President of Council Marjorie Harlow called Council to order on
October 1, 2008, at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance.
Mr. Vanover took roll call. Present were Council members Danbury, Diehl, Galster, Squires, Vanover, and Wilson .
The minutes of September 17, 2008 were approved with six affirmative votes.
Mrs. McNear read a letter from Richard Cordrays office regarding investments that the City has reiterating that the fund does not have any investments in Freddie Mack, Fannie Mae, AIG, Goldman Sachs, etc. The funds are safe, liquid and earning a competitive yield in these challenging times.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE
Sarah Welch, 203 Ruskin said thank you to the City workers for cleaning up after the hurricane. I have some neighbors on the corner of Ramsdale who leave their Christmas lights up. They have a black truck that Im sure the Police marked the tires because it will sit for two or three days, then they push it down. There are so many people living there. We have counted seven kids under the age of seven who play outside late at night. They have a six foot wooden fence with weeds starting to grow on it. There are mice around the garage. When they clean they put furniture in the yard and it sits there. Its not nice. We shouldnt have to live with this.
Mayor Webster said we are very much aware of that residence. The folder in the Building Department is probably two inches thick. Theyre very nice people and generous too. I understand it is their children and grandchildren who are in and out of there. There is nothing we can do about Christmas lights. We can require that a surface be painted but we cant dictate the color. When you see furniture on the lawn call us right away. We dont like that they are detracting from the value of your house or the appearance of the neighborhood. Well do whatever we can. They have been cited for everything. We can limit the number of people living in the house. There is a curfew. If the kids are in the street at 11 p.m. I advise you to call the police.
Mr. Squires said I pass that residence every day. Were not passive, theres just so much we can do.
Mr. Galster said we have a similar situation on my street. We can use the Property Maintenance Code to address some issues, the health regulations to address other issues. Last year we changed the code so that after a couple of violations the offender has to appear before the magistrate. Were as aggressive as we want to be. Its a matter of being diligent. The property values of this community have got to be a top priority. Well continue to do what we can to make it better.
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
ORDINANCE NO. 38-2008 AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 68-2007 TO PROVIDE FOR WAGE INCREASES AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY
Mr. Danbury made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded.
Mr. Osborn said this is a follow up to the ordinance adopted at the last meeting authorizing the contract with Ohio Labor Council FOP that increased wages for our patrol officers. Sergeants and lieutenants are not part of that bargaining unit but we have, as a past practice, given them the same increase as we give patrol officers in order to keep the spread equal between those ranks. This gives them the same increase from 3 ½% to 4% for the sergeants and lieutenants.
Ordinance 38-2008 passed with six affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION R21-2008 RESOLUTION ACCEPTING THE AMOUNTS AND RATES AS DETERMINED BY THE BUDGET COMMISSION & AUTHORIZING THE NECESSARY TAX LEVIES AND CERTIFYING THEM TO THE COUNTY AUDITOR
Mr. Galster made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded.
Mayor Webster said the millage of 3.08 was granted in perpetuity to Springdale by Hamilton County in 1959. It represents zero tax increase.
Resolution R21-2008 passed with six affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION R22-2008 SR 747 & CRESCENTVILLE ROAD IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
Mr. Danbury made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded.
Mr. Osborn said this is the improvement to SR 747/Crescentville that will occur next year. The project cost estimate is $3.4 million. It is funded ninety percent by state and federal money and ten percent local money. There have been a couple of changes since I brought it before you at the last meeting. The legislation has been amended by ODOT because the gentleman who would normally handle this was absent on sick leave for a few weeks and when he came back he found out his replacement had sent us the wrong document and had slightly miscalculated the local share. We are looking at a resolution rather than an ordinance and the local share has dropped from $440,000 to $405,000. That will be split equally between Butler County and Springdale so our share for the design, right-of-way and construction on a $3.4 million project will be $202,678.25. We have to have the executed agreement and the deposit to ODOT by October 8, 2008 because they intend to sell this project on October 17.
Resolution R22-2008 passed with six affirmative votes.
PUBLIC HEARING Hamilton County Community Block Grant Program
Mr. Osborn stated this program comes along every three years to be targeted at assisting low and moderate income households. A family of four earning $52,950 or less and a single person making $37,050 fall into moderate income. We are eligible to select projects or programs that would benefit low to moderate income people. We are required to hold two public hearings prior to you considering a final ordinance. We are encouraging folks to come forward with any suggestions they may have. There is a significant amount of regulations on how the money can be spent. There are two programs that we intend to pursue for funding if Council agrees.
