President of Council Marjorie Harlow called Council to order on
February 16, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance. Mrs. McNear gave the invocation.
Mrs. McNear took roll call. Present were Council members Diehl, Emerson, Galster, Hawkins, Squires, Vanover and Harlow.
The minutes of January 19, 2011 were approved with seven affirmative votes.
The minutes of February 2, 2011 were approved with seven affirmative votes.
Mrs. Emerson made a motion that Council go into executive session as a committee of the whole to discuss personnel issues. Mr. Vanover seconded.
Council went into executive session at 7:02 p.m. and reconvened at 7:12 p.m.
Mr. Parham announced that the City reached a tentative agreement with the members of the Springdale Professional Firefighters Local 4027 of the IAFF. Our plan is to have the document in their hands so their members are able to vote and hopefully ratify it. If that occurs we will then have legislation before you at the March 2 Council meeting to also ratify the contract. That would put us in the position of having all three contracts passed. We will have the police officers contract at the next meeting as well.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
Civil Service Commission - no report
Rules and Laws - Mr. Hawkins said with regards to Rules of Council, all Council members received copies of the new proposed Rules of Council. They have lines through them and are color coded to help you see where the changes are. It is our hope that we can address those under Old Business at our first meeting in March.
Finance Committee - no report
Planning Commission - Mr. Galster said a day care center on Springfield Pike came for a modification to the Conditional Use Permit. The applicant requested that the public hearing be continued until the next meeting. Perkins had repainted their building without approval for a color change. Because it is in the Corridor Review District that made it come before Planning Commission. The color change was approved.
Board of Zoning Appeals - no report
Board of Health Mr. Squires reported that the Health Commissioner talked about grants worth $35,000. All of the grants come from CDC. Springdale uses these dollars to upgrade its communication equipment and maintain a cache of emergency supplies such as gloves and masks, expenses associated with emergency preparedness meetings and training, responding to bioterrorist events. One of the grants is money that had been awarded to Departments of Health who did not spend it all. CDC offered it up and Springdale has applied for $10,000 to enhance the Health Departments website and telephone system capability to handle large call volumes, etc. The nurse held a flu clinic at Mi Familia Restaurant and the diabetes workshop is in its fourth week.
O-K-I - no report
Mayors Report Mayor Webster said first Id like to commend the Health Commissioner for her eagerness to get grant monies to offset some of the costs, but its extremely hard to sit here and hear that these agencies, be they State or Federal, have money they cant get rid of it. You cant pick up a paper without hearing about the financial strains that everybody is in from school districts, Counties, Cities, State governments, the Federal government. Everybody is trying to tighten their belts, then you have these damn bureaucrats in Columbus and Washington saying they have money that they cant get anybody to take. There is something drastically wrong with this system. But if the money is there, I commend her for getting it and making use of it. I dont think we squander any of it, but at the same time, upgrading computers and equipment is something we wouldnt do if we had to go into our own jeans and pay for it.
Mayor Webster said we had a ribbon cutting at Mi Familia. Tomorrow will be the re-opening of Kemper Ponds. There are three office buildings there and they have spent several million dollars renovating that project. A few years ago those buildings had raccoons living in them and the owner just walked off and left it. These folks have done a marvelous job renovating the buildings. Rib City is close to opening. Tomorrow we are having lunch with the CEO of First Financial to thank them for relocating their operation to Springdale. They are actively moving people into that building. This past week we got an e-mail from Derrick saying he had a purchase order for $3700 for six trips for the seniors. I know weve had discussions about the various subsidies. We have approved in the budget $23,000 for subsidies: $10,000 for the regional Chamber, $5,000 for the Springdale Chamber, $5,000 for the seniors and $3,000 for the swim team. I took it upon myself to inform the seniors that I was going to recommend to this body today that we suspend all four of those subsidies. I would like a motion of Council to do that since we had it in the budget and you approved the budget.
Mr. Galster made a motion that they remove the subsidies for the City of Cincinnati Regional Chamber of Commerce, the City of Springdale Chamber of Commerce, the Senior Citizens Club and the Springdale Swim Team. Mr. Diehl seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes
Clerk of Council/Finance Director Mrs. McNear said Id like to add on to what the Mayor said about his frustration with the State and Local governments throwing money away, pulling money back. We have a couple of meetings scheduled. On Saturday the Mayor and I are going to attend the Local Government Fund Meeting with the Hamilton County Municipal League. This is How do we survive if we end up with an estate tax cut? and other things of that nature. Weve also been invited to meet with Princeton City Schools for the same thing, How do we deal with budgets with all the cuts going on? On one direction we have to cut back, on the other there is money they are throwing away.
