MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
OF THE WALHALLA CITY COUNCIL
MAY 15, 2018
Present: Mayor Danny Edwards, Danny Woodward, Josh Roberts, City Administrator Brent Taylor, David Underwood, Tjay Bagwell, Robbie Burrell
Absent: Dennis Owens
Guests: Ashton Hester, Mr. Bryant
Mayor Edwards called the meeting to order at 5:30pm. Councilman Woodward led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Approval of Minutes:
On a motion by Mr. Bagwell, seconded by Mr. Underwood and unanimously carried, the minutes of the regular meeting of April 20, 2018 were approved as presented.
Mr. Bryant addressed the Council about his concerns of the water billing process. He stated that the new water billing program has been discussed for several months, since September of last year, and is wanting to start a petition to change the billing system in Walhalla. He stated that many other water providers in Oconee County give 15-25 days to pay without penalty, but Walhalla does not. He also stated that the website should be updated as it still shows old council members. Mayor Edwards says that is being put together currently. Scott Parris explained that the bills are typically printed around the 26th of the month, but there were billing difficulties for a few months that caused a delay. Mr. Underwood explained that the penalties were waived on those as a courtesy to the customers. Mr. Parris also explained that changing the due date would affect the cut-off date, among other issues. He also stated that there is an issue with mail distribution that causes a major variance in the delivery of the bills no matter when they are mailed. Mayor Edwards stated that the council will be taking up the issue of new billing software at tonight’s meeting. A water customer inquired about the $2.00 convenience charge. Mr. Underwood explained that this is a fee the payment processor charges the City. Mr. Bagwell explained that no money is made from the convenience fee, but it is charged by the company due to their ability to have a secure way to pay for customers versus the cost for the City to procure that type of software.
Mr. Underwood made a motion to begin discussion of the QS/1 software, seconded by Mr. Bagwell and unanimously carried.
Scott Parris handed out three different quotes from software companies that he has obtained. Mr. Parris stated that we are currently using Harris Local Government and their Accounting Plus software. The City has had the same basic system for about 17 years with small upgrades over time. Harris created new software called Smart Fusion about 2 years ago. The biggest issue with Harris is the support. We cannot get answers for issues we are having. Scott addressed many of the issues with Council. Scott does not feel comfortable recommending Harris. Josh Roberts asked can reviews of the software companies be viewed online. Scott said, “That others are having similar problems.” The reason QS/1 is in strong consideration is that they are a local company and many companies around use them with minimal issues with the software and support. Tyler Technologies is the other company being considered. The County uses Tyler for some programs and seems to be a good system, but costs seem to be a bit higher. The initial start-up for Harris is $27,145 plus an approximate additional $10 – 11,000 per year for support and an online payment portal is additional $9,300 per year. QS/1 also has an online bill pay is included with their base fee, $18, 960 per year after $20,000 for the first year. Mayor Edwards asked, “Is that a locked in price for several years? Mr. Parris answered, “That it was for 3 years.” QS/1 will have to come in and pull data for a data conversion fee to be determined. Mr. Parris said that regardless, he was going to discuss having a back up data system with Harris. Mr. Parris stated that due to the size of the company, Tyler Technologies is more expensive. Mr. Underwood asked Scott which company he preferred. Scott stated that he liked QS/1 the best due to the customer support and the user-friendly interface. Scott explained that QS/1 will use some additional equipment that will help with speed and accuracy, such as, receipt printers and barcode scanners. Right now, handwritten receipts are being issued. The computer stations were updated about a year ago because we were told by Harris that our speed issue was due to our computers, which turned out to be not true. Mayor Edwards asked, If the debit card issue would be better with new equipment, in which Scott answered that the new equipment and system would directly input the payment in to the account instead of the current method of manually inputting each one the next business day. QS/1 also suggests to not charge an online payment fee and we do not have to have a third-party processor. QS/1 and Harris both offer bill print with competitive pricing at about 50 cents per piece. This service would omit us from dealing with the post office, eliminate the permit fee and having to stuff bills. This would help with the ease of including fliers in with bills. Mr. Bagwell reiterated the bottom line numbers; Harris is initial fee of $27,000 and monthly fee of $3200, Tyler Technologies initial fee is $70,000 and monthly fee of $2,300, and QS/1 is an initial fee of $1,000 and monthly fee of $1580. QS/1 gave about a 90 day turn around to implement the new system. Mr. Underwood, Mr. Bagwell and Scott discussed the pay by phone option. Mr. Parris also discussed the option of easing rental property transfers from owner to renter to owner.
Mr. Underwood made a motion to allow Scott Parris to negotiate a written agreement with QS/1, seconded by Mr. Woodward and unanimously carried.
Mr. Bagwell made a motion to adopt RESOLUTION 2018-3, a resolution authorizing the City Administrator to enter into an agreement with DataMax Holdings, LLC for Business License collections. The motion was seconded by Mr. Underwood and unanimously carried.
