President of Council Kathy McNear called Council to order on September 17, 2003, 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, Galster, Pollitt, Squires, Vanover, Wilson and McNear.
The minutes of August 20, 2003 were approved with six affirmative votes. Mrs. McNear abstained.
Presentation Ė David Mowrey, Ohio Civil War Trail Commission
Mr. Mowrey gave Council a handout. Mr. Mowrey said he is the Hamilton County Coordinator for the Ohio Civil War Trail Commission. One of our many projects is the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail of Ohio. The project is a 550 mile long heritage trail, the first of its kind in the Stateís history. It stretches from Harrison to West Point, close to Youngstown. It depicts the 1863 raid of Confederate general, John Hunt Morgan. (Mr. Mowrey showed the route that John Hunt Morgan took through the State.) The main route came through Springdale. Iím asking for a Council resolution or a letter from your Administrator to accept the signs we will be giving you. There are five directional signs. They are standard 24"x24" aluminum road signs that come with a 90 inch aluminum pole. The logo of the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail will be on the sign. That will lead visitors along the route throughout the State. There will be ten interpretative signs in Hamilton County but none in Springdale. Iím asking you to accept these signs, three of which will be placed at the intersection of Kemper and Springfield Pike; and two near the intersection of Sharon Road and Springfield Pike. The second thing I ask is that you install these signs at no cost to our society and that you waive any consequence of liability once the signs have been installed.
Mr. Osborn said this is really quite a coincidence because Dave Butsch, our Superintendent of Public Works, and I are both doing some genealogical research related to a Veteranís Memorial that the City is working on. A few months ago we caught wind of your efforts from an associate in Greenhills, who sent us some material. Our Public Works Director was in an auto accident and has been out of commission for a little bit, but he has done a little research in his free time. The names Morgan and Hunt are associated with Springdaleís history. We have an individual in our historic cemetery that bears that same name. This comes to us at a very good time. We are working on a Veteranís Memorial; and we are working on establishing the streetscape and the infrastructure on Springfield Pike to give us identity as a community. I think the historical significance that we heard this evening gives us the opportunity to re-establish with our community the long and storied history of the folks that settled here. I think this is a great opportunity for the City and I would encourage us to try to work with the group. I had just yesterday asked David if he could try to reach you because I didnít realize you were going to be on the agenda because I missed the last Council meeting.
Mr. Danbury said we have one Revolutionary War veteran buried in the cemetery and a lot of Civil War soldiers. I see there may be some problems because we may not be able to put it right where you want it because of right-of-way. I make a motion that the City get in agreement with them. Mr. Squires seconded.
Mr. Osborn said if Council makes a motion I would be happy to write the letter. Itís a matter of posting some signs. I think we would like to coordinate with them on our own interpretative markers that we may want to put at the cemetery. Weíre also looking at some signs for the corners.
Mr. Galster said the paper we have says the signs are red, white and blue; and another one says it is four-colored. Do we have any discretion to make sure it fits in with the streetscape?
Mr. Mowrey replied the poles are at your discretion. We do ask that the sign placards that we provide are used. Those are mass produced and they are identical for a reason. They keep the travelers consistent along the route.
Mr. Knox stated there are some of us who consider Mr. Morgan to be a brigand, a thief and a murderer. This will not be glorifying him, will it?
Mr. Mowrey answered no, it will not. In any war, there is always an enemy, someone we donít want to associate ourselves to and a victor, which in this case would be our citizens and our Union Army. We will only bring up the stories that are pertinent to the area and try to concentrate on the citizenry in the area in which he entered.
Mr. Danbury asked how would people be able to find the path Morgan took?
Mr. Mowrey said there is a web site for us, or on the internet just search for John Hunt Morgan.
The motion to accept the signs passed with seven affirmative votes.
Presentation -- Veteranís Memorial
Mr. Wilson stated that with every fund raising organization that starts up we need start up money. We need someone or a company who will step up and help monetarily. One of the first to step up was CDS Associates and Mr. Shuler. On behalf of the Springdale Veteranís Memorial we would like to present CDS and Associates and Mr. Shuler a little thank you for being one of the individuals who gave us a little start up funding. It reads "Springdale Veteranís Memorial Ė In recognition of and with appreciation for your contribution to the Springdale Veteranís Memorial, a model always remembered."