Mrs. McNear stated we are scrutinizing purchases very closely, even things that are budgeted. We have been notified by the Government Finance Officers Association that the City has received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. This is the tenth year in a row we have received this report. In the next month or so we will receive the plaque. Our resolutions were mis-numbered. It was a typo and will be corrected manually. There will be a reassignment of those when we have our next resolution.
Administrators Report - no report
Law Directors Report - no report
Engineers Report Mr. Shvegzda stated previously we had received notification that the property at 454 Grandin Avenue had been removed from the flood zone. We have been informed verbally that the remainder of the properties have also been removed. We are still waiting on the actual letter verifying this. As soon as we receive that we will notify the property owners.
Mr. Diehl asked the Law Director for an update on Springdale Hotel.
Mr. Forbes replied there isnt much to tell you. I received a voice mail message from the attorney for the bank involved in the foreclosure letting me know the receiver has been given some authority to make some repairs to the roof. There is a purchase contract in place. It is not finalized. Its in the due diligence period right now. The due diligence period expires in March and they hope to have a sale finalized.
Mayor Webster stated I think well have a report very shortly. Things are brewing there.
COMMUNICATIONS - none
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE
Ed Knox, Springdale resident said I was the Springdale representative to the Northern Cincinnati Convention Bureau. I was also the treasurer. The organization closed its doors October 31, 2009 due to the diversion of funding to the downtown Convention and Visitors Bureau. It has taken over fourteen months to close out the business of that organization. I have given all the records to the last president of the organization. I am not happy and the hoteliers are not happy. The Star Report that details room occupancy throughout the area shows that the NCCVB area used to be the leader in occupancy. Since the bureau went out it has dropped to almost last and is costing our businesses and therefore, costing the City in tax dollars.
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
ORDINANCE NO. 7-2011 AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH STATEWIDE FORD/LINCOLN MERCURY FOR THE PURCHASE OF TWO 2011 FORD CROWN VICTORIA POLICE INTERCEPTORS, AND ONE 2011 FORD FUSION, UNDER THE OHIO COOPERATIVE PURCHASING PROGRAM AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Mrs. Emerson said I spoke with the Mayor earlier about this. I have trouble authorizing an extra $10,000 over the budget because we are asking the rest of the City to stay within their budgets or cut their budgets and here were spending an extra $10,000 for vehicles because of possibly the high mileage on them.
Mr. Parham said I think if you reflect back a meeting or two ago, we asked that the supplemental appropriation ordinance at the end of 2010 be amended. In that discussion, we talked about the General Fund being controlled at the departmental level. Once you get to the departmental level it is then broken up into personnel expenses, which is wages primarily, and then all other expenses. As weve done over the last couple of years, there will be adjustments in various line items. I think we will be able to make up that $10,000 difference you are speaking of. I think the balance will occur in some of those other line items. As we get to the end of the year we begin to insist that in those categories where you dont need to spend, then we do not make those expenditures. I know a number of our current vehicles have extremely high mileage and I think it would be best, as we can, to replace those vehicles and have the officers out in very worthy vehicles.
Mayor Webster said it is a legitimate question and substantial budget miss. The original proposal was for two new investigative vehicles and one cruiser. Im probably partly responsible for driving up the cost of that because if we had done that it would have come in at $50,000. I thought the City would be better served if we put two new cruisers out there and only one investigative vehicle. Its one of those things where you pay me now or you pay me later. We buy three now or next year well be back here asking for six. If we dont do it then, the next year it will be nine cruisers. Weve had two different administrations look at this and they have indicated that they need these. As Mr. Parham indicates, I guarantee you we will make up this $10,000 in the Police budget.
Mr. Galster stated years ago we looked at leasing vehicles for three years and it cost us $1 more than if we bought them outright. Is there any reason we are not looking at the lease of these vehicles.
Mayor Webster said at the end of three years you pay out the same amount of money. If you lease three this year, three next year and three the following year, you are paying the same amount of money for lease payments as you would if you just bought three this year, three the next year and three the third year. I dont think we saved any money. In that year we needed to put the expense off into following years. In this case, I would just as soon buy the vehicles.
Mr. Galster asked do we have similar purchases in the budget for the next two years?
Mayor Webster replied we normally buy two or three a year.
Mr. Parham stated we have budgeted for additional vehicles in the next couple of years. We are trying to upgrade our fleet. I dont believe we purchased any vehicles in 2010. In 2009, we received stimulus funding to purchase the one marked vehicle.
