MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
OF THE WALHALLA CITY COUNCIL
August 20, 2019
Present: Mayor Danny Edwards, Councilman David Underwood, Councilman Robbie Burrell, Councilman Dennis Owens, Councilman Tjay Bagwell, Councilman Danny Woodward, Councilman Josh Roberts, and City Administrator Brent Taylor.
Mayor Edwards called the meeting to order at 5:30 pm. Councilman Roberts led the pledge of allegiance.
Public Input: Mr. Kelvin Bryant called attention to his editorial in the Journal expressing his desire for water customers to receive their water bills 15 days prior to the due date. He also asked if meeting dates could be posted on Face book.
Approval of Minutes: On a motion by Mr. Bagwell, seconded by Mr. Owens and unanimously carried, the minutes for the regular meeting on July 16, 2019, were approved.
Reading of Resolutions and Ordinances:
Mr. Bagwell made a motion to adopt Resolution 2019-12, A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE ADMINISTRATOR TO PURSUE GRANT OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE WALHALLA GREENWAY PROJECT.
The motion was seconded by Mr. Owens and unanimously carried.
Water Department Issues
Mr. Underwood made a motion to amend 2019-5 to reduce non-payment fee to $25. The motion was seconded by Mr. Woodward. It was approved 6-1 with Mr. Bagwell voting in opposition.
Mr. Underwood stated the most complaints he receives is about water bills. Why can’t there by 15 days from when the customer receives his bill until the due date. He also inquired about increasing the amount carried forward. Mr. Bagwell asked “Will increasing the carried forward make it harder for people to pay?” The Mayor expressed sometimes circumstances occur that may cause someone not to pay such as a family or medical emergency and therefore the City should provide a way to not penalize them so quickly.
Scott Parris suggested not adjusting the dates, but instead raising the carry amount that is due on the 20th before the non-payment fee is assessed. He stated we need to hire more people if we want to increase the 15 days before payment is due. Mr. Bagwell stated that moving the due date to 15th of the month pushes all the process back and no one would benefit from the change at this time. Discussion ensued about the non-payment fee. Various amounts were suggested to reduce it from $65 to $45, $25, $20 and $30. Mr. Randy Campbell from the audience said, “People need assistance.”
Mr. Woodward and Mr. Burrell both suggested a drive thru will benefit people paying their bills. The Mayor directed the Administrator and Mr. Parris into looking into the cost of installing that one.
Mr. Underwood reported a check for $87,000 was delivered to the City as part of the OJRSA rebate to Cities. The Council wants the money to be allocated toward sewer projects and would like an ordinance developed similar to the one that allocated money from the conservation easement at Stumphouse.
Approval of retro-pay for water plant operators
Mr. Underwood made a motion to retro-pay water plant operators raise to July 1, 2019. The motion was seconded by Mr. Owens and it was approved unanimously.
Approval of Changing the After-hours number for water and sewer emergencies
Mr. Underwood made a motion to change the after-hours phone number. Mr. Owens seconded the motion and it was passed unanimously.
Discussion: Chief Brinson said, “This is a phone the Police department isn’t using and we thought it would be beneficial for the water department to use.” Mr. Underwood stated he appreciated the Oconee Sheriff’s Department assistance with these calls over the years.
Approval of Sewer Audit expenditure
Mr. Underwood made a motion to allocate $14,000 for sewer system audit. Mr. Burrell seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Discussion: Mr. Roberts asked, “What does this study entail?” Mr. Underwood replied this study indicates the locations of our lines and the City’s ability to maintain the system.
Approval of Craft-tober Fest Event
Mr. Burrell made a motion that Council supports the Craft-tober Fest Event on October 5, 2019. Mr. Roberts seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously. Mr. Bagwell abstained from voting.
Mr. Bagwell reported this event will be on October 5, 2019 from 5-8p.m. He referred to the enclosed diagram on the layout. He indicated adjacent property owners had given permission to use the space. They anticipate 300 people attending. They expect15-20 beer tasting vendors and 3-4 food truck vendors.
