President of Council Kathy McNear called Council to order on April 19, 2000, at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance. Mr. Knox gave the invocation.
Mr. Knox took roll call. Present were Council members Danbury, Squires, Vanover, Wilson and McNear. Mr. Galster and Ms. Pollitt were absent.
The minutes of April 5, 2000 were approved with five affirmative votes.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
Charter Revision - no report
Civil Service Ė Mr. Vanover reported that a letter was sent to Mr. Parham certifying the next ten candidates for the position of violations bureau clerk; also certifying two candidates for the position of lieutenant; three for sergeant and also certifying the next three eligible names for the position of violations bureau clerk at the Police Department.
Rules and Laws - no report
Public Relations - no report
Public Health, Safety & Welfare - no report
Public Works Ė Mr. Wilson stated that on the 2000 street program, the project design is complete and has been advertised for contractor bids on April 11. The bids will be open April 25, contractor awarded May 3. If the bids are receptive we need to introduce legislation on May 3; start construction late May and complete construction on September 15.
Public Utilities - no report
Capital Improvements Ė Mr. Danbury said the SR 747 CSX grade separation construction right-of-way plans are in the process of being finalized for submittal by ODOT. The review will end in June 2000. Some of the aesthetic features being investigated are form lining to create patterns in the retaining wall, landscaping, decorative handrails. Utility relocation will be in the fall of next year and completion in 2003. SR 747/East Kemper Road improvements right-of-way negotiations are continuing and Cinergy has completed the overhead work for some of the lines and gas work is 90% complete. That will start this fall and will hopefully be completed early next year. The Community Center expansion continues with masonry, painting, drywall, sprinkler piping, interior remodeling of the existing locker rooms lobby and the new pool locker rooms are 95% complete. The last item was the Walnut/Pear Street improvements that are currently under design. A plan was reviewed by the staff and reflecting comments from this review are in the process of being developed for consideration by both City staff and Springdale Elementary School staff.
Finance Committee - no report
Planning Commission Ė Mr. Vanover reported that they met April 11. Loweís asked for the approval of a 60í x 60í display center in the parking lot. That was denied 7-0. Chi Chiís asked for approval of an exterior change. There was no representative present so that was tabled. Final approval of Sofa Express became a revised preliminary plan and that was approved 7-0 with them coming back for final plan approval next month. There was a minor modification of the approved PUD plan for Costco. They wanted to change the exterior building material and that was denied 7-0. A Zoning Code amendment to add a title for restrictions on parking on unimproved surfaces was approved 7-0 and forwarded to Council. There was discussion on the City of Springdale Comprehensive Plan and that was recommended to Council 7-0. You should have the booklet in your folder and at Councilís wishes we will schedule a work session with Ms. McBride. Discussion of buffer lighting zones will be held at the next meeting.
Board of Zoning Appeals Ė Mr. Squires said Mr. Murdock, 12172 Greencastle Drive had been approved for an oversized shed in 1999 but no construction was begun in six months. He asked that an extension be given and it was granted 6-0. Ronald and Linda Suermann, 12015 Norwell Court asked for a second accessory building of 200í. After considerable discussion the variance was allowed. The accessory building is not going to be visible to any neighbors.
Board of Health - no report
O-K-I - no report
Mayorís Report Ė Mayor Webster stated that there were 22 requests last month for a debris removal truck and 20 so far this month. We have had several sitings of coyotes in the same areas we had them before. We have engaged the services of a new animal control officer and we will be getting letters out to all of the adjoining property owners reminding them to keep their pets out of there and not allow their kids to walk through the woods. We would like the opportunity to talk to Council about the Councilmatic district maps. You got some correspondence from the Board of Elections and a letter from Cecil on that topic. Itís pretty important to the City and our voters that we take a look at that.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director Ė Mr. Knox said the resolution opposing the constitutional amendment on taxes has been mailed to all the local and surrounding members of the legislature plus the surrounding cities and candidates for the Ohio house. This evening we will be considering Resolution 8-2000 which has to do with amending the $1,000 to $3,000. Iíd like the permission of Council to get with Mr. Osborn and figure out the best mailing list to use. The Finance Committee approved the request for proposal for a two year contract that has to do with the Cityís finances and public depository. They were mailed today with a return deadline of May 19.
Administratorís Report Ė Mr. Osborn said as we were putting the 2000 budget together we normally get the submissions from each department. I review those issues and if Iím cutting something out of the budget I review it with the department director. In the five year budgetary process we had discussions with the Fire Department about having a staff vehicle added to the fleet and removing the sedan that the Fire Chief uses for transportation associated with his duties. We will replace that with a Ford expedition or something of that size depending on the state bid this year. Although we discussed it at the five year budget level, somewhere between his office and my office a third page to his budget became separated and never got to my office. While I didnít ax it out of his budget, it was never put in the budget. We would like to request Councilís permission to add the purchase of a staff vehicle for the Fire Department. The estimated cost of the vehicle is $26,653. It will have several functions. It will serve as a mobile command post. If you are familiar with how the Fire Department operates, they establish an instant command post. Right now itís the hood or trunk of the Fire Chiefís car. Weíd like to get a little more sophisticated and have a vehicle that would have additional radio equipment for communications, a computer that has our pre-planning for various major facilities in the City. It would also store maps and other sources of information that would be helpful under those types of circumstances. It would also have a monitor for our thermal imaging unit purchased late last year; and in other circumstances it could also be used as an auxiliary EMS vehicle. It hasnít happened recently but when we had the blizzard in the 70s we couldnít get ambulances out because they physically couldnít get through. We believe this vehicle would allow us to get where an ambulance might otherwise not be able to go. We ask Councilís forbearance and that you allow us to add this into the budget. Had it not be inadvertently left off it would have been a recommendation when we put the budget together. We would like legislation at the next meeting.
