President of Council Kathy McNear called Council to order on September 20, 2000 at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance. Mr. Knox gave the invocation.
Mr. Knox took roll call. Present were Council members Danbury, Galster, Pollitt, Squires, Vanover, Wilson and McNear.
The minutes of September 6, 2000 were approved with seven affirmative votes.
INTRODUCTION OF NEW POLICE OFFICERS
Mayor Webster swore in new police officers, Barrie Norris and Michael Schulz.
Chief Laage said Barrie Norris and Michael Schulz started with us in the beginning of August and are presently assigned at Scarlet Oaks Police Academy. From what Iíve heard they are doing a bang up job.
Barrie was formerly a probation officer with the Hamilton County Probation Department. There are three areas of the justice system: law enforcement, the courts and confinement. Barrie has already had experience in one of those fields and now she comes into the law enforcement field. She also has a bachelorís degree from Ohio University in sociology and criminology. From what weíve heard and from the background investigation she is a very dedicated, hard worker and we think she will be a great asset to our Department.
Michael comes with a different type of background that I think will help us at the Police Department. Mike was formerly the loss prevention manager at Loweís Department Store. He had been at other department stores and had been selected to open our Springdale store. We deal so much with the problem of theft related to the retail community. To have that background in loss prevention can aid him tremendously I think when he has other contact in the future with other loss prevention professionals. Mike has a bachelorís degree from Wright State University in criminal justice.
I think both candidates will do great here. We have heard a lot of good things, such as what good people they are. When Derrick and I do the interviews we look at individuals. We feel we can train them to be good police officers, but itís hard to train someone at this age to be a good person. One is a replacement for Dave Koonce and one is the new officer.
Chief Laage stated earlier this year the City started a volunteer program and we were very fortunate to get the Cityís first real volunteer, John Hedger. John came to us in January after had recently retired from Ford and asked if we could use his help. We talked with him and found that he had a world of experience with things he could help us with at the Police Department. John put in 130 hours of volunteer time. He helps C. J. tremendously and helps on other projects. Sometimes when we make DARE appearances John has spent the previous day waxing the car, etc. Heís been a big asset for us.
Chief Laage continued Ben Bonavoy is from France and is in the United States on a visa. He is going to UC for computer engineering. Part of the requirement with his visa is that he cannot work. He did not want to sit home all summer so he has been at the Police Department at different times when we needed him. He is a bright, young, energetic kid and I canít say enough about him. He is going to school now but we had a problem Saturday night as we had arrested a couple who only spoke French or Arabic. We put out a call for assistance through the County. Someone thought of Ben and called him. Ben came up and translated for us.
Chief Laage said they both have done a lot for us. I think it was smart for the City to start a program like this. We speak from experience now and it really does help. I think it helps the community when people know they can really be a part of the community they live in.
Mayor Webster said John Hedger approached us some time ago about volunteering his services for the City. We really didnít have any program in place at that time as far as supervision, assigning duties, etc. We tried to make it work but we made some mistakes and it didnít work out too well. Anyway, John is sort of responsible for planting the seed that we need to take advantage of anyone who wants to volunteer their efforts. Thanks to Cecil and his staff (I think all the department directors had input into developing the program) we do have policies and procedures in place. Weíre ready for volunteers and it doesnít have to be at the Police Department. It can be at the Municipal Building, Maintenance Garage, our expanded Community Center when that opens up. We welcome with open arms any person in the community who would like to volunteer his/her services. John and Ben, thank you very much. I hope you are the first of many.
Mrs. McNear said thanks to our volunteers and congratulations to our new officers.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
Civil Service Commission Ė Mr. Coleman said they met September 8 to discuss test dates and time lines for the upcoming patrol officerís test and firefighterís test. The dates for the tests will be October 4 for patrol officer and October 12 for firefighter. The Civil Service Commission is very proud of the testing routine we are currently undertaking. Thanks to Mr. Parham for laying out a time line that allows us to attract individuals through a pretty aggressive advertising campaign. Without question it is our hope to continue to attract quality candidates such as the two officers who were sworn in this evening for the opportunities that Springdale has to offer.
Rules and Laws - no report
Public Relations - no report
Public Health, Safety & Welfare - no report
Public Works - Mr. Wilson reported the 2000 pavement planning and asphalt resurfacing is scheduled to be complete the week of September 18, 2000. This includes the Heritage Hill area, Kemper Road, Tri-County Parkway and the Avon area roadways. Punch list items are anticipated to be completed in early October.
Mr. Vanover said the Heritage Hill project is done and looks fantastic.
Public Utilities - no report
Capital Improvements Ė Mr. Danbury stated all Stage 3 review comments have been received by ODOT on the SR 747 CSX grade separation and we are planning to submit the final plans to ODOT in October. They are looking at coordination meetings to take place for utilities. The construction for utility relocation will begin in the fall of 2001 and project completion will be 2003. The East Kemper Road improvement at SR 747 was awarded to Trenton Construction. A pre-construction meeting was held on August 14. The work will start October 2. They will be working on the retaining wall this fall for thirty days. The majority of work will be finished next year.
