President of Council Marjorie Harlow called Council to order on May 2, 2012 , at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance. Mrs. Harlow stated Mrs. McNear was on her way from the airport and would be there shortly.
Mr. Vanover took roll call. Present were Council members Diehl, Emerson, Hawkins, Knox, Squires, Vanover and Harlow.
The minutes of April 18, 2012 were approved with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Vanover read an e-mail: Dear Springdale City: I am writing this letter to request longer hours for the fitness and recreational center. Full time workers do not have enough time to utilize the facilities that we paid for with both our tax dollars and membership dues. I understand that the economy is in a downturn and we need to cut costs but perhaps you could find savings in other areas that dont affect the hours. Perhaps you could shut off the lights in places that arent used much, turn off computers, unplug the gaming machines or keep the thermostat a few degrees hotter or colder. I ask that you keep the center open until at least 9:00 p.m. I can provide a list of people who would like to join me in a petition to extend the hours. Thank you for taking the time to consider my proposal and I would be happy to speak to someone directly about my ideas. Let me know your position on the matter or provide me with the opportunity to have a meeting to discuss this further. Thank you Connie Papps, Springdale resident for twenty-four years
Response from Greg Karle, Community Center Director: Hi, Connie, Let me begin by thanking you for your input and suggestion to extend the operating hours of the Community Center and Fitness Center weekday evenings. As you are probably aware, the Parks and Recreation Department has been faced with significant budgetary cutbacks over the last several years. Steps were taken over this period to reduce expenses by reducing staff through attrition, minimizing capital purchases, elimination of a number of special events and programs, and adjustments to lighting and HVAC to substantially reduce energy consumption. Our goal was to minimize the impact on our residents and members to the greatest extent possible. In 2011, however, still more budgetary reductions required the layoff of a number of employees, reduction in operating hours and the elimination of even more programs and services. Be assured that we are constantly looking for ways to operate more efficiently and do more with our limited resources. I am hopeful that as the local economy improves, many of the cuts and services in programs and operating hours can be restored. Naturally, this is a high priority to me but in the broader picture, the City is faced with additional needs and priorities in the safety services and personnel in other departments that compete and must be prioritized against our needs. I would be happy to meet with you to discuss to your proposal and answer any questions you may have.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
HAMILTON COUNTY SOLID WASTE DISTRICT HOLLY CHRISTMANN
Mr. Parham said a resolution approving the update to the Hamilton County Solid Waste District Management Plan is on the agenda tonight. We asked Ms. Christmann who is the program manager with the district to come out and share the updates to the plan and answer any questions you may have.
Ms. Christmann said the mission of the Hamilton County Solid Waste District is to reduce reliance on landfills. We do that through waste reduction, reuse and recycling programs. I am here tonight to seek your approval for our fifteen year Solid Waste Management Plan update. The plan update is designed to meet the State recycling mandates as well as meet the needs of our stakeholders which are the communities, residents, and businesses of Hamilton County. While were required to write a fifteen year plan, we are required to update it every five years. The plan outlines programs we will offer over the next fifteen years and strategies for meeting those state goals as well as documenting that there is a fifteen year capacity for Hamilton Countys garbage. The plan is very similar to the plan we are currently operating under. We will continue all of our most popular programs such as the residential recycling incentive programs. This is where we give back $1,050,000 every year to Hamilton County political jurisdictions based on that communitys recycling rate and the tons that residents recycle. In 2011 the City of Springdale received a little over $10,000 for their recycling efforts. Those funds are then used to offset any curbside recycling contracts, separate yard waste collections programs, etc. Right now the highest rate we provide funding to is 25 percent recycling rate, which is an excellent recycling rate. Thats the highest dollars per ton the community can receive. We are going to evaluate upping that to thirty percent. We will continue all our popular events such as hazardous household waste drop off program, computer and television recycling program, yard waste drop off sites. We are going to look at communities that provide separate yard waste collection programs. When our budget allows were going to give money back to those communities that provide a yard waste collection program. Well be analyzing that on an annual basis when our budget allows it. Well also provide fund to help communities collect tires. We are seeing tires resurging