Mr. Shuler said we have always felt in the office that we have been a partner with everything that youíve done here and we were more than pleased to be in a position to help get this started and hopefully see it through to completion.
Mr. Galster said it took a long time to get the project started. Thereís things that need to be put together in order to conduct a mass fund raising project; the printing, design work, legal stuff, etc. We wanted to make sure we took the opportunity to show a little bit of appreciation for the people and corporations that have stepped up to the plate. I think the first day we decided to do it privately I approached Mr. Shuler. He was the first to make a commitment and I would like to personally thank him.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
Civil Service Commission - Mr. Strange reported that they met September 4 to process a request from the City to waive the current hiring process to allow the City to bring a part-time employ to a full-time basis. We thought it would be prudent, at a minimum, to interview the individual, which we did.
Rules and Laws - no report
Public Relations - no report
Public Health, Safety & Welfare - no report
Public Works Ė Mr. Wilson said the SR 4 ODOT resurfacing project from Cameron Road to Glensprings is complete. ODOT will prepare a punch list. We are waiting for final quantities and costs for the portion of work that we are responsible for paying. The final asphalt surface and pavement markings for East Crescentville Road were completed the week of September 8.
Public Utilities - no report
Capital Improvements Ė Mr. Danbury said most projects are finished. Phase II for Kemper Road/Old Commons Drive is basically done. A few utility poles need to be removed at the Sharon Road intersection so we can do the sidewalk. The Beaver Run Creek restoration has been pushed back to next week.
Finance Committee - no report
Planning Commission Ė Mr. Galster reported that there was no representation from Dunkin Donuts so that was removed from the agenda. Value City wants to reface their building and that was approved 7-0. Planning Commission issued a time-sensitive, conditional use of a temporary banner in a PUD zone. Metropolitan Housing District came in with their plan for the assisted living facility on Springfield Pike. A few items need to be squared away with staff but that was approved 7-0.
Board of Zoning Appeals Ė Mr. Squires stated there was a request for a 10íx12í utility building closer than five feet to the property line. There was no representation so it was tabled. A resident asked for a basement remodel at 11475 Walnut Street. The applicant wanted two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a pool room, kitchen, laundry room and outside entrance which meets the definition of another dwelling. That was denied. A resident at 11720 Van Camp Lane requested to convert the majority of a one-car garage to office space. This was tabled for ninety days. Mr. Okum is going to approach Planning Commission for consideration of language regarding conditional use permits in lieu of variances that would allow us to deal with situations of this nature. Conditional use permits can be on a limited basis but variances cannot.
Board of Health Ė Ms. Pollitt said we had our first meeting with our new Health Commissioner, Cammie Mitrione. She has worked out the proposed food license fees for the new year and she has designed a new flyer for the Health Department that describes the services available through the Health Department. The Nurse stated she would be giving flu shots in October.
Veteranís Memorial Committee Ė Mr. Wilson said we had a meeting tonight. First on the agenda was an update of our funding status. We reviewed the draft of our by-laws and made some minor changes. Iíd like to remind everyone of our fund raising event on Monday, September 22nd at the Community Center. Part of the proceeds will go to the memorial fund.
O-K-I Ė Mr. Knox said they met as the entire Board of Trustees, not the Executive Committee alone. The major thing we will be talking about at the next meeting is whether OKI will endorse the plan to expand the interstate to four or five lanes and possibly to put a light rail starting at I-675 and running to the river. The cost of that will be approximately $2 billion. They are not telling us that it will save a lot of money. This time they are just saying we need this. I believe we need it too. OKI can endorse plans but they cannot endorse tax issues.
Mayorís Report Ė Mayor Webster said just to clarify Mr. Strangeís report. We did request the approval of a custodian without taking the Civil Service test and that is not unprecedented. Itís one of the few jobs in the City that we donít test for. I was okay until you mentioned the Chief of Police and I didnít want anyone to think we were hiring a police officer without a Civil Service test.