Mr. Danbury reported that I had a chance to look at the Community Center expansion. Itís starting to come together. They were putting the tile down on the floor. There is still some painting that needs to be done. The floor has been installed in the gymnasium as well as the aerobics room. I encourage everybody to go down and take a look at it. They are still doing interior remodeling of the locker rooms and lobby. They are working on the area that was damaged by the fire. They are doing landscaping, carpeting, etc.
The final construction plans for the Walnut/Pear Street improvements have been submitted and reviewed by both the City staff and school district. The right-of-way plans will be followed up with comments from both. The majority of construction will be taking place next summer.
Finance Committee Ė Ms. Pollitt stated that the Finance Committee met last month in regards to proposed changes to the Tax Code to bring it into compliance with H. B. 477. We will be meeting again soon to do some wordsmithing and then weíll be turning it over to Legal before it goes to Rules and Laws.
Planning Commission - Mr. Galster said they met September 12. The only item heard was Sears The Great Indoors. A lot of good things had happened since the preliminary plan approval and it was approved 7-0. You should have received some Zoning Code changes recommended by Planning in your packet. You should see an ordinance on that in the near future.
Board of Zoning Appeals Ė Mr. Squires said Board of Zoning Appeals met last evening. The resident at 11810 Fairsprings Drive has a small, decorative picket fence around the front yard about a foot from her house. It does not enclose anything and we allowed her to keep it where it is with the stipulation that a fence as defined in our Zoning Code cannot be put in the front yard. What she has is non-intrusive as is.
S & J Properties, who own the property at 411, 413 and 415 Grandin, multi-family apartments requested variances to allow them to subdivide the existing property to create a single family lot. He feels like he cannot sell them unless they are subdivided so that he has a single family lot for the house at 411 Grandin and the apartment buildings as they exist. There are six of them and he already has six items that are legal but non-conforming. It was the feeling of the board that we needed some guidance on this so Chairman Okum is going to approach the City Planner and possibly the City Administration for guidance on this.
Board of Health Ė Ms. Pollitt said the board discussed new food service licensing requirements from the State. The Board of Health is sending out letters to those businesses that that applies to.
Ms. Pollitt said also the Board of Health will be asking for an ordinance from City Council that will make any violation of a Board of Health regulation a violation of a City of Springdale ordinance. They are doing this to put some teeth to some of the violators we have on leash laws. We have some animals that we have had a problem with restraining that we feel might fall in the dangerous animal category so they want to be prepared in case we do have to enact legislation on that.
Mayor Webster added that this will allow us to take people to Mayorís Court if they violate a Board of Health regulation where now we canít do that. They have to go to Hamilton County. Something has happened with the State that allows them to give home rule cities the authority to do that. It may be a couple of months before you see that.
O-K-I - Mr. Squires said there is to be a written comment report on the North/South Transportation Initiative on I-75 that O-K-I is currently engaged in a study therefore, but it has not yet been published. When it is published I will report on that.
Mayorís Report Ė Mayor Webster said I would like to follow up on the decision of the Board of Election to move Precincts J and L from the Municipal Building to the Temple Baptist and Pentecostal Churches on Kenn Road. There was a lot of discussion and we all, including me, were a little rough on Ms. Stautberg. She is a pretty good soldier and took it well. She did tell us she would go back and talk to the board the next morning. She did and by 11:00 the next morning she was on the phone with me telling me that they would, in fact, leave Precincts J and L here at the Municipal Building. For whatever misunderstandings we had with Julie, we are sorry for that and everything worked out fine. There was, in fact, a written communication dated April 11 addressed to me that I passed on to Mr. Osborn. Weíve read the letter and read it and read it, and there is no way to conclude that that was the letter she was talking about so I think there were some miscommunications. The letter was talking about the movement of precincts and aligning the precincts with the census tracks. At the same time we had an on-going dialog with the board regarding that and we interpreted that letter as a follow-up to those conversations. Anyway, it was a gross misunderstanding on our part and the boardís part, but thanks to Julie Stautberg that has been resolved tonight. Iím just saying weíre saying sorry about the misunderstanding and we appreciate your cooperation. However, having said that I think it is important for the public to realize that as a result of having to realign some of the precincts with the census tracts, some of our residents are going to be changed from one precinct to another. The City has absolutely nothing to do with that. It is totally the doings of the Board of Elections and they, in fact, didnít have a whole lot of say in it either. It was mandated by the State. But all those people will get a card from the Board of Elections. On election day you run into a lot of people who go to the wrong voting place and say I didnít get notified. Just caution everybody to please monitor your mail. If you get a postcard from the Board of Elections please take the time to read it and hold onto it until election day.