as a problem to the waste stream. Well continue to offer recycling programs to businesses as well as helping schools start recycling programs. One consistent theme we heard throughout the public input process from communities, residents and businesses is that they dont hear enough about our programs. People who took our program survey had no idea of all the programs we offer. We are going to start committing to putting in more advertising dollars to let people know that these free drop-off programs are available to get rid of problem waste streams such as hazardous household waste and computers. I am happy to say we will meet through this plan all of the state goals. The State of Ohio does require all districts to achieve a 25 percent residential and commercial recycling rate and a 66 percent industrial rate. Our projects show that Hamilton County will continue to meet and exceed those goals. We will also meet the requirement of disposal capacity for waste that is not recycled. Thats through landfills within Ohio, northern Kentucky and Indiana. We are funded through waste that is disposed in municipal solid waste landfills that are located in Hamilton County. We have a disposal fee and it is the lowest fee allowed by state law. For every ton of waste that is landfilled at Rumpke from Hamilton County we receive $1 per ton. If it comes from a county within Ohio but outside Hamilton County, we receive $2 per ton. If it comes from out of state we receive $1 per ton. We project through our plan that we will keep this funding at least through 2024. The last three years there is a change to our funding to a generation fee because we dont know whats going to happen to the Rumpke landfill in fifteen years. I provided each of you with a summary booklet that highlights what I just talked about and Im happy to answer any questions.
Mayor Webster said on page 7 you list recycling rates. Do you know what percent of residents recycle in the City of Springdale?
Ms. Christmann said I can tell you the recycling rate for 2011 was slightly over 13 percent so Springdale is right in the middle with all the other Hamilton County communities. Thirteen percent is the percent of recyclables out of total waste generated We dont know how many residents are participating.
Mayor Webster asked do you think that is a good number?
Ms. Christmann replied, yes, its right in the average of all Hamilton County communities and wed be happy to work with Springdale if you would like to see that number go up.
Mayor Webster said I was under the impression that the number of people that participate in the residential recycling was 70 to 80 percent.
Mr. Parham stated 86 percent of our households participate.
Ms. Christmann said that is a spectacular number. A lot of folks are recycling. They just dont know everything that can go into that recycling bin or cart. You can recycle almost any paper except paper towels or Kleenex. There is a whole list of things that can go in that bin.
Mr. Hawkins said I understand you have to have sixty percent of the communities ratify the plan. What is the time frame for that and what percentage have you already gotten to ratify the plan at this point?
Ms. Christmann said we have to have jurisdictions representing sixty percent of the population approve the plan. We also have to have the Board of County Commissions and the City of Cincinnati. They have veto power. Our ninety day ratification period started April 14 and it goes until July 13. We have received approval from the County Commissioners, Sycamore Township, Madeira, Symmes Township, City of Reading and I believe we got the City of Cincinnati today.
Mr. Vanover asked what is your definition of yard trimmings? We grind up trees, shrubs and collect leaves in the fall.
We include all of that but we ask residents to leave the grass clippings on the lawn. There is no need to have those composted.
Mr. Vanover asked did the fire at the recycling facility have an affect on Rumpke?
Ms. Christmann replied they are currently shipping their recyclables to their facilities in Columbus or Dayton. They are going to rebuild.
Mr. Diehl asked if everything remained equal, how long do we have for Rumpke Landfill?
Ms. Christmann replied thirteen to fourteen years.
Mr. Diehl asked do we have a plan for years fourteen and fifteen?
Ms. Christmann said with the capacity analysis, we did we looked at landfills in Northern Kentucky and Brown County.
Mrs. Emerson asked what would it entail if Springdale wanted to take on the tire collecting?
Ms. Christmann replied just give us a call. We would work with your Public Works Department, find out when they wanted it, bid out the service and they would bring out a roll off.
Mrs. Emerson said I was reading in the literature Mr. Parham gave us about compost bins. Do you provide that for residents and how do we start that?
Ms. Christmann replied we offered truckload compost bin sales for eight years because you couldnt buy a backyard compost bin at any retail store. We stopped doing that last year because the private sector is now selling them. We have a philosophy not to compete with the private sector. We are doing one-hour compost road shows. We teach residents everything we know about backyard composting. We actually provide them with a $20 coupon to buy a compost bin. We only have two retailers who were able to provide that service this year. They have done spectacularly this year.
