President of Council Kathy McNear called Council to order on April 3, 2002, at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance.
Mr. Knox took roll call. Present were Council members Danbury, Galster, Pollitt, Squires, Vanover, Wilson and McNear.
The minutes of March 20, 2002 were approved with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Knox read part of a letter from Time Warner Cable. It said, "As you may be aware, on March 14 of this year, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Declaratory Ruling And Notice Of Proposed Rule Making, finding that cable modem services, for example, Roadrunner, are for regulatory purposes and interstate information service and not a cable service. Given that finding the FCC further concluded that revenue from cable modem service is not revenue from the provision of cable services and, therefore, should not be included in the gross revenue on which franchise fees are based." I think we agree that that is a reasonable position.
The last paragraph says, "We believe the elimination of the franchise fee on cable modem service is the appropriate course in light of the FCCís order. As a result, the elimination of the franchise fee, our cable modem customers will actually see a reduction in their monthly bills for this service. The reduction will be approximately $2 per month per household. Time Warner Cable will not see any financial benefit from the elimination of the franchise fee." To answer the question that is on everyoneís mind, how much will that cost the City? The answer, given last yearís figures, the revenue will be reduced by $8,429,32. ICRC gets a large portion of that so really the amount is approximately $4,200 less in revenue.
Mr. Knox stated the second letter is to Mayor Webster and it says, "Thank you for your recent letter recommending Joseph Gratton, who is seeking nomination to the United States Military Academy. Iím pleased to have Joe among our perspective applicants. He appears to be an excellent candidate and the information provided will be helpful as selections are made for the academy nominations. You may be assured that he will receive every consideration. Again, thank you for writing. Rob Portman, member of the House of Representatives."
Mayor Webster said getting back to the Warner Cable letter, the thing I kept looking for in that letter is some reference as to what they are going to do about what they have already paid us.
Mr. Knox replied I talked to Pam McDonald, who provided us the figures. She gave no indication that they are going to ask for any rebate. This is the end of a quarter, which is their normal pay period. They will just leave it the way it is and starting in April they will reduce the fees. The residents will pay less money and we will receive less.
Mayor Webster said I received a letter dated April 2. It says, "On February 13, 2002, Anthony Peterson with the threat of a gun, robbed Provident Bankís Tri-County Branch. On February 19, 2002 Hans Westrich with the threat of a gun, robbed Provident Bankís Tri-County Branch. In both incidents Springdale Police responded. Their conduct was professional and sensitive. The bank employees were in a very emotional state. The police officers took control of the scene. Within minutes of their arrival they gathered and processed the evidence. In both incidents, within a few minutes arrests were made. Hans Westrich and Anthony Peterson are very dangerous career criminals. They are responsible for several bank robberies in the greater Cincinnati area. Because of the excellent investigation of Springdale Police these offenders have been removed from the streets of greater Cincinnati. Their arrests bring a sense of comfort to the victim tellers. There are many members of the Springdale Police Department involved in the investigation and arrest. Provident Bank thanks and commends the Springdale Police Department, especially Police Officers Michelle Witte, Jeff Peck, Detectives Joe Warren, Greg French, James Grindle, Jerrod Livermore, Lieutenants Mike Mathis, Richard Newmann and Bill Fields. Please thank these officers on behalf of the Provident Bank. We thank God we have these officers serving and protecting our community. We pray for their safety. Thanks, Chuck Kreimer, Investigator, Provident Bank.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
RESOLUTION R10-2002 "COMMENDING RANDY HORMANN FOR HIS DEDICATION AND SERVICE TO THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE"
Mr. Danbury made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Mr. Danbury said Iíve known Randy for a long time. He and his family have been a fixture in Springdale for many years. Recently Randy was the assistant fire marshal for the Olympics. The thing that really impressed me about Randy is that we have had a number of young men and women who have come through our chambers picking up awards. We actually had to build another trophy case to put all their awards in. The only person who was actually dedicated was Mr. Hormann. He said there were about 15 people who went through his program who went on to become firefighters. A lot became successful in other endeavors. I know everybody appreciated all his effort. I know the City does and I do.