The Princeton Community Band is being established in the Princeton Community. The group is being organized by Sandy Taylor. The first meeting of the community band will be May 9 at the Princeton Jr. High School and the band is scheduled to meet the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 7 p.m. We are very supportive of this effort. The Community Center staff is giving any assistance we can to help them get organized. We would like to see a community band that we could perhaps involve in our concert series and parades. Itís very difficult during some periods of the year to get a high school band to participate because they are out of school. This would give our residents an opportunity to participate as a musician in a more informal situation than an organized band at the high school or college level. The intent is to attract adults who have an interest in music and maybe participated in bands in high school and college. We encourage anyone who has an interest to call Sandy Taylor at 742-2425. We will also put this announcement on our web site.
The City has been experiencing a situation where an individual has been putting leaflets on mailboxes indicating that he will be coming around painting numbers on the curb in reflective paint. The person doing this is doing it illegally. He does not have a permit to do it. Some of the addresses already painted on the curb are incorrect addresses and thatís worse than not having any at all. We have issued a citation to the individual. Anybody being solicited to have the number painted on the curb should use his/her own discretion but I would suggest that you avoid doing it. The City does this periodically. We donít feel it is necessary for a private service to come into the City and right now that individual doesnít have permission to do what he is doing. We are trying to corral this guy and get him out of town. We cited him this morning and later in the day I heard radio traffic where they had to go get him in another part of town.
There has been some visibility in the press on the state annexation law. There have been ongoing negotiations for about the past year or so between the Ohio Municipal League and the Township Trustees Association trying to negotiate a settlement on the issue of an annexation bill. The Municipal League and Trustees Association did negotiate in good faith for quite some time. They are at an impasse on two issues but felt they had made great headway on other previously difficult points so they went to the State Senate and said this is as good as we can get. The Municipal League adopted a resolution at their board meeting on April 13 and Iíd like to read it:
"The Ohio Municipal League Board of Trustees has reviewed the substantive provisions of Senate Bill 289. While many of these provisions reflect the Leagueís good faith efforts to negotiate with the Ohio Township Association towards a workable and fair bill, there are still key issues reflected in Senate Bill 289 that render the bill both unworkable and unfair to municipal interests. The thrust of the negotiations requested by Senate leadership was to create a bill that as a package was acceptable to both the league and the Township Association. Senate Bill 289 fails to accomplish that goal in two critical provisions; specifically, 1) the provision which places the outside marker for concern for all annexations at Ĺ mile, and 2) the overly generous schedule of payments to be made as reparations to townships on all annexations withdrawn from those townships. These critical provisions so damage the leagueís view of this proposal as to make less attractive much of that which could be useful in the rest of the bill if given the proper context of compromise. Therefore, itís the leagueís position to oppose the bill in the form it was introduced in that it is both desirable and necessary for the league to continue its efforts towards fashioning a bill that is acceptable to all parties. We consider our strong opposition to the bill as introduced as an invitation to continue working toward an acceptable solution, not as an abandonment on our part on a commitment to meaningful annexation reform. We believe this position is in the best interest of all the people of Ohio, no matter where they live."
We have also from time to time over the past few months been solicited by another group called Ohio Cities for Equitable Annexation. Itís a group that has a taken a more aggressive posture than the Municipal League. The Mayor and I have chosen not to take sides between the Municipal League and this group. We really felt the Municipal League was advancing the general interest of municipalities and at this point, that is where we are still. We think the Municipal League is taking opposition to a bill presently before the Senate and as we see additional information come forward regarding that bill, we will bring it to your attention. It is anticipated that testimony from opponents of the bill will probably be scheduled in May and Iím sure weíll hear more from the Ohio Municipal League at that time.
Mayor Webster said you canít get either of these groups to own up to the fact that the municipal taxation is used as leverage. If you read the paper it tells you that it certainly is. If the Township Association would get their way on these critical points, the taxation issue would go away, but you donít ever see that as part of the bill. Thatís the other reason we have taken such a keen interest in this.
Mrs. McNear asked do you have to be a resident of Springdale to be in the Community Band?
Mr. Osborn replied they are hoping to draw the support from the communities within the Princeton School District. I donít know if they have any other limitations. With the resources at the Jr. High that seemed to be the best focal point. You could draw from a bigger pool of talent and the School District is going to give them some space to store equipment.
