President of Council Marjorie Harlow called Council to order on March 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 March 2, 2011 were approved with seven affirmative votes.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
Civil Service Commission - Mr. Potts said they reviewed and dealt with some updates to the eligibility list for the position of police sergeant. We received an update on the status of collective bargaining units.
Rules and Laws - no report
Finance Committee Mr. Diehl stated they met last night to discuss cost cutting measures which will be on the agenda later this evening.
Planning Commission - Mr. Galster reported they had an amendment to the conditional use permit for the daycare at 11490 Springfield Pike. We had previously issued a conditional use permit for that facility; however, when the applicant made her presentation, there was no outside play area as it was her intention to use the Community Center and Underwood Park. Apparently they ran into some problems while being inspected and came back and requested that we amend the conditional use permit to allow an outdoor play area. There really isnt much space at this location. That was denied 7-0. Woodcraft requested signage at 11711 Princeton Pike. Eight panels were approved 6-1. We had discussion on the duration and frequency of special event signs. A one year extension is being recommended to Council.
Mr. Vanover said the outside play area at the daycare center was driven by Ohio Jobs and Family Services. They said the Community Center was too far to go.
Mr. Galster stated the applicant has spent quite a bit of money on the inside of the daycare. I know there are daycares in offices in downtown location that dont have outside play facilities. There must be some way of looking into that hardship.
Mayor Webster said Ms. Holsten requested a meeting with Mr. Parham and me. She checked into the downtown daycare centers and they do have outdoor play areas. Its a shame that the State gave her acknowledgement that its OK. You all were adamant at the January meeting that there will be no outdoor play area so she has no gripe with the City but she does have a gripe with Jobs and Family Services.
Board of Zoning Appeals - no report
Board of Health Mayor Webster reported the Ohio Department of Agriculture did a survey of our Retail Food Establishment program. There are two ratings, satisfactory and unsatisfactory and we were satisfactory. One of the recommendations was that we did not have a resolution on file that gave the Health Commissioner the authority to issue a Cease-Use Order and embargo food and that was passed at the meeting. The Cincinnati Lab is still operating month to month so if they close that facility anything we have to be sampled will have to be sent to Columbus. The third grade health fair will be held May 5 at the Community Center.
O-K-I Mrs. McNear said I have a fun fact for you. Cincinnati was voted the seventh friendliest commuting city in the country. Cincinnati is wasting about fifteen gallons of gas per person in traffic delays compared to twenty-eight gallons for the country. Commuting time in Cincinnati averages 19 hours compared to 34 for the country.
Mayors Report Mayor Webster stated Mr. Thamann and I signed the covenant pledging to support military families at the Community Covenant Signing Event. There will be a ribbon cutting at Rib City on March 22 and at I Buffet on March 28. Parks and Recreation has had some requests from residents for us to look at amending the ban of dogs in parks. Its the recommendation of the committee that we loosen up on that and allow people to have dogs in the outlying parks.
Mayor Webster said last meeting we had conversation regarding the Springdale Community Improvement Corporation. Today I stumbled across this document dated February 13, 2006 reactivation of the Springdale CIC. According to Mr. Schneider, and according to Secretary of State records, the Springdale CIC is in good standing and active. As such, reactivating the CIC should be a fairly simple process following these basic steps: set date for meeting to fill vacancies on the Board of Trustees, add trustees, elect officers, complete and file statement of continued existence and complete appropriate form for federal tax status.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director Mrs. McNear gave a reminder to elected officials that the annual disclosure is due to the Ethics Committee on April 15. Tax returns are due April 18. We have been looking at cost cutting measures and we would like to discontinue the use of printing very large documents for elected officials. We would like to send them to you via e-mail. If you really want a paper copy we would continue to do so but wed like to have you notify us.
Administrators Report Mr. Parham said we have had contact from a couple of residents who had concern relative to dogs in the parks. Currently dogs are prohibited in our public parks. We have had a request to allow dogs in the park areas. We are looking into residents having the ability to bring their dogs to the park on a leash. The resident would have to clean up after their dog. The staff has concocted a tube that people can insert their plastic bags at the top and users can remove the bags from the bottom. We would not want to have the dogs in the parks during big events such as softball tournaments and 4th of July celebration. We would like to bring an ordinance in to the next meeting.