The first is a small repair grant program. We would request $20,000 a year for each of the three years of the program. The idea is to have the ability to make a grant to a household that falls within the eligible income levels so that they can make repairs to their homes. The grant would be no more than $1,000. People who fall into those income ranges probably have a hard time borrowing the money for which they need to make improvements. This is a reimbursement grant so we figured we would see fewer people apply for this than really need it. We had a dialog with Springdale Offering Support (SOS) and they have agreed to serve as the bank. If we find a person who comes in and applies for an eligible project, then SOS will advance the $1,000. The resident spends the money to make the improvements then we would get the money from the County and reimburse SOS for the $1,000. We hope it will be used for such things as driveways, roofs, etc.
Mr. Osborn continued the other program we are considering is replacement of playground equipment at Chamberlain Park except for the existing swing set. There would be two different play structures put in the park scaled to different age groups. That has a price tag of $30,268. Right now our proposal is to include that in the third year of the application cycle but have it as a secondary priority to our loan program.
Mrs. McNear suggested we use the money to make homes more energy efficient with things such as windows, and furnaces that would help reduce other expenses such as electric bills.
Mr. Osborn replied thats possible if they need to replace windows. I dont think we want to limit it to just that. Any true improvement to the home is going to qualify. Its not limited to just driveways and roofs.
Mr. Danbury asked how would we police this?
Mr. Osborn responded they have to turn in an accounting of how the money was spent. The resident who is doing the work himself would submit receipts to us. If he/she is using a contractor, he would give us a copy of the paid contract amount. We have to approve these projects before they take place. We will also make an inspection to make sure that the work was done and done properly.
Mr. Danbury asked what if a person wants to do the work himself and charge for his labor?
Mr. Osborn replied no, that would not be eligible.
Mr. Diehl asked why is the playground equipment going to the third year and not the second?
Mr. Osborn replied more requests are made in the first year, fewer in the second and fewer in the third. We think there is a higher probably of getting funded in the third year.
Mr. Wilson asked has everyone seen the water feature at the Veterans Memorial? It is working.
Mr. Schneider said I want to report back to Council on the question we had relative to Wal-Mart Stores. There was no Wal-Mart Store issue on the election ballot. In November 2007, a local option for Sunday sales for Sams Club in Precinct E passed.
Mayor Webster said I had a call from a resident who had seen a sign in Sams that indicated Springdale wouldnt allow them to sell alcohol on Sunday. I said its not the City of Springdale. Its the people in the precinct who vote on that.
Mr. Schneider stated on November 2, 2007 the local option for Sunday sales was approved in Precinct E.
Mr. Osborn said Id like to give you an update on the storm debris removal. Since September 14 we have had two 4-man crews working ten hours a day six days a week and eight hour shifts on Sunday. We have worked about 1550 hours on storm clean-up and removal just in the Public Works Department. Through these first seventeen days we have removed 136 dump truck loads of chips that equates to 1,360 cubic yards or about fifty percent of our annual production of wood chips. We anticipate we will finish the first pass in the City mid week next week. Then we will start the second pass. We think the second pass will take two to three weeks. We anticipate by the time we are done we will have processed 2,000 cubic yards of wood chips which is about equal to our annual production. We are pursuing the opportunity to try to recover some of our costs through FEMA. They have certain rates you can use for equipment usage. When you take that into consideration along with our labor costs, we anticipate that the seven to eight week period will have a price tag of $200,000 to $250,000.
Mr. Osborn said Duke has been very cooperative with the City and other jurisdictions in keeping us informed on how they were progressing and attacking the problems, what the priorities were, what their criteria was for restoring power. We had daily conference calls with Duke and other jurisdictions. They want to do better so they will be holding two public information sessions where they will be inviting feedback from the public and answering questions for the public on how they went about restoring the electric and what problems they faced. The first meeting will be October 2 and the second one on October 6.
Mrs. McNear said Ive noticed people have begun to put leaves at the curb as well as brush.
Mr. Osborn said as people clean up the debris we know there will be leaves mixed in with it. We prefer that they hold off on raking their leaves to the curb. We want to get the debris off the ground as quickly as possibly. We know we have to start the leaf program mid to late October and we have to have this out of the way. Secondly, we have Halloween coming up and those brush piles could create a real sight issue for little kids running around, darting into the street. It takes different equipment on the trucks to suck up the leaves. Well have to pass up leaf piles in preference to picking up the brush.
Mr. Galster asked now that the power is restored have we been able to get the damaged poles replaced and repaired?
Mr. Osborn replied yes. We still have some poles that are leaning but the worst situations have been addressed.
Mr. Galster said we have had a pretty good demand for our mulch. Are all the wood chips we are collecting going to be a one year or two year project? Can we collect it on site?
Mr. Osborn replied I think we may try to keep this additional wind row we are creating an extra year because it takes a good two years to compost the material and weve been doing it in one year. We are going to try to get into a two-year cycle so the mulch can sit for two years. Mr. Osborn said Dave Butsch came up with a very successful program when he recommended that we create a licensed compost facility and instead of hauling all this debris, that we treat it at our own facility. It saved us many hours of transportation and now, instead of spending thousands buying mulch for the City, we have mulch to give away to our residents.