Community Center Update - no report
Law Directorís Report - no report
Engineerís Report Ė Mr. Shuler said I would like to apprise Council of the latest details on the water main project that Cincinnati Water Works will be constructing on Chesterdale Road this summer. This project is part of a lot larger water transmission project that eventually will go from Crescentville Road, south on Chesterdale to Kemper, west on Kemper to Tri-County Parkway and along Tri-County Parkway to SR 747, south on SR 747 to Sharon Road. This first phase is from Kemper Road to Crescentville on Chesterdale. The work is anticipated to begin around the middle of July. We have been working with the Cincinnati Water Works engineering staff for some time on this. One of the issues we had requested of them, because of the school and our desire to have as much of this work in the school area completed before the school goes back in session in the fall, is to encourage their contractor to build the northern section from the interstate to Crescentville first and in addition, Cincinnati Water Works has pre-ordered all the pipe so it will be on the job about the time the contracts are signed and ready to go. If that had not happened, it may be another month or two. Overall, they anticipate if they can get the project started by the middle of July, to have the entire project done by the end of November. As weíve talked details with Water Works, if we can get the contractor to start at the interstate and work his way north to get past the school, at the same time he gets another crew in there who bores under the interstate. The main itself will be located in the southbound lane of Chesterdale except in the area of the interstate where it will be west of the interstate bridge and underneath the interstate. There had been talk about moving the water main outside of the pavement area and our concern was that we would be up in the yards of all the residents. It will be somewhat more of a problem from a traffic control situation during construction, but we felt it was a better option to keep the main in the pavement area. During the day when the contractor is working they will be flagging traffic around the work. At night the areas in construction will be plaited so that two lanes are open at night. We have requested that Cincinnati Water Works put into their regulations the work hours that are in our City noise ordinance and conform with that. They have complied. We do not want the contractor working there when the busses are coming in the morning and afternoon so weíve tried to put as many incentives in this project to get the contractor in and out of that area as quickly as we can. With this type of project there is going to be noise, dust and congestion, but hopefully, we will get a cooperative contractor and can keep those issues to a minimum. We had originally scheduled Chesterdale Road for resurfacing this year. We postponed that because of this reconstruction. If we get the water main construction completed this year, itís our intention to resurface Chesterdale Road next summer as part of the street program.
Mr. Squires asked is the Cincinnati Water Works project responsible for the resurfacing of Kemper Road?
Mr. Shuler responded the Water Works project is the project that created the problem. We have worked with Cincinnati Water Works and they are going to contribute to the resurfacing of Kemper Road, which we are going to include in our street program this year. We probably will make a similar request to get a contribution towards the resurfacing of Chesterdale when that project is completed as we anticipate the same problem there.
Mr. Squires said itís a dual responsibility then.
Mr. Shuler replied as far as weíre concerned, Cincinnati Water Worksí contractor is responsible for restoring the pavement to acceptable conditions. The problem is what we find is acceptable is not the same as Cincinnati Water Works. With the high amount of attention that we pay to our streets, just patching a trench we do not find acceptable and itís more desirable to resurface the entire lane. We would go beyond what would normally be required and thatís the approach weíve taken. If Cincinnati Water Works will contribute to the cost of repairing the trench area to what we find acceptable, we will apply that and resurface the whole lane.
Mr. Squires said then it sounds to me like they were ready to start another major project when they havenít finished one that they were going to do. It was my understanding that they were going to resurface Kemper Road to our standards and it hasnít been done.
Mr. Shuler said we would rather continue the project as Iíve described where itís under our control with our contractor on the resurfacing and simply get a cash settlement to apply towards that work from Cincinnati Water Works.
Mayor Webster said we could continue to haggle with the Water Company to try to get them to repair that road to our satisfaction but I donít think they are capable of doing that. I think the road needs a total resurfacing and we would like to take control, bring it up to our standards and then weíll haggle with the Water Company over what they should pay us.
COMMUNICATIONS - none
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
Leaf Vacuum Program
Mayor Webster said two weeks ago we gave you some data. Dave had pulled together a lot of information and hopefully everyone had time to look at that. Itís our recommendation that we go with a pilot program which would be a leaf collection program for one or two sections of the City. Weíd evaluate it, see what the response it we get from the residents, what kind of manpower effort it actually becomes, see if we can handle it without curtailing any other services to our residents, and identify our costs. It will cost us $47,000 to do the pilot program. Weíd like Councilís concurrence to do that.
Mr. Squires said I concur that I would like the City to do this. There was some discussion at the last meeting as to what areas would be a priority consideration. If this works in Heritage Hill, it will work anywhere. Heritage Hill has some unique problems. The streets are very narrow and parking is at a premium. For it to work we will have to have the cooperation of the residents of Heritage Hill. Getting these hoses in there between parked cars will be quite a task indeed.
Mr. Wilson asked how do we determine which areas we are going to use for the pilot program. If Heritage Hill is the most difficult, why are we selecting that as the pilot program? If it works for the worst, it will clearly work for the others? There was a comment made about the Beacon/Oxford Hills area. Could that be Section 2?
Mayor Webster replied that is certainly open for discussion. I personally would like to see the older area done where the trees are more of a problem for the residents. Heritage Hills certainly wouldnít qualify there but as Mr. Squires has pointed out, the Heritage Hills areas presents some challenges for us. Before we announce a city-wide program, we would want to make sure that we could cover the requirements of Heritage Hill. I would like to see it done in an old area where there are tons and tons of leaves. I donít think you have that yet in Beacon Hills.
Mr. Wilson responded but we do have larger lots with other trees.
Mayor Webster said some on Cameron Road are a couple of acres.
Mr. Danbury said weíll have to pull some people away from their day to day jobs. Typically, I would think this program would be kicked around from mid October to late November. What type of activities would have to suffer if we were to pull some of your men off their jobs?