Mr. Hawkins asked how old the ordinance was that prohibited dogs in the parks.
Mr. Parham replied it was passed by Ordinance 46-1978.
Mr. Galster suggested limiting the number of dogs a person can have in their control. Four or five dogs is a little difficult to keep under control.
Mr. Parham stated today you have dog sitters who have a number of dogs but we can have a prohibition to a certain number of dogs.
Council agreed to limit the number of dogs for one person to have in the park to two.
Mr. Parham stated the earliest date to have a public hearing for the temporary banners ordinance is April 20.
Law Directors Report - Mr. Forbes said I concur with Mr. Schneider about the CIC. I looked it up on the Secretary of States website. According to the website, it is active but it also shows a Statement of Continued Existence has not been filed since 1995. We will need to file that.
Engineers Report Mr. Shvegzda stated we received the letter of notification from FEMA that the four remaining properties: 460 and 466 Grandin, 437 Cloverdale and 400 Glensprings had the LOMA approved so that the structures are now outside the flood zone. Letters from the Building Official have been sent out to those property owners.
Mrs. McNear said I have a letter from the Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control for notification that all permits to sell alcoholic beverages in the City will expire on June 1, 2011 and a renewal must be filed.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE
Caitlin Grant, liaison to Springdale from Congressman Chabots office said I wanted to introduce myself and let you know some of the services we can provide to both you and your citizens. People with issues with Social Security, Medicare, Veterans benefits, passport issues, etc. should feel free to contact our office. If there is anyway we can be of help to the community or Council itself, feel free to talk to me at 513-684-2723.
Meaghan Sullivan Weiscup, President, Springdale Youth Boosters, stated the Opening Day parade will be April 16 and I brought an invitation for all of you. Jake Sweeney has donated convertible cars for you to ride in. Jake Sweeney is a big sponsor of the Youth Boosters. We have asked Jake Sweeney to be a grand marshal but he is unavailable and will send his son and maybe daughter. Mike Laage will also be a grand marshal.
Mayor Webster said this is the 40th year that the Sweeney family has been in Springdale and we are in the process of issuing a proclamation. Hopefully, some of the family members will be at Council at the next meeting to accept this. We have also been approached by some members of the dealerships staff about renaming McGillard Street to Sweeney Place. Were looking into that. The Sweeney family has been a big contributor to the City over the years.
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
RESOLUTION NO. R8 -2011 RESOLUTION OPPOSING HOUSE BILL 3 INTENDED TO REPEAL THE ESTATE TAX AND INSTITUTE CUTS TO THE STATE OF OHIO LOCAL GOVERNMENT FUND
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Mayor Webster suggested that in Section 2 we strike the last four words representing the City of Springdale. Id like this resolution to go to all members of the General Assembly. I have personally spoken to our representatives and other people have had conversation with Mr. Seitz and Mrs. Pillich.
Mr. Squires made a motion to amend Resolution R8-2011 to strike representing the City of Springdale. Mr. Vanover seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mrs. McNear read a letter addressed to Mayor Webster and Springdale Council from Daniel Regenold, Owner, Frame USA:
I understand from Mayor Webster that you will discuss a resolution on Wednesday night to ask the State not to repeal the Death tax because of implications caused to the City of Springdales budget and the potential to lose about $900,000 a year from Estate Tax monies. I congratulate Mayor Webster and City Administrator Parham for not joining a group called CPOC which in my mind is really using taxpayer money to lobby against its own citizens. I value your hard work in Springdale but also want to tell you a little bit about Ohios Estate Tax from my perspective. For the last year I have been one of the leaders of a campaign to End Ohios Estate Tax which is the worst Estate Tax in the United States. Why worst? Because of the 17 states that have an Estate Tax Ohios has the smallest threshold by far. Most states exempt $2-3 million while Ohio only exempts $338,000 which could amount to an average priced home in Springdale. This tax really hits the middle class. Many people have told me when a loved one dies that this is the biggest single expense they have. My home town is Glendale and they have been the beneficiaries of large Estate Tax proceeds in the past several years. So why would I step up to this cause and be part of getting 83,000 people to sign a petition to end the tax? Ive done this for the following core reasons that I hope you will carefully consider.
