The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance
February 25, 2015
City Council, February 24
Council honors a feisty Auschwitz survivor
Hopes for greenspace on Upper King StreetMarc 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.
February 20, 2015
County Council, February 19
“Clean” report by external auditor, again!
Contract for new cell at Bees Ferry landfill awardedWarwick Jones
The Finance Committee met last night and similar to other recent meetings, there was little news worthy on the agenda.
February 11, 2015
City Council, February 10
Still working on Transportation Network Companies ordinance
Revisions likely of taxi and limousine regulations as wellMarc 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.
January 28, 2015
City Council, January 27
Still working on Transport Network Companies ordinance
Long Savannah showing life
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.
January 14, 2015
City Council, January 13
City begins work on Transport Network ordinanceWarwick 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.
January 07, 2015
County Council, January 6
Summey elected Chairman of County Council
Rawl to Vice-Chair
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.
December 19, 2014
County Council, December 18
Economic Development Department to double in size
St. Andrews PSD looks to move maintenance facility to Bees FerryWarwick Jones
It was the last meeting for 2014 and the agenda was long but light. The most interesting item was a presentation by Mr. Steve Dykes, head of the Economic Development Department. He wanted an increase in the department’s budget and a doubling of its staffing.
December 17, 2014
City Council, December 16
City to take a look at building standards in Historic District
Magnolia project moves ahead – at lastMarck Knapp
It was the first item of the Ways and Means Agenda. The City was to retain Miami architect Duany Plater–Zybek & Co for a fee of $79,000. Historic Charleston Foundation was to reimburse the City for $40,000 of this amount. We had no idea what all this was for but the Mayor moved to enlighten us.
November 14, 2014
County Council, November 14
Concern about Development Master Plan for 995 Morrison Drive
CRDA seeks to heal divisionWarwick Jones
Last night’s Committee meetings were a marathon session of over three hours. Whether because of fatigue or other commitments, two Council members sneaked out (OK, left) before the end. And what is irritating, it turns out that much of the time spent was unnecessary.
November 13, 2014
City Council, November 12
A natatorium for the City?
A belated attempt to restrain helicopter tours of the CityMarc Knapp
When the College of Charleston decided recently to close down the Stern Center, it probably had little idea of the reaction. The Center houses an indoor swimming pool and without which, the College’s swim and dive team dies. Last night, the members of the team, perhaps thirty or so, turned up to the City Council meeting. Speakers noted the benefits derived by the community of the College’s swim and diving programs. They sought the City’s help in some way to preserve the programs. The City responded enthusiastically and probably went beyond the expectations of the students.
October 31, 2014
County Council, October 31
Council deliberates over renewal of Administrator’s contract
We think the process has been belittlingWarwick Jones
As has been common of late, an executive session took up most of the meeting of the Finance Committee. There were few items on the agenda and most were dispensed in minutes.
October 29, 2014
City Council, October 28
Residents seek more changes to Upper Wando development
A Farmer’s Market for West Ashley?Marc Knapp
Zoning issues were the focus of Council discussion and Citizens Participation last night. The most important was that relating to the development of 70.4 acres on the Upper Wando. A number of citizens spoke of the need for changes to the proposed Planned Unit Development (PUD) but Council unanimously agreed to give the ordinance a first reading. Council members noted that differences remained between the developer and near-by residents but hoped that most of these could be eliminated by the time the ordinance came back for second and final readings. The ordinance is yet to be reviewed by the Planning Commission and it too may make changes.
October 17, 2014
County Council, October 16
Counties joining to request restoration of state funding levels
It was a long time in coming. Back during the March 20 Finance Committee meeting, the drop in state funding over recent years for the County’s General Fund was discussed. State funding is an important source of revenue and the cuts have strained budgets. Staff was asked to approach the South Carolina Association of Counties (SCAC) to seek support for the restoration of Local Government Funding to previously agreed statutory levels. Before the Committee last night was a resolution prepared by SCA and which was sent for signing to all counties in the State.
October 15, 2014
City Council, October 14
Bike Rack and Bar Moratorium amendments finalized
Confusion over proposed Urban Growth Boundary change
Confusion over proposed Urban Growth Boundary changeMarc Knapp
The agenda for last night’s Council meeting was lean. And with no presentations and recognitions, the meeting was relatively short. There were only a few things of note.
October 02, 2014
Council member attempts to make political capital
Issue with RMC is hardly majorWarwick Jones
The Finance Committee agenda promised little of interest for last night’s meeting. The promise was realized. But it was still a long meeting. The Committee retired for an executive session to consider the acquisition of the Grand Bees property (adjacent to the Bees Ferry Landfill) and the sale of a portion of 995 Morrison Drive. However, no action was taken on either of these items, Chairman Pryor noted. However the Committee voted to accept the staff’s recommendation on the acquisition of a right of way on Palmetto Park Way 3. No details of the staff’ recommendation were given.
September 10, 2014
City Council, September 9
More funding for the Gibbes and Aquarium
Turkys Towing has problem relocatingMarc Knapp
Council last night approved a $5 million bond issue to support renovations and improvements to the Gibbes Museum and the Aquarium. Interest and amortization of the Revenue Bonds will be met by revenue derived from the City’s Accommodation Tax. However, in a memorandum to Council members, the Mayor stated that the Aquarium and the Carolina Art Association (joint owner of the Gibbes) will repay about 95% of the borrowings “over time”.
September 05, 2014
County Council, September 4
Council to vote on comparative remuneration study
Spring Grove Development awaiting County ApprovalWarwick Jones
Most of last night’s Finance Committee meeting was taken up by discussion over the update and amendments to Policy and Procedures for compensation. It followed on the decision by Council a month back to adopt the recommendations of the Committee for Auditing Performance and Evaluation Standards (CAPES). These recommendations related to a complete revision of job classifications, the pay system, and the introduction of merit awards for County employees. (We summarized the proposed revisions in our report on July 24). Before Council last night were the detailed changes and amendments that were necessary for Personnel/Policy to reflect the recommendations of CAPES.
August 22, 2014
County Council, August 21
Pay issue taken off agenda
Discussion on CRDA set for next TuesdayWarwick Jones
Attendees at last night’s Finance and Economic Development Committee’ meetings were not only disappointed but also punished. There was no discussion or decision on raising the remuneration of Council members, or contributions to the Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA), both very controversial issues. But attendees also had to wait through two executive sessions, which took up about half of the 3 hour meetings.
August 20, 2014
City Council, August 19
Council divided on discussing moratorium on new bars and restaurants
Discussion will follow decision by Planning CommissionMarc Knapp
It had not been a long meeting, but it was long enough. The seats were hard in the Gibbes Museum where last night’s meeting was held and most of us thought it was time to finish up. But then Council Member Waring rose with a complaint and a motion. Council had never discussed the issue of a moratorium over opening new bars and restaurants in the entertainment areas. Yet the issue was going to the Planning Commission tomorrow. This was wrong. Let’s have the discussion now, he suggested.
July 25, 2014
County Council, July 24
County moves to streamline job classifications and pay plans
Decision deferred on Council member pay increasesWarwick Jones
It was an anticlimax. The Finance Committee decided to defer discussion and a vote on boosting Council members’ pay by nearly 50%. Council member Rawl noted that Council member Darby was overseas and considering the importance of the issue, a vote should wait until his return, he said. The Committee agreed. However, there was no hesitation or reluctance to approve the other recommendations of the Committee for Auditing Performance and Evaluation Standards (CAPES). These recommendations related to a complete revision of job classifications, the pay system, and the introduction of merit awards for County employees.