Mr. Butsch answered for the pilot program we could probably do it in-house with the staff that we have. I think Mr. Osborn brought up the possibility of getting with the Parks Department to supplement some of our work. Primarily in November for us four men work to put up Christmas decorations. We could use a couple of Parks people to assist us in putting up decorations. That would feed two more full-time employees to the leaf program. We also discussed the ability of getting seasonal or part-time personnel. As for anything suffering, itís hard to say. Itís based on the growing season; how long grass will continue to grow. The leaf season has been blocked out as being the first of October through November 30. If we donít have a dry fall they will hang on until the middle of December. It will be a manipulation of the staff. Snow is a hindrance. We would possibly have to run the chippers. That would possibly forego the leaf program.
Mr. Danbury said if this program is successful by the residents and our post analysis we would have to add more staff for something that is going to be utilized for two months. The advantage of this would be that we would no longer need part-time personnel in the summertime because those people would be on board, but there would be many months when we may have too many people on board. My personal feeling is if we are going to go forward with a pilot, Heritage Hill is the area because it provides us with the most obstacles. When we build storm sewers we do hundred year rains. If we are going to do a leaf program I think we should do it for two or possibly three years. The weather may cooperate this fall and the next year we encounter a lot of problems that we may not be prepared for. We might do a pilot leaf program in two sections of the City this year and the following year in two other areas. That would also give other residents of the City an opportunity to see what theyíre going into. People still have to rake their leaves to the front and most trees are in the back yard. When this was brought up several years ago a lot of senior citizens said it would be great because it is tough for them to rake leaves. They still have to do that. In many cases there isnít going be much difference in the amount of work the resident has to do. The only difference is instead of bagging it, you have to get it to the curb and we will pick it up when we can. The leaves are going to clog the sewers, get dust all over the cars. Weíre going to have a lot of problems where parking is at a premium. Itís going to be a nightmare. Iíd like to see Council try this for more than one year if we do decide to try it.
Mr. Osborn said Iíd like to address a few of the comments made earlier. We will prohibit parking on the street. Thatís why we want to test it in the most difficult areas. Obviously, Heritage Hill comes to mind, The Terrace/Royal Oaks area, Smiley/Cloverdale area. Honestly, Mr. Wilson, we had not thought about the Beacon Hills/Oxford Hills area and I live there because we donít have the problem with on-street parking. We have much wider streets and we donít have the volume of leaves to deal with. Weíd like to really give this a work out and apply this to an area where we know weíre going to have narrow streets, problems with on-street parking. Where are we going to tell people to park? We have to figure all of that out. And we will have a big volume of leaves. Weíd like to know if we can make this pilot program work.
Mr. Osborn continued we are going into this with the idea that it will not impact other services. We do not want this program to be adopted if it is going to negatively impact other services. We will have to have additional manpower if we do this program full-time. In the short term we think we can juggle work around our existing employees to some degree to try it on a pilot basis. We are proposing to Council that if we do go full-time with this the year after next that we would add two full-time people to the Public Works Department. We had already planned to add one person before we started talking about this program. There are several justifications for this. One is that we have lost thousands of hours in work release programs that we no longer see. The work still has to get done so our people have to do it. We are adding more and more landscaping. At some point weíre going to say enough is enough but right now nobody has said not to do anymore landscaping. I think the community appreciates whatís being done. There are other issues that contribute to our suggestion that we need more manpower. If it were just for the leaf program we wouldnít be talking to you about full-time people. Because we are talking about this and we know itís going to take a block of time in the fall, it will compound our current need for additional manpower. Our best estimate is that we will need two people when we go full-time. The pilot program is to try to validate our assumptions based on the research that has been done. We do not anticipate this program reducing levels of service to anyone else. As Dave reported in some other cities they shut everything down and just focused on the leaves. We donít want to do that because we have the tree program, Community Pride program and other things that we donít want to give up.
Ms. McNear asked what is the cause of the reduction in work-release hours?
Mayor Webster responded you canít make those people work. They would rather pay fines or sit in jail than pick up paper.
Mr. Vanover said I appreciate the concern about Heritage Hill. The parking situation concerns me. We all need to realize that once we start the program there is no backing away. Weíll hear about it quite vehemently. I donít think that temporary help is going to be there. Help wanted signs are everywhere. With the renovation of the Rec Center are those people really going to be available to job share with? I know youíve done the research and we donít know until we put it to use. November is probably when weíll really be rolling out things in the Rec Center.
Mr. Squires said I urge Council to give this project the go ahead. Mr. Danbury, weíre going to have problems with it, but Iím sure youíll agree that problems really are opportunities and I think that we will solve them. This is an outstanding service we can offer our residents. Mr. Butsch, have you consulted other cities that do this other than Glendale and surrounding cities; perhaps older cities in the northwest part of the state?
Mr. Butsch said I talked to Kettering who has a population of 23,000 homes. They have eight, five man crews just to pick up leaves and they have four people who compost the leaves. They keep emphasizing labor intensive, labor intensive and thatís what weíre looking at here. In-house we can do the pilot program but Iím reluctant to say we could even attempt a full program without at least part-time help unless we stop doing something we are currently doing.
Mr. Squires said we certainly donít want to impact any other program that we are doing. Weíll have to restrict parking and that will cause a hardship on some residents but if they want this service they will have to comply with that. It will have to be a cooperative effort between the residents and the City, but itís a worthwhile program.