Mr. Strange said the employ had demonstrated on-job performance. We had a real good discussion with the gentleman and he came up with cost savings ideas for the City.
Mayor Webster continued on Friday, August 8th, Mr. Osborn, Mr. Parham, Mrs. McNear and I met with Cinergy to discuss some of the problems we are having, especially in the Springdale Lake area, the Crossings, Peak Drive, the Gables. We have had several outages, some extended, and we wanted an action plan from Cinergy. We had been told there were some corrective measures on the drawing board but we didnít have a date on those. Iím very please that we have a letter from Cinergy dated September 12, stating that the work will begin in October or November.
Mayor Webster said six to eight months ago we were asked to come up with a "good citizen" award to recognize citizens who have gone beyond the call of duty. We are proposing a paperweight that says Springdale Ohio Good Citizens Award. Weíd like to order a dozen of those. Itís very inexpensive but itís useful. Weíre relying on Council to bring these to our attention. If you have someone youíd like to recognize bring them in and weíll recognize their achievements.
Mayor Webster read a proclamation for Cincom.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director - no report
Administratorís Report Ė Mr. Osborn said in a follow-up to the Mayorís report on Cinergy I just want to recognize Mr. Parhamís efforts in doing the follow-on meetings with Cinergy and the contacts with their appropriate personnel to make sure they delivered on what they promised us at the meeting we had with them last month.
Mr. Osborn said in regard to the comments by Mr. Knox on the OKI report, I happen to co-chair the task force that is bringing that report to the board. I think, Mr. Knox, you will see when you get the material, that there is a very analytical cost benefit analysis that will be part of that process that demonstrates what efforts will result in what outcome. I think we all have to appreciate that any of these options that happen will be incredibly expensive, but the alternative of doing nothing means that this region will not have highway capacity in any manner. There will be such gridlock that we will routinely see bumper to bumper traffic out to I-275 during rush hour, not just like we see at the I-75/275 interchange, but that would be the picture all the way down. The only way to avoid that is by careful planning and what judicious resources we have. Hopefully, when that report is brought to the OKI board, they will have the necessary information to make a sound decision.
Mr. Osborn said there are a few utility projects that will have major impacts on our street systems during the fall. The first is a twelve inch gas main project along segments of Kemper Road from Kenn Road to SR 747. Essentially that work that is being done west of Springfield Pike will be done on the north side of the road during normal working hours. Work east of Lawnview Avenue to SR 747 will be done in the evening from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. because there will be more need to get out into the travel lanes of Kemper Road. That work will also involve a lateral crossing of Kemper Road at the SR 747 intersection. The gas main will be installed under the existing sidewalk. The work will begin on September 29th at 720 West Kemper Road to a point west of Harmony. On October 3rd the contractor will begin the section from 644 West Kemper to 604 West Kemper. On October 6th they will be starting on the section from Lawnview Avenue to SR 747. The critical part for us is that leg from Lawnview to SR 747. They are indicating that it will take three to four weeks to accomplish that. After they finish the segment by SR 747 they will retrace their steps and go back and complete the section between Greenlawn and 432 West Kemper Road. All of the new gas mains should be in the ground by November 15th. It will take approximately another one to two weeks to tie in all the services. Iím sure the restoration will go into next spring. The Cinergy folks tell us approximately two weeks prior to construction in the residential area, a letter will be sent to the residents informing them of the upcoming work and the schedule. The road wonít be closed but traffic will be routed around an obstructed lane so we will expect back ups during the daytime. Our primary concern is that they complete the segment by SR 747 by the holiday season. Another project that will have a major impact on Kemper Road is the sanitary sewer 915 replacement project Phase III. Phase II picked up in Sharonville and came along Beaver Run Creek to Princeton Plaza. Phase III is now under construction. It begins at Princeton Plaza, follows Beaver Run Creek up to a point in Forest Park. One of the major crossings they will have to do is across Kemper Road. Weíve looked at options to avoid a full closure to Kemper Road but the alternatives are less desirable than just closing the road. Weíve agreed to a full closure of Kemper Road beginning October 25th to last for five days. The routing around that closure is being worked out with Cinergy, Police Department and Traffic Engineers. Because there is a full closure we can alter the signal timing at Northland and Kemper routing more traffic along Northland and altering our signal at Northland and Springfield Pike in order to accommodate more traffic using that road rather than Kemper. One of the options we looked at was trying to pay the extra cost of boring under the road which just on its face had a cost of $75, 000 that we would be responsible for. The other critical element there is that they did not have the right of way to do that and we didnít want to take that on and delay the whole project for a season. The other option was to do partial closings and we were looking at up to two weeks for a partial closing. We felt a four or five day full closure would have less of an impact on the community than dragging this out over a longer period of time.