Mayor Webster continued up to this point we have serviced 252 requests for a truck for debris removal, so thatís an immensely popular program. However, as all of you recall, the leaf program is scheduled to begin October 16 so we will probably have to curtail the use of the dump trucks once we start this program, especially during the week.
Mayor Webster read a thank you card addressed to Dave Butsch:
"Thank you for all of your efforts and time in making possible the sundial and plaque in memory of Chuck. Iím sure he would have been proud with the final outcome. Thank you again, Mrs. Thelma Lindner"
Mayor Webster said if you get an opportunity to walk down Route 4 there are a couple of concrete benches and a sundial installed there. The plaque reads "Donated to the City of Springdale in memory of Charles Chuck Lindner for his dedicated service to the City" dated 1999. We are looking for a date to officially accept that and have a small dedication ceremony. All the Lindner children live out of town so we are trying to find a Sunday that we can do that dedication. Right now we are looking at October 22.
Mayor Webster stated Jeff Witte has been very instrumental in the City being able to obtain some law enforcement block grants. We have received two already and weíve made application for the year 2000. Altogether we have probably received $30,000 in grants and a lot of this is due to the efforts of Mr. Witte and Iíd like to take this opportunity to say thank you very much for your efforts.
Mayor Webster read a proclamation declaring October 8 to October 14, 2000 as Fire Prevention Week.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director Ė Mr. Knox said in accordance with Ordinance 73-2000 passed at the last meeting, our agent, Fifth Third Bank sold the $6.4 million note for 4.4% and we added on all the costs, which was the Administrationís wish and at the advice of our Bond Counsel, and ended up with a rate of 4.61%. Mr. Erickson of Fifth Third looked for a city our size with a bond issue our size and found one. That city paid 4.50 versus our 4.40 so Iíd like to compliment the Administration and Council because the way we handle our money here pays dividends, because one-tenth of one percent of $4 million is $6,400 we made by the good works of the past and what we are doing now.
Administratorís Report Ė Mr. Osborn said an issue has come up recently concerning the need for a police mutual aid agreement with the City of Cincinnati. We currently have a mutual aid agreement with Hamilton County, but apparently the Solicitorís Office in Cincinnati found a reason that they could not agree to the City participating in that particular agreement so they made their own mutual aid compact with the other communities in Hamilton County. Weíd like to bring legislation before you at the next meeting. Since Chief Laage is here I thought he could give you a few ideas about what the mutual aid contract would do for us.
Chief Laage said we very seldom rely on our neighbors for assistance in our every day duties but every now and then it is a must when you deal with emergency services. It wasnít too far back when Montgomery and Blue Ash faced a severe crisis with the tornado. They had emergency workers from the Greater Cincinnati community. We have never had an experience like this but it could happen tomorrow so you have to be prepared. This also helps us on a day to day basis and I think it helps us more than Cincinnati. A lot of our investigations originate here in Springdale within the business community but our suspects are not residents. Our investigators spend a good percentage of their time in the City or in another community investigating a crime that occurred here. This will allow us at any time to take police power and put it to use. The same thing vice versa if a Cincinnati officer were out here. As technology progresses the criminal is more mobile all the time. Criminals are constantly crossing boundary lines so I think this will help us with our fight against crime. Itís a safety net that will help us if a problem does occur. The vast majority of departments in Hamilton County have signed this agreement with Cincinnati already.
Mr. Osborn continued recently the City received an update on MSDís capital improvements budget over the next five years. Iíve distributed to you a summary that we received. There are four projects listed. The first one is contract #2 that is under construction right now. If you look across the line you can see it has a price tag of just over $5 million and the location is in Sharonville and Springdale. This contract runs just north of I-275, turns west and crosses the Mill Creek, crosses under I-75 and proceeds up the creek that runs through Heritage Hill. It terminates at about the parking lot of Princeton Bowl. This contract should be completed in the near future. Contract #3 picks up at the Princeton Bowl area and follows the creek under Kemper Road, along Northland Boulevard into Forest Park. The estimated cost for that project is just over $2 million. It is in right-of-way negotiations. The target date for construction is 2001. As far as I know all right-of-way has been acquired. The next two line items deal with the same project. One is design and one is construction. That is the 915A sewer that intercepts the 915 sewer behind Value City, proceeds along the northern border of the City, passes through Ross Park and Perkins up towards Valley View. It also serves the Beacon/Oxford Hills area. They show that the design is scheduled to be done in 2004 at a cost of $150,000 and a projected start date of 2006. The cost is $1,374,000. The cover letter we received with this indicated that anything that had a 2000 date was under contract or committed to and firm. Anything for 2001 was a programmed project ready to go but no contracts have been let to this point. Anything beyond 2001 is in there for planning purposes. This project is probably fifteen years behind schedule now. Iím just happy that we have gotten contract 2 nearly completed. It looks like they are lined up to start contract 3 as early as next spring.