Mrs. Emerson asked where do you announce those shows.
Ms. Christmann responded it is on our website and Facebook. We did direct mail pieces to residents around the area where we are hosting them this year. If Springdale is interested in us coming out, we just ask for them to help promote it to their residents and provide us the space. I think the closest one to Springdale is in Forest Park in mid May.
Mr. Squires asked do you differentiate color in bags for yards waste? If I pick up my grass clippings I usually put them in the same bag as my regular garbage.
Mr. Parham stated there is currently no requirement to separate the yard waste from the trash, but we do have a leaf collection program and chipper program.
Ms. Christmann said if you are throwing it away in your regular garbage you dont need to put it in a separate bag because it is all going to the landfill but I do encourage you not to go to the extra work to bag your grass clippings. The closest yard waste site we operate is at the Rumpke Landfill in Colerain Township.
Mr. Squires said you also mentioned newspapers and things that can go in the red bin.
Ms. Christmann said you can do newspapers, magazines, junk mail, cereal boxes, beverage cases, cardboard, office paper, pretty much anything you can tear.
Mr. Squires said often you will see a triangle with a 2 or 3, etc. What does that mean?
Ms. Christmann said we tell people to ignore that. If it is a plastic bottle or jug, just put it in your bin. The number is a system that the plastic industry uses to identify their resin codes.
Mr. Vanover said someone did a show on all the weird things that show up in recycling bins. Wouldnt we be creating a bottleneck by sending stuff that they arent capable of handling? I know plastic bags are an issue.
Ms. Christmann stated the plastic bags would get caught in the machinery and shut it down.
Mr. Parham stated when the City renewed our contract with Rumpke, we did have a representative from Rumpke come before Council. As I recall, there are certain plastics that Rumpke doesn't take. Considering that Rumpke is the primary residential hauler in the area, have you all engaged in discussions with them as to what the will accept? Also, when you are increasing your advertising program, it would be very helpful if we could educate the residents in all communities as to what exactly is acceptable to Rumpke so we dont create the bottleneck that they speak of sometimes. This could insure that we put the proper things in for recycling and get the proper credit.
Ms. Christmann said we will really hit hard what exactly can go in your curbside bin. Yogurt cups are a prime example. Dont put those in your recycle bin. We will hit what can be recycled and what cant. Some people need that visual of what can and cant be put in.
Mr. Parham asked what tools are you going to use as you look at expanding your advertising? Will you do fliers, newspaper articles, website?
Ms Christmann replied all of those. As much as we hate to create paper we find that direct mail works wonderfully. Weve worked with individual communities to help them increase their recycling rates on a small scale and we find that direct mail with a magnet that says exactly what can be recycled has been very effective at increasing recycling rates. We are going to launch a county-wide campaign this fall. We will do billboards, direct mail with magnets, Facebook, website, editorials. We will also ask the communities to help us in their communities as well.
Mr. Parham said as you look at the funding mechanism for the yard trimmings, as we indicated, we have very successful leaf collection and chipper programs and we have our own compost. This is the time we are delivering mulch to the residents. How will you arrive at measuring what we are producing and removing from the waste stream to be able to give us credit for those situations? This is nothing we are reporting to you.
Ms. Christmann said because you do have a compost facility here, you are reporting to the Health Department, the cubic yards of material that are collected so when we look at this funding mechanism , well either look at it on a cubic yard basis because thats how most communities that have compost facilities measure their material, or maybe well look at a flat amount to each community. That is under development right now.
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
A RESOLUTION APPROVING THE UPDATE OF THE SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT PLAN OF THE HAMILTON COUNTY SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
Mr. Squires made a motion to adopt and Mr. Hawkins seconded.
Resolution R3-2012 passed with seven affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE ADOPTION OF AN ALTERNATIVE METHOD OF APPORTIONING THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT FUND
Mr. Knox made a motion to adopt and Mrs. Emerson seconded.
Resolution R4-2012 passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mayor Webster proclaimed May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day. He read a proclamation proclaiming May 13 to May 19 Police Week in Springdale.