Mayor Webster said this is a minor degradation service but I think everyone needs to be aware that we will not provide a dump truck for the debris removal program during this period. Weíll still have pick up trucks available. This is a program that Iíve heard many people request and I think itís worthwhile. I think we all need to emphasize to our constituents that this is a pilot program. I hear what you are saying, Mr. Vanover, that itís hard to back away from something, but I think if we try this and find out that we grossly underestimated the manpower, or we are faced continually with doing leaves or woodchipping, etc. and we donít do the type of job we should be doing with the leaves, then I think we would come back to Council with the recommendation that we donít do it.
Mr. Danbury, you brought up the extra two staff people and what you do with them the rest of the year. I think and Dave and his predecessor, Mr. Sears, have done a marvelous job scheduling the various types of work, putting off certain types of things they can do in the down periods. They do have an aging workforce from the standpoint of longevity and the number of weeks of vacation they get. When you have a big department like that you have to look at replenishing that lost labor. I donít think even if we end up adding two full-time people year after next that those people will sit around doing nothing. There will be plenty for them to do.
Mr. Danbury said thatís a good point about vacation time, but Iím looking at almost $48,000 for the pilot. If we do go forth with it, itís going to be $130,000. We have a multi-million dollar project that we will have to find ways to pay off. Iím not against this program. I challenge anybody to find an area thatís going to need this more than Grandin, Observatory, the district that I live in. We have larger trees. Before we jump in with both feet Iíd like to see us try to do it for two years. If we do it city-wide I think it will be very popular. However, I donít want to expend that kind of dollars when we are looking at a multi-million dollar deficit.
Mrs. McNear said I think itís a good idea to try it for more than one year but I donít want to commit to two years up front. If we go forward letís do it for one year, see what we like, and if we want to go the second year, add another section or two. I think we should make that decision after we have additional information.
Mayor Webster stated we may come back after the first year and say weíre not ready to do it. Right now, the decision we need to make is do we want to try it on a trial basis. We do have some challenges as far as the cost is concerned. At the same time I think we all agreed we wouldnít short-change the rest of the community just to pay for the Community Center. Some of the people who benefit from the Community Center will certainly benefit from this, but Iím sure a lot of people will benefit from this who donít benefit from the Rec Center.
Mr. Osborn said David has said we can sustain a pilot program with in-house personnel. I think what weíre really saying is if we fail to get the necessary labor, weíve already committed to do this pilot program. We know we can support the pilot program by shuffling around existing personnel. If we cannot get temporary employees that will tell us that if we go to a full program very likely we will have to cut back services. I would not be in favor of that. One of the big factors we are testing besides our own cost projections is the availability of seasonal employment in the consistent nature we need it for a 30-45 day period. Even if we fail to get the necessary seasonals that we need we know we can make it work and deliver for the residents during that pilot program; but long term, we canít do that if we donít get the temporary work force that we need. Another consequence of this is that it will have an impact on the Police Department as well. They are they ones who help us clear the streets.
Mr. Danbury said Iím not against this program. I just want to bring out some of the things we discussed in the past. I understand that you are saying we may come back next year or the following year. You donít know if the year you pick is a really bad year and you may scrap it because you say itís too cost prohibitive. The next five years may be much easier and when we do do this, letís do it for a couple of years. I think the citizens will really like it but itís not going to change that much for them.
Mr. Squires made a motion to urge Council to adopt a pilot program of leaf vacuuming as we have discussed it. Mr. Vanover seconded.
Mr. Wilson said if we go to the second year Iíd like to make certain that we re-evaluate all the districts again and perhaps not use the same two each time.
Mr. Squires said I want to amend my motion. I had the intention of saying we do this for one year.
The motion passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Webster said the redistricting map is very complicated. The yellow boxes are census tracks which we have nothing to do with. We first encountered this problem in the November elections last year. There was a sliver of land in back of Maple Knoll Village that was outside of our district lines. To solve the problem the board created another precinct. The board pointed out to us that the census tracks were coming and we would have to abide by them. Randy tried to get the Charter Revision Commission to try to work on this last year. We got some new blood in there this year and they have tackled most of the issues. Ideally this should have been on the ballot for the March primary but it didnít make it. Now the Board of Elections will have to go to Plan B, which is to create several other splinter precincts in order to accommodate the election this fall. Long-term-wise we have to address that. The census track has to fit inside precincts; precincts have to fit inside districts. Weíre bound by the Charter on what we shall and shall not do with the districts. The whole scenario at this point in time just doesnít work. We will have to have the Charter amended to incorporate a new way of life here.
