President of Council Kathy McNear called Council to order on November 7, 2001, 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, Pollitt, Squires, Vanover, Wilson and McNear. Mr. Galster was absent.
The minutes of October 17, 2001 were approved with five affirmative votes with a correction on page 7465, first line. It says "9-1-1" and it should say "9-11". Mr. Danbury abstained.
Mr. Knox read a letter from Wood & Lamping about what prior action had been taken concerning off-premise liquor sales in the City of Springdale. In November 1970 Sunday on-premises consumption was permitted in all areas of Springdale as well as the State of Ohio. In November 1979 precincts B and H approved Sunday off-premises sales. In November 1981 precincts C, D, and E voted in favor of off-premises sales. The issue this November is whether or not to permit Samís to have off-premises sales. It does not involve the entire precinct. The new law adopted November 2000 authorized the approval of individual requests of Sunday sales.
The second communication read: "We are drowning in Canadian geese excrement. The Crossings of Springdale and Mallard Lakes Apartment complex are home to approximately 200-250 Canadian geese on a year-round basis. They do not fly south as there is ample grass year round. Each year the reproducing pairs beget about 5 new geese, so each April we see about 25-30 baby geese. We do not lose many geese to death. They congregate on our grass and defecate every 4-5 minutes.
Their excrement produces a health hazard. Canadian geese can be exterminated. I know that Minnesota killed about 200 geese when they "overpopulated" an in-city lake in Minneapolis. The food was given to a local food bank. Please contact the proper officials ad do away with about 100 geese next summer in their molting season. Thank you. Jim OíDonnell."
Mayor Webster talked to Mr. Osborn who received a reply from the Health Commissioner, David Winfough. It read: "The geese do not represent a health hazard. There is the potential for exposure to a fungal disease, histoplasmosis, in sensitive individuals. However, most of the population in this area has already been infected with the disease because the fungus is present in all bird feces and in the soil. The geese are considered to be a nuisance by the Division of Wildlife and can be removed and destroyed after obtaining the proper permit and following the guidelines set forth by the Division. The geese are still federally protected waterfowl. The property owner must obtain the permit and embark on a 2-year program of harassment and other methods to get the geese to leave the property. Once the Division of Wildlife is satisfied that all attempts to get the geese to leave have failed, and this includes thorough documentation, then the permit to remove the geese will be issued. The individual who removes the geese must be certified by the Division of Wildlife and again their procedures must be followed. The removal, or "roundup" occurs during the spring molt when the geese canít fly. The reason for these procedures are because of lawsuits in Michigan and Minnesota brought by PETA. Michigan lost their lawsuit because they did not have the documentation that other methods were tried before removal and destruction.
If the city or owner wishes to pursue this avenue they can contact Dan Frevert at the Division of Wildlife at 937-372-9261. We have assisted Avon in the past with their geese problem since people have been attacked in the parking lot. Our trapper, John Ware, is one of the few individuals in Ohio certified to "roundup" geese. He charges $750 to set up and $25 per goose."
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
Mayor Webster said I would like to deviate a little from the agenda and share something that was brought to my attention by Mr. Mastorelli of Lafayette Avenue. He called a couple of months ago and asked me if I knew Elmer Huber who resides at Bachman Pavillion, and who celebrated his 104th birthday on April 6. He is one of the few remaining World War I veterans still among us. I contacted Maple Knoll and they gave me the names of two daughters, Mrs. Ethel Harper, and her sister, Edna Butz. They are here this evening to accept a proclamation for their father. I wanted to do it at this meeting because Sunday is Veteranís Day. I thought it was very appropriate timing.
Mayor Webster passed around a poster that was printed in the Enquirer on Mr. Huberís 102nd birthday.
Mayor Webster presented the proclamation to Mrs. Harper and Mrs. Butz.