1. The founders thought it important that we had virtuous leaders run our governments. This estate tax as currently implemented is immoral. It takes possessions and income that has already been taxed and taxes it again. Basically its just taking money and things from people because Government can. Ron Amstutz who is currently the chairperson of the State House Ways and Means Committee is quoted as saying this tax is as close to theft as it comes. Brian Thomas from 55KRC says it more simply, It is theft.
2. This tax causes people to leave Ohio. 500,000+ citizens have left Ohio in the last 12 years causing Ohio to lose two congress-people. There are now three states that have done studies on why people leave states all three point at the Estate Tax as one of the main causes (you can read these studies at www.endohioestatetax.com Connecticut, Rhode Island & Illinois). People will move to less onerous tax states to keep what is theirs. In many cases they move and are gone 6 months and 1 day just to avoid this tax that many people protest when it is imposed. Consider the impact on charitable organizations in our local area when these high income people leave. Imagine the talent drain just from places like Springdale. Why let them go?
3. Ohios economic record is well known. The Tax Foundation has placed Ohio in the bottom 10% of states for the last two years in a row with respect to Business Climate with a slight improvement during the last year. The CEO roundtable places Ohio near the bottom for areas to consider relocating to (www.endohioestatetax.com). Can we afford to let capital leave Ohio? Can we afford to lose jobs in Springdale? Or do we need to begin reform now?
Finally, with the way that the law is currently written, Springdale will not feel any impact on Estate Tax received for about 4 years (2014 by the time all estates goes through probate). This will give Villages and Cities an opportunity---with many more changes comingto make up for any lost revenue which might go away.
This is a classic case of needing to look at the whole, not just our own area---Springdale. It takes a lot of strength to look at how much revenue that you think you are losing. But, I encourage you to be optimistic about Ohio and I encourage you to look at where this revenue is coming from and understand that there will be a tomorrow. I encourage you to look at many of the empty buildings in Springdale and build a vision of what they will look like when there are people in them that have jobs. The State will be helping also with ways to help better control your costs.
I hope you will remain neutral in this matter and see what steps we can take to right-size Ohio and let great things begin to happen here economically. Citizens are actively involved in this and interested. Please call me if you have any questions about the Estate Tax which I can answer for you and thank you for your efforts to keep Springdale a great place to run a business.
Mayor Webster said I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Regenold who is a good corporate citizen. Hes a very generous individual and willing to help with any civic project going on so I have a lot of respect for him and his opinion. However, I do differ with his opinion. I dont think its immoral. I dont think its stealing. I think the estate tax especially, were taxing someone who has died and maybe the tax has already been paid but in our situation weve got a huge number of senior citizens that we are taxed with providing service for. Im not complaining but at the same time, when Maple Knoll came into our city we welcomed them with open arms. We helped them with some bond issues, etc. but that brought with it the ability to provide additional services to that complex. Weve done that and I think weve been compensated over the years. Just to give you some information going back to 2004, it was $1.07 million; 2005 was $1.120 million; 2006 was $953,000, to $1.219 million; $966,000; $540,000 and $626,000 and this year I think we budgeted $500,000. This is a significant amount of Springdales operating budget. I certainly dont feel like were stealing from anybody by asking the government to leave their hands off. They want to take the Local Government Fund tax and that is another issue of $464,000. I read in the paper this morning where they are proposing to only take 25 percent next year and 25 percent the following year and leave us with half of that. Going way back there was a lot of other money coming to us through the Local Government Fund. All that has been choked off and this is whats left, and now they want to cut that in half and take away the estate tax on top of it. I dont know how they expect a city to maintain their service levels. The Local Government Fund money is made up of sales tax and I know Jeffs run some numbers on how much money we generate for the State in sales tax and its an absolute ton of money, a heck of a lot more than the estate tax money I just rattled off to you. We dont get a penny out of the money we generate for the County. The only thing we get is the employment and if someone makes a dollar we get fifteen cents of it. All that money is sent to the State and now the State says we dont have any money to send back to you. Were going to send more money to the State in state income tax. None of that is coming back. Theyre saying were not going to give you anything other than fifty percent of your Local Government Fund money. If anyone is stealing I think its the State of Ohio and not the City of Springdale.
Mrs. Harlow asked if the estate tax is repealed, then there wont be any collected at the State level either, right?
Mayor Webster replied yes, thats my understanding. So with all the budget issues they have in Columbus, they say were going to create more budget issues. And this is going to keep people from moving to Florida. I would ask Governor Kasich and the State legislature to look out their window in the middle of January and then Ill tell you why people are moving to Florida. It has nothing to do with estate tax.
