President of Council Marjorie Harlow called Council to order on June 2 , at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance.
Mrs. McNear took roll call. Present were Council members Diehl, Emerson, Galster, Hawkins, Squires, Vanover and Harlow.
COMMUNICATIONS - none
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
Jeff Agricola, Director of Public Works introduced Mike Huxsoll, new Assistant Director of Public Works. There were over 250 applicants for the position. Mr. Huxsoll comes from West Chester Township where he served as project manager for the last ten years. Mr. Huxsolls experience in West Chester Township included items such as the inspection of the townships capital improvement development projects, safety coordination within the Public Works Department as well as the coordination of the Public Works Department asset management program. Mikes first day with the City of Springdale was May 10 and he has already proved himself to be an asset.
Mr. Huxsoll said I look forward to serving the beautiful community of Springdale.
Mayor Webster said Id like to welcome Mike aboard and wish you all the luck in the world. Mr. Agricola has run the department for two years with no assistant. Public Works has had more full-time people trimmed than any other department and theyve had to make do with part-time people, but we have not seen a drop off in the service level.
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
ORDINANCE NO. 19-2010 ACCEPTING THE PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS WITHIN THE PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY ON THE SPRINGDALE POINTE SUBDIVISION PLAT (THOMPSON THRIFT) AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.
Mr. Galster made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Mr. Galster said this is cleaning up an old issue we had with the corner in reference to the eminent domain where we took it to widen the street. As we put together the Tri-County Mall Redevelopment Plan, a lot of that was about creating identity. This is the first redevelopment of that intersection and the developer graciously donated property so that at a future date we can have control of it to help create that identity. When you are talking about real estate, even a small amount of real estate in a prime location is a huge giving on the part of the developer. I want to acknowledge them and we do appreciate it.
Ordinance 19-2010 passed with seven affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 20-2010 ACCEPTING AND APPROVING THE TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEM UPGRADE AND ASSOCIATED FUNDING FROM THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (ODOT) AND DELCARING AN EMERGENCY.
Mr. Galster made a motion to read Ordinance 20-2010 by title only. Mr. Vanover seconded. The motion passed with six affirmative votes.
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Mr. Parham stated this is accepting the traffic upgrade project. Currently, we have two systems for our traffic signals. This would coordinate that into one system with a number of enhancements to the traffic control systems, adding point, tilt and zoom cameras in various locations, an upgrade to LED lighting throughout the community as well as some ramp improvements. The City is scheduled to receive $702,000 in federal and state funding for this project. Our share will be $233,000.
Mr. Galster asked does this new system have expandability capabilities? If you add another light to the system, is that easy to do or is it a major undertaking?
Mr. Parham replied I think the ability to add would be mainly the capability of running fiber to that location. Two of the locations we talked about are no longer part of this project, SR 4 and Maple Trace, and Crescentville and Tivoli. If we decide to run the fiber optics to those locations you can then connect them to the system.
Mr. Galster asked so there is no upper limit to the number of intersections that can be controlled?
Mr. Parham replied no, not to my knowledge. I would image there is some capacity but were not there.
Mayor Webster said probably the determining factor would be where the signal is located. As long as its in the proximity of the core network that should not be a problem. Were not aware of any limits.
Ordinance 20-2010 passed with seven affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 21-2010 AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT TO BECOME A MEMBER OF THE CENTER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT BENEFITS POOL (CLGBP) AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Mr. Thamann stated this ordinance was discussed at a prior meeting. Changing our health insurance program was brought up during the budget process by looking at ways of reducing the Citys overall costs. With the rising costs of our self-funded program, we looked at other opportunities and the Center for Local Government has a benefits pool where they are still self-funded in a larger pool which is called OME-RESA. This program has helped to stabilize the participating communities health insurance costs. This ordinance will give us the opportunity to become a member of the CLGBP where we will buy our stop loss insurance and have our pooling administration and other benefits services handled through this pool.
Ordinance 21-2010 passed with seven affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 22-2010 AUTHORIZING ANNUAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO CERTAIN HEALTH ACCOUNTS OF FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES OF THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE RELATED TO THE CITYS HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Mr. Thamann said this ordinance is in relation to the City joining the Center for Local Government benefit pool and institute a high deductible insurance plan. This ordinance authorizes Council to assist the employees with the funding of their health savings accounts in the first year at 100 percent and the second year at 50 percent. This is for the health insurance. We will have a network with our dental program but we will continue to self-fund this program.
