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Many issues on heavy city council agendas

Posted: January 24, 2014 5:09 p.m.
Updated: January 27, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Camden City Council will face heavy agendas for both its work session and regular meeting Tuesday. Among the items for council’s work session is a report on a five-year update to the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP). The regular meeting will primarily focus on refinancing a portion of a 2004 bond issue and amending a loan agreement with the S.C. State Revolving Fund (SRF) connected to construction of the city’s new wastewater treatment plant.

Local governments must maintain a CLUP for 10 years and update them every five years. It is each municipalities primary planning document. Camden adopted its most recent CLUP in 2007; the Camden Planning Commission began working on an update to the plan in 2012 and is now ready to present its recommendations. City Planner Shawn Putnam will make the presentation.

As Camden adopted the CLUP in 2007, the General Assembly passed legislation adding requirements to such plans. Camden adopted its plan before those changes became law, but part of the five-year update includes adding those requirements. Each CLUP originally had to include seven elements covering population, economic development, natural resources, cultural resources, community facilities, housing and land use. The 2007 legislative amendments added requirements to the housing element and added two new elements: transportation and priority investment.

According to documents included with Tuesday’s work session agenda, the transportation element was originally contained within the community facilities element. It considers transportation facilities, including road improvement and construction, and pedestrian and bicycle projects, and should be developed in conjunction with the land use element. The priority investment element “requires an analysis of projected federal, state and local funds available for public infrastructure and facilities during the next 10 years and recommends the projects for those funds.”

The additional housing element sections analyze housing affordability in compliance with the 2007 amendments.

Other items on the work session agenda include discussion of a notice that will be sent out to city of Camden water customers about changes to the drinking water treatment process; information about an exhibit coming up at the Camden Archives and Museum focusing on Robert Mills; an update on the process and schedule to update design guidelines used by the Camden Historic Landmarks Commission; and information about the current and upcoming fiscal year uses of a S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism grant to promote the Ross Beard military and spy collection at the archives and museum.

Two weeks ago, council spent much of its last work session discussing the possibility of refinancing a $9.83 million portion of a 2004 bond, taking advantage of a 2.25 percent interest rate -- far lower than the original 4.7 percent. The city also hopes to save money on the $33 million loan it is using to construct a state-mandated wastewater treatment plant. The loan is from the SRF, whose authority recently updated its policies, one of which would no longer require the city to maintain a debt service reserve fund equal to one and a half times the annual debt service for the loan.

There are three items on Tuesday’s agenda relating to these two issues. First, council will consider an ordinance amending and restating the actual ordinance pertaining to issue of public system utility revenue bonds. Then it will consider a separate ordinance that would issue a new “refunding” revenue bond not to exceed $10 million in value to cover the refinancing of the $9.83 million portion of the 2004 bond. Finally, council will consider an ordinance pertaining to the SRF loan that would:

• acknowledge changes to the SRF Authority’s program policies;

• approve changes to the loan agreement with the SRF;

• approving an amendment to and restatement of the debt service and debt service reserve funds; and

• approving the release of the debt service reserve fund’s money.

Also on Tuesday’s regular meeting agenda, council will proclaim February as Black History Month, consider second and final reading of an ordinance designating a property on Broad Street as a Local Historic Landmark, consider second and final reading of an ordinance renewing a cable franchise with TruVista, and consider a resolution authorizing Mayor Tony Scully to hire interim City Prosecutor Michael D. Wright as the city’s permanent prosecutor.

Tuesday’s work session will begin at 4 p.m.; the regular meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Both meetings will be held on the second floor of Camden City Hall, 1000 Lyttleton St., and are open to the public.

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