Mr. Galster stated I did see the water running at the Veterans Memorial but I also noticed the additional greenery, the sod being put down. Everything is brightening up on that corner. This past Friday Mr. Osborn and I were able to see the first statutes in clay form. The amount of detail was amazing.
Mr. Danbury said I stopped into Public Works and talked to Jeff. He said a few of the employees put in 86 hours in one week. They were anticipating that they would do it a second time. It was my understanding that as soon as it happened they came in. No one had to call them. Id like to applaud them. In my area a huge tree limb went onto a house. The resident called the City for help but the City is prohibited from going on private property. Even if we could, according to our road maintenance supervisor we just dont have the equipment to take care of everything.
Mr. Osborn stated Public Works will not go off the public right away. However, the Fire Department will respond to a tree on a house or roof damage, at least to clear the roof and put tarps on the roof until you can get a company to come in and take care of it. We have been very blessed with a lot of folks calling to thank the Public Works Department and the City in general, very appreciative of what the City has done over the last few weeks.
Mr. Osborn continued we have seen a big impact on our street trees. Weve lost close to 200 trees to the drought and another 150 to the storm. We had already budgeted to replace 200 trees this year but there will still be a gap as to where we were last year.
Mr. Squires asked who cleans up Olde Gate?
Mayor Webster responded they do. We take the brush away if they get it out to the right of way on Kemper or Northland.
Mayor Webster said Rileys Restaurant is generously going to donate 25 percent of your bill to SOS if you come in with an SOS flier on Monday, October 6, 13, 20 or Tuesday, October 28.
Mayor Webster announced that Trick or Treat will be held on October 31 from 6 to 8 p.m. Mr. Knox would like to be on the October 15 agenda to give Council a brief update on the activities of the Northern Cincinnati Tourist Bureau and his reappointment to that board for another term. Our contracts expire at the end of the year for the magistrate, public defender and prosecutor. Well try to have those on the next agenda.
Mr. Osborn stated we had a bid opening for highway de-icing rock salt. We received three bids. All put down no bid. Im sure you all read in the paper that jurisdictions across the United States are faced with a severe shortage of salt. This confirms it. The bids that did come in for other jurisdictions earlier this year are at $156 and $160 a ton. Our current contract is $44 a ton. We have a salt dome that holds 3,000 cubic yards of salt and we actually have a little more than that. We have another 500 to 600 tons on the ground in a temporary enclosure that we built to have as much in inventory as possible. A typical winter would be about 1500 tons. We have enough salt on hand for two typical winters.
Mr. Vanover said the Morton Salt facility along the river had a huge mountain of salt.
Mr. Osborn said it is committed already. Last year was a very heavy usage for many Midwestern states and across the country. A lot of State Departments of Transportation got in early and bought pretty much all the salt they could buy. Im not sure why there is such a shortage. The salt coming in now is from Chile. I feel there is some price gouging but I have no way to prove that.
Mr. Galster said in the past we have loaned to other communities. Has that policy changed now that they may not have the ability to restock?
Mr. Osborn responded there are many communities out there, bigger communities who are short on salt. We are not in a position to help everybody. I think we will have to see what kind of experience we have during the bulk of the year. I dont think were in a position to even propose to lend salt until we know how the winters been.
Mr. Danbury said Jeff Agricola said some communities dont have it in their budget to have something that large. A business in Clermont County got an e-mail that if we get a major storm, some cities may just take care of expressways, major thoroughfares and the intersections. They would just plow the secondary streets.
Mayor Webster said this is a touchy topic. Its one wed rather not talk about. I wished we maybe could have communicated what our supply was by memo and not have a public discussion. Every community around here will know that Springdale is saying it has a two-year supply and our phone will be ringing off the hook. How do we say no to a neighboring community that is snowed in. A lot of communities dont have the facility to hold salt.
Mr. Vanover asked would we have the ability to bid out two years ahead?
Mr. Osborn replied no, there is no salt in the pipeline and they dont know what their transportation costs will be that far out. There has been a lot of effort to do group purchasing of salt. The Hamilton County Engineers Office put a program together but received no bids. ODOT put a program together and they do have bids at the $156/ton range. Jurisdictions can go to some of these bigger consortiums and buy salt but they will be paying dearly for it.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Board of Health - October 9
Planning Commission - October 14
Board of Zoning Appeals - October 21
Fire Department Open House - October 4
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Hamilton County Community Block Grant - October 15
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Magistrate, prosecutor, public defender - October 15
Council adjourned at 8:14 p.m.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Marjorie Harlow, President of Council