Chief Mathis and Officer Kellon Lyons accepted the resolution.
Chief Mathis said Id like to highlight a member of our staff, Kellon Lyons. He has been with us four years and exemplifies the young people who are coming up in this career. He is going on the Police Unity Tour next week to commemorate fallen officers. On a recent detail Officer Lyons was dispatched to Beacon/Oxford Hills for a report of a person with a medical emergency. He found a person in cardiac arrest, performed CPR on the person until the life squad arrived. The person was eventually resuscitated and is with us today because of Officer Lyons actions.
Mrs. Harlow said I would like to bring up the Charter Review recommendations that we had a report on from Mrs. Matheny last Council meeting. Have any of you had a chance to look at our boards and commissions and give this some thought? Id like to open the floor for discussion.
Mr. Vanover said this is an issue we have talked about before. I have no problem with it. It makes sense. It allows the serving president to have maximum flexibility to staff boards. Ive spent eighteen years on Planning Commission. I enjoy it and like the position. Its a case where Im getting a little long in the tooth and we need to see others come in. This could get us out of the automatic reappointment process. I think it handicaps us in the long term to allow others, the younger group to get in there and serve. It also allows us to see different aspects, different commissions, etc.
Mrs. Harlow said we do have two members of the Charter Commission here tonight in case you would like to address them.
Mrs. Emerson stated I am not sure I agree with this. My reasoning is that three of you up here voted for this to be placed on the ballot in 2000. The rationale for that was that you wanted continuity. You wanted experience. You wanted consistency. Now were coming back to just opposite of that where you have the potential if this passes and we put it out there. Youve already put money from the City down to put that on the ballot. The residents addressed it and spoke to it. Nothing has changed in any of these procedures other than the comment for changing is the lack of flexibility the president has and the interest in other Council members getting experience in other areas. With that said, its not about the president and how much experience I gather up here. Its about the City and whats best for the City. I believe by switching every two years you have the potential of getting a whole new board up there and having no experience being up there. As a resident myself, if I have to come before these two boards, and have a whole new board that would be concerning to me. The same reason we have two separate elections for the at-large and the district is so we dont replace the entire Council at one time. That is part of the rationale of Council people serving four years and having an at-large and district. The Charter Revision also suggested that even the residents be changed at two years also. This being my first term on City Council, I was placed on the Finance Committee and I have no knowledge of finances. Im a nurse. Thanks to Bob Diehl, I was able to have several meetings with him and he was able to coax me along. Ive served two years and now my third year I feel Im acclimated now to actually be productive on that committee. I think that could be true with some of these other committees. The only two committees that restrain the president are those two committees, BZA and Planning which are the two most important committees the City has. They control a lot of the changes that go on in the City so Im not in favor of this at all.
Mr. Knox said although its not 100 percent, most legislative bodies do not pass legislation that will tie the hands of the people who follow them. By keeping this at four years, if President of Council changes, that ties his or her hands. Secondly, there is nothing to stop that person from reappointing the same people. I think it gives up a little more latitude if we go to the two year.