Mayor Webster said Iíve also known Randy for a long time. I guess he gets it naturally as he comes from a family of volunteers. His mother and father, Charlie and Marilyn, volunteered for many years at FRYS. Itís not surprising that their son, Randy, gave very unselfishly of his time for the many years he ran the Explorer Program. His brother and sister-in-law also have given of their time and effort to make this a better place to live. This is why I personally think this is one of the greatest places on the face of the earth to raise a family and itís through the efforts of people like the Hormanns.
Mr. Vanover and Ms. Pollitt expressed their thanks for Mr. Hormann and his family and their contributions to Springdale.
Resolution R10-2002 passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Hormann said seventeen years ago when I joined the Fire Department I never planned on having the successes I have had. When then Mayor Vern French and the Fire Chief approached me and said they wanted to have a Fire Explorer Post in the City I said okay. It took about a year to put the program together. I met with Mr. Osborn on some administrative issues. Ten years later, due to restraints and changes in the Fire Department, we agreed it was time for the Explorer Program to be retired. I didnít plan on all the recognition and all the awards. Itís just that I like to do things right. I joined the Boy Scouts, became an Eagle Scout, put together an exploring program that became number one in the country. I became a fire inspector so now I work for the State Fire Marshal. The City of Springdale and everybody up here has been very supportive of the Fire Department, the programs Iíve put together and anything my family has been involved with. I wish all of you well. Thank you.
Mayor Webster presented Mr. Hormann with the resolution.
Mr. Knox said this evening Jeff Williams, our Finance Officer and Tax Commissioner is going to be receiving a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the Comprehensive Financial Report for the Year Ending December 31, 2000. Mr. Williams today celebrated his second anniversary with the City. To receive an award this early on is rather unique. This is the first year that a city the size of Springdale has been required to submit for this award. I should give some credit to Mrs. Burton, who did quite a bit of work beforehand, but Jeff ran with it and did a fine job. I would like to introduce Mrs. Lois Reynolds, Government Finance Officers Association State Representative, who will be making the presentation.
Lois Reynolds said I am a member of the Board of Directors at the Ohio GFOA and member of the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. Iím honored to be invited here tonight to present the City of Springdale with their very first Comprehensive Annual Financial Reporting Award. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. Attaining this award is quite an achievement. In order to earn the certificate the Cityís Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) has to meet the high standards of the GFOA certificate program. The certificate program encourages completeness and clarity in reporting as well as the use of standardized reporting principals. In order to achieve the certificate a report must fully and clearly convey the Cityís financial story. Those reports that meet all the criteria and receive a unanimous vote of the committee receive the certificate. Some of the criteria that must be met are: it must include all the activities of the City, it must be independently audited in accordance with generally accepted accounting and auditing standards, it must demonstrate an effort to clearly communicate the financial story of the City, and it must provide full financial disclosure to the individual fund level. The report must use certain standardized terminology and formatting and must be written with a minimum of ambiguities and must be published in a timely manner. By meeting the standards of the program the CAFR should be a more useful and understandable tool for the Cityís residents, the media and others who have a vital interest in the City of Springdale. Reports receiving a certificate of achievement also provide detailed information for the bond market, potential investors and others so they may assess the credit worthiness of your government. Only 3,000 of the approximately 82,000 governmental entities in the United States were awarded the certificate in 2000 and only 230 of those entities were in the State of Ohio.
Ms. Reynolds presented the plaque to Mayor Webster, Mr. Knox and Mr. Williams.
Mayor Webster said it seems like we certainly do get a lot of praise for our public safety forces, rightfully so; but this just goes to show that we have real quality non-uniformed people in the City. Jeff and his staff certainly exemplify that. Coming from the financial world, I can appreciate the effort these folks put in to attain this. On behalf of the City, Jeff, thank you very much.