Mr. Osborn asked that Council request an executive session to discuss a matter related to economic development and a matter of potential litigation.
Ms. Pollitt asked have there been any studies done that would create new roadways north and south that would run parallel to our existing expressway?
Mr. Osborn replied one of the options that fell out was a new state highway that would run through the western part of Hamilton County but the right-of-way take for a project of that magnitude really starts to run up the cost for right-of-way. The real options in the final cut involve various widenings of the interstate system and the possible combination of a light rail system with widening. There are analyses that show the benefit of different pairings to eventually widening the road to six lanes or a combination of a 4/5 lane widening and a light rail system.
Ms. Pollit asked could weather impact the Kemper Road closure?
Mr. Osborn replied it certainly could. We are going to push them to get done in three days.
Mayor Webster said I couldnít image weather being a problem.
Mr. Knox said we have not yet been given the Cost Benefit Analysis but the increase in safety would be worth the amount of money they are asking for, and also lowering the level of frustration.
Mr. Vanover asked werenít the last figures we had through the last light rail was $1 million a mile for adding a lane to I-75?
Mrs. McNear replied I think that was to pave a mile.
Law Directorís Report - no report
Engineerís Report - no report
COMMUNICATIONS - none
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
ORDINANCE NO. 39-2003 "AUTHORIZING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CODIFIED ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE ADDING SECTION 30.053 TO PROVIDE FOR LIMITS ON PRE-ELECTION MEETINGS AND MAILINGS AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Danbury made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Mayor Webster said this came about as a result of Mr. Danbury requesting to have a district council meeting within the 75 days of a municipal election. I think all of us were under some impression that we had a law on the books that prohibited that. The only thing on the books was a motion of Council in 1995 that spelled out that there should be no meetings 75 days before a municipal election, no direct mailings, etc. I think weíve all lived with that pretty religiously for it to only be a motion of Council. In Mr. Danburyís case, he has a desire to have a district Council meeting and he doesnít want to wait until after the upcoming election, especially since all races are uncontested. This amends an ordinance that was never on the books and should have been. Weíre including the provision that says "The exception to this limitation on District meetings and mailings so close in proximity to an election would be if there is only one candidate for that District. In that case there would be no limitation."
Mr. Danbury said we donít want to give sitting people an unfair advantage over anyone trying to run against us. I believe it was unanimous in the feeling that people should have a level playing field. As the Mayor mentioned, there are no contested races right now. Iím a district representative and our office is not up right now. I would like to add to Exhibit A when there are no contested races at-large members could seek to have a meeting. I want it to be open up to everybody. Mr. Wilson was the one who introduced this entire thing and I think itís great. A lot of residents in my district have a lot of concerns and rather than the rumor mill going I would like to be able to explain everything in a logical manner. Thatís why Iím bringing the Mayor and Cecil.
Mr. Galster said the reason it reads the way it does is because the City could pay for mailings that would advertise the meetings. If I wanted to have a meeting that I didnít involve the City with, I could have any meeting I want. It doesnít prevent anyone from having a meeting. It just says the City is not going to pay for the mailings to advertise that meeting or we wonít put a mailing out that could create an influence. The exhibit also says "no such meetings or mailings shall take place" so I think that covers whether itís a district or at-large meeting.