Mr. Vanover said the bigger negative is not the estate tax but the income tax because where a lot of people are moving, not only is it warmer but Florida has no state income tax. This is the worst time for municipalities to see this happen, specifically us, with the current economic status. In this case, Id have to go against my personal feeling and vote on the Citys side.
Mr. Diehl said I tried to read as much as possible about this since you first introduced the resolution two weeks ago. Yesterday I read that we are going to get some money from the casinos if and when they ever open. I have a personal problem with the estate tax. I just dont think its right.
Mr. Galster said just for clarification, Mr. Webster, the City is not taking 15 cents on every dollar. Its just 1.5 percent. I agree that the estate tax is not something Im in favor of. However, the last whereas in this resolution is critical too because we are talking about not supporting any version of a bill that would eliminate these two revenue sources without some provision for replacement. I think thats a key part of this resolution. Fundamentally Im not for the estate tax either but as a member of this City Council and understanding the impact it has on this budget, I hate to think what happens if those dollars went away this year, next year or sometime in the very near future. Should there be some separation between the estate tax and the Local Government Fund that makes it more comfortable to vote for one instead of both. I dont know.
Mrs. Harlow said I also feel the same way Mr. Diehl does on the estate tax but I also know sitting here looking at the budget, not having those funds in our budget would be very detrimental to Springdale. Mr. Regenold also said in his letter that the State would be helping control costs but I would feel more comfortable if they were showing us those ways. At this point in time Im not seeing that coming from our leadership in Columbus.
Mayor Webster said the State is going to pass Senate Bill 5 which eliminates binding arbitration for public safety forces, teachers, etc. They think thats the offset. I think anybody with any brains at all knows, even if they pass that in Columbus, its going to be subject to a referendum in the fall. It may not survive the referendum. Thats a pretty nebulous offset.
Mr. Hawkins stated I have a problem with the estate tax, Mr. Diehl, but like Mr. Galster I have a problem with cuts to the Local Government Fund. The ideal thing would probably be have a forum opposed to repealing the estate tax at this time. However, at some time Id like to see it go but Id like to see some other means to help out local municipalities like ours. Just for clarity, with regard to the amendment, we are striking five words, not four.
Resolution R8-2011 passed with six affirmative votes. Mr. Diehl abstained.
OLD BUSINESS - none
Mrs. McNear said there is a liquor license request for Tan Thai. There were no objections.
Mr. Hawkins began discussion of the Rules of Council changes.
Under Section 30.052 C(1) Mrs. Harlow expressed concern about a Council person having to give an explanation of a conflict of interest.
Mr. Hawkins stated if a Council person isnt sure if there is a conflict he/she could have a brief discussion with other members to help determine if he/she should remove himself/herself.
Mr. Hawkins said in Section (D) Once confidentiality has been released as provided for in this section, all those in attendance shall be released from any confidentiality requirements. Section (E) was added stating Council members not present at Executive Session may be informed of the content of the Executive Session on a confidential basis provided that member has not been precluded from participating in the executive session.
Mr. Hawkins stated in Section 30.053 any elected official may call meetings and provide mailings at his or her own expense at any time. Deleted from the section was if there are no contested seats for any elected office, or Charter amendments on the ballot, the 75-day limitation on special meetings called by elected official and mailings will not apply. That was deleted by committee because you never know if someone is going to do a write-in so we wanted to make sure no elected official was given unfair advantage.
Mr. Hawkins said Section 30.12 (A) has been amended to say Council may instead of hereby determine that it is desirable and authorize the publication of a city newsletter. With the editor of said publication to be the Chairman of the Public Relations Committee has been deleted and The City Administration shall be responsible for such publication has been added.
Mr. Hawkins said three of the five members of the committee thought Section 30.13 Charter Amendment Review Panel should be struck from the document. After extensive discussion the committee could not come to a unanimous decision but it is struck here because three of the five members thought it should be struck and we want Councils input.
There was much discussion about whether to leave this section in. Mr. Galster, Mrs. Emerson and Mr. Hawkins wanted to leave the section in and Mr. Diehl, Mr. Squires, Mr. Vanover and Mrs. Harlow wanted to take it out.
