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City Council moves forward with Dusty Bend project

Posted: September 12, 2013 3:26 p.m.
Updated: September 13, 2013 5:00 a.m.

 

Camden City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to award a bid to place electric lines underground on Broad Street in Dusty Bend to Sumter Utilities.

Sumter Utilities submitted a bid in the amount of $282,386. The city will need to purchase a new bore at a cost of $6,901.65, bringing the project to a total of $289,287. According to a memo from A.J. Molnar, vice president of Southeastern Consulting Engineers Inc., the company "under estimated the quantity of one of the directional bore units." Council previously bid out the materials for the Dusty Bend project, which cost $226,824, but still need to bid out labor costs to install the traffic signals. Pearson said the work on the project will begin within the next 30 days.

Councilman Walter Long expressed excitement about the project.

"It’s going to make a dramatic difference in the Dusty Bend area and hopefully encourage even more activity in that area. There has already been a lot of improvement in Dusty Bend and I think this will have significant impact," he said.

In connection with the project, council made a second motion and voted unanimously to award a bid of $343,451 to Line Equipment of West Columbia for the mast arms and decorative street lights; RAI Products of Charlotte, N.C., for traffic signal heads, pedestrian heads and pedestrian push buttons; R.W. Chapman of Charlotte, N.C., for pad-mounted and subsurface switchgear; and WESCO of West Columbia to supply the switchgear pull box, conductors, junction boxes and switchgear box pad. $226,824 will go to the Dusty Bend project; $126,627 will be used in the projects on Rutledge and Church streets. The city had $700,000 saved for the Dusty Bend project and $531,300 for the Rutledge and Church streets projects.

Also during the meeting, council voted to approve two Leader’s Legacy Recognition benches. One bench will honor the late Dr. Paul Ariel Wood, a U.S. Navy veteran and the first OB/GYN physician in Kershaw County. Councilman Willard Polk is acting as Wood’s city sponsor. The other bench will honor former Mayor Jeffrey Graham. Graham was mayor of Camden from 2008-2012 and was the youngest mayor in the state of South Carolina. His city sponsors are Long and Councilwoman Alfred Mae Drakeford, who was absent Tuesday. There will be a ceremony for at Marshall’s bench on Oct. 18.

In other regular meeting business:

• Council members voted to appoint Peggy Ogburn to the Camden Planning Commission board with a term to expire Aug. 31, 2017. Council also appointed Martha Rowell to the Camden Parks and Trees Commission with a term to expire on May 31, 2016.

• Council recognized Family Resource Center Executive Director Rosalyn Moses for being the first South Carolinian selected for the Jefferson Award. The American Institute for Public Service has given Jefferson Awards since 1972. Moses traveled to Washington, D.C., in June to receive the award.

• Council declared the week of Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week in Camden. ¬¬¬Shirley Ransom accepted on behalf of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

Council also voted unanimously during the meeting to assign a final zoning classification to the property located at 2175 West DeKalb St. and to suspend "blue laws" for the consumption of beer and wine at Rhame Arena on Thursday, Oct. 17 for the Camden Antiques Fair.

Earlier Tuesday afternoon, during its work session, council decided to postpone a decision on who might receive a one-year contract to video tape and for playback council’s twice-monthly work session and regular meetings.

Approximately one year ago, council members asked city of Camden staff to reach out to organizations that would be able to record council meetings. Camden City Manager Mel Pearson told council that Camden Media Co. and KM Video Productions both showed interest in recording and playing back the city’s work session and regular meeting.

Camden Media Co.’s proposal includes filming -- unedited -- the entire twice-monthly council work sessions and regular meetings, including its public forum,  and making the video available for free viewing on the Chronicle-Independent local news website. The cost for Camden Media Co.’s package is $2,075 per month, or a yearly total cost of $24,900. As a part of the package, Camden Media Co. would provide the city a DVD copy of the meetings for archival and storage; run two half-page ads per month promoting the video (valued at $1,531 per month) in the Chronicle-Independent; and as an added value would run two free full-color, full-page ads to help market the city of Camden, one each in both the Fort Jackson Leader and The Shaw News. The value of the Fort Jackson Leader and Shaw News ads is $2,844.55 per month, representing a no-cost yearly new marketing opportunity for the city of Camden of $34,134.60.