Mayor Webster said there have been a couple of occasions in the past that we were tapped out as far as permits are concerned. The last meeting I participated in was a long drawn out meeting and we prevailed with MSD to allow us to prove to them that we had abandoned some taps and needed some temporary relief. Once contract 3 is completed doesnít that alleviate that situation? Does 915 have to be done also?
Mr. Osborn replied there is a sanitary sewer overflow on the Reading/Evendale border that is a massive point of outflow for sanitary sewer material. The problem is that there is so much infiltration throughout the area tributary to that point that the only reasonable way to deal with the situation is to either create a treatment plant at that location or bore a hole down into the bedrock and go parallel to the surface down in the bedrock down to another point where it would be pumped out. This would serve as a holding facility. They are applying for funding on that. The situation you are referring to is that the Ohio EPA issued a moratorium on new construction in the area tributary to that sanitary sewer overflow. We worked with MSD. Hamilton County Commissioner John Dowlin was the principal architect in getting something done here along with Ohio EPA on a consent decree that ultimately allowed the local jurisdictions in the county and MSD to take credit for abandoned sanitary sewer taps or new sanitary sewer construction. There was a formula worked out that for every so many thousand feet of new sewer you get so many credits. One credit is 800 gallons a day which was the estimated flow for a single family residence. If an office building goes in and they need five credits, they go to our account and if we have five credits left they issue that permit. Right now we have a sufficient number of credits. The sanitary sewer Phase II going into construction right now will generate more credits. We benefited from the credits associated with the first contract. Now other communities as well as Springdale will benefit from Phase II and ultimately Phase III. As long as we are building replacement sewers we will be creating enough credits probably to not be faced with an actual implementation of a moratorium. If we ultimately donít find a permanent solution for the sanitary sewer overflow on the Mill Creek, EPA will step in and stop all new construction. I feel that MSD and the County will not allow that to happen. They are already pursuing a project that is very innovative and creative and they have it on the fast track to try to get funding.
Mr. Osborn stated we would like to make a presentation to you in October dealing with the issue of performance measurement. We have been doing strategic planning for about seven years and every year we try to get more sophisticated. One of our intentions is to reach a point where we can do quantitative analysis of our performance; not to look at input, which is how much money is in the budget or output, which is how much we spend; but look at outcome versus cost. We are intending to develop some measurement standards. Looking at the goals for the Administrative Office for 2000, it says help the organization develop the capacity to empirically quantify and assess performance. Under that there were two strategies: engage a consultant to provide training to department directors and other key personnel regarding performance measurement practices appropriate for a community of our size, and secondly, create a pilot program in Public Works to serve as a model for the organization. In order to accomplish that we engaged Management Partners, Inc., a consultant firm located in Cincinnati and California to approach the City with a proposal. They did give us a proposal that made sense and we brought them in and did extensive training with the department directors and their key personnel. In addition, we had Management Partners take our goals and objectives and redraft them to make them more concise with performance measurement. We state them in a form that you could quantify wherever possible. Those changes were made with the participation and involvement of each department. It was a consensus where the consultant met with each department and their cadre and worked through the changes in the way we state our goals and objectives. In addition, the consultant has also been working with the Public Works Department. We are trying to develop a pilot program for the City on how to implement performance measurement. That is just being completed and we would like to have a presentation before Council by the consultant and the Public Works Department. As soon as we can work it out I would like your permission to schedule a presentation.
Mr. Osborn said, finally, the Mayor mentioned the leaf collection program. We will be starting the program on Monday, October 16. The first week the equipment will be in the Springdale Terrace/Royal Oaks area. The second week we will start in Heritage Hill and then we will alternate back and forth week to week. Over a period of six-eight weeks we will make at least three passes through each of the two areas. We decided to do it this way so we could do a better job at evaluating our costs in manpower and materials. We had looked at continuing to let the truck rove through the two areas constantly but there would be a lot of wasted time. We decided to do it this way to get a better true cost of what it takes per lane mile to suck up these leaves. Letters will be going out to the residents in the areas mentioned to give them additional instructions on how and when to put the leaves out at the curb.
Mayor Webster said Iíd like to emphasize that we are doing this on a trial basis. We will re-evaluate it in January/February and see whether we run another trial, or whether weíre ready to scrap the program or do the whole city next year. We are excited about this. Itís a program a lot of citizens have asked me about over the years so we are anxious to get started. We will evaluate how much time is spent and how successful the program is so we can determine if we want to go forward with it or not.
Mr. Danbury asked are you planning to have opportunities for input from the residents?
Mr. Osborn responded we will survey the residents after we have completed the program to get an idea about customer satisfaction.