Mr. Forbes stated the document says "district meetings", so it is referring to district meetings. If a Council person is at-large, maybe it would be a special meeting instead of a district meeting. Perhaps that change would satisfy the needs of all Council members.
Mr. Danbury said if we could change "District" to "elected official" meeting that would cover it all.
Mr. Danbury said you are correct that anyone can have a meeting but I think it is the intent to possibly have some representatives from the City, be it the Mayor, Fire Chief, etc.
Mayor Webster said I totally support what weíre trying to do here but letís not tie our hands so tightly that if we decided due to the amount of business or some special issue arises, that if we wanted to have a meeting on the second or fourth Wednesday or the month, it would be a special Council meeting and we could still do that.
Mr. Danbury says our Charter says we can do that.
Mr. Webster responded letís just make sure we donít trample on those rights to have those special meetings.
Mr. Knox said Iíve been working on some wording that might do the job; "Although those special meetings called by an elected official and mailings relative to City business can be paid at City expense, no such meeting or mailing shall take place within 75 days prior to any municipal election. It is the intent of Council that mailings not appear to give the advantage to an elected official over a new candidate. The exception to the limitations on these meetings called by an elected official and mailings so close in proximity to an election, would be if there were only one candidate for that seat. In that case there would be no exception. This provision does not apply to special meetings called by Council."
Mayor Webster says I think that sums it up pretty well. The only thing, Mr. Knox, where you refer to a person in an uncontested race, we want to make sure that there are no contested races. For instance, if there were a race for Mayorís office and none for Council, I still donít think there should be a special district Council meeting in the middle of a contested Mayorís race.
Mr. Wilson stated I distinctly remember this particular ordinance. A district meeting or any meeting is open to the public so as a parliamentary procedure, the person introduces the Mayor and other elected officials. If a person were running against one of those individuals, being an open forum they could probably get up and ask to speak as well. I donít think it would be an advantage to people running just because the seated person is introduced if he or she is present. We donít want to have the district meeting as an open forum for political debate so in one sense, I feel it is not an advantage for an elected official; but on the other hand I donít want to make it a public forum.
Mayor Webster responded I donít have any mixed feelings at all. We are saying that a sitting member could, at City expense, mail out a mailing to everyone in the City or a district and invite them to a meeting that he/she is hosting at City Hall. The City is paying for your postage, your place to have the meeting; and that opportunity does not exist for our opponents. I think itís very clear that itís unfair for us to not have this on the books and itís unfair for us to not abide by something like this.
Mr. Vanover stated I agree completely with the Mayor. Even though the meeting forum may be open, if you call it, itís your meeting. You control the mood and the movement of discussion within that meeting. It does lend itself to give the incumbent an unfair advantage. Weíve been by letter of Council thus far, but I was as surprised as anyone to find out this was not an actual ordinance in our Code.
Mr. Danbury said in 1989 Council debated whether we should send out City newsletters. There could be circumstances where there is a major emergency and the people are upset and a meeting is held. The Mayor shouldnít be bound because there is no one else running.
Mrs. McNear said I agree with this ordinance too because when I was running for my first term of Council a comment was made from Council chambers regarding my candidacy and it was a lose/lose situation for me. I could have made comments under Communication from the Audience but it would have come up very negatively. I support this because even though I donít think the comment was meant to be hurtful, it was an unfair advantage. I think this is something we really need to put into place.
Mr. Wilson said Iím playing the devilís advocate. It is almost like we are shutting down the business of communicating with our constituents for 75 days because we are afraid that an individual hosting the meeting might use it for political reasons. I would like to think that those of us here, if thereís a need to have a meeting to make citizens aware, we would have a meeting to do just that and not make it a political issue or use it for political reasons. I agree with a lot of things everyone has said to this point, especially as Randy says, it should be open to every elected official. The business of the City goes on even up to election day and we are elected officials until December 1 of the year we run for re-election. I donít feel that the business of keeping our citizens informed should be hampered because of the inference that that individual might be using that meeting for a political advantage.
Mrs. McNear stated I believe there are other ways we can communicate emergency type information without having a special meeting. We have our Administratorís office, the Police and Fire Departments and Public Works Department.
