President of Council Kathy McNear called Council to order on May 2,
2007, 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, Harlow, Squires, Vanover, Wilson and McNear.
The minutes of April 18, 2007 were approved with six affirmative votes. Mrs. McNear abstained.
COMMUNICATIONS - none
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
ORDINANCE NO. 26-2007 AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING AN AGREEMENT WITH THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION REGARDING IMPROVEMENTS AT THE SR 747/I-275 INTERCHANGE
Mr. Vanover made a motion to read by title only and Mr. Squires seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mrs. Harlow seconded.
Ordinance 26-2007 passed with seven affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 29-2007 ACCEPTING A BID AND AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH BANSAL CONSTRUCTION FOR THE FIBER OPTIC CABLE INSTALLATION, PHASE 1, PROJECT AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded.
Mr. Galster asked how many phases is this being done in? My understanding is that you are better off not making any cuts in the lines of fiber optics. If we have a phase 2, do we have to splice that in or are we laying all the fiber optics for the complete system?
Mr. Parham replied we wont have to make any cuts. We will just add additional camera locations and it may come with additional cabling, but the first phase is simply having cameras located at the Tri-County Parkway/Kemper Road intersection as well as the Macys entrance off of SR 747. There will be multiple cameras there. The second phase, that we may be able to do sooner because the prices that came in are better than anticipated, may be on the new entranceway we are proposing across from Cassinelli Square. This grant, through Homeland Security, was granted to us primarily because Tri-County Mall has been identified as a soft target. We were able to secure grant dollars to install cameras there. This is not for us to identify vehicles and cite them. If there were an event there, it is an opportunity to track license plates of vehicles exiting at those two entrances as well as the color of the vehicles.
Mr. Galster responded my only concern with the fiber optics was disrupting the road and not doing it all at one time.
Mayor Webster said logic would tell you that eventually we would like to have every entrance and exit at the mall covered. If we are going to do this on somebody elses nickels, we have to do what we can do with what nickels they give us.
Mr. Galster asked do we know what it would cost to do all the entrances at the same time?
Mayor Webster replied no. I dont think were going to lose anything by doing it piecemeal. I dont think it will be that disruptive to put the cable in.
Mr. Vanover said, Mr. Galster, in fiber optic network construction every so often they build in nodules just like Time-Warner has done. The forethought is that they can plug in there and pick up the main line.
Mr. Squires said you mentioned earlier, Mr. Parham, that since the bid was substantially low that we would possible get more cameras. Will legislation be necessary for that or can you just get them?
Mr. Parham replied it depends on the cost of the cameras. We were able to purchase the cameras for these two locations from separate venders for $25,000. This legislation is for the cabling only. We received $52,000 in grant money and added another $100,000. The engineers estimate for the cabling was $72,000. We experienced a great savings and thats why we talk about having the ability to purchase additional cameras sooner than we had anticipated.
Mr. Galster stated if we are going to move everything up and purchase these additional cameras sooner, then it makes even more sense to me to put the cable in at the same time. Did the engineers estimate of $72,000 only cover Phase 1?
Mr. Parham replied its for the cable only for these two intersections. The cable is coming from the Police Department, through the Municipal Building down Walnut to Kemper, then down Kemper to the intersection of Tri-County Parkway and Kemper, as well as going north on SR 747 to that entrance. The cable is being laid from here to that entire point. The cameras are something we have already been able to secure through other purchases.
Mr. Galster stated it just seems to me if we had $72,000 estimated for cable and its costing us $42,000 to do what were doing and were talking about adding two more locations to cover the other entrances to the mall, we ought to be able to get the whole thing wired for what we had in the budget.
Ordinance 29-2007 passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Knox stated Mr. Squires and I attended a meeting at the Inter Community Cable Regulatory Commission (ICRC). There was a discussion on Senate Bill 117. I would like to pass out a list of what we found right and what we found wrong with it. SB 117 is an attempt by AT&T to write a law that totally favors them and not anybody else. However, I must say the other cable companies are being very quiet on this because several of the things in it favor them also. In favor, its possible there may be a reduction in cable rates with the increased competition and the method they are using by coming into your home using their technicians to do it.