Community Center Update Ė Mr. Parham reported there is progress being made on the center. We did have a challenge getting the landscaper out to begin their work. According to the architect team and the contractors we are moving to a critical period of getting the seeding down and materials planted. They were beginning yesterday in the rear of the building and will work their way around the structure to the front. Probably 90-95% of the concrete work is complete. We did have a flaw in the sidewalk at the front entrance and the contractor had to tear that out and is making the repair. All of that cost has been borne by the contractor. They hope to begin next week to lay the next phase of the asphalt. They will be coming out as far as the new parking lot that we redesigned. The rubber flooring for the running track has arrived. We had a number of issues on the running track and they had to go back in and do some grinding. They have taken care of all of that. Cincinnati Flooring, who does the installation, only has one crew who does that and they are in North Carolina at present. They will be arriving here in a week or two. The tile is moving along. They have completed the installation of the tile in the new area where the batting cage and meeting rooms are located. That is covered with cardboard to preserve it. They have begun to work in the old office area bringing the tile forward to the main lobby. The carpet has been installed in the meeting rooms and office areas. The casework in front of the office is in place and in the equipped exercise room. The wood floor is in place in the gymnasium as well as the aerobics or studio room. We had a couple of issues earlier in that the humidity was too high to install the flooring. One day we were meeting on the site and they were installing the floor in the gymnasium so they had to stop with the installation until we were able to get the humidity levels down and temperature down in the facility. We have accepted the HVAC roof units. All of those are turned on. They hope to begin with the striping and finishing the gym floor and installing the bleachers. We were hoping the bleacher installation could have happened a little sooner but, again, you have individuals who are assigned within these organizations to do specific tasks and that group was not available at the time. Thereís also the group that will have to install the screen in the gymnasium. They have installed the scoreboards. We are going to move forward with the striping and finish the floor, and then they will be held responsible for protecting that floor. In the equipped exercise room the rubber flooring has been installed. It has been waxed. We received some of our newly purchased cardiac equipment on this past Monday. We scheduled the Nautilus equipment to arrive around the first of October. We have made arrangements with Nautilus to return the existing equipment at a later date, thereby giving our residents the opportunity to continue using that equipment. The locker rooms are another key issue we are focusing on right now. They have completed the restrooms in the new lobby area. The tile has been laid. If you recall, we had a problem with the tile in the pool locker rooms. There they had used the horizontal grout. In the new locker rooms they used the vertical grout. They are also using the same grout in the area that has been installed by the meeting rooms and the batting cage area and it seems to be working. We want them to focus on getting the locker rooms prepared so we can shut off completely the pool locker rooms and start the renovation of the floor. The new locker rooms are coming along. They have installed the tile on the floor, tile around the sauna areas and showers, and are getting prepared to lay the carpeting in those areas as well as bring in the lockers. The lighting is already in place. That floor has been covered and protected from any type of damage. It has to set for a certain number of days after the grouting process has been completed. They are focusing also on the menís locker room. They have completed the tiling of the sauna. They have completed the shower area and now they are working on the floor.
Mr. Danbury said thereís still a lot to do. As Mr. Parham said, they are putting the tile down and it has to set for so long, and that precludes other people from going over that area. Weíre tight in some areas and right now people are sort of in each otherís way. It is a scheduling challenge. I am repeatedly asked what time will the fitness area be open when it is finally complete. I believe it is 6 a.m. I was talking with Mr. Burton about programs that we have and he is in contact with various types of martial arts people who might be interested in teaching classes. Right now Iím making a plea to the public, if you have any ideas go down to the Rec Center or forward them to the Administration. It doesnít have to be a month long program or five month program. It could be a one-day seminar. They are open to suggestions.
Ms. Pollitt asked could you give us an update on the HVAC systems that were damaged during the storm?
Mr. Parham replied we have accepted the units contingent upon the owner of the company, RPC, replacing the coils in those units as well as tying all the controls together. Four units were damaged and need to have coils replaced. They have received three of the replacement coils. When the fourth one arrives we will coordinate with them to install those. They have to pull the units off the roof to make the installations. They will do them one or two at a time. As they are working on unit 1 they will begin to drain the freon out of unit 2. When they finish with unit 1 they will turn it back on and start working on unit 2.
Ms. Pollitt asked is that covered by our insurance?
Mr. Parham answered it should be covered by their insurance. It should be their cost. At the same, they do not believe it is their cost so they will go forward with the correction and then they may take some steps later.
Law Directorís Report Ė Mr. Schneider asked for an executive session to discuss litigation matters.
Mrs. McNear said that will be 13A.
Engineerís Report Ė Mr. Shuler said on September 18 we received a letter from the Department of Transportation reporting to us that they had approved our application to place SR 4 on the urban paving program and fund that project for fiscal year 2003. The schedule they laid out for us indicated that if the plans were submitted and approved in their offices by November 2001, that project could be awarded as early as July 2002 and work could be completed in 2002. Looking at our current street program we have budgeted in 2001 about $166,000 for that same resurfacing of SR 4 from Cameron to Glensprings. We probably will not save all of that money because, as we have found with other ODOT projects, they donít do everything exactly the way we do. I can almost guarantee you that we do some full-depth repair and other repair work in anticipation of their resurfacing which we would have done if we were doing the project but they do not approve under their funding program. It will probably save the City $150,000 of our street resurfacing program.