Mr. Hawkins said I have some concerns as well. The Board of Zoning Appeals and Planning Commission are the two boards that are most important in terms of the execution of the Citys vision in how things are laid out, where things are laid out. Its the kind of thing where you want to have that continuity and consistency to make sure that vision is executed over time. The concerns that have come up as to why it would be a good idea to put this forward are valid points but at the same time, I dont see they outweigh the importance of maintaining consistency with those boards. I also think in terms of flexibility of the president, the president has the ability to change any of the other boards, and every two years will change one person on each of those two boards as well. I dont see the idea that the presidents hands are tied all that much. As to the idea of experience, there is an opportunity to get experience in a variety of boards and commissions. We have been fortunate to have Mr. Vanover and Mr. Galster on Planning Commission for a number of years which has given the City great direction and weve been well taken care of. The converse to that is that every four years they were put back on that board, they didnt have to be. The president could have said Im going to put someone else on there. We made a choice to do that multiple times. Im not passing judgment on whether thats a bad idea or good idea but thats a choice that the president at that time made. Now were saying that the idea of that president doing that at that time has put us in a position where we have folks who arent equipped or dont have experience to take on those roles. We could change it to two years; whos to say that we wouldnt have a president who would put someone on there again for another four. I dont see that as a reason to jeopardize the potential of the lack of execution of the Citys vision. If a Council member wants to come off of that board or commission, I havent seen anything in the rules that says they cant come off of that. I think the reality is there are no more indentured servants, no more slavery. If someone says I dont want to be on that board or commission, they can go to the president and say they dont want to be on that board or commission and come off of it. The president can put somebody else on there. Weve had that before. That is there and available. If someone says Im tired of this board or Im not effective, that opportunity is there to change that at their whim. I have grave concerns for the Citys vision being executed. These are long term things. We had the meeting with City Council, BZA and Planning and we had some developers that were coming in talking about Kemper and SR 747 and they presented this grand presentation of potential redevelopment for that entire area, what it might look like in fifteen, twenty, twenty-five years. If were constantly making changes and there is not that continuity there, the odds of us achieving those visions and the odds of us achieving things the Mayor has done and Mr. Vanover has helped with, Mr. Squires and folks who have been up here for years in terms of changes that have happened around the City, decrease drastically because you dont have someone there to say, this is the vision we have had, not just from a years ago, but four years ago, six or eight years ago. Its not to say just because someone is not on Council, BZA or Planning, he cant come back and give input and direction and pull folks aside who may be less experienced, but it gets to be tougher to have that happen. Thats why I would be against changing those terms at this time.
Mrs. Harlow said I did go back and asked Administration to pull what they could on the Charter Revision minutes from February 22, 2000 and January 10, 2000 and there is not enough information in the minutes to give us a real idea of the conversations that happened in those meetings. The ordinance that was passed was Ordinance 62-2000. That is where we did agree to change Planning Commission to be a four year term. In talking with Charter Revision, I did not ask them to look at the other Council appointments in four year terms, but I think its a pretty good idea if you consider the fact that new Council people will be coming on, and quite often, we get new people to boards and committees with new Council people being elected to our community. Its totally up to Council as to what they would like to do.
Mrs. Emerson stated the ironic thing about all of this is that what you all are complaining about, the things that are happening that you dont like, are the things we took out to the residents that were a problem. I guess maybe the three people who were here when that was put on can shed some light on why it was so important then and now it isnt, because it was important enough in 2000 to put it on the ballot and let the residents talk about it and vote on it. Now you are going completely opposite. Maybe you can shed some light on why it was important and now it isnt.
Mrs. Harlow said I have looked at all the video tapes.
Mrs. Emerson responded but you all voted, Mr. Squires, Mr. Vanover and Mrs. Harlow. Do you not know what youre rationale was?
Mr. Vanover said in trying to resurrect the continuity there, the fact is rather or not we voted upon it really is kind of moot because there are numerous, . . you can go to any legislative body and there are issues voted on and sometime there will be an issue retracting that. Mr. Hawkins was quoting the constitution. Theres a reason why the Bill of Rights, all the amendments are listed. They are not taken out. The nineteenth amendment stated Prohibition. That was a good idea at the time or so people thought. Two-thirds of the country approved that amendment but it was taken back. The reason it is left there is for us to remember where we made a mistake, where we got it wrong.
Mrs. Emerson asked where did we get it wrong? What is the negative? Because it is an inconvenience to the president and because we are concerned about how much experience I get up here. I dont see any changes in the past ten years that make us want to put it back. It must have been pretty important because we all voted, three of you voted to put it on the ballot. There has to be some rationale on why you chose to do that and I dont see anything that has changed in that length of time that would want us to go back to the residents and say, we were wrong there and we want to go back the other way. Now things change, I agree with that, but you have not said anything about what has changed or the need to go back the other way.