Mr. Osborn said I sent everyone a letter from Julia Stautberg, Director of Hamilton County Board of Elections covered by a memo from me. The key factor is that the federal election laws require that state and county boards of elections modify their precincts to be consistent with federal U. S. Census blocks. The yellow lines represent the boundaries of census blocks. Sometimes they are contained within one another. I donít know how they decide whatís going to be a census block but the Mayor is right on the money. The Board of Elections cannot have a precinct that splits a census block. A precinct can be one census block or a hundred census blocks, but it cannot be one and a half census blocks. Based on the Countyís requirements, our Councilmatic districts cannot split a precinct. The solution is to change our district boundaries. As the Mayor pointed out, itís not as easy as it sounds because of the limitations of our Charter. It says we can do it in the year of a district Councilmatic election and it says we can do it under very narrow circumstances. A district canít be over a certain percentage bigger than the smallest; the smallest one canít be a certain size smaller than the biggest, etc. There are very narrow and confining standards that have to be met before changes in boundaries can take place. I think what you will see here is that when Charter Commission looks at this, we feel they will have to dramatically reduce the restrictions in the Charter on when and under what circumstances district boundaries are reorganized. There are things we cannot control compelling us to change these borders and change them in a specific way. The Board of Elections has prepared a map that shows the census blocks. It does not show precinct boundaries. I have another map that shows precinct boundaries that you can look at after the meeting at your convenience. This map demonstrates to us those Councilmatic district boundaries that currently violate the standard of not bridging a census block. Those particular locations are highlighted in orange. Some of them are very simple fixes; others not so easy. It will take some effort on the part of Council or a committee of Council to work these numbers, but I think that under any circumstances, there will have to be an amendment to the Charter to allow this happen. Itís not manageable given the figures that weíll have to juggle in order to comply with the Charter and comply with the standards under the federal requirements. The precinct map is of some help to you in seeing how these precincts are laid out. I also have a district map which makes it easier to see where the district boundaries are, but I think we have covered this in as much detail as we ought without taking any questions from you. It comes down to the fact that we are without an option. We do have to modify our district boundaries and in order to do it effectively, we will have to have a Charter amendment. In the interim period there will be some steps taken. The County Board of Elections has to be in compliance with these federal standards by August of this year. They have to be ready to go into the November elections with their new precinct boundaries drawn up. In a case like Springdale where we canít react quickly enough to amend our district boundaries so that we donít cut a census block in half, they are going to create two precincts, one in each district. That will proliferate the number of precincts we have in the City. It will cause confusion to our residents. I canít even predict how many more precincts we will end up with. For the Board of Elections itís a way of staffing that many precincts. Itís hard to get precinct workers now. Imagine what it will be like when we have six, eight, ten more precincts added to the City. Itís hard to say what the impact will be. That can only be done on a short term basis because the Board of Elections cannot use this interim solution over a long period of time. They are compelled to come up with a final plan that creates census blocks. We are just coming to you to give this issue higher visibility and we hope higher priority. We stand ready to work with Council or any group you put together first to do a Charter amendment and then to do the redistricting. We can provide any technical support you might need regarding the regulations that were prepared by the Board of Elections.
Mayor Webster said I personally attended the last Charter Revision Commission meeting. We didnít get into this level of detail at the last Charter meeting but the consensus of the group is that they had resolved all of the other issues that Council had sent them, but they were going to hold this in abeyance until after the November election. They would see if the numbers fit in this narrow parameter that Cecil indicated, at least 15% between the highest and lowest and then take a look at it. From what weíre seeing now I donít think that makes any difference. I think we are going to have to ask for a Charter change regardless of how the November numbers shake down. Cecil and I would be more than happy to jointly go before the next Charter Commission meeting to give them everything weíve given you this evening so they can start working on it and not wait until after the elections. I donít think we as a City can sit here and wait until after the election, have the Charter Revision Committee then start looking at it to see if the numbers justify it because they will have to do it irregardless. So why not go ahead and take a look at a revised Charter change and have that ready for a March Primary next year. If thereís not a March primary, I think we will have to pay for a special election just to get this resolved before the district Council races in the fall of next year.
Mr. Osborn said if we donít get this wrapped up before the next district elections, we are faced with having people elected to districts and then having to go in and change the districts after the election has occurred. I donít think anybody wants to do that. As a City we want to see this wrapped up before the next Councilmatic elections because I figure it would be unacceptable to anyone to tamper Councilmatic borders immediately after an election.
Mrs. McNear asked if someone from the Administration would contact the Charter Revision Committee to go forward.
Mayor Webster replied Iíd be more than happy to do that but I really think thatís a commission that comes from Council and it would be more appropriate for you to contact the Charter chairperson. Let them know that Cecil and I would like to address the group and if any Council people want to go along thatís fine, but they need to understand the urgency.
Mrs. McNear said she would contact Mrs. Boice and set something up.
ORDINANCE NO. 28-2000 "SETTING COMPENSATION FOR DECEMBER 1, 2003, AND THEREAFTER FOR THE OFFICES OF MAYOR, CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR, PRESIDENT OF COUNCIL, COUNCIL MEMBER"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Danbury seconded.
Mr. Wilson said my same concerns apply. Weíre taking care of this for 2003. Does this mean in 2003 weíll have another set up for the next four years. How are we going to resolve this so we donít have the problem we had the first time around where we went fifteen years without an increase. Will we do this every four years or is it a one shot deal?
Mayor Webster said I would hope that some of us are still sitting here in 03 and we would urge the rest of the group to take some action for the people who will be sitting here in 07 so we donít go fifteen years without having this addressed and we donít get into a situation where a group has to vote themselves a raise, that we can look ahead four years. Thatís the desire of Finance Committee. Anything short of that would mean we build in escalators and I didnít hear any sentiment for that at all.