Mr. Knox said given the information passed back and forth Iíve changed the last sentence to read, "The exception to special meetings called by elected officials or mailings so close in proximity to an election is where there is no contested seat. This provision does not apply to special meetings called by the City Council."
Mayor Webster said Mr. Galster has a point here that I think is pertinent.
Mr. Galster said I think we also have to consider if there are Charter issues on the ballot. I know there have been issues in the past about changing the definition of a position, eliminating a position. If someone wants to manipulate or use that as an opportunity, I donít think anybody is going to do this, but the reason we have this is to make sure it doesnít happen.
Mr. Danbury said I just want to respond to Mr. Wilsonís suggestion that no one here would use it for political purposes. Thatís absolutely true but we are setting this forth, not just for ourselves but for the people who come after us. We donít know if they have the same morality as we do. We hear about other communities and how some people will use their seat any way they can for power. I donít think anybody here would do that. I think having this on the books is a good thing.
Mr. Vanover said maybe this ordinance needs some more fine tuning. Since we are operating on a motion of Council, could we not make a motion to suspend that until the election for this case and then allow the Law Director or Council to fine tune this. If we are going to make an ordinance we might as well make it correct the first time.
Mr. Wilson stated we have a Rules and Laws Committee and maybe they, along with Legal, can look at what Mr. Knox has written and take the suggestions of others, and come up with a final verbiage that we can vote on.
Mrs. McNear said that is one option or we can just return it to the Law Directorís office and have them take the comments we have and homogenize that and we can put it back on the agenda at the next meeting.
Mr. Wilson said you do have a committee for Rules and Laws that should be doing something. Iíve been on the committee I donít know how long and we have never had a meeting. Iím almost to the point of saying why do we have this committee if we donít do anything.
Mr. Danbury said itís a motion of Council that we donít have that, itís technically not illegal for us to have it, but Iíd like to make a motion that due to the fact that there are no contested races, district meetings should be allowed this year.
Mr. Danbury withdrew his motion to adopt Ordinance 39-2003. Mr. Vanover withdrew his second.
Mr. Knox said I changed it to say there are no contested seats or Charter issues on the ballot.
Mr. Danbury made a motion that elected officials can have special meetings prior to the election in the year 2003. Mr. Vanover seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Danbury said people watching TV may think that this is fruitless. I think itís very important that as elected officials we get out and talk to people. There are some concerns about certain issues. The fact that we are sitting here discussing the fact that weíre trying to get more people involved. If you have someone in office for ten, fifteen, twenty years, a lot of people would be reluctant to get out there. I think itís important that we did have a debate on this. It is vital to get new blood in politics.
Mr. Galster made a motion to remove Ordinance 39-2003 from the agenda. Mr. Wilson seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Knox said sometime this year I was appointed as the representative to the Northern Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau. Today they requested that each city that is a member send in a letter stating who the representative is and designating an alternate. Council has to appoint the alternate.
Mr. Wilson said I will back him up.
Mayor Webster said Mr. Knox has done an excellent job on this. He has kept us informed. Heís represented the City well. I hope Council would see fit to extend Mr. Knoxís appointment.
Mr. Knox stated the by-laws of the group say the appointment should be for two years. We donít know when it really starts. It may not start until we get the final rules of that group specified. The two years may start in October.
Mr. Galster said I make a motion to appoint Ed Knox as the representative to the Northern Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau for a term of approximately two years with Mr. Wilson as the alternate. Mr. Vanover seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
NEW BUSINESS - none
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Danburyís District Meeting - October 16
Chamber of Commerce luncheon - September 22
Flu shots - October 7, 10, 20 and 23, November 3
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
Mr. Danbury made a motion that Council go into executive session as a meeting of the whole to discuss economic development and pending litigation. Mr. Vanover seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
Council went into executive session at 8:40 p.m and reconvened at 9:05.
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Acceptance of right-of-way at Perkins
Resolution for seatbelt poster contest
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED - none
Council adjourned at 9:07 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Kathy McNear, President of Council