Approval of Support for Spring Vintage Fair Event
Mr. Bagwell made a motion that Council support the May 2, 2020 Artisan and Vintage Fair. Mr. Owens seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Discussion: Mr. Bagwell reported this event will take place May 2, 2020 from 9 a.m. – 8p.m. The City would close Main Street from John St. to Catherine St. The vendors will sell antiques and high quality goods. They expect food trucks and music. The Downtown Merchants requested $7,500 the event. The Council decided to allocate funding at a later date. Mr. Owens asked the Chief Brinson if there were any issues blocking the streets. Chief Brinson replied he was fine with whatever Council would like to do.
Approval of Hospitality Tax Fund expenditure for the purchase of replacing an Air condition unit at the Earl House.
Mr. Bagwell made a motion to expend $6, to replace the air condition unit. It was seconded by Mr. Owens and approved unanimously. Mr. Bagwell made a motion to approve $1,100 for to replace decking at the building. Mr. Underwood seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Discussion: Mr. Bagwell stated this is the low bid from O’Kelley Heating and Air and it compares favorably to the others. The Administrator added the decking needs to be replaced. It will cost $1,100 in materials and City crews will do the work.
Approval of Hospitality Funds for the purchase of banners downtown
Mr. Bagwell made a motion to allocate the purchase of 3 sets of 32 banners each for $7,039.41. The motion was seconded by Mr. Owens and approved unanimously.
Discussion: Mr. Bagwell stated this purchase is for banners to be installed on the decorative light poles. The banners include promoting “Stumphouse Mt. Bike Park,” Walhalla back to school and homecoming event, and “Main St. to Mountains” themes. Mr. Bagwell reported it is part of the City’s overall decoration plan which includes Independence Eve, Oktoberfest and Christmas.
Approval of Funds of $10,000 to the Downtown Development Corporation
Mr. Bagwell made a motion to allocate $10,000 to Downtown Development Corporation. The motion was seconded Mr. Burrell and was approved unanimously.
Discussion: Mr. Bagwell stated this is to replenish the DDC funds since they have mostly been expended to help with facade grants on downtown buildings. The Mayor stated $20,000 has been awarded to building owners downtown to assist with their facades. Mr. Underwood asked, “Can something be done to help business that aren’t on Main St.?” Mr. Bagwell stated that is something we could look at in the future.
Approval of Hospitality Tax Fund expenditure to Chamber of Commerce and Main St. Program;
Mr. Bagwell made a motion to approve $4,000 to the Chamber of Commerce and $1,600 to the Municipal Association. The motion was seconded by Mr. Owens and approved unanimously.
Discussion: Mr. Bagwell stated with the Chambers change in scope of work that it is still beneficial to support the chamber. The $1,600 for the Main St. program is allocated toward membership in the program and will help the City get access to training and grants for downtown. Eventually will staff the Main St. position and this transition will help fund it. Mr. Owens asked, “If this will be a full-time or part-time position?” The response was it will be a part-time position to start with.
Discussion on Purchasing Ordinance
Mr. Bagwell made a motion for the administrator to incorporate changes in the purchasing ordinance and bring them back for a formal reading. Mr. Roberts seconded the motion and approved unanimously.
Discussion: Mr. Bagwell presented changes to the purchasing ordinance. Discussion ensued regarding items that were approved in the budget having to be approved again before council. It was determined that staff didn’t need to bring them before Council unless they exceed the approved expense.
Approval to make Clerk to Court a Full-time Position
Mr. Bagwell made a motion to change the Clerk to Court position from a part-time position to a full-time position. Mr. Owens seconded that motion and it was approved unanimously.
Discussion: Mr. Bagwell stated in this tight labor market this position needs to become full-time, but he emphasized this position will help the City in other areas.
Approval of Trademark Policy
Mr. Bagwell made a motion to approve the Trademark Policy. It was seconded by Mr. Owens and approved unanimously. Mr. Underwood abstained from voting.
Mr. Bagwell made a motion to approve a minimum payment of a $100 along with 7% commission on all sales to the City for use of the logo. The $100 is a credit on the commission sales. The motion was seconded by Mr. Burrell and approved unanimously. Mr. Underwood abstained from voting.
