President of Council Kathy McNear called Council to order on October 1, 2003, at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance.
Mr. Knox took roll call. Present were Council members Danbury, Galster, Pollitt, Squires, Vanover, Wilson and McNear.
The minutes of September 17, 2003 were approved with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Knox read a letter from the Springdale Chamber of Commerce: "To All Elected Officials and the Administration of the City of Springdale: On Monday, September 22, 2003, the Springdale Chamber of Commerce held a fund-raising luncheon with keynote speaker, Andy Furman. We were able to raise $2,000 to be donated to the Springdale Veterans Memorial Fund and Hematology and Oncology Department Case McAllister Fund at Childrenís Hospital. I would like to personally thank the large number of you who attended the event and those of you who made donations. Without your overwhelming show of support the event would not have been the huge success that it was. On behalf of the Springdale Chamber of Commerce I would like to thank you. Sincerely, Julie Matheny, Executive Director"
Mr. Knox said the second letter is from Time-Warner Cable: "To Cecil Osborn: The Federal Communications Commission regulations for basic cable rates permit us to adjust rates annually for inflation, external costs, and other factors. We will be adjusting our rates effective January 1, 2004. Our customers will receive notification of the rate adjustments thirty days prior to their implementation. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Sincerely, Virgil M. Reed, President, Cincinnati Division."
Mr. Knox stated I could not discern what the rate increase will be. I guess people will find out 1 December.
Mr. Galster said I would like to extend our appreciation to the Chamber for putting on the event. I know they worked real hard to put that together. Actually what made it so profitable was all the sponsors that they were able to obtain. I would like to thank Alligator Toys; Brian Stephens, CPA; Diversatech; Field Stone at Glenwood Crossing; Fortress Safe and Lock; Hunter Consulting Company; Maple Knoll Village; Mio Chin, MD; and T-Mobile.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - Jim Raussen, State Representative
Mr. Raussen said I would like to give you an update of things that directly affect Springdale, Southwestern Ohio and the State of Ohio. One of the things I know concerned local governments is the Local Government Fund and making sure communication was held closely between the State and local communities on prioritizing why it is so important for local communities to have the Local Government Fund. Nancy Hollister and I created the Local Government Caucus that is made up of thirty-four members of both parties. I urge Springdale to make it known that you are aware of the Local Government Caucus. We can provide you a list of the thirty-four members, of which two are in Hamilton County. We will use that as a means to improve communication lines for those issues that important to local municipalities. On the agenda this fall is Senate Bill 80 which is an omnibus tort reform bill in the State of Ohio. A lot of elements of the bill refer to private entities. The new Statute of Repose may be important to the community. It would prohibit the filing of lawsuits against engineers and others who provide design and construction services more than ten years after those services were rendered.
Mr. Raussen said new standards are on the books as part of the federal "No Child Left Behind" program. Every session a residency bill has been introduced. In this particular case I donít believe it will go anywhere in this session. In the next few months you will probably read a larger overview of the State examining all State pension plans. Some concerns were raised with both the police and retired teachersí pension plans. Some say there have been abuses by both of those offices. I have an upcoming district meeting with all full-time employees in your Finance Departments to look at any concerns they may have raised from the current budget cycle on any changes in municipal income taxation laws or any other matters that may not have been addressed in the budget.
Mr. Raussen stated the Third Frontier Project is on the ballot this year. There will be a bond initiative on the ballot. This is not a tax increase. It is a $500 million bond program to provide resources to recruit world-class researchers and bring state-of-the- art products to the market.
Mr. Raussen said this is the full year of bicentennial activities. Each county in the State of Ohio will receive its own bell for the bicentennial. Next week you will see that bell unveiled at Tall Stacks along with other festivities including the governor and others coming to celebrate southwestern Ohioís bicentennial celebration.
Mr. Danbury said a lot of times we have concerns and we send resolutions up to the State. Do those basically fall on deaf ears? Should we write letters?
Mr. Raussen replied make sure that your letters get to your representatives first and then also, to the other representatives in your county.
Mr. Danbury said I listen to talk radio and there are a lot of people that I think are ill-informed. They donít understand why enterprise zones were established. For people to give tax breaks for someone to come in or stay makes sense in the long run. Has there been any discussion on eliminating enterprise zones?
Mr. Raussen responded before coming to the legislature I didnít realize how contentious an issues that is. Economic development people will tell you that thatís the only tool they have to be competitive with neighboring communities or states. Economists say itís difficult to pick winners and losers, and if you make a tax system that is more reformed, where you broaden the base and lower the rate, you not only reward those people coming into your area but also those that are already in your area. I think itís good to use whatever tools we have available, but the goal at the end of the rainbow should be for us to reform our overall tax system in the State.
Mr. Danbury said you said we are growing older as a community. I think it would be a good idea to empower the local chambers to be able to market themselves. About ten years ago, Mr. Osborn, the Mayor and I were on a group that put together a video that we used as a marketing tool. I think that could really help local communities to get outside companies.