Mr. Galster asked does this cover all employees or are we still at issue or have questions regarding any collective bargaining unit. These levels of funding are available for the people who sign up within a certain time frame. What is that?
Mr. Thamann responded we will be having employee meetings in the next couple of weeks. We are encouraging all employees who are eligible to sign up for the HSA. There is no guarantee all union employees will establish an HSA and instead chose an HRA. We will be matching the current health benefits through if a bargaining unit member chooses an HRA. The offer of 100% paid by the city in the first year is very advantageous to the employees and were hoping everyone goes towards the HSA. There are a couple of people who wont be eligible for the HSA because of IRS rules. As an example, if someone is already collecting social security they wont be eligible for the HSA so we would set up an HRA account for them.
Ordinance 22-2010 passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Parham said I know we have had a number of discussions about the hotel. We do want to share what is better news than any weve ever had. The players in this issue are Shubh Hotels, owner of the hotel; CEO for Shubh Hotels, Atul Bisaria, the bank that held the loan was Broadway Bank. In late April/early May, Broadway Bank was taken over by FDIC and a new bank was assigned to handle the assets for Broadway Bank. In an effort to make contact to see if the new bank would perhaps move this process along as we were successful with the Board of Building Appeals with the three violations against Shubh Hotels, Mr. Forbes was able to make contact with the attorneys who represent Shubh Hotels as well as the attorneys who represent the new bank, MB Financial.
Mr. Forbes stated the glimmer of hope that we have is that we have been able to make contact with representatives from MB Financial. Unlike Broadway Bank, MB Financial appears to be very interested in trying to salvage that property. They asked for copies of the inspection reports, and the Fire Code citations that have been issued. I Fed-Exed all that material to their representative. They indicated that they were interested in possibly getting a property manager assigned so someone could come out and start taking care of the property and relieve some of the burden the City has undertaken. That property is unsecured right now and if a property manager could be assigned, it would get us moving in the direction that we need to see some corrections made at that property. I was very happy with what the representative from MB Financial indicated. They dont want that property to get worse than it is. They are trying to work out an arrangement with the hotel owner to hand over the keys and walk away and just give it to the bank. So they do have an incentive to get the property upkeep so that they have an asset to help recover some of that loan. As Mr. Parham said, its probably the best news weve heard lately. I understand that the process could end with that property going up for auction and that is something MB Financial is not interested in allowing to happen at all.
Mayor Webster said we have asked Mr. Forbes to drag his feet on filing the suit but I guess you are ready to file any day, Mr. Forbes?
Mr. Forbes responded the complaint is drafted so its just a matter of walking it to the courthouse to file. In the conversation I had with MB Financial yesterday it seemed it might be in the Citys interest to Fed Ex that material to them, get a response from them, because that may get you the solution you are hoping for short of going through another extended legal process.
Mr. Parham said the one question I have is if MB Financial takes over ownership of the hotel, is there a requirement that we would have to go through this entire process over in order to cite them, go through the Board of Building Appeals if they decide to delay or not take action?
Mr. Forbes replied I dont know the answer off the top of my head. The citations that were issued were issued against Shubh Hotels, Mr. Basaria, and the manager. I would have to review that. I suppose theres a chance that we may have to re-issue citations and go through the process again. I dont know if the bank does take ownership through foreclosure, that they would assume the liabilities of the fire code citations. None of the situation has changed. All the facts are still the same but there is a chance we may have to re-issue those. Ive never had during the course of a fire code citation a title change because of a foreclosure so I dont know the answer to that.
Mr. Parham said our hope is from the positive conversation that Mr. Forbes had with the bank representatives, hopefully that will not be the case. I think we just need to make sure were prepared in case that does come about.