KM Video Productions proposal includes using two high definition video cameras and one camera operator to film, also unedited, the twice-monthly work sessions and regular meetings. One camera would capture all of the council members and the second would be positioned to capture podium guests (city staff and citizens). City staff would be given an Internet link to a website storing the video to include on the city’s website. KM Video Productions would also give a copy of the video to TruVista Cable to air on its local access channel. KM Video Productions also proposed providing a 30-second video spot/commercial to highlight the essence of Camden to be shown on the city’s website or the TruVista cable channel (valued at $250). KM Video will charge $550 per combined work session and regular meeting, for a yearly total of $13,200. In addition, the 30-second video spot/commercial could be used during a TruVista local broadcast for an extra $100 per month (approximately 100 insertions per month). The city could also use the 30-second video on the internet and TV at "fair market price" at its own discretion.

Pearson said staff is recommending the Camden Media Co. proposal, as there is an added annual value of $34,134.60 in advertising with the Fort Jackson Leader and Shaw News, with no additional cost to the city. The Fort Jackson Leader is published weekly, with a circulation of 15,000; Shaw news is also published weekly, with a circulation of 7,000. Pearson said the city can take advantage of the marketing opportunities with the Camden Media Co. proposal.

Councilman Walter Long said that what he initially proposed was more in-line with what KM Video Productions was proposing. Long said he thought a "simple recording" of the meeting that would be on the public access channel.

"I understand that (Camden Media Co.) has given us an alternative package, but I’m not sure if that is overkill for us," he said.

Long said if council were to choose Camden Media Co.’s package, council would need to wait until its next budget cycle. He said if council chose KM Video Productions, the city could get started right away with money from its current budget.

Councilwoman Laurie Parks said she agreed with Long as far as cost and benefit.

"It is an added benefit to advertise with two other newspapers, because we do want to draw them into the city, but I was thinking -- at this time -- that may be more than we want to invest."

Councilman Willard Polk also said the added advertising is an added benefit, but was concerned that because the Fort Jackson Leader and Shaw News were publications left in racks, rather than delivered, there is no guaranteed circulation. Polk said council is already getting good advertising now with coverage of meeting agendas and meetings.

Polk said because there is no budgeted line item, he would also suggest waiting until next year if they want to Camden Media Co.’s proposal, but if they wanted to move forward now, then the city could do a "test platform" with KM Video Productions. Long said they could use money from the contingency fund to pay for KM Video Production’s package right now.

Pearson told council members they had good points and reminded them that it was their vote.

"When we first started pursuing this project we were thinking about transparency -- we were thinking about recording our meetings. (Camden Media Co.) came back with what, the staff feels like is very strong. The decision is yours. We do not have funds appropriated in either case."

Pearson suggested the board wait on voting for a package until its next meeting. Long asked if Pearson could set up a test run with KM Video Productions.

In other work session news:

• Work on the South Rutledge Parking Lot will begin this week. The city hopes to have the project completed in time for the 2013 Carolina Downhome Blues Festival on Oct. 3.

• The city will spend an estimated $6,150 on Christmas decorations. The city expects decorations to be up by Nov. 27. Nothing new is being purchased; only replacements for anything that’s been lost throughout the year.

• The city received a $5,000 Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling Grant through the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. There is no match requirement and the money will be used to purchase 100 residential recycling roll cars to expand Camden’s Recycling Pilot Program. There are currently 200 participants in the program and 42 people on the waiting list.

Also during the work session, Mayor Tony Scully encouraged council members to use their social media presences to encourage the Camden community to participate in the Arnett Muldrow kick-off Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Robert Mills Courthouse.

"We are pretty terrific for a city of 7,000 people … but in terms of marketing ourselves not only to the region, it’s going to be increasingly clear to the whole world. We can position ourselves in the world market with some of the things we do and I hope and believe that Arnett Muldrow will help give us a clearer plan based on our assets," Scully said.

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