Mr. Diehl suggested sending this back to committee to study. Mrs. Harlow responded I dont have a problem if we can put a time frame on it.
Mr. Galster said since it takes five votes to change the document I dont have a problem making a motion to approve the changes with the exception of Article 30.13.
Mr. Hawkins stated the subcommittee has spent a lot of time on this and effort on this document. I dont think there will be any benefit to bringing it back to the subcommittee. Obviously there is a great deal of concern that has been voiced and was voiced during our subcommittee meeting. Based on where things are with the votes I think right now it would stay in. Im willing to continue to look at that section with Mrs. Emerson and see if we can clear up the language and come back to Council with it.
Mayor Webster said what Im hearing is that each one of these changes takes five votes so since we dont have the five votes to take it out this just stays in.
Mrs. Harlow asked Council, do you want to have the verbiage looked at for a rewrite or leave it as it is?
Mr. Galster said I think it was wordsmithed over and over many years ago over many meetings. I make a motion that we accept the changes as described in Chapter 30 for Rules of Council with the exception of leaving in Article 30.13 Charter Amendment Review Panel unchanged.
Mr. Forbes stated your Council rules have been codified in Chapter 30 of your Codified Ordinances. Any changes that are going to be made have to be done by ordinance. You cannot accept the changes by motion. This motion, like any motion on the floor only takes four votes. That will tell me how to draft the legislation. When Council votes on the legislation, it will take five votes to approve that legislation.
Mr. Galster changed his motion to have legislation brought in to accept the changes as described in Chapter 30 for Rules of Council with the exception of leaving in Article 30.13 Charter Amendment Review Panel unchanged. Mrs. Emerson seconded.
Mrs. Harlow said my goal would be to have all the Rules of Council changes made at one time so we can start using it as a working document. I dont want to see changes brought back in after the ordinance is passed.
The motion passed with five affirmative votes. Mr. Squires and Mr. Vanover voted no.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Planning Commission - April 12
Board of Health - April 14
Board of Zoning Appeals - April 19
Lions Club Pancake Breakfast - March 19
Mrs. Emerson made a motion that Council go into executive session as a committee of the whole to discuss personnel issues. Mr. Hawkins seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
Council went into executive session at 8:58 p.m. and reconvened at 9:48 p.m.
COST CUTTING MEASURES
Mayor Webster said we have analyzed our operation at the Community Center and unfortunately it is a non-essential service. We will have to make some reduction in the hours. We are presently open 95 hours a week. Were going to cut that back to 60 hours a week. We are going to do our best to maintain the service levels and most of the programs that we now offer but there will be some changes. We apologize up front for having to do that but we have to keep the City solvent and this is one of the things were going to do. These changes will not go into effect until June 5. Our goal is to try to get this in the newsletter so there will be a thirty day notice of the changes.
Mr. Parham stated we have supplied you with a list of your suggestions provided earlier. You each provided the Administration with suggested cost cutting measures. We have compiled all of those into one list and in areas where there were duplications, we have consolidated them. During the Administrations process, we tried to address the Council suggestions as we took a look at the Community Center overall. Each of you has a copy of a document that says OP1 that reflects the changes being made to the Centers operations. The hours of operation will be reduced by 35 hours a week. The current hours are Monday thru Thursday 6 am-10 pm; Friday, 6 am to 9 pm; Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm and Sunday, 1 pm to 9 pm for a total of 95 hours per week. The proposed hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 9 am to 8 pm; Friday, 12 noon to 8 pm; Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm and Sunday, closed for a reduction of 35 hours. The cost savings identified here does not take into effect any utilities, supplies, etc. It is strictly personnel related reductions. If you reflect back to the 2011 budget, 76 percent of the General Fund budget is made up of personnel related items. Some departments are higher than 76 percent. The overall savings with the reduction of 35 hours is $55,952.
The City workforce has ten holidays. One is a floating holiday and one is the employees birthday holiday. The other eight days the Municipal Building and Public Works Department are closed. Currently, the Community Center remains open on five of those holidays. By closing the center on these five holidays, the cost for a skeleton staff of a supervisor, customer service person/secretary, custodian and fitness instructor will save us $1,543.
Mr. Galster asked why opening later on Friday as opposed to the rest of the week?
