Town May Shrink Boards, Commissions

Council Urges Citizens to Take Traffic Survey

BLYTHEWOOD – During its monthly marathon workshop Tuesday morning, Town Council discussed a number of topics, but took no votes. Councilman Tom Utroska managed to stir the pot even though he was absent due to travel. He left behind a letter to members of Council suggesting they consider cutting to five the number of appointees on each of the Town’s boards and commissions. All appointed boards now have seven members.

“I feel the increase in the number of members has led to increased lack of resolutions due to management by committee,” Utroska wrote. “By requiring more members, we are restricting our ability to have a fresh pool of new talent.”

He suggested the Council revert back to five members on each board and do so through attrition starting with the expiration of the next two incumbent terms.

While Town Administrator Gary Parker said he had no strong feelings one way or the other, he pointed out that, “Sometimes the more members you have, the longer it takes to come to a decision. But that should be handled by a good chairperson.”

Councilman Bob Mangone was concerned that fewer members might make it difficult to get a quorum. Mayor J. Michael Ross agreed. But Councilman Bob Massa countered, saying, “With seven, we have a better chance of having all areas of the town represented. That’s going to be a concern as our town grows. With only five members, it might be difficult to get good representation for the whole town.”

It was for that reason that Councilman Eddie Baughman said he would like to keep the numbers as they are.

“It looks like the consensus is to leave the numbers at seven,” Mangone said.

“I lean toward five,” Ross said, “with the experience I’ve had in the last three years when these vacancies come up. We really don’t get that much interest. Let’s put it on the agenda and vote at the next meeting.”

Citizen Survey

During opening comments by Council members, Massa called attention to a study that might lead to alleviating Blythewood’s increasing traffic problems on Langford and Blythewood roads. He said the town’s citizens have an opportunity to answer a survey that is part of a study being conducted by the Central Midlands Council of Governments (CMCOG) to determine the transit needs of those living and/or working in the rural areas of Richland and Lexington counties outside existing metropolitan transit service. The study includes a one-page survey that is available at Town Hall and the Blythewood Branch Library.

“The heavy morning traffic on Langford and Blythewood Roads,” Massa said, “and 600 new homes being built in Cobblestone alone will soon create even greater traffic problems. The folks in our community need to fill out this survey. It only takes a few minutes and can be dropped off at the library at 218 McNulty Road in Blythewood by May 1, and will be picked up.”

Mangone agreed with Massa, emphasizing that, “There is no public transportation here in Blythewood. If someone needs to go into Columbia from Blythewood and has no transportation they’re out of luck. We need some kind of regular bus service.”

In other business Council spent half the morning discussing changes to the Employee Handbook, some concerns about enforcing the current tree and landscape ordinance and adjustments to the rates for the manor.

The next Town Council meeting will be Monday, April 27 at 7 p.m., at The Manor.

 

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