City Council could move

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comJuly 23, 2013 

— They’d only be moving to the opposite side their back wall, but it’s a move that could give Tega Cay City Council a more permanent home.

Council members saw plans last week for what could be their new meeting space in the Glennon Center, then voted to have City Manager Charlie Funderburk bring back bids on how much it would cost to make it happen. The location sits just behind the current meeting area in an unfinished section of the building.

Tom Goebel, development services director, walked through a proposal showing 3,100 square feet of space. It would include Council seating on an elevated platform, a conference room, electronics room and public seating for 75, plus standing room for 120 more people. There would be two cameras and speakers throughout. There would be three flatscreen monitors, up to 70 inches.

There also would be room for up to seven chairs on the platform. The planning commission, which already has seven members, would use the room as would the Council which could at some point grow to seven members, Goebel said.

The room also would be used twice monthly for municipal court. Funderburk said a public gain with the project is increased community use of the current room used by the Council, the planning commission and court. It also makes planning of special called meetings easier when timely issue arise.

“This definitely frees us up to where we’re not having to ask the Girl Scouts or the free gardening class, hey, can you meet upstairs,” Funderburk said.

The architectural and design work to get to a bid will cost about $7,000. Funderburk hesitated to estimate what the entire project would cost, but ballparked it at $130,000 to $150,000. Currently there’s about $55,000 available for the project.

“The remaining funds we would envision coming from this year’s fund balance,” Funderburk said.

Bids could come back to Council for the work by September.

City crosswalks

Despite bringing back a low bidder for improvements, the city won’t be paving crosswalks anytime soon. A plan was presented that would put brick crosswalks where painted ones are now.

Members said the new look would make the city “pop” and that it would visually enforce the safety issue of drivers recognizing pedestrian crossings.

But the roughly $48,000 price tag didn’t sit well with Council.

“It’s aesthetics,” said Councilwoman Dottie Hersey. “It’s $48,000. It’s not necessary.”

Funderburk said the new crosswalks wouldn’t substantially make the city more or less safe. Council voted down the project unanimously, saying needs and wants need to be prioritized but that the idea could resurface later.

Deer population issues

A handful of residents asked Council to speed up plans for removing deer from the city. Residents and Council members say the deer population is becoming a problem. They’re becoming more prevalent, and less afraid of people.

“They are a danger,” said resident Joe Soprano. “A danger to golfers, a danger to cars. Then you have the issue of deer ticks and lyme disease that could become a problem.”

Residents say deer have “mowed down” expensive gardening, or demolished landscaping to the point of having to uproot it. Smell is becoming an issue, several said, in areas where some residents feed them.

One resident said new residential development will push more deer into Tega Cay, where there’s water.

Soprano said he’d like to see the deer relocated rather than killed, which the city says isn’t an option.

“We’re not allowed to do that,” Hersey said.

The only remediation allowed by the state is for the Department of Natural Resources to do a study, then approve a “controlled hunt” within the city.

Guns would be used, as bowhunting or similar methods aren’t allowed. Funderburk said it will be winter before a study can take place.

“Whether that meets what (the department) defines as a nuisance, the study has to be done.”

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