Mr. Danbury said I donít want to see any kind of escalation. I think whoever is sitting here in four years should make that decision. They can jump it up more or keep it the same. Weíre setting the wages for the next seated officials after the next two elections. Theoretically, this could be a raise for none of us. It could be a raise for anybody who takes our seat.
Ordinance 28-2000 passed with five affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 30-2000 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO AN ADMINISTRATIVE AGREEMENT WITH UNITED MEDICAL RESOURCES (UMR) AS THE THIRD PARTY ADMINISTRATOR OF THE CITYíS SELF-FUNDED HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Squires made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded. Ordinance 30-2000 passed with five affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 31-2000 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH HCC BENEFITS, CORPORATION TO PROVIDE FOR STOP-LOSS INSURANCE AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded. Ordinance 31-2000 passed with five affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 32-2000 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH NAUTILUS FOR THE PURCHASE OF WEIGHT ROOM EQUIPMENT FOR THE SPRINGDALE COMMUNITY CENTER AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded.
Mr. Osborn said I think Mr. Parham reported on the details of the bid opening at the last Council meeting. We had five bidders, one of which was disqualified for failure to supply a bid bond. The other four bidders were evaluated. It came down to the two lowest bids, one by The Fitness Store for Magnum Equipment at $35,134; and the Nautilus Equipment at $35, 795, a difference of $661. The Fitness Store did not have a trade-in so we would have had our surplus equipment, whether thatís a value or liability. The staff did look at equipment from both manufacturers at locations recommended by the bidder. In the case of Magnum the staff went to Clermont County YMCA to look at equipment. I have a three-page report by Greg Karle, Assistant Recreation Director on the topic of their inspections. I think itís pretty clear after reading their report that the Nautilus equipment that they inspected at Queen City Racquet Club was superior in both manufacture and design to the Magnum equipment and rather than go into all the details of his report, I would just say that we join Mr. Karle in his recommendation that Nautilus is the best bid.
Ordinance 32-2000 passed with five affirmative votes.
Mayor Webster asked if we shouldnít make an amendment to this to take out the word lowest? Itís the best bid, not the lowest.
Mr. Garry said an amendment would be perfect if Council sees fit.
Mr. Vanover made a motion to amend the wording to take out "lowest and" from the ordinance. Mr. Danbury seconded. The amendment passed with five affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 33-2000 "AUTHORIZING AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE AND THE GREATER CINCINNATI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PERTAINING TO "PARTNERSHIP FOR GREATER CINCINNATI 1999-2003"
Mr. Wilson said this is a $10,000 investment. What have we really gained from participation in this program?
Mr. Osborn said I can list some items that were direct benefits of being involved with the Chamber at this level. I think itís a little more difficult to get the full sense of the benefit because some of them are intangibles. The whole idea behind the program is to promote our region; that is, the area covered by the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, at a state, national and international level. The Chamber is successful in bringing companies in from overseas, or out of state to this region and that helps our local economy. The City of Springdale is not a stand alone economy. Itís part of the regional economy. If the regional economy is not healthy, the 3-4 million square feet of office space we have will not be leased out. Right now we are at 98% leased out. If the economy takes a downturn we will see a loss of that lease space as businesses fail. Itís the same with retail. We have a very healthy retail community. If the regional economy goes sour it will affect us dramatically. Itís very important for us as a municipality to support this program because of its effort to market our region on a state, national, and international basis. More specifically, it gives us a very close working relationship with the staff at the Chamber and we have used them in several occasions where we were about to lose a benefit or where we wanted to bring a business in. One we nearly lost was International Paper. Had it not been for the effort of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce pulling together representatives from the Ohio Department of Development, Congressional offices, etc. and having a big round table sit down with corporate officers from International Paper at their international level, we as an entity of Springdale would not have been able to overcome that. They were ready to move this plant and it was the Chamberís effort that assisted us and helped us keep the plant in Springdale.
Mr. Danbury said the Chamber helps us with business like ICRC helps us with the cable company. With the Tipton development going in at Pictoria Island, Iím definitely sure they will help us out a lot so I think itís a good investment.
ORDINANCE NO. 34-2000 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT WITH THE METROPOLITAN SEWER DISTRICT TO REALIGN THE EASEMENT GRANTED BY THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE ORDINANCE 51-1999 ASSOCIATED WITH CHAMBERLAIN PARK AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Danbury seconded.
Mr. Osborn said I reported before that this is an initiative of the contractor on this project. The whole topic of the alignment of the sanitary sewer has been pretty closely reviewed by the Ohio EPA as well as MSD and the City of Springdale. We, in fact, went through several rounds of revisiting this topic. We thought we had an alignment in place at one point. We were actually out buying easements and then EPA changed their mind and we had to start over again. David Butsch, Don Shvegzda and I have attended a series of meetings where we went through discussions of realignment. It turns out, that once they got in the field, the contractor found even better ways of doing it and satisfying EPA at the same time, which was no small feat. There are two changes Iíd like to discuss with you. On the letter size paper, the blue represents the alignment as originally approved for the current project. The yellow is a realignment as proposed by the contractor. In this case he is making the proposed change in order to save some substantial trees, in one case a 48 inch oak tree which would have been dead in the middle of the route of the proposed new sewer. Instead, he has proposed the belly of the sanitary sewer to the southwest and away from that major tree. That was approved by MSD and EPA and we have signed off on it for design purposes as well. The second major change is reflected on the legal size page. In this case, the contractor has found a way to reduce by one the number of creek crossings that would have to occur. In the one instance where the creek crossing cannot be eliminated he has found a way to reduce the length of that crossing. Again, we thought this was a good approach and MSD has bought into it. We would also suggest that this is the appropriate thing to do because it does reduce the impact on the existing foliage and creek to the greatest extent possible. We would encourage Council to adopt this ordinance. The record for the easement is the official document attached to the ordinance and will be executed by the City after adoption.