Mr. Parham replied that on the list of suggestions, one member suggested staggered hours of operation. So this would address that suggestion. The other was quite frankly because it provided an opportunity to reduce hours. When I first began to meet with Mr. Karle, his initial proposal was to reduce the center hours two hours on the front end and one hour on the back end. As our revenues continued to decline, we felt we needed to make more drastic cuts at the center. My first response had the center closing at 7 pm. He wanted to make sure we stayed open until 8 pm because there are a number of meetings scheduled in the evening and a number of individuals who may go home after work and then come to the center. There are also classes that go a little later than 7 pm.
Mr. Galster said if we didnt open until noon on some other days maybe we could turn some of those hours into Sunday when the majority of the people who work in this community are off and able to enjoy the facility.
Mr. Parham stated one of the early options we gave Mr. Karle was to choose what day the center would be closed if necessary. He first thought about Thursday but decided that Sunday would be the best day. We also looked at two staggered days. During the warm days of the year fewer people use the indoor facilities. Then as we began to think about it, we decided it probably was not a good idea because people would be trying to guess what time the center was open on the staggered hours. When we looked at the activities for Friday morning, there was boot camp at 6 am, a program at 11 am and one program between 6-7 pm.
Mayor Webster said I dont care when we close its going to be inconvenient for someone. When you look at the usage on all seven days, its pretty clear that the two least used days are Saturday and Sunday, and Sunday is less than Saturday. My concern about closing on Sunday is that we do have a substantial number of people who rent rooms for parties and a lot of those people are people who do not normally use the center. Ive asked Derrick and Greg to try to put something together that is cost neutral to the City. The party has to stand on its own.
Mr. Galster said maybe we could have a late opening on another day and could be open three hours on Sunday. Maybe the amount of usage in those three hours would be significant.
Mr. Parham reported we are eliminating the weed and feed program for Glenview Park, the Police department, the Fire department and the Community Center. We dont believe we will be inundated with dandelions, crab grass, etc. We are also eliminating the laser grading of field #4, however, we will retain $1,000 to handle any minor field preparation, play surface (wood chips) and tree removal. We will discontinue portable restrooms in neighborhood parks (Ross, Beacon Hill and Cameron) between March and October for a savings of $3,500.
Mr. Galster said we are able to do most of the games at the Community Center most of the time. I believe Ross Park is used as the main overflow in the spring and when theyre playing there, I think we have an obligation to provide a restroom facility.
Mayor Webster said the three parks mentioned are used two months a year for games and practices. Right now were providing portalets seven months a year at $3,500.
Mr. Parham indicated that it is his understanding that all three parks are being used for practicing and playing during the Spring.
Mayor Webster said well take that schedule into consideration.
Mr. Parham reported the Community Centers travel budget is being cut by $700. The City is not paying for conferences or training unless it is for certification.
Mr. Parham said the Fun Guide and other printed material will be cut. We have decided to add four additional pages to the April only City-wide newsletter at a cost of $2,500 to primarily cover the aquatics scheduled events and other spring activities. We will put that information on the website and if someone wishes to receive information from us, they can provide us with their e-mail address. We are not going to send out a Fun Guide because that information is on the website. The current budget for promotional items is $9,000. Their cost for the four pages is $2,500 so the savings is $5,500.
Mr. Parham stated the Capital Budget for the center is currently $7,500 to replace equipment. We are leaving $1,500 in the budget and will look at items on a case by case basis. We will purchase items such as baseballs, basketballs, soccer balls and volleyballs on an as-needed basis.
Mr. Parham said as previously discussed the $5,000 subsidy for the Senior Program has been cut. The seniors planned their trips and made the arrangements. We just wrote the check and paid the bus company to cover their transportation. You should have received a copy of the letter that I sent them, the swim team, the local Chamber and the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. I received a call from the lady representing the partnership with the Greater Cincinnati Chamber to let me know they are appreciative for the contributions that the City has made for well over twenty years. They clearly understand and they said they are more than willing to continue working with us.
Mr. Parham stated there are a number of programs that the senior programmer puts on right now that in the future will not be a part of the program. Instead of having a budget of $5,000 to plan activities, the person will now have a budget of $4,000. We have been very successful in getting a number of organizations to sponsor lunches and other programs for the seniors. We are modifying the community yard sale program for 2011. This year, instead of the program where the City rents booths and provides a centralized location for residents to bring their goods, the City will have a day in which we promote and advertise for a city-wide garage sale. Under this new program, the residents will place their items out for the general public to drive by and make a purchase. The City will no longer host the event at the Community Center. In addition, the junior Olympics program and Halloween carnival have been eliminated. A year ago, the Bergman Group donated some funds to the City and those funds were used to pay for the expenses of the 2010 Junior Olympics. If we receive funding this year from outside sources, well put on the programs. If not, the programs are scheduled to be eliminated.