Mr. Williams said I would like to thank the other members of the Finance Department; Marty Holden and Cindy Miller.
Presentation Ė Hamilton County Parks Levy - Al Winstel
Mr. Knox stated Mr. Al Winstel of the Hamilton County Park District has requested time this evening to discuss with Council to let people know about the proposed park levy that is coming up.
Mr. Winstel said we are passing out the Visitor Guide for this year and Evergeen. There is also a fact sheet on the levy. The last County park levy was passed in 1988 and it was a 1 mil levy. Once a levy is passed you still pay the same amount of money for years. We are hoping for an inflation correction that will allow us to work for clean parks and also continue with an increase in visitor services, new facilities. We have acquired 4,000 acres. The new levy set-up allows more partnering with other organizations and for spending money on projects that go along with our mission statement but are not in the County parks, such as combined projects with other park systems or bike trails, etc. The levy will be May 7 and the increase for a $100,000 homeowner would be about $12.
Mayor Webster said I appreciate the park system that we have. I think it enhances the quality of life and goes well with the things we try to do here. You guys do a wonderful job.
Mr. Vanover said last year in Sharon Woods they sacrificed a couple of softball fields and set up soccer fields. There were not many nights that those fields sat empty.
Mr. Danbury said I will support any levy you put before us. It enhances the quality of life for everybody.
Mr. Squires said I hope the people of Hamilton County never take these parks for granted. Weíre unique. There are very few cities that can boast of a park system like this.
Mr. Galster said the original levy came up in 1988 and expires in 2003. This levy will be a replacement for the one that is expiring plus a little bit additional. I think itís important that we support it.
ORDINANCE NO. 15-2002 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH SCHAEFER & BUSBY, INC. TO PROVIDE MORTUARY AND FUNERAL SERVICES TO INDIGENT PERSONS, WHO PASS AWAY IN THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Mr. Wilson asked if the people are put in a casket or cremated and Mr. Osborn replied they are buried.
Ordinance 15-2002 passed with seven affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 19-2002 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO APPROVE A CHANGE ORDER IN THE AMOUNT OF $23,965.73 TO INCREASE THE CONTRACT OF TREND CONSTRUCTION FOR THE WALNUT AND PEAR STREET IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Ms. Pollitt seconded.
Mr. Osborn said I reviewed this briefly at the last meeting and I just want to give you a little more detail. The additional costs on this project related to soft material that was found in the field. We had to replace the sub-base with a compacted material. There were also additional waterworks costs that surfaced very early in this project. Finally, when we originally budgeted this project nearly two years ago, in the interim we experienced a significant increase in petroleum costs which affected asphalt prices.
Mr. Osborn said I mentioned at the last meeting that we might have to do a change order on the street program for $18,000. I received the paperwork that afternoon and brought it with me that night. On the cover of the change order it said $18,000, but when you read into the text, it was obviously a credit.
Mr. Osborn said the best one was East Kemper Road Phase I. We contracted out at $1,690,000. The project was brought in at $1,631,737 for a net reduction in cost of $58,322.
Ordinance 19-2002 passed with seven affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION R11-2002 "COMMENDING MAPLE KNOLL VILLAGE ON THE OCCASION OF ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF INVOLVEMENT IN COMMUNITY SERVICE AND DEDICATION TO THE BETTERMENT OF THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE"
Mr. Danbury made a motion to adopt and Ms. Pollitt seconded.
Mayor Webster stated I think all of you have received an invitation for the ceremonies that will be taking place on April 11. Unfortunately I cannot be there to present this resolution but Mrs. McNear will fill in for me. I canít say enough about what Maple Knoll means to the City. It is one of the crown jewels of this community and has been from Day One. We have had an excellent relationship with everyone there. We appreciate what they offer the community and they, in turn, appreciate the support we have given them over the years. I just hope that they continue and have another great twenty-five years.
Ms. Pollitt said itís amazing where they started and where they have come. They certainly deserve this resolution.
