of the public hearing and discussion. The discussion of the Committee was along a circuitous route over which there was much disagreement. The final motion, proposed by Chairman Summey passed with only Council member Rawl opposed. But the motion followed two others that fell short of approval by one vote.

Continue reading "County Council, April 16"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2015

County Council, April 7
Consideration of new technologies for waste treatment abandoned
RFP for Materials Recycling Facility to move ahead
Warwick Jones

The Finance Committee struggled after the presentations by the two companies making proposals to manage, extend and improve the County’s recycling efforts. It struggled to comprehend the contents of the presentations, to accept their plausibility, to make reasonable comparisons, and to reach a conclusion. In the end, it opted to follow the old adage “when in doubt do nothing”. After some debate, the Committee decided, (or defaulted) to simply move ahead with its own plan to build a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) and to defer any consideration of utilizing new technologies until the MRF plant was constructed. And from the discussion, any new technology considered would have to be proven.

Continue reading "County Council, April 7"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2015

County Council, April 2
Council mulls the next step in recycling
And on plans for the Morrison Drive property
Warwick Jones

Under its new Chair, Council member Condon, the Recycling/Solid Waste Committee had its first meeting yesterday. Considering that it had a scheduled start 1 ½ hours before the start of that for the Finance Committee, a lengthy meeting must have been anticipated. It was lengthy, with more than half time taken up by an executive session to deal with “contractual matters”. The session might also have included discussion of the sudden departure that morning of Art Braswell, the head of Solid Waste, from the County employ. Before it broke for the executive session, the Committee discussed the new technologies that could be available to deal with solid waste disposal, and the results of a Request for Proposals (RFP) which drew interest from only two contractors.

Continue reading "County Council, April 2"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:21 PM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2015

City Council, March 24
Resolution opposing offshore drilling approved but with much dissent
Management of Galliard construction questioned
Marc Knapp

The resolution to oppose drilling and seismic testing off the coast of South Carolina was subject to much debate at last night’s Council meeting. All but one Council member spoke to the issue and Council ultimately approved the resolution. But with a 7 to 5 vote, the support was not overwhelming. Council members White, Alexander, Riegel, Moody, and Wagner voted against the resolution. The Mayor supported the resolution and said that a vote was necessary at the meeting to enable the resolution to be submitted to Ocean Energy Management before the end of this month when the opportunity for public comments closed.

Continue reading "City Council, March 24"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2015

County Council, March 19
CARTA loan of $7.6 million forgiven
Council member Rawl unhappy about mutual assistance agreements
Warwick Jones

Differing from most meetings this year, that of the Finance Committee last night was lively. The issue of forgiving a $7.6 million loan to CARTA was divisive, as was a 5-year tax abatement extension for Greenridge Properties LLC. County Sherriff Cannon was also taken to task by Council member Rawl over his department’s “assistance operations” outside the County but it seemed that few or any other Council members shared his ire.

Continue reading "County Council, March 19"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2015

City Council, March 10
Council edges closer to comprehensive transportation ordinance
Major contract awarded for Spring/Fishburne drainage
Marc Knapp

A new ordinance to replace those relating to taxis and limousines, and to cover Network Transportation Companies (NTCs), is shortly to come before Council. The Transportation Committee has been working on the ordinance for some weeks and the Committee Chair, Council member Moody last night indicated it’s near completion. He also gave to Council an “executive summary”. It is summarized below. The most controversial part of the new ordinance is probably the new taxi cab rates.

Continue reading "City Council, March 10"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2015

City Council, February 24
Council honors a feisty Auschwitz survivor
Hopes for greenspace on Upper King Street
Marc Knapp

It was a bleak night and probably most of us would have preferred to have been somewhere else. And maybe staff wanted an early night too as the thermostat in the Council chamber was turned to an uncomfortable low level. Notwithstanding, the session lasted longer than most Council members hoped, I suspect. And it was mainly discussion on what we thought was an undeserving item that prolonged the meeting.

Continue reading "City Council, February 24"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2015

County Council, February 19
“Clean” report by external auditor, again!
Contract for new cell at Bees Ferry landfill awarded
Warwick Jones

The Finance Committee met last night and similar to other recent meetings, there was little news worthy on the agenda.

Continue reading "County Council, February 19"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 10:57 AM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2015

City Council, February 10
Still working on Transportation Network Companies ordinance
Revisions likely of taxi and limousine regulations as well
Marc Knapp

Last evening’s Council meetings were short. There was little of note relating to business items on the agenda. In common with some recent meetings, presentations and recognitions took up a significant amount of the time.

Continue reading "City Council, February 10"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2015

City Council, January 27

Still working on Transport Network Companies ordinance

Long Savannah showing life

Marc Knapp

There was little of substance on the agenda for last night’s Council meeting. In consequence, the meeting was relatively short, and ended a little less than an hour before the Mayor was scheduled to deliver his State of the City address.

Continue reading "City Council, January 27"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:09 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2015

City Council, January 13
City begins work on Transport Network ordinance
Warwick Jones

It was a short City Council meeting with little of substance on the agenda. Citizen’s Participation was able to draw only one speaker. The action of the day was at the earlier meeting of the Transportation Committee. It was well attended, we were told as citizens expressed their views on a new ordinance covering the likes of Uber and Lyft.

Continue reading "City Council, January 13"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 10:57 AM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2015

County Council, January 6
Summey elected Chairman of County Council
Rawl to Vice-Chair

Warwick Jones

It was the first meeting of the year. Council members gathered for photographs and swearing-in of newly elected officers. They liberally distributed greetings, hugs and bonhomie amongst themselves and well-wishers. After the half-hour joy fest, the photographs, and the administration of the oaths of office, the Finance Committee quickly worked through its limited agenda. But it would be another half an hour before the real business that had summoned us this night began – the election of the Chair and Vice - Chair.

Continue reading "County Council, January 6"

Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)