Discussion: Mr. Bagwell presented the Trademark Policy explaining “Do and don’ts'” of using the Stumphouse logo. He referenced his brother’s experience in trademark pricing. He said, “The range for commission is 7% to 25%. He thinks since this is new we should start on the low end. He stated there is an honesty component to it since the City is limited in resources for enforcement. The Mayor asked, “If this is on the gross sales? And what is the administrators opinion on a percentage base?” The Administrator replied it depends on what your goal is. It’s probably good to have a base fee and percentage. Mr. Bagwell responded that we want to be sure we get as much as we can if this explodes in the future. Mr. Bagwell also stated these agreements are good for a year. Mrs. Wessendorf, co-owner of Partners-In-Wine, said they have a large following and want to sell shirts. The percentage would be better for her, but not for the City. The Mayor suggested the City allow $100 minimum fee that will be credited to overall sales that includes a 7% commission on gross sales.
Approval of Licensing Agreement with Partners-In Wine
Mr. Bagwell made a motion to authorize the administrator to enter into a Licensing agreement with Partners-In-Wine regarding the use of the Stumphouse Mountain Bike logo. The motion was seconded by Mr. Burrell and approved unanimously. Mr. Underwood abstained from the vote.
Discussion: Mr. Underwood asked, “If this was an exclusive agreement?” The administrator replied it wasn’t.
Discussion of Podium Purchase
The Administrator reported a request to purchase a podium and sound system for the Depot. He discussed different types ranging from $800-$1,100. Mr. Bagwell asked, “Will it will plug into a wall?” The Administrator replied some do and others operate on a battery. Mr. Underwood stated he preferred the wireless microphones. The Mayor asked the administrator to research some options and bring them back to Council.
Allocation of Hospitality Funds to Walhalla Makers Market
Mr. Bagwell made a motion to allocate $500 out of the Hospitality Tax Fund to Walhalla Makers Market for advertising their Vintage Fair Event on October 11, 2019. The motion was seconded by Mr. Burrell and approved unanimously.
Discussion: The Administrator reported the request from Walhalla Makers Market for funding for their Vintage Fair Event on October 11, 2019 at Durham Hall. They anticipated between 100-500 people to attend. Mr. Burrell stated we need to be making sure the City is getting a good return on investment. The City could fund part of this request to help them get started and see how it goes. Mr. Bagwell suggested the City fund $250 for event branding and $300 for social media advertising. Mrs. Wessendorf, co-owner of Partners-In-Wine, said the group is very well organized and they are sponsoring the music for the event.
Appointment to Planning Commission
Mr. Bagwell made a motion to appoint Chris Grant to the Planning Commission. The motion was seconded by Mr. Underwood and approved unanimously.
Mr. Owens reported the department ran 96 calls for the month of July. Fifty three (53) were fire calls and forty three (43) were medical calls. They were on mutual aid 28% of the time and on scene for an average of an hour. The Fire Marshall performed thirteen business inspections and fifteen residential. He approved 4 fire plans. The department assisted DSS to develop a program to assist at risk adults. The staff participated in 536 hours of training. They are developing specs for the new fire engine. They completed fire hose testing. The Codes division made 31 new contacts, approved 3 new permits, and 7 zoning verifications.
Mr. Bagwell reported everything has been or will be covered in this meeting.
Mr. Burrell reported that the department picked up 17 roll carts and delivered 39 carts. The new trash truck has been put into service. The department was busy assisting with special events, cutting grass and picking up debris. Due to computer issues at the County, the normal statistics were not available.
Mr. Roberts reported 350 players on 25 soccer teams, 41 baseball and softball players on four teams, 50 cheerleaders on 3 teams and 78 football players on 3 teams. There was an update on Chicopee ball field progress. Council passed a resolution honoring Richard “Boomer” Adams.
Mr. Woodward reported Sgt. Smith went to evidence training. Officer Bennett went to “Active Shooter” Training. Officer Sanders and Breland are at the Police Academy. The Department issued 165 tickets and made 39 arrests. Police cars are equipped with spike strips. Chief Brinson worked with private schools regarding active shooter training.
Mr. Underwood reported several things were covered earlier in the meeting. Mr. Underwood reported the lobby has a better video and audio system installed. The construction of the new water treatment plant is progressing well. The sewer authority is going to refund money to the cities. Walhalla will be eligible to receive $167,000 grant from the authority for sewer projects. Chris Eleazor said DHEC is most likely going to request an audit of all sewer systems in the county. The committee needs to look at eliminating shrubs from the parking lot to improve visibility.
Mayor’s Comments: No comments were made.
Discussion took place about publicizing the meetings with the public.
Mr. Owens made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Woodward seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 7:27 p.m.
Brent Taylor, City Administrator