Mr. Danbury said I was just thinking how fortunate we are to sit up here. Last meeting we were commending our police officers and the citizens who get involved. Tonight we had a volunteer firefighter and Mr. Williams. And the Mayor is right. This is a crown jewel.
Resolution R1ó2002 passed with seven affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION R12-2002 "PLEDGING COOPERATION WITH THE VILLAGE OF GLENDALE FOR THE SHARON ROAD/SR 4 INTERSECTION IMPROVEMENT PROJECT"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded.
Mr. Osborn said twice in the past we have applied for Municipal Road Fund and LTIP money to do this project. Both times the project has been rejected, primarily because of the competition for LTIP funding and the size of this project. We were approached by the County Engineer a few weeks ago with a proposal that, because they had some funding available this year, they fund the entire project from the Municipal Road Fund. We certainly agreed to that proposal. They have also provided enough funding that they can pick up the cost of the engineering. Previously, we had budgeted this project with the engineering being local and paid for by Springdale. In this case, the $26,500 in professional fees and engineering costs will be funded and virtually all the construction. The total cost of the project will be $247,235. The amount of money available through the County is $243,950. There is a shortfall of $3.285, which we indicated we would absorb because we have the lionís share of this project in Springdale. We would appreciate Councilís favorable consideration of this resolution. It will be presented to Glendaleís Council at their upcoming meeting. There will be some right-of-way acquisition that weíll have to do at the corner.
Resolution R12-2002 passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Knox stated I have been contacted by Barbara Wiethe, representing the Taj Mahal Restaurant again. Apparently they have run into the same impasse that we saw two years ago when Nathan Gordon appeared before us. The Ohio Liquor Department wonít move on that application unless the City of Springdale moves first. Two years ago by consensus of Council by vote, we sent a letter to the people in Reynoldsburg in relation to Costco. Ms. Wiethe is asking us to send the same letter for Taj Mahal so they can get that moving. The letter says that although weíre not in favor of this happening, we are not opposed to this occurring in this specific case.
Mr. Galster made a motion that Council draft a letter similar to the Costco letter in reference to the Taj Mahal. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Osborn said the first item I have is a grant application under the 2002 Ohio Bicentennial Legacy Tree Program. As you know we have the streetscape project coming up this summer. As part of that project we will be planting 62 two and a half inch caliper street trees along Springfield Pike. The varieties will be Autumn Purple Ash and Cleveland Select Pears. The estimated costs for these trees and their installation is $24,800. We would like to make an application under the program I cited above for 50 percent of that cost. As a result we are requesting a resolution from Council at the next meeting.
Mr. Osborn said I would also like to ask Council to entertain a resolution in support of a grant application which we had to file as of Monday to meet the deadline. Some of you attended the creek walk we did along Beaver Run. We identified a number of things that could be done along that stream to improve not only water quality, but threats of erosion to private property, etc. We have engaged BHE Environmental Engineering to look at the project. We intend to explore opportunities in Chamberlain Park where we could use environmentally sensitive techniques to improve the stream itself. The title of the program is the Beaver Run Riparian Corridor Restoration Project. Itís for bank stabilization, widening the flood channel in the creek and efforts to prevent erosion in the area of residential property, reduce the velocity of the stream through that secondary tributary that comes into the creek under I-275. We are making application under is the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund. The project cost has been estimated at $319,921. We are requesting $208,821 from the Clean Ohio Program and we are showing in-kind costs of $51,100. These would include administrative costs to education programs. We also have local expenses of $60,000. I propose that we take this money out of the Cityís Urban Forestry Program. The money for that program comes to us from developers who are not able to totally comply with our tree replacement program. As an alternative they are allowed to make a contribution to the Urban Forestry Program based on a caliper inch ratio. I think we can do this project without any general fund money. We can do it using money from developers as our local match. I think the irony is appropriate because it is the additional run-off from all the development in the City that has increased the velocity of the stream and expedited the erosion. This work will all be contained in Chamberlain Park and will involve that tributary coming from the south under I-275 where we have very deep erosion. That has cut down through fill material from the expressway to the point that it is probably forty feet deep from the bank at the former tennis court area of the park. This project will install some concrete structure at the outflow of the big pipe coming under the expressway that will slow down the velocity of the water coming through. It will create a pool below that structure. This tributary comes in at more than a 90o angle upstream. Every time we have a heavy flow we are getting incredible volume and velocity up against that north bank. The gabions are holding out okay but just beyond the gabions we are seeing the bank wash away. We will be benching back the creek on the south side of the park property to widen the floodway and to slow down the velocity of the water, and in addition, doing the bank stabilization and protection on the residential side.