Mr. Bagwell explained that DataMax collects Business License fees from anyone not paying their business license fees that are due to the City. This does not apply to anyone that is current on their business license, but people who are doing business inside the City but not obtaining a license. DataMax will be pad a portion of the fee and the City will receive a portion of the fee. We will supply our list of current business licenses so that they can cross reference with their findings. This will be done every 1-2 months. Mr. Edwards asked, “If references had been checked on the company and Mr. Taylor stated that he checked 4 references and all checked out well; everyone was well pleased and found them easy to work with.
Mr. Roberts made a motion to adopt RESOLUTION 2018-4, a resolution authorizing the City Administrator to enter into an agreement with the YMCA to manage the Walhalla City Pool. The motion was seconded by Mr. Bagwell and unanimously carried.
This is the same agreement the City has had with the YMCA for the past three years. The most significant change is it that it will automatically renew each year unless either party decides to terminate by February 1st of that year.
Mr. Bagwell made a motion to adopt RESOLUTION 2018-5, a resolution authorizing the City Administrator to develop a procedure for organizations to apply for Hospitality Tax applications. The motion was seconded by Mr. Underwood and unanimously carried.
This procedure will assist the city to fully understand how the organizations are spending their money.
Mr. Underwood reported that during the month of April, the department ran 83 calls; 50 fire and 33 medical. This is an upward trend of 10% from the past 3 years. The department participated in Legislative Day in Columbia and a County Wide Fire Safe South Carolina Meeting. Oconee ranks in the middle of the state in fire deaths. The department met with the School District Office and the Sheriff’s Office about Active Shooter response and prevention. They are updating their plans for schools and public buildings in the City. The department provided about 68 staff hours for the Stumphouse Music Festival and provided traffic control and medical standby for the Isaqueena’s Last Ride. They participated at Kid Fest and Field Day at James M Brown and made 212 contacts. The Fire Marshal did 20 business inspections, 57 have been updated on a new electronic system. The new Codes and Zoning Official has 14 new cases. He spent time on Main Street educating people about the new Zoning and Sign Ordinances. He spends Tuesday and Thursdays in Westminster. Chief Burton thanked the Police Department for their support for several Fire staff who are experiencing personal issues. Hose and hydrant testing were performed in April. Chief Burton is still working to get FEMA funding for the storms last year. Engine 52 is reaching 20 years old and needs to be replaced.
Several department heads reported on the success of the Stumphouse Music Festival. Many attended the soft opening of the Stumphouse Mountain Trail and the Palmetto Trail last Wednesday. The Budget Workshop will be held on Tuesday, May 22nd at 5:30pm at City Hall.
Mr. Woodward reported that in the month of April, the department had 44 arrests, 12 accidents, 12 general reports, 144 tickets issued, 12 individuals were arrested, and 227 traffic stops. A total 636 calls for service were taken by the police department. One officer left for the Academy in April and one is leaving in October for the Academy.
Mr. Underwood reported that during the month of April, they picked up 7 roll carts and delivered 13 roll carts. The numbers have not been reported from the County for sanitation. They are experiencing trouble with one of the trash trucks. They participated in Career Day at James M Brown Elementary. They set up the stage for the Stumphouse Music Festival. Mr. Underwood thanked them and all other departments for their help with the festival. Three maple trees were planted on Main St on April 16th. The annual plants were brought in on April 19 – 20th by Oconee Academy and have been planted. They are in the process of preparing the pool for opening. Mosquito spraying will begin during the week of May 12th weather permitting.
Mr. Roberts reported that John would like to have a part time office worker. He would also like to replace the floor of the bridge at Sertoma at an estimate of $4,500. Disc golf Tournament for Spring went well and had many participants from a variety of places. Super Saturday for baseball and softball was May 4th and 5th. The total participants for the department this year up to point is 1,156. Baseball and softball is moving into the All-Star season after the County Tournament this coming weekend.
Nothing to report
Mr. Bagwell made the motion to go into executive session concerning contractual matters. The motion was seconded by Mr. Woodward and it carried unanimously.
Mr. Bagwell made a motion that any council member may bring a motion, if they so choose, to the sale of the public restrooms. The motion was seconded by Mr. Woodward and it carried unanimously.
Mr. Roberts made a motion to authorize the sale of the public restrooms to JKAT. The motion was seconded by Mr. Bagwell and it carried unanimously. Councilman Burrell abstained from the vote due to not hearing the first proposal.
Mr. Bagwell explained of two proposals from JKAT, LLC and Amanda Pressley and Marcia Spaeth. They two ladies proposed turning the building into a restaurant, juice bar and hydration station with the potential for an Airbnb upstairs. JKAT presented keeping the public restrooms as is but turning the upstairs into office space. They own the property diagonally across the intersection where the old Arthur Brown building was demolished. JKAT also had some future plans for the basement of the building. Because of the diagonally placed property, Mr. Bagwell feels that JKAT could do something “game-changing” for Walhalla that no one else could at this time.
Council moved onto the Budget Workshop.
Brent Taylor, City Administrator