City Manager announces retirement at City Commission meeting
City Manager Nancy Ridley announced her retirement from the municipal government at the commission's April 26 meeting.
She has provided her six-month notice of departure and intends to support the commission in their search for a new city manager.
"I'm thankful to the commissioners for all the support," Ridley said. "I can't adequately express my gratitude to the city staff that I've been able to work with for the past 24 years."
Mayor William Joseph wished Ridley the best and thanked her for her service. He said the commission has "giant shoes to fill" from her departure.
Mount Pleasant City Commission also discussed a property rehabilitation act and a related district creation at the meeting.
Commissioners approved a policy regarding obsolete property rehabilitation and set a public hearing to consider the creation of a new obsolete property rehabilitation district.
Approved Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act Policy
Approval of this policy would provide information to potential property owners about project expectations in order to comply with a potential tax abatement request, said Ridley.
The policy was updated to simplify wording for property owners. It also adds a rescission section to address the possibility of not adhering to the development agreement. Essentially, the policy sets expectations for property owners rehabilitating obsolete properties.
Commissioner Lori Gillis expressed her concerns with the policy. She questioned the “clawback” aspect of the policy - a provision that says an individual or company receiving tax abatement that doesn’t fill the terms of the agreement could be penalized.
“I fear for the misuse of this policy if we were to apply it to a district or larger area,” Gillis said. “The reduction of tax reliability is what a developer always wants to hear and will take advantage of.”
However, Ridley assured that “from our understanding of talking with the city attorney we need the clawback clause.”
Joseph offered support. He argued that the policy is the correct choice and will give options to the stakeholders at the time.
The policy ended up passing with a 7-0 vote.
Public Hearing for District Creation
The first step in the creation of an Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA) tax abatement is that a new district must be created. The commission was asked to approve a public hearing for the creation of a district that would include the Central Business District TIFA boundaries.
Ridley reminded commissioners that once a district is created an individual property can file for tax abatement. She argued that district creation would streamline the entire process by creating a one-step procedure to file a property.
Gillis and Commissioner Petro Tolas expressed concern over the creation of a larger district. They feared the OPRA would be misused when applied to larger districts, rather than to individual landowners.
“I would rather have a per-parcel district, meaning that it could be done as a parcel rather than a larger district where it can be used and abused,” Gillis said. “I’m voting no to safeguard the city.”
However, Commissioner George Ronan argued that the application process to get the parcel is extensive for the business owners. He reminded commission members to consider the business owners’ time, rather than just their own.
The approval of the public hearing passed 5-2, with Gillis and Tolas being the dissenting votes.
- The city commission approved a recommended re-use of the Horizon Park ball field. The fencing and stone dust from the ball field will be reused at other facilities, including the upcoming pickle-ball court at Horizon Park.