The City of Charleston is adding a new office to City Hall.
Charleston City Council approved a measure to allow for the creation of an Office of Constituent Services during its regular meeting Monday evening.
Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said the office will create a one-stop access point for residents to communicate with the city and allow city officials to track the progress of requests.
Goodwin said the ability to adequately process constituent complaints and requests has been “the biggest inefficiency” she and other officials have found since she took office in January, and the new office should help address that.
“It’s accountability, truthfully, on us,” Goodwin said. “It’s accountability on you all, and, what’s most important, it will actually help us do the job which we were elected to do, and that’s respond efficiently to our constituents.”
Goodwin said the Office of Constituent Services was a day-one project for her.
The office will include two employees, whose office will be located on the first floor of city hall. In the near future, Goodwin said there also will be an app for constituent services.
As it stands now, there is no process or means to track if a constituent’s complaint gets to the correct person or if action has been taken, Goodwin said.
Finance Committee Chairman Joseph Jenkins said the the main focus of the office was to create a centralized processing center for complaints, concerns and other issues raised by constituents.
“It creates a tracking system to where the concern or complaint is getting to the appropriate person,” he said.
The office is being created using $80,000 from the mayor’s discretionary fund for the current fiscal year. Goodwin said the amount would be amended for next year’s budget to reflect a full operational year for the office during regular budget planning in March.
Also during Monday’s council meeting, Council approved a measure that will allow city officials to transfer two bank accounts belonging to the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center to allow city officials to keep track of the often more than $1 million in accounts and collect interest on the funds therein.
Council approved the transfer of two accounts — one for ticket sales for events, like concerts and shows, and center’s promotional account for in-house events, like trade shows — from United Bank to Wesbanco, which manages all of the city’s other accounts, said City Manager Jonathan Storage.
City Manager Jonathan Storage said the accounts previously weren’t in any interest accruing accounts. By moving the accounts, Storage said the city could get a better return on its investment and accrue somewhere around $25,000 per year.
The account transfer means the center’s accounts now will run through the city’s accounting system, which it hasn’t done “in decades,” Storage said.
“In practicality it’s not really going to change any process that already exists in the city, but it’s going to allow us to have better risk control and also receive some nice interest money we wouldn’t have previously received,” Storage said.
In other business, council approved an ordinance update to the city’s recycling policies with the goal of making it easier to recycle by clarifying what materials can be recycled and what condition they should be in.
The ordinance allows for recyclables to be placed into either a clear plastic bag or a container that is no larger than 48 gallons in volume, no heavier than 40 pounds when full and clearly marked as containing recyclables, said Mackenzie Spencer, information specialist for the city. Paper and cardboard must be placed in either a clear bag or water-proof container. Recycling will continue curbside as part of citizens’ normal trash pickup, Spencer said.
The city also approved approved a series of ordinances affecting speed limits throughout the city.
The speed on roadways that don’t have posted speed limits will be lowered from 30 mph to 25 mph.
Council also approved measures creating 15 mph speed limit zones in the areas directly in front of the City of Charleston’s community centers: North Charleston Community Center, Kanawha City Community Center, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, and Roosevelt Neighborhood Center.