Mr. Knox said following are the things found wrong with this from their meeting and from the Ohio Municipal League, who is quite opposed to this. The franchises in the future will be issued by the State. It will simply be a licensing procedure. There wont be a lot of discussion about whos who, just as long as they are a viable company, they would be all right. There will be no local franchises once the current franchises expire or are abrogated. This bill allows current cable companies to cancel contracts at their wish. Franchise fees are supposedly equal to the current fees. In fact, they are not. They left out two categories that are covered under the current fees, the advertising and the shopping channels. So we would lose fifteen to thirty percent of our current revenue, $14,000 to $28,000 a year. There would also be a loss to ICRC, because by our agreement, they get forty percent of what were doing. ICRC would be required to come up with sixty-five hours and twenty minutes of new programming every week. The bill says eighty percent of programming has to be new during a twelve hour period. There are only so many good hours to put on Council meetings. There are no restrictions on where the cable companies can place their equipment in the right-of-way. As of yesterday this has changed. This has been reworked and the authority would go back to the cities. There is nothing in the bill that says who is going to control this. They name one person and you have no idea who his/her staff is going to be or if there is any appeal process from anything the cable companies do. There is no build-out requirement. When a cable company comes into Springdale, they have to build that entire franchise area. This bill has nothing like that in there so when cable companies abrogate their contracts, they can just drop the ones that werent making a lot of money and cherry-pick the good ones. The public information and governmental channels have access guaranteed. However, it goes on to say that if they dont use those channels they can be reclaimed by the cable company. Since AT&Ts system is in digital format, whoever comes up with the program has to come up with it in digital, which is no problem for ICRC, but there are several areas of the State that dont have the money to come up with that type of equipment. Some people feel that if they cable companies were successful with the right-of-way issue, that all utilities would argue on a basis of fairness. That has gone away but there are a lot of provisions that utilities could argue. This appears to be based on AT&T being successful. If they are not successful they will leave the State of Ohio but well still have the law they engendered. We were asked to pass a resolution and send it to the proper people in Columbus that we oppose this. I am trying to keep up with the latest changes and if Council thinks it is worthwhile I will reword the resolution that they gave us and bring it up-to-date.
Mr. Squires said I think you are referring to the resolution that ICRC gave us and Council has not seen that one.
Mr. Knox said I want to rewrite the resolution over the weekend and give a copy to Council and then Council could make up its mind where it wants to go with this.
Mr. Danbury said when I first read this it appeared that it was written by the cable company itself because they get all the benefit. It appears that this is structured in a way to invite competition because it removes some of the costly items and problems that they have. In some areas Verizon is going in and overbuilding as well as AT&T because the future of information is the internet and television will be going there. So is this bill introduced to encourage competition?
Mr. Knox replied that is how they present it. But given the fact that anybody can pull out at any given time, there are areas that wont have any competition.
Mr. Danbury said I know Cincinnati Bell purchased the system in Lebanon. From what Ive heard they are planning to be in direct competition.
Mr. Knox said they are going to run the signals through 3 x 4 x 3 green boxes and the way they had it they could put them anywhere they want. The City will have something to say about that but if they come in we will be seeing these green boxes in various locations.
Mayor Webster said Id like to thank Mr. Knox and Mr. Squires for taking an interest in this. I think its just another attack on home rule coming out of Columbus. I have another item I want to talk about in the Legislative Bulletin to abolish Mayors Court. They have introduced HB 154 to abolish Mayors Courts at the end of this year. I dont think we have a lot of control over the cable situation the way it is, but at least we have the built in appeals process and we know whom to go to if we have a problem. We do share in some of the revenue. I dont particularly want to see the State award the cable contract, just like I dont want to see the State name the magistrates and thats what they are talking about in this bill. Whatever municipal judge is in charge of this area would name the magistrate. Id like to turn this over to Mr. Schneider and have him check with the league and see what some of the other cities are doing.
Mr. Wilson asked if they do abolish Mayors Court, who would preside over the violations? Would it go to the City of Cincinnati? You mentioned a magistrate. Would that magistrate come to our court?
Mayor Webster replied if you are a village, your court is gone away and all your citations would be heard in the County Court. In our case, the Council could elect to have a community court. Should Council decide to have a community court within ninety days of January 1, 2008, the court will be presided over by a magistrate chosen by the appropriate municipal or county court judge who has territorial jurisdiction over that community. In the case of multi-judge courts the administrative judge would make the appointment of the magistrate. The magistrate would serve at the pleasure of the appointing judge. Such magistrates would be required to have three years of practice of law or be a former judge. The salary for such magistrates and the election to appoint a clerk and their salary would be chosen and set by Council. You would pay for the judge and clerk that the municipal court judge is going to appoint. The revenues would go down considerably. I read somewhere else that some of the fines go to the County in the future.
Mr. Danbury said if we dont have the capability of handling the law, then why can we enact our own local laws, such as a noise ordinance? I didnt think this was a pressing issue.
Mr. Knox stated in the last four years Columbus has drawn to itself the authority over oil gas exploration and drilling and septic systems. Last year they tried to do sand and gravel pits and that one finally lost. Its odd that the same names keep appearing on all these bills: Jacobson, Miller, Spada, Mumford, Niehaus, Stivers and Mason. The first state that they tried this in was Texas. AT&T hired one lobbyist for each legislator.