Mr. Vanover asked has any thought been given to bringing Crescentville Road back to the table since Sharonville and Springdale got funding but Butler County did not?
Mr. Shuler replied yes, but not at this time. As you probably know, there is a new Butler County Engineer and nothing will happen until the new engineer is in place. And even after the engineer is in place, there will be some time for that new engineer to sort out finances and commitments that have been left to him. We do hope to resurrect that project in the future.
Mr. Osborn said the funding cycle for the Municipal Road Fund would not be back around to application stage until spring 2001. As Mr. Shuler indicated, we need to establish contact with the new engineer and his administration to get his perspective on priorities, but certainly Springdale and Sharonville will be going jointly to Butler County on the project as soon as we can.
Mr. Vanover said Mr. Galster, Mr. Okum and I were treated to a display of the new aerial tower at the Fire Department. If you havenít seen it yet definitely get over their. It is phenomenal.
Mr. Knox read a letter from Nathan Gordon, attorney at law, Columbus, Ohio addressed to Mr. Knox: "I represent Costco Wholesale Corporation. Costco will be opening a new store at 1100 East Kemper Road in Springdale in early December. Costco has applied for a C-1/C-2 liquor license but none have become available in time for the opening. As a result my client has entered into an agreement to buy a license and transfer it from another jurisdiction to Springdale. I would therefore appreciate the opportunity of addressing the City Council and hopefully obtain their approval on Wednesday. Please contact me if you have any other questions."
Mr. Knox said C-1 is the sale of beer through 1 a.m. for off-premises consumption. C-2 is for containers of mixed drinks and wine through 1 a.m. for off-premises consumption.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
Nathan Gordon said thank you for the opportunity to address you today. I have been here before on similar issues; one for Cost Plus and when I was here last time I discussed the possibility that we might need to do the same thing for Costco. Costco Wholesale Corporation is opening its second location in the Greater Cincinnati area. This location in Springdale was originally intended for opening in February 2001. We found out recently that that was moved up to December 6 of this year. My client applied for a C-1/C-2 liquor license earlier this year. There is not an opening and we are second on that list behind another application. Although I had hoped to get an opening through that process for a number of reasons: 1) so I wouldnít have to come back to you again and 2) itís a lot cheaper to get one from the State of Ohio than to have to buy one. That has not happened. Only last week was I able to find a license that we could move into Springdale if itís acceptable. I think we discussed this before. There is a provision of Ohio Law 4303.29 that permits the movement of a license from a jurisdiction that is over quota to one thatís at least at quota if the project meets the requirements set forth in the statute of an economic development project as determined by the superintendent. In this case, the division likes to receive a letter from the jurisdiction where the license is being taken indicating at least that it has no problem to that license coming in. After talking with Mr. Knox, I did talk with the deputy superintendent, Mr. Bruce Stephenson. Mr. Stephenson indicated that the letter did not have to say you approve it being brought in; just indicate that you are aware of it and donít have a problem with it.
Mr. Danbury said initially when the issue came up with Snookers many years ago I didnít see a problem with it because I felt from time to time you need to tweak things and there are viable businesses that need a liquor license to be established. There are projects out there such as Bahama Breeze and Costco and I understand that is a portion of their success, but Iím personally starting to get weary of seeing this issue come up again and again. We keep extending it more and more. I personally donít see a problem with this issue because it is off-premise consumption but Iím really tired of it. I think a lot of people would like to see what we can do to discuss this with the State to see if we can have more control over the amount of liquor licenses we have to see come in here. I understand that what we say doesnít have much of a bearing as to the outcome of whether your client gets a liquor license or not. Weíre inundated a lot; we really are. I would hope we donít get that many more coming down the pike.
Ms. Pollitt said I echo Mr. Danburyís comments. I have often said that I have a problem especially with carry out liquor, the small corner carry out. My understanding is that Costco will be membership. Could you tell me what the hours of Costco will be?
Mr. Gordon replied Iím not sure. Under the law we are allowed to sell between 5:30 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. but Iím pretty sure thatís not the case.
Ms. Pollitt said once the door has been opened itís hard to control it. This is nothing against Costco or your being here. I donít have problem with this one particular business selling liquor but we are getting a lot of transfers.