Mr. Parham, said if you recall during the budget process, as we were going over the capital improvement items, we had the project of Northbound SR 747 to Westbound I-275. This project began well over $1.4 million where we were looking at some adjustments to the off-ramp on Westbound I-275 to Northbound SR 747. We were also looking at adding an additional turn lane and bringing the turn lanes underneath the interstate to take you Northbound SR 747 to Westbound I-275. The project would have widened the on ramp at that location, as well. Over the process of submitting this to the Federal Highway Administration as well as to Ohio Department of Transportation, the project was narrowed down from a $1.4 million major expansion down to creating two additional left turn lanes on Northbound SR 747 onto I-275 Westbound. The project is no longer well over $1.4 million, but at the time of the budget I presented to you then that the project had been reduced to and is currently in our five-year budget for 2011 at $621,000. We also budgeted $75,000 for engineering on this project. The Citys share because of a 70/30 split would have been $186,300 on the construction side and the engineering work would be the Citys responsibility as well as a 70/30 split with the construction engineering. We simply budgeted ten percent for the construction engineering. Now that the project construction cost is pared down to approximately $300,000 the Citys share is about $90,000. We will not know the true cost of the project until we put it out to bid, but the estimate of funding we will receive is $210,000. This is with CMAQ funding, the same type of funding we received for the traffic upgrade system. We have also asked CDS to investigate whether or not we can find additional funding to assist us with our $90,000. We have been encouraged by the local ODOT rep at District 8 to apply for LTIP funding to assist us with our construction costs of $90,000. If we are successful they may pick up about $60,000 of that leaving us with $30,000 for our costs. In addition, they have suggested that we look at MRF funding that could cover our design costs. We have received a proposal from CDS for the design and engineering of $33,900 so were down from the $75,000 that was budgeted. If we are successful in receiving either all or a portion of the MRF funds to cover the engineering then we may be left with paying $30,000 as our share plus about $10,000 for environmental work plus another $30,000 that is our responsibility for the construction engineering. I would imagine the construction engineering would be a 70/30 split as well. There is an opportunity for us to get additional funding to assist us with the project. As we project out at this point, worst case scenario, if the numbers came in at $300,000, the City would pay $163,900. What we have budgeted for 2011 in the five year process is $186,300 for the Citys share for construction. It does not speak to the engineering or the construction engineering. I would like to request a proposal for the engineering design work for the next meeting.
Mayor Webster said the project was scaled back and that entails the turn lanes starting after you get underneath the underpass. It does not go back under the underpass. I was glad to see that happen personally. I just couldnt see a lane coming back underneath the underpass just for that left turn. So after you go under the underpass, the two left lanes would be turn lanes onto westbound I-275. Were probably looking at $150,000 less out of our capital improvement budget than what we had in there at the beginning of this year.
Mr. Galster said the $10,000 for the environmental concerns is a stand alone number that were 100 percent responsible for.
Mr. Parham stated that could possibly be covered by the MRF funds, as well.
Mr. Galster inquired we wont know about additional funding until after we get the engineering completed?
Mr. Parham replied we are going to submit the applications for both LTIP and MRF.
Mr. Shvegzda stated they will both be submitted in August or September. We will know whether we are MRF funded by October. We will receive the funds in March 2011 if we are successful.
Mr. Parham said to add to the Mayors comments, the importance of adding those lanes, if you are there during a really busy season, the traffic for the turn lane begins to block the thru lane traffic so it allows more stacking room.
NEW BUSINESS - none
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Farmers Market starts - June 3
Planning Commission - June 8
Council Rules Committee - June 10
Board of Zoning Appeals - June 15
Mr. Parham requested legislation for the tax budget for the next meeting. It is due at the County July 15th. Because we are not meeting until July 21st we need to have that at the June 16 meeting. In addition, we are requesting legislation for the agreement with the City of Cincinnati to accept the County negotiated water rates for the City of Springdale. We are asking for two readings because we do not have to make a commitment until the end of this year. Although the agreement itself does not expire until 2017 the commitment has to be made by the end of this year in order to be part of the County negotiated rates or youd have to negotiate with Water Works on your own. I think its more advantageous to accept these rates. They are the current rates that we are paying. All non-City of Cincinnati customers pay about 25% more than Cincinnati residents pay. We ask for the first reading of this ordinance at the July 21 meeting and the second at the August 18 meeting.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Amending Sections of the Zoning Code - June 16
Tax Budget - June 16
County Water Contract - July 21
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
CDS engineering design work I-275 & SR 747 - June 16
Council adjourned at 7:43 p.m.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Marjorie Harlow, President of Council