Mr. Galster asked have we pushed it off as much as we can in your opinion?
Mr. Parham replied we continue to push it as far as we can.
Mrs. Emerson said Im not questioning the need to keep our squads up to snuff. My questions is can we buy two cruisers, stay within the budget and push off the investigative car for another year. How many miles do we put on one of those a year?
Mr. Parham replied we have two cruisers in particular, with the license plate reader. As Ive talked to the current chief, the two license plate reader vehicles have some of the highest or almost the highest mileage because those are the vehicles we constantly have on the road. Some of the others, we rotate depending on which shift officers are on. We want the readers on the streets to catch those tags. They have very high mileage on them. I would say one is a 2008 with well over 100,000 miles. The second is 2007/2008 with over 100,000 miles. The investigative vehicles have lower turnover. The new Fusion will replace one that is fifteen or sixteen years old.
Mr. Hawkins said I share some budgetary concerns with Mrs. Emerson. If there were two purchases instead of three, whats the priority?
Mr. Parham replied we would lean toward the two cruisers. As we begin to look at a reduction in the police force, we may have to make some adjustments out of investigations. As the Mayor indicated, we prefer to have the cruisers out there. The ultimate responsibility of the Police Department is patrol. We can always reduce the number of detectives and bring them back to the road if necessary.
Mr. Hawkins said I understand through your memo that we are talking about 100,000 miles on the cruisers and 90,000 on the investigative vehicles. What is the typical life for these vehicles?
Mr. Parham responded we keep them as long as we can keep the officers safe and they can be productive. After a while you begin to get a lot of wear and tear. One of the vehicles we auctioned off had a blown transmission in it. Another one that we still have on line, had to have the transmission replaced.
Mrs. Harlow said my father always told me that city driving is harder on vehicles than highway driving. I think we need to throw the mileage out the window if that is still the rule of thumb. I think its looking at what your repairs are and reliability of the vehicles, and I will not have any problems supporting this. I dont think Administration would have brought it to us. I dont think the Police Department would have brought it to us if it wasnt needed. I believe Mr. Parham believes we can fit it into the budget.
Mrs. McNear said we are scrutinizing all of our purchase orders. I rejected a couple for research earlier today. I think this is a whole different story. Mr. Parham, can you tell us about a day in the life of a police cruiser. My car at 100,000 miles is certainly not the same as a police cruiser. They are going high speeds, idling at accidents. We have safety to be concerned about for the police officers in that vehicle. Were thinking about safety if someone is breaking into a house or theres an accident.
Mr. Parham stated there is a tremendous difference. The vehicle is not running 24 hours. Most of us in our jobs, we probably drive to our destination, go in and do the job and the vehicle sits. These vehicles are constantly running when they are in use. There are multiple officers on different shifts that may use a vehicle in a day. I dont believe any of the vehicles are used 24 hours a day but they may be used at least 16 hours.
Mayor Webster said you cant just look at mileage. You have to look at all that idling time that takes its toll on an engine. Rest assured this request was not just rubber stamped and sent on to Council. It was scrutinized and sent back to the Police Department. I would support it 100 percent.
Mr. Diehl said I too am concerned about the money but if Chief Laage recommended it, Chief Mathis recommended it; Im going to support it.
Mrs. Emerson said again I will reiterate that I am not questioning the need to replace police squad cars. My question is 90,000 miles to 100,000 miles on an investigative car, why cant we make another year out of it. Six or seven years ago it may have been possible to just take the money and buy a new car. I dont like to get into maintenance but I dont replace my cars anymore at 90,000 miles. I pay a little maintenance to keep them up.
Ordinance 7-2011 passed with five affirmative votes. Mrs. Emerson and Mr. Hawkins voted no.
ORDINANCE NO. 8-2011 AMENDING SECTIONS 153.406, 153.445, AND 153.502 OF THE ZONING CODE
Mayor Webster said we should change Counsel to Council before we adopt this.
Mr. Vanover said we should add the word elected after members in that same line.
OLD BUSINESS - none
NEW BUSINESS - none
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Planning Commission - March 8
Board of Health - March 10
Board of Zoning Appeal - March 15
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
Mrs. Emerson made a motion that Council go into executive session as a committee of the whole to discuss economic development.
Mayor Webster excused himself from this discussion.
Council went into executive session at 7:58 and reconvened at 8:38 p.m.
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Ordinance 8-2011 - March 2
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Firefighters contract - March 2
Police Officer contract - March 2
Council adjourned at 8:39 p.m.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Marjorie Harlow, President of Council