Mr. Knox said it appears that there are some people in the legislature who donít really believe that there is such a thing as home rule charters. I notice in this legislative session they wanted to take over all the oil and gas qualifications in this state. I donít like it. Local government really does work best.
Mr. Knox continued I must personally thank you for what you did to stop some of the things that were proposed to happen in restructuring the taxes. We went to find out what the changes were in the budget to local tax structures. One document was 3500 pages, too long for our printer, and the other was 1500 pages and didnít address what we really needed. I would request in the future that if they ever try something like that again, please give us an executive summary so we can get a heads up. We have to change our tax ordinance by January 1 because of this.
Mr. Osborn said we have been very fortunate to have very good representatives at the State House. Mr. Raussen is certainly continuing that tradition. I canít tell you how much his efforts behind the scenes on various issues have helped the City. Heís a very accessible individual and very conscientious. I think you are doing an exceptional job.
Mrs. McNear said I thought it was interesting that you mentioned the New Frontier project. There is going to be a job fair this week targeting recent college graduates, trying to keep them in our state.
PRESENTATION - Veterans Memorial Committee
Mr. Wilson said last month we made a presentation to CDS. This one is equally important to the City. With any fundraiser there are certain key individuals that you lean on to assist. This month we are honoring our City Solicitor. His office helped us with our by-laws, get together a 501C-3 and also with money. On behalf of the Springdale Veterans Memorial weíd like to present this plaque as a token of our appreciation.
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. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Danbury seconded.
Mr. Galster said on Exhibit A, Iím not sure that the concern about a charter amendment being on the ballot was properly addressed. If there is no contested race but there is still a charter amendment, then I think the prohibitation of the special meeting should still apply, and I donít think this wording does that.
Mr. Knox said I believe what we wanted it to say is, "If there are no contested seats for any elected office or charter amendments on the ballot the seventy-five day limit . . . "
Mr. Danbury said I understand your point and I agree but if there is a charter amendment we could do this under a full Council session.
Mr. Galster responded yes, but the intent is, if there is a charter issue, to not have that become some part of the debate or district meeting, etc. Any time there is an issue we can have that debate here. All this does is prohibit an elected person having the ability to use City funds to advertise a special meeting. I donít think this would limit our ability to talk about any charter amendment.
Mr. Galster made a motion to change Exhibit A to add or charter amendments after no contested seats for any elected office. Ms. Pollitt seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
Ordinance 39-2003 passed with seven affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION R14-2003 "FINAL RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING AN AGREEMENT WITH THE DIRECTOR OF TRANSPORTATION AND PARTICIPATION IN THE COST TO COMPLETE THE STATE ROUTE 747 GRADE SEPARATION PROJECT AND PAY THE LPA PORTION OF THE ESTIMATED COST EXPENSE"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded.
Mayor Webster said this is the same legislation that you passed about a year ago. Hopefully itís going to happen this time. At the last meeting we informed Council that the State was asking us to pony up a fair amount of money. Once again, thanks to the efforts our very astute Administrator, the amount of money we have to pony up now is zero. Itís my understanding that they will go out to bid next month. We should see some activity in late spring and the project will last until 2006.
Resolution R14-2003 passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mayor Webster said in regards to the electrical outages we have been having in the Springdale Lake Drive, Mallard Lakes and Peak Drive area, Mr. Osborn has put out a letter informing those residents that that improvement will take place. We happened to be with the representative from Cinergy last evening so itís put back to late November now. He will keep us appraised of the situation as we go forward. It is in the queue and will get done.
Mrs. McNear said I want to thank the City for getting those letters out. We do expect to have some brief outages from time to time as they replace that cable.
Mayor Webster read a proclamation for Fire Prevention Week.
Mr. Knox said I would like to request a resolution accepting the amounts and rates as determined by the Budget Commission, etc. of Hamilton County. This is an annual event and the rate will remain at 3.08 mils as it has for many years.
Mr. Danbury said Iíd like to encourage the residents to go to the Fire Department Open House. The thing that piqued my interest was the car safety seat inspection. A couple of residents went there and found out their child would have been in danger if they had been in an accident. The firefighters were able to show them the proper way to install it.
Mr. Squires said donít forget to change the batteries in your smoke alarms.
Mr. Vanover said as we move into the heating cycle carbon monoxide becomes important. They are equipped if there is a problem and have valuable information to prevent that problem.
Mr. Osborn said what everyone is referring to is an Open House that the Fire Department has had annually now for thirteen years. This will take place Saturday, October 11th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Board of Health - October 9
Planning Commission - October 14
Board of Zoning Appeals - October 21
District Meeting (Danbury) - October 16
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
Mr. Danbury made a motion that Council go into executive session as a committee of the whole to discuss real estate matters. Mr. Vanover seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
Council went into executive session at 7:53 p.m. and reconvened at 8:37 p.m.
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Right of way acceptance at Perkins - open
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Acceptance of Rates and Amounts from Ham. Co. October 15th
Council adjourned at 8:37 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Kathy McNear, President of Council