Friday, February 18, 2011

GOOD CITY, BAD CITY: Highlights from Monday's Council meeting

We purr -- and hiss 

COLUMBIA, 2/20/11  (Beat Byte) --  A T-Shirt with a sly cat grinning reads:  "Good kitty, Bad kitty.  Who can tell the difference?"    At City Hall, we certainly try, and here is our felinious take on the City Council's upcoming agenda, sorting out the good and the bad so that you don't cry "me -- OWWW!"


B64-11  Are you ready for this?  Another giant parking garage, this one to cost $7 million!  Agreement to acquire property  for construction on Short Street and Walnut Street, for $1.25 million.   Bad City, Baaaad City Cat.  (I can just hear Tweety Bird now.)  

B65-11  Authorizing an amendment and redevelopment agreement with Columbia Hotel Investments, Inc. relating to the Tiger Hotel TIF project.  Glyn Laverick project.  Stories above.  Good City, Bad City?  You be the judge. 

B39-11  Mayor to appropriate $54,881 from the credit card revenue account to the ever-controversial City Council contingency account -- aka the "slush fund," said numerous wags when the account was recently expanded.   The Heart Beat likes the idea because the Council has so little authority over city money as it is.  Good City.  Purrr. 

B29-11  Approving The Grove at Columbia, located at Rock Quarry Road and Grindstone Parkway.  That's Campus Crest, the North Carolina developer that's been in hot water around the country for a variety of reasons.   Columbia, here they come.   Good City, Bad City?  You be the judge.  

R20-11 Transferring funds to Lathrop and Gage for legal representation in connection with the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Hinkson Creek.  Given that this item will cost Columbians $5,000, how about giving Ken Midkiff a break on his Sunshine Law copy charges?  Bad City, Baaaad City Cat.  

B43-11 Rezoning property located on Garth Avenue and south of Lathrop Road (600 South Garth Avenue) from R-3 to R-1B44-11  Approving the Final Plat of Westmount Extension Subdivision 600 South Garth Avenue; granting a variance from the Subdivision Regulations relating to sidewalk construction.  This move is the culmination of a big neighborhood push to save a greenbelt from developers.  Though Staff didn't like the sidewalk variance, the Planning and Zoning Commission liked the variance because it would save a big tree.  Good City.  Gooood City Cat.  Purrr. 

B54-11 Amending Chapter 22 of the City Code to establish a financial assistance program and an inflow and infiltration reduction program as it relates to sewers.  A loan program that would help people fix stormwater lines illegally connected to the city sewers.  If it involves no liens on property, Good City.  Gooood City.  Purrr.

B56-11  Authorizing a right of use permit with 10th and Elm, LLC to allow construction and maintenance of private balconies to extend within Tenth Street and Locust Street rights-of-way.  When the McClung brothers tried this on N. 9th Street, they met with massive criticism.  Think about it this way:  college kids, balconies, Mardi Gras, booze, The District.  Good mix?   Good City, Bad City?  You be the judge.    

B58-11  Authorizing a purchase from Ameren for the Columbia Energy Center, subject to voter approval of more Water and Electric System Revenue Bonds.  A $45 million buyout of the energy plant.  Claims it will save $1,000,000 yearly, but require more bonds, which will lead to more rate increases.  Can Staff be believed on this one?  Not sure.  Not Bad City, but no City Cat treats either.   

B60-11 Amending Chapter 17 of the City Code adding a provision limiting consumption of alcohol in three downtown City parks.   Good City.  Gooood City Cat.  Purrr. 


REP37-11 Utility Disclosure for Rental Property and REP39-11 Prioritization Policy for Rental Certificates of Compliance.   With hints of Obamacare's new 1099's for everyone law, City Hall wants local landlords to disclose utility rates to potential tenants, while nixing the transfer of occupancy certificates on change of ownership.  The first idea is impractical;  the second only helpful if the landlord sucks.  And as usual, there's no mention of enforcing existing codes with bad landlords -- the real problem around town -- just more ordinances that make life harder for good landlords and make City Hall more money in junk fees.  Bad City, Baaaad City Cat. 
REP31-11 Bus Service to Council Meetings.  City bus service stops before meetings start.  People need rides.  Good City.  Gooood City.  Purrr.  

REP33-11  GetAbout Promotion/Education Program.   Nearly $3 million of Federal grant money spent with Vangel and Associates to educate comparatively few people under mostly already existing programs.   Good City, Bad City?  You be the judge.  

REP29-11 A Civil Group letter regarding Proposal for Design/Build for Alley A Storm Water and Paving Design/Build Improvements and REP30-11 Columbia Special Business District Letter regarding Alley A. Columbia's alleys badly need infrastructure improvements.  But City Hall has resisted.  Our alleys are cool, they're hip -- time to support them.  Good City.  Gooood City Cat.  Purrr.

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