Mr. Vanover said in my point of view the change is in realizing conceivably, every two years you could have a new person on BZA or Planning because you could have a change in the Council makeup. The voters could inflict that. Because of the stagger, the appointments end up overlapping periods. And quite honestly, I have enjoyed Planning Commission. Im one of seven. In looking at this and all of us, whether were on Planning or BZA or any of the commissions, were charged with the vision of the City. When we have a developer come in we are all given that opportunity for our input and are charged with that. Quite honestly, Im a district rep for District 4 but my concerns from this point of view are not what are best for District 4 only, because Im looking at the welfare of the entire city. There have been things that have benefited the greater that didnt do a whole lot for my home district, and thats part of the problem when we get to the federal and state government with pork, because they are trying to pull in the best deal for their people. Weve thrown out the good of the entire country. I think that this is, yes Ive been there. Has it been a penalty? No, it hasnt. I enjoyed being there but Im looking at, when you hit forty-five your thought process changes and you start looking at things in a different way. You look back at stunts you did as a kid and say that was fun at the time but it was really pretty stupid. Im looking at some of this and thinking, ok, Ive been there but I have penalized somebody else because I was on there and served. I pat myself on the back because I think I did a pretty good job but there will come a point in time that myself and all of us up here, there were people ahead of us in these seats and there will be people behind us in these seats. I think that we can operate, work hard or work smart and take in all of it. Has it been a mistake? I cant say necessarily that it has but sometimes there are more efficient ways of doing it. Just because I do the same thing all the time in my work world, Ive learned if somebody has a better wheel, Ill ride it. Their experience may have told them something that mine hasnt.
Mrs. Emerson stated but you havent shown me that its better.
Mr. Vanover replied maybe you need some glasses.
Mayor Webster said my recollection is that back to the day we adopted the Charter in 1959 these terms were four years. I dont think the 2000 election had anything to do with the length of the terms. The 2000 election said you have to have one person from district and one from at-large on BZA and Planning. From that day forth we have had a problem because with that restriction in place, then all of a sudden, if you are an at-large president, then you only have two other people. One has to go on BZA and one has to go on Planning. So maybe neither one of these people are capable or have a desire to serve on there, the Charter says they must go here, they must go here. Mrs. Emerson, I dont think weve sold anything to the community that now we have to unsell if we want to continue like that. That ensures you that you will always have the person here. They have to be elected by their peers to serve on these boards, but at least the warm bodies are going to be here and I think its important to maintain one from district and one from at-large on these boards. Thats the only thing we did in 2000.
Mrs. Emerson said wont changing that every two years pull both of those people off or am I not seeing that right?
Mayor Webster said there is a possibility that they will be pulled off but here again, Mr. Hawkins mentioned Mr. Vanover and Mr. Galster and the length of time they served on Planning. I dont think there is anything wrong with that as long as the people are doing a good job and there is no reason why they couldnt get returned to those committees. If someone is doing a good job they could get returned by their peers but there is a lot more flexibility on where people can serve, not necessarily how long they serve. I think how long they serve is going to be dictated by what kind of job they are doing and what their peers think of the job they are doing. I dont think thats going to change.
Mrs. Harlow said if I could interject something here, with the Mayors appointments. The Mayor changes every four years so he/she has more of an ability to change than Council has.
Mrs. Emerson said all the more reason to keep two of them stationary.
Mayor Webster said on the years when you dont have a new mayors term you have continuity there because the Mayors appointments, three on Planning and two on BZA would continue.
Mrs. Emerson responded going to the two years, you have the ability of both the at-large and the district being pulled off of that board. It would have happened this time. BZA would have been a whole new board if this wasnt in place.
Mayor Webster said you have the two mayoral appointments there.
Mrs. Emerson said but the two Council people would have been moved. And theres a chance if we had gotten a new mayor.
Mayor Webster said thats true.
Mr. Diehl said let me say that Mr. Hawkins and Mrs. Emerson made some really excellent points and I agree with a lot of the comments. I have some questions for Charter. Were talking about Council people but you also threw in do we want a two-year term for the residents also. Id like to know your thought process.
Mrs. Matheny, Charter Commission, stated we looked at a lot of different things as I explained at the last meeting. The reason we decided the residents should be looked at also is for similar reasons that we feel the Council people should be looked at. You have a
resident who is on a board for four years. Two years should be ample time to evaluate that person. If that person is not a productive member of the board, then you folks have a chance to appoint someone who is. I think what people, some people, are missing is this is just a possibility of change. Its not you have to switch it. It gives everyone flexibility.