Ordinance 34-2000 passed with five affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION NO. 8-2000 "REQUESTING THE OHIO SENATE AND THE OHIO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO AMEND SECTION 5705.41(D)(1) OF THE OHIO REVISED CODE"
Mr. Knox said any amount more than $1,000 under the current law must have a purchase order prior to payment of such money. Weíre saying that doesnít work real well in many cases. Weíre asking that this amount be raised to $3,000 which would be much more appropriate, seeing that this is a very old figure and the cost of living has gone up substantially since that was written. Itís a method of meeting immediate demands. Weíre not saying everything up to $3,000 wonít need a purchase order. Weíll still use purchase orders but those cases where we need it, weíll have this at hand.
Resolution 8-2000 passed with five affirmative votes.
Mr. Garry said Ordinance 32-2000 which dealt with the contract with Nautilus was passed and then amended. I wonder if it could be voted on as amended.
Mr. Danbury made a motion to pass Ordinance 32-2000 as amended and Mr. Vanover seconded. The motion passed with five affirmative votes.
Mr. Danbury said last weekend we had the parade. I had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people about the Rec Center. We are going to have a lot of opportunities to have things other than sports. I asked if people would like to see music. One person said he wanted to take guitar lessons. Someone asked about language courses. Do we have a sounding board for suggestions at this point so we can start incorporating this for when we do open?
Mr. Osborn said weíd be glad to take suggestions. Those are exactly the types of things weíd like to get into. If we can get three, four or five people with a common interest weíd be glad to provide the space and help organize the lessons. Obviously, weíre going to have to pass through costs for an instructor but weíd be happy to try to organize the events, such as a card club, genealogy club. You had a good suggestion with scuba lessons in the pool. I think they are all good ideas and the type of thinking weíre encouraging the staff to do.
Mayor Webster said there is a solicitation in the newsletter asking for ideas. If you have any ideas please call any of our directors at the Community Center. There is a focus group that I asked Jim to put together comprised of several members of the minority community in Springdale to try to help us come up with ideas that would make all members of our community feel welcome and also come up with unique ideas of things theyíd like to see. They have come up with some good ones. Weíre looking at things like cook-offs, chili contests, neighborhood softball games, things that we donít do now that this group says if we had maybe more members of our community would come out and participate.
Mr. Vanover said I think we all want to bring the community back to the Community Center and not just have a Rec Center. Hats off to those who have started that.
Mr. Osborn said I had hoped to have a couple pieces of legislation for you this evening on right-of-way acquisition on the East Kemper Road project. We do hope those ordinances will be before you at the next Council meeting.
Mr. Danbury said hopefully at our next meeting I will have an updated sheet of information on the outstanding costs we have for the Rec Center, some of the things we did not anticipate.
Mr. Osborn said in the legislative update I mentioned that there are several recommendations that have come up from Planning Commission on amendments to the Zoning Codes. I think you have copies with transmittal dates of March 20, April 11 and April 12. I would suggest that these could be packaged into one ordinance and if we wanted to schedule a pubic hearing for those amendments the next opportunity for getting the advertising in would be to hold the public hearing on June 7.
Mr. Knox said we had a contract with Mr. John Flessa, Esq., our prosecuting attorney. Mr. Flessa has associated himself with a law firm now and has requested that we pay his salary directly to that law firm, which is a change from the contract we have with him. After consulting with the folks at Wood and Lamping, they suggested that we pass an ordinance allowing this to occur and at the same time, Mr. Flessa give us a letter of assignment to show that that money should go there. I would like to bring in an ordinance at the next Council meeting to that effect.
Mayor Webster asked that wonít affect the term of the agreement, will it?
Mr. Knox replied it will not affect the length of term or amount of money.
Mayor Webster asked what are your plans for the proposed comprehensive plan for the City. I have some questions on that. Is the planner going to come in?
Mr. Wilson suggested the first meeting of the month. May 3 was set as the date for the planner to come in.
Mr. Vanover said I have a request for a resolution honoring the Springdale Blue Devils Sixth Grade Girls Basketball Team for May 3. Iíll get that information to Mr. Garry.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Capital Improvement April 22, 9:00 a.m.
Mayorís Night In April 26, 6:00 p.m.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Ordinance 33 May 3
Springdale Zoning Code Ordinance Public hearing June 7
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Fire Department Vehicle May 3
Amending payment to John Flessa May 3
2000 Street Program May 3
Resolution for girls basketball team May 3
Mr. Garry asked do we need to amend the budget to effect the purchase for the Fire Department vehicle?
Mr. Osborn replied we donít feel we do. We can do a supplemental appropriation at any time. We have a line item budget and for an interim period we will run a line item in the Fire Department budget in the red. Under state accounting principles we are not obliged to keep each line item within balance. We have to keep the fund within balance.
Council adjourned at 9:16 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Kathy McNear, President of Council