Hartsville council gets Innovation Center update

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, slyles@newsandpress.net

Hartsville City Council convened its regular monthly meeting December 8 and received a status report about the Duke Energy Center for Innovation, a business and idea incubator located in downtown Hartsville.

Director Kathryn de Ridder Vignone told council that there are currently 13 companies involved with the Center, three of which are technology companies with customers outside Hartsville, and ten of which provide services and products within the city. Thus far, the Center has graduated 11 companies (7 tech companies, 4 retail businesses) and they plan to continue this trend of helping entrepreneurs cultivate their ideas from dreams to realities.

Plans for the Center’s future include upgrading the website, rebranding the Center, and collaborating with other Technology Village Centers to share success stories and spark new ideas.

Events planned for next year include a computer coding camp for girls, robotics camps, a business builder program, and another round of the Start-Up Hartsville competition where winners receive financial help to get their business going.

Also at this meeting, representatives from accounting firm Sheehan, Hancock, and Godwin presented audit findings for fiscal year 2014/15, and offered the City of Hartsville an unmodified opinion – the highest finding available – for its financial record keeping.

On the regular agenda, public hearings and final readings were held for three ordinances:

No. 4222 authorizes the city to lease 222 North Fifth Street (where the Hartsville Museum is located) from the Hartsville Community Center Building Commission for 10 additional years at a cost of $1.

No. 4223 formally adopts design guidelines for the city’s Architectural Review Board, providing objective rules for proposed building improvements and new designs.

No. 4224 would have authorized the city to purchase of a small parcel of land located at 209 North Fifth Street, currently owned by Hoop Dreams. This ordinance failed to get a motion to bring it up for a vote.

First reading was approved for Ordinances 4225, amending the city zoning map and rezoning five properties along North Fifth Street from R-1 (residential) to B-2 (business), facilitating sales opportunities for property owners Habitat for Humanity and St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.

Council also approved first reading for Ordinance 4226, amending the city’s business license ordinance for compliance with the South Carolina Municipal Association model and NAICS code classifications. This ordinance also changes business license fee due dates to April 30 to coincide with tax filings.
Resolution 12-15-01, waiving business license fees for the Hartsville Farmer’s Market events for all of 2016, received unanimous approval.

Council also approved awarding the city’s banking services contract to First Citizens Bank, extending that extant relationship for another three years.
The next regular meeting of Hartsville City Council is scheduled for January 12 at 5:30 pm at City Hall, 100 E. Carolina Avenue in Hartsville. This meeting is open to the public.

Author: Duane Childers

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