Mr. Osborn said I think Iíve said this before. I disagree philosophically with some of the comments that Council has made on this topic. I think you have to look at the law that puts us in the position to have to see these types of transfers occur. Liquor licenses are assigned based on residential population. We are an incredibly atypical community in terms of our economic base versus our residential population. So, is it fair to the business community that because we have such a small residential population that they should be foreclosed from seeking a liquor permit. I donít think that makes sense. If you look at the law, itís intended to help spur economic development and thatís certainly something at the top of our list in keeping our economy healthy here in the community for our residents and other folks in the area for employment purposes. If you look at the projects we have used this law on in the past, Snookers, Cost Plus, Bahama Breeze, Costco, none of those are corner stores dispensing alcohol late at night by an eighteen year old clerk. These are very competent businesses that we wanted to come into Springdale. We wanted to bring them into our community. Everyone of them is an asset. If Bahama Breeze couldnít have a liquor license they wouldnít be here. We would have lost them. If Cost Plus couldnít have a liquor permit they wouldnít be here. I think Cost Plus is a great resource for us here in the community. The initial reaction that we donít need anymore liquor permits is fine until you put it into the context of how those liquor permits are assigned and generated throughout the State of Ohio. I think that is grossly unfair. Thatís the law that ought to be changed. I donít think that we should make a hard line policy that we will not consider these types of things in the future; to try to send the message to this gentleman and his cohorts who represent the people seeking these types of licenses that weíre shutting the door. For quality projects like the ones we have approved in the past, I think we should say we will be willing to entertain any proposals. I think we have the ability to say when those come in that if it is a little convenient store next to a school, then we can express our concern that we donít believe the economic impact on our community justifies the potential consequences of that new liquor permit. Thatís circumstantial and I think we have to look at those issues individually.
Mr. Galster said I was just going to remind Council that we probably have two or three additional restaurants that will be opening up around Bahama Breeze and they will be in the same boat. We donít see any of these businesses that serve liquor in Springdale going under so there will be additional permits moved in from other areas. I believe the last time we had this discussion we talked about contacting the liquor board about changing the way they do it. At the same time we were looking to keep away from the drive-through or pony keg, etc. There is going to be on-sight consumption at these restaurants and I think thatís what helps make this a quality development. I agree with Cecil.
Mr. Wilson asked are we over or under quota?
Mr. Osborn replied it depends upon the class of the license. Weíre over quota on five of the eight. Can you tell us if there are any permits open in the City?
Mr. Gordon stated you are over quota only on the D-5 license. Every other license is at quota. When you are at quota that means there are no licenses available under the quota system. That does not mean a restaurant coming in could not get a license because if I was representing a restaurant I would get a D-5-I license which is a quota exempt license. If I was a hotel I would get a D-5-A license. An enclosed mall could get a D-5-B license because malls are entitled to so many licenses per so many square feet. The only license that doesnít have any non-quota licenses available are C-1s and C-2s. Thatís the problem we are facing statewide particularly in areas like Springdale. As Mr. Osborn noted you have a population of 10,881 but Iím guessing on several hundred thousand people come through Springdale.
Mr. Osborn stated we have an employment base of about 60,000 and at peak times during Christmas Iím sure we do exceed a couple hundred thousand.
Mr. Gordon said Springdale is not the only area in Ohio like that. Any area that has a mall and office buildings has the same problem.
Mr. Wilson asked, having been exposed to Costco in the past, do you have any idea of what percentage of their sales are liquor related? Is it ten to fifteen percent?
Mr. Gordon replied I really donít know. Itís probably in the area you are talking about. Most of my clients like Costco and United Dairy Farmers have sales in the ten to fifteen percent range. With Costco it might even be less. One of the advantages they have in other states with beer and wine is that they can sell at different prices. One of their goals is to offer the lowest prices possible on as many items as possible. They would like to sell beer and wine cheaper than you are allowed to under Ohio minimum pricing. My guess would be their alcohol sales in Ohio would not be as high as they are in other states where they can go below the minimum pricing. I donít know what the figure is but I can get it for you if you like.
Mr. Wilson responded I would guess it would be ten percent or less which would be a small percentage of their overall sales and probably would not have as much of an impact as a restaurant if the restaurant had a C-1/C-2 license. I donít have a problem with that.
Mr. Vanover said I donít like the move in either but I guess for the right reason I can understand it. The frustration and aggravation is that it is an antiquated system we are forced to live with. I donít have a problem with the license in this situation although I find it an oxymoron with the current trends of drinking and driving that everyone of our gas stations have carry out sales. If thatís not an indicator to promote I donít know what is. I donít have a problem with this license moving in. My problem is with the system and I donít know what we can do other than voice our disapproval. Didnít we do that already?
Mr. Danbury said as far as the cost per sale Iíd be surprised if it even approaches ten percent. I havenít been to Costco but Iím sure theyíre similar to Samís and when you are talking about a television for $400-$500, it would take a lot of alcohol sales to come up with that. I donít think this is going to be that big a deal. You are absolutely right, Mr. Osborn, we did approve Bahama Breeze and we talked about that entire project. Weíre not over quota but how can we keep moving them in and I donít hear about any moving out. It just seems like itís happening a lot in the last five years. I just donít want to be the place everybody comes for a liquor license. Cost Plus and Costco are places that are carry out so I donít have a problem with that. Bars are where people are going to have problems drinking and driving.