Mr. Parham said once again we are drawing close to the end of the health insurance contract year. It expires the last day of April. Unfortunately the contract year of 2001 was not a very good one for the City. For the second time since Iíve been here we have reached our attachment point, in the $600,000 range. We spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $734,000 for health insurance claims. We had a number of situations that contributed to that. A year ago we were at a limit of $25,000 and we requested we move up to the $30,000 number to benefit from some savings because at that time the market was rising. This time we received proposals at levels of $30,000 and $35,000. At the $35,000 level we would still experience at 23% increase. At the $30,000 we would probably experience at 35-40% increase. I would recommend that we stay at the 30% level because you will continue to climb and you will be self-funded because the numbers will be impossible for you to reach. The insurance market is extremely hard these days. We are seeing the same thing when we look at our property and casualty insurance programs. Even with good years they are increasing because the insurance market used to receive their dollars off of investments and we all know the market situation these days. They have to recoup those funds in other ways and incidents such as 9/11 did not help. On top of that we have a maturing population. Those factors contribute to the increase. I would like to request an ordinance for stop-loss coverage at the next meeting as well as administrative coverage for the new contract years of 2002 and 2003. They are proposing a 50 cents to $1 increase for claims administration. Two years ago we added the HIPA Program. If an employee leaves, our third party administrator must send them a certificate to verify that they had insurance coverage at their previous employee. They would charge us $2 for each of those. Since sometimes our employeesí dependents fall off the system for a brief period of time while they are getting enrolled back into college, we donít want to be dinged for those and then have them added back on so they proposed to charge 30 cents per employee per month. Those will be the only increases from the administrative side. The increase for stop-loss coverage will be substantial.
Mr. Wilson said in defense of my industry, insurance companies are not non-profit organizations. I ask my customers do you want the cheapest insurance or the best? Costs go up and insurance companies have to pay those costs. Until we can regulate how much a doctor charges, how much a dentist charges, how much the body repairman charges, and the hospitals our charges are going to go up concurrently.
Mr. Osborn said the insurance market cycles considerably. There are hard markets and soft markets. We were fortunate that in the mid 90s we had a soft market. Around 1980 it was a hard market and we could not get anybody to write insurance for us. Thatís why we created the insurance trust fund. That was a motivation to put us in the self-funded program we are in right now. Over its life it has really paid dividends to the City so I donít think we have to be alarmed that we are getting a pretty big bump right now. It will come around to our advantage again.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Planning Commission - April 9
Board of Health - April 11
Board of Zoning Appeals - April 16
Chamber Meeting - April 16
Finance Committee - April 17
Opening Day Parade - April 20
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
Mr. Danbury made a motion that Council go into executive session as a committee of the whole to discuss possible real estate matters and possible litigation. Mr. Galster seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
Council went into executive session at 8:15 p.m. Council resumed at 9:14 p.m. .
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Renewing Contract with TEC Engineering - April 17
TIF for Pictoria Island - open
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Resolution for Grant fund for 2002 Ohio Legacy Tree Planting Grant - April 17
Resolution in support of grant application for Beaver
Run Riparian Corridor Restoration Project - April 17
Stop Loss Coverage for 2002-2003 - April 17
Claims Administration 2002-2003 - April 17
Council adjourned at 9:16 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Kathy McNear, President of Council