Mayor Webster stated we certainly will be looking for outside funding for the Halloween carnival and Junior Olympics.
Mr. Galster asked do we have an idea what the Junior Olympics and/or carnival cost?
Mayor Webster replied we have asked them to pare down the Junior Olympics. Right now it is too much money to ask anybody to underwrite because of the rewards we give away. I think that came about because we had a sponsor for years. The goal is to pare it down to $400 to $600 and then I think we can get some sponsors.
Mr. Parham said there are some personnel costs but I think the majority of the cost is for prizes. There was a suggestion that we look at sponsors. Thats a rather slippery slope to start. Because we are a regulatory agency we dont want to get in the business of soliciting funds from those we regulate. We dont want someone to feel compelled to give and we dont want someone to give thinking it would get them out of something or get them something. Maybe for these types of activities, individuals can donate to the boosters and implement the programs through that manner.
Mr. Parham said the subsidy for the swim team has been eliminated. The budget is being reduced for the replacement of worn and damaged pool chairs and tables to $500. In addition, normally when the children return to school, the pool cease operating during the middle of the week and is only open on the weekends. This year, the plan is to close the pool on that last weekend prior to school beginning. This means that the last day for the pool is the Sunday before school starts which is August 14. We also will eliminate the two teen nights, Ladies Day at the Pool and 123 swim. Teen nights are held on Friday nights and the personnel who work are a supervisor, teen advisor and formerly park patrol. We will not have the park patrol positions anymore. If its the teen night (swimming event), then the savings reflect 7 lifeguards and the savings is $780.
Mr. Parham said the City will discontinue operating the concession stand at the pool and offer that to the swim team. It costs more to operate than the revenue generated. The swim team has an interest in operating the concession stand on a limited basis and with limited menu items. This is a savings of $9,800 to the City.
Mr. Galster said I dont understand the savings of $9,800. We had an expense but we also had revenue so in 2009 we had an actual lost of $2,100. Last year we had a lost of $526 and we would eliminate the loss but where is the revenue coming from to make this such a big savings. If our expenditures in 2010 were $7,000 and we made $6,500, our loss would be $500, not $7,000.
Mr. Parham stated $9,800 is what was budgeted and no we do not reflect the revenue to offset it.
Mr. Parham stated the grand total savings with perhaps some adjustments as Mr. Galster showed in the last one is $203,000. This is the first department that we have begun to take a very hard, sharpening the pencils look at. Some of the other departments have already experienced losses through personnel. The 2011 budget says we will have nineteen positions vacant. We have actually decided not to fill a couple other positions that we were originally going to fill. For example, we are going to fill only two of four maintenance worker positions in Public Works. There are other things we are looking at to try to identify savings because as we look at the projection on the five-year budget as well as the 2011 budget, the initial draft identified $933,000 at the end of this year. After we made some adjustments we were able to get it to $1.5 million. Towards the end of the year we begin to cut back on expenditures and that generates some savings. We were also fortunate enough to receive more revenues this year than we projected, but it does not mean were out of the water. We still have the threats of jobs that may be leaving our city as well as the resolution that was passed this evening concerning the Local Government Fund the Governor is proposing to eliminate.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE
Mrs. Weiscup said I just wanted to clarify that we are using the outlying fields because they have to be different sizes for the different levels of sports. Right now we only have the teams for Beacon Hills, Ross and Cameron Parks. In the fall we practice on the outlying fields but we dont play on them. We had looked at other communities to see if they offer the portalets. Some do and some dont.
Mayor Webster said I also talked to Mr. Karle today and his observation is about 50/50.
Mrs. Weiscup responded most of the fields that were questioned have a building facility like we have at the Community Center. They dont have portalets.
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Temporary Banner Ordinance - April 6
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Dogs in Public Parks - April 6
Rules and Laws changes - April 6
Council adjourned at 10:41 p.m.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Marjorie Harlow, President of Council