Mr. Diehl said I served on four or five boards here. I can tell you it takes a year and a half to get you really up to speed in what youre doing so if you change it every two years you have to go through a whole new learning curve again.
Mrs. Matheny said thats fine, if you change it.
Mr. Diehl said both of my Council folks made an excellent point. Im in favor of changing it but not for residents. Im in favor of the residents being four year appointments.
Mr. Knox said I was going to make two points and Mr. Webster and his daughter made the points I was going to make. My memory that was jogged by the discussion is the same as yours. In fact, the wording you used really got my mind going that if the President of Council is either district or at-large, and when that person changes, it throws everything out of balance and thats why we went to the four year. The point that your daughter made is that there is nothing that says you have to change people every two years. In certain cases it would be a good idea. In some cases people would like to step down but they wouldnt like to do it in the middle of a cycle so they could do it at the end of two years. Thats one of the reasons I favor this.
Mr. Hawkins said I think the biggest reason for this is about giving the president more flexibility. We are talking about two positions and I would say the most thankless job the president has is selecting people for the boards and commissions. I dont know if there is ever a time that everyone is happy. Marjorie, you have done a great job in trying to make everyone happy but were never going to have a situation where everybody is on the board or committee they want to necessarily be on. If we are talking about flexibility for the president, we are only talking about two positions on two boards that you cant touch every two years. Thats all were talking about. I dont see that as a compelling enough reason to change the Charter. In terms of what Mr. Vanover said, Im happy that I have a few more years before I change my viewpoint, we are all charged in carrying out the vision of the City. The one thing that I think we cant underestimate is that some of us have been on here for a long, long time but we may have forgotten this. When you get on those boards and commissions, what has happened in the past and the rationale for why we are doing what were doing, how we laid things out the way we have, what precedents they are, are so important. The six years I spent on Planning Commission before coming on Council, I looked to Mr. Vanover. I looked to Mr. Galster. I looked to Mr. Okum, folks who had been on there and were well experienced and knew why we were doing what we were doing and what the direction was. It doesnt mean that I cant have input. I did but having folks who have been there gives you folks you can ask why and what happened in the past, and it helps. You cant underestimate the value. It helps make sure were going in the right direction. That consistency and continuity I think is a really big thing. The only thing I would like to ask Mr. Parham, what does it cost for us to put something on the ballot to change the Charter?
Mr. Parham said I dont have an exact figure. In fact, I gathered the information I had at the last meeting. Essentially, if there is a special election, all the costs for that special election would be borne by the City of Springdale. If it is an election that is part of the general election in the fall, those costs will be borne equally between the City of Springdale and the school district, because typically there is somebody running for office with the school district in the fall general election. I cant tell you the exact number. You are paying for the advertising costs, the tabulation cost, as well as the costs for the individuals working the polls.
Mayor Webster said thats assuming the school district had an issue on there. If you went to the ballot this fall, the cost would be minimal. Sitting in the Finance Officers chair, I dont ever remember seeing an election cost over $3,000 to $4,000. I dont think we ever
had an election just for a Charter amendment either. If we had an election in August it would probably be $10,000 to $20,000.
Mrs. McNear stated we did have some Charter changes since Ive been Clerk of Council/Finance Director but we didnt have a special election. We waited for a general election. Secondly, on the issue of this Charter change, nobody here who voted for it is going to remember the exact conversations that happened twelve years ago but I do know this was generated by the fact that years ago Randy Danbury was President of Council and he was a district representative. When I moved into the President of Council seat as an at-large member, thats what really caused the problem of trying to assign people. Thats what predicated this issue way back when, just to confirm why we made these changes. I dont think its merely making life easier for the President of Council because as you said, its not an easy task to do when your hands are tied because you have to put people in certain places.
Mayor Webster said that only came about in 2000.
Mrs. Harlow said I spent hours combing the minutes as well as the videos trying to figure out the discussions that were surrounding this. There is not very much in the minutes at all. Thats why I asked Administration to try to locate the Charter Revision committee minutes and again, there is not a whole lot in those minutes either. I did ask for future Charter Revision minutes that we have more detail so if someone is going to look back on something ten to twelve years from now, they will be able to pull that and have more information than what we have on this.