Mr. Schneider said I think the Mayors conclusion is right. It is an attack on home rule but I think there are still constitutional protections on the right of a city to function as a home rule city. I dont think this is an attack on that. The legislature is the body that sets the structure of the judicial set-up. Thats how they are working this and not violating constitutional rights. I will prepare a resolution for next time. If anyone has specific things they want in it let me know. I will draft it based on the present status of legislation which well review and have before Council at the next meeting.
Mr. Vanover said I think this is a microcosm from the State but its also equal at the next layer up. Our individual rights, freedoms and choices are being restructured and stripped. Its one attack after another. Were headed down a slippery slope. In our neighborhood, the power was out for about 3 ½ hours. The downside of Time-Warner digital phone is that when the power goes out the phone goes out.
Mr. Danbury asked Mayor Webster, do you know what position the Municipal League is taking on this?
Mayor Webster said they are opposed. The last paragraph reads: HB 154 proposes to fix Ohios Mayors Courts problem. We dont think such a problem exists. We have worked with the General Assembly for over fifteen years to improve Ohios Mayors Courts. When the General Assembly wanted to create mandatory training for those who presided over Mayors Courts we supported that training and we were first in line to provide that training at an affordable cost. It was the league that first suggested that the magistrate system be allowed under State law, allowing Mayors Courts to transfer more serious cases to the Municipal Court at will was a legislative initiative. In the end the League did not object to removing jurisdiction over multiple DUIs and domestic violence cases from Mayors Courts to the Municipal Courts. Ohio Mayors Courts lack the robes and judicial palaces; however, they are still an efficient and convenient way to meting out justice on the smallest of offenses. They are still a good way of keeping order in a smaller community while keeping police officers on the street and not on overtime at downtown courts. And as would be the case with HB 154 they are a way to keep the police on the streets in many of Ohios smallest villages. Please talk to your local legislators about the concerns we have with HB 154.
Mr. Danbury said it appears they want to govern people instead of working for them.
Mayor Webster said if this passes it goes into effect January 1, 2008.
Mr. Vanover said one of our big southern neighbors is rewriting their regulations on sexual predators on where they can and cannot live, and a lot of them are being pushed to suburban neighbors and were trusting the government in place to track those. We all know the numbers of them that they dont know where they are. There was one just arrested in Pittsburgh who has been AWOL in the system for six to eight months.
Mr. Parham stated since 1991 the City of Springdale, along with Princeton School District, has had an agreement in place for a cross parking easement in back of the building and next to the elementary school and we have an agreement in place that was originally put into place in 1972 and amended in 1981 for the operation of the ball fields on the school district property. The agreement for the ball fields expired in 2001, and in 2002, along with the Law Directors office, we began to look at revising legislation and that agreement to bring it more up-to-date. At that time we also understood that the school district was going through the redevelopment of the elementary schools so we put things on hold until we had a sense of what they were going to do. Now that the new school is there Mr. Osborn and I met with the new treasurer for the Princeton School District along with the business manager, Mr. Craig Hatfield. We talked about combining those two agreements into one document. The easements were adopted for fifteen years and then continuous and the ball fields were adopted in 1972 on a ten year agreement and amended in 1981 for another twenty years. The proposal is to make them both continuous until such time that either group may decide to exit out of the agreement. We would like to have legislation at the May 16 meeting to adopt a new agreement combining the ball fields and cross parking easement.
Mr. Parham continued in October 2006 we came before Council requesting to sell a couple of vehicles on e-bay. We sold a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria. We were also going to sell a 1995 Mercedes that along with a BMW was part of an identify theft program. The Chief now wants to move forward with selling that Mercedes and three other vehicles; a 2002 Crown Victoria with a blown engine, and two 1991 Chevy Luminas. In the past we have sold some vehicles through the Cincinnati Auto Auction. Last month we were authorized to sell a truck on e-bay. We were offered $3,500 in trade-in. It sold for $9,350 on e-bay. We request legislation to authorize the sale of three vehicles on e-bay along with the Mercedes.
Mr. Parham stated the annual reports should be ready for pickup by the end of the week.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Planning Commission - May 8
Board of Health - May 10
Board of Zoning Appeals - May 15
Springdale Night at the Reds - May 5
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT none
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Agreement with Princeton School District - May 16
Vehicles on e-bay - May 16
Resolution for Mayors Court - May 16
Resolution for Cable - May 16
Council adjourned at 7:43 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Kathy McNear, President of Council
City of Springdale Council
May 2 2007