Mr. Gordon said business is good in Springdale, in Ohio and in the country. You see the proliferation of restaurants and convenient stores and you wonder how they all make it but they do. As a liquor attorney Iíve been on both sides for twenty years and sometimes I get tired of it. If you ask me, Iíd say do away with the quota system. Alcohol consumption is relatively stagnant. If another license goes into Springdale, generally speaking liquor purchases will be made among all the existing permit holders plus one more. Liquor purchases will probably not increase dramatically. Thatís just the way it goes and the net result is frequently that unfortunately, the convenient store, gas station or small pony keg that you donít like, Ms. Pollitt, will probably end up going out of business.
Ms. Pollitt said I have no problem with a company like CostCo or Bahama Breeze where you go in and have a nice meal and alcohol, but I donít want to see one on every corner in Springdale.
Mayor Webster asked does Samís Club have a liquor license?
Mr. Gordon replied yes, a C-1/C-2/D-6. Thatís part of the issue here. Samís Club, which is my clientís competition, sells beer and wine.
Mayor Webster said I was going to say if Samís didnít have one I was going to suggest that we take a firm stand and say why should we go out of the way to offer Samís competition a leg up, but if Samís Club has one I would agree that they should probably go ahead and do it but I wouldnít want you to think thatís a welcome mat for your next visit.
Mr. Gordon responded Iíve learned from being here that I wonít come before you with a gas station or pony keg. I donít know where that line is because I do represent United Dairy Farmerís but I wouldnít call them a gas station or pony keg.
Mrs. McNear said I think the thing we are concerned about is underage drinking, people buying a six pack and taking off with their buddies.
Mr. Galster said I believe Janet Howard from our neighborhood community is on the Liquor Board. If anybody has a problem with the way the Liquor Board runs, they may want to start there. Otherwise Iíd like to make a motion that we draft a letter that doesnít strongly favor but allows the permit the applicant requested. Mr. Wilson seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Gordon said in response to Mr. Galster, Janet Howard does serve on the Liquor Control Commission. The Liquor Control Commission is a quasi-judicial body which hears appeals from decisions by the superintendent of the Division of Liquor Control and also hears liquor citations or violations. She really doesnít have a role in the original issuance of licenses.
ORDINANCE 74-2000 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH CARGILL, INC., FOR THE PURCHASE OF HIGHWAY DE-ICING ROCK SALT AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Mr. Osborn said as I indicated in the packet distributed to Council, this rate we received from Cargill is the lower of two bids. However, it does represent a fairly significant increase over last yearís rates. The price per ton dumped went up $2.45 a ton and the price per ton piled went up $3.04 per ton. I think one saving grace for us is that we have a full salt bin. Our bin is classified as a 2,500 ton salt bin and right now we have 2,200 tons of salt in it. We filled it up under the old contract with lower prices and conceivably we could go this whole year without buying any more salt. That caused me to think a little bit about trying to approach the industry the next time we go out to bid to see if we canít find some way of buying salt during non-peak periods. Maybe we could bid it so thereís one rate October through April and another rate for May through September. We could always keep our dome full through purchases during the summer rather than compete with everybody else who has to refill their supplies during the course of the winter. Mr. Butsch is going to pursue that. Right now we recommend going forward with this purchase because based on the rates other jurisdictions have been receiving this is a competitive bid.
Ordinance 74-2000 passed with seven affirmative votes.
OLD BUSINESS - none
NEW BUSINESS - none
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Mr. Galster said last Sunday we had a car wash to benefit Officer Crayonís family. It was put together by a bunch of teenagers, mostly from Springdale. They worked from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and raised $710 for the officerís family fund. Those involved were: Madison Galster, Kelly Gallagher, Samantha Williams, Holly Wiehe, Autumn Grove, Jeremy Grove, Errald Jackson, Jeff Bryant, Paul Wolf, Charlie Williams, Matt Shroyer, Matt Zinnecker, Katie Crow, Dan Swach, Wesley Nichols, Tia Jackson, Kreg Smith and Monica Maymir. The nice thing about this was when we were all done, Officer Crayonís brother stopped by to express his appreciation for the family. I think it put it into perspective for the kids and they learned a valuable lesson. Linens & Things, Target and Meijerís provided most of the supplies. Dominoís Pizza and BP provided food and drinks. I would like to extend my appreciation and give them a little acknowledgement.
Ms. Pollitt said I would like to convene a meeting of the Finance Committee if we can all get together and pick a date.
Mr. Knox said I watched Mr. Galster work very hard. He wasnít just supervising; he was out there working himself. I salute you and the teenagers. They did a good job too.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
Mr. Danbury made a motion that Council go into a meeting of the whole to discuss possible litigation matters. Mr. Vanover seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
Council went into executive session at 8:43 p. m. and reconvened at 9:17 p.m.
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Ordinance amending the Springdale Zoning code Ė at a future date
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Mutual aid contract with City of Cincinnati - October 4
Council adjourned at 9:30 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Kathy McNear, President of Council