Mrs. Emerson said so the whole issue of this is for flexibility for the president and experience for Council members. Is that what we are looking at?
Mrs. Harlow replied the flexibility for me. I do think the ability of Council people to be moved into different committees can only be beneficial to them so they can have experiences such as BZA, Planning and Finance.
Mrs. McNear said its not only beneficial for the Council people, its beneficial for the City. Its good to have new blood on the committees from time to time.
Mrs. Emerson said I agree with that also. But with that said, were only talking two boards here. Were talking BZA and Planning. You can gain all the experience in all those other boards because most of those people, when they serve on BZA or Planning, they also serve on other commissions and boards too. There is room for experience and I think that is important but not at the cost of continuity and experience on those two boards.
Mrs. Harlow said we have on the board Charter Revisions recommendation that Council consider making both the president appointments as well as the resident appointment for every two years. I dont know how you would like to handle those two issues.
Mr. Diehl said I dont think were in a great hurry to do anything one way or the other so we ought to table this for a month or two and think of all the ramifications. When we get closer to election, then deal with it.
Mrs. Harlow stated you cant really do that because you have to have it on the ballot so many days prior to the election. Even if you were looking at the election this coming fall, were pressing a deadline now.
Mrs. Emerson asked so would that be a special election?
Mrs. Harlow said it would be a general election in the fall.
Mayor Webster said in response to Mr. Diehls suggestion that you table it for a month or two, it has to be filed sixty days before the election. It has to be filed September 7.
Mr. Forbes stated the deadline to file is September 7. Councils last regular meeting before that is September 5. The other timing I would note is if you want to put this on the November ballot you have to take action at least sixty days before the election but not more than 120 days. One hundred twenty days is July 9. If you take action before that window then you would have to have a special election. If you want it on the November ballot, you need to take action between July 9 and September 7.
Mayor Webster said this is strictly from memory but I dont think weve ever passed a Charter amendment with an emergency clause. Weve always had two readings and given people ample opportunity to be heard. I think something this important should not be done with an emergency clause, especially as much time as we have here. I dont think theres a whole lot of time to have it tabled for two or three months.
Mr. Knox said to that point, if we dont do it this year there is an election the next years. The delay would be a one year delay but it might be a good thing.
Mr. Diehl suggested we have the readings in June and July.
Mr. Parham stated you could have the first reading June 20 and the second reading July 18.
Mrs. Emerson said since you serve another year as president and we were all placed on boards and committees and we do that every two years, what is the rush to put this on the ballot this year when we could do it next year when it would really be an issue?
Mrs. Harlow replied there is no rush. We could put it on whenever Council chooses to put it on. I would just like to have the issue addressed.
Mrs. Harlow said we will table this and discuss it at the first meeting in June and then move forward either with an ordinance to do it and have it by our July 18 meeting or not to do it.
Mayor Webster said Id like to pass some photos around here. Next meeting were going to have a proclamation for Public Works Week so Id like to hold some of this discussion until those guys are here. This is really a neat event that took place today. Some of you may have seen this so thats why Id like to pass these photos around. I happened to be walking through town about 12-12:30 p.m. today and I looked over at the Veterans Memorial and there were about twenty-five people over there. We had a group of volunteers from GE Aviation helping us put mulch down at the Veterans Memorial. I think Jeff said they put down forty cubic tons of mulch today and it looks marvelous. Weve had a couple of other volunteer events that we can talk about at the next meeting.
Mrs. Harlow said they picked an awesome project to volunteer for.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Home Improvement Grant application acceptance - May 1
Bike Safety Day - May 5
Planning Commission - May 8
Board of Health - May 10
Childrens Health Fair - May 10
Board of Zoning Appeals - May 15
Police Expo - May 19 & 20
Veterans Memorial Wreath Laying - May 25
Pool opens - May 26
Community Center closed, pool open - May 28
Fall soccer sign ups, swim lessons, sailfish swim team - now open
Mr. Thamann said the Drug Take Back Day was this past Saturday. It was well received but the weather dampened the attendance. They took in roughly thirty-seven pounds of various unwanted medications.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT - none
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED - none
Council adjourned at 8:29 p.m.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Marjorie Harlow, President of Council