Mr. Osborn said this process has been underway for well over a year. The party heading it up for us right now is Judi Craig, the manager of the Division of Corridor Studies for the O-K-I Regional Council Of Governments. I first met Judi ten years ago when we did a corridor study on I-275 involving the communities of Blue Ash, Sharonville, Springdale, Forest Park and Union Township. We found that to be a very informative experience so when the O-K-I Regional Council of Governments began looking at corridors, we wanted to get in the queue on I-75 to be part of that process. Unfortunately, they took I-71 first. Judi has held over to head up the I-75 corridor study which is known as the North/South Initiative.
Judi Craig said I was reflecting back on the I-275 corridor study that we did twelve years ago. Springdale has come a long way with this lovely civic complex out here. O-K-I has come a long way too. In 1993 we identified five corridors in our long range plan to begin in-depth study. The North/South Initiative is the first time we have done a collaborative study with another Regional Planning Commission. This one is being done with MVRPC, which is the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission out of Dayton. The goal of the initiative is to identify and evaluate potential alternative modes of transportation and strategies for transportation in the region. O-K-I Regional Council is the planning organization for seven counties, four in southwestern Ohio and three in northern Kentucky. Weíre hoping to add Dearborn County, Indiana. O-K-I maintains a thirty-year long-range transportation plan. The light rail project is the last of the I-71 corridor study, which resulted in the widening of I-71 from Pfeiffer Road to SR 48 in Warren County as well as the reconstruction of Ft. Washington Way in Cincinnati. There are a number of other studies underway.
Ms. Craig said I-75 runs from Canada to Florida and is one of the busiest highways in North America. The I-75 interstate was built in the 1950s. Recent studies have found that this interstate is carrying more travel than originally designed. Truck traffic exceeds 5 billion miles annually. Our objective is to identify alternatives.
Our no-build scenario is a baseline. If we do nothing more than what was already planned, what will happen to the interstate? We look at roadway improvements, such as widening of existing facilities with additional carpool lanes, high occupancy lanes, ramp and interchange modifications, increased capacity, safety and access. We are looking at ways of improving current operations through advanced technologies and policy revisions.
Ms. Craig said we look at transit operations also. We are looking to enhance the bus operations as well as developing light rail as an alternative. Our objective is to get the word out and we are interested in issues that the residents and leaders of the community have. At the end of the study we want to be able to provide a menu of improvements that can be made to the interstates and parallel routes, the freight rail operations and the transit operations.
Mr. Vanover said Butler County vetoed the transportation tax bill that they had and we went through the light rail debates last summer. What repercussions will there be from these occurrences?
Ms. Craig replied this is the second time Butler County has had a transportation initiative on the ballot. It did fail for the second time. It was presented to us that without that tax support the Butler County Regional Transit Authority would fold and there would not be transit service in Butler County. Up to this point they have been funded through local jurisdictions and they do have rolling stock service and ridership. I am hoping they will be able to continue. Funding for transit is very different than funding for highways. Gas tax revenue can be applied to highway projects but cannot be applied to transit projects. The Cincinnati Enquirer is not in favor of the light rail project so you often get a slanted view of that project in the local media. We are completing preliminary engineering and draft environmental assessment of the I-71 alignment. It is only the first of five corridors that were planned for the light rail initiative. O-K-I is committed to bringing light rail to the region or at least bringing it to the vote of the people.
Ms. Pollitt said this was an interesting presentation. There is such a bottleneck by the old distillery by Ronald Reagan on I-75. Has putting a traffic light at that interchange ever been thought of?
Ms. Craig responded that is called ramp metering and it is a possibility that will be looked at. I-75 is a very old highway and is designed to standards that would not be acceptable today. Improvements to the interstate are far more expensive than the rail initiative but they will have to be done. The bridges on all of I-75 are below standards. We have many partial interchanges, left exit and entrance ramps that by todayís standards are obsolete.
Mayor Webster said when you say they are doing preliminary engineering, is that for the construction of the I-71 light rail system? Is that from Kingís Island to the airport?
Ms. Craig replied the minimal operational segment actually goes from 12th Street in Covington to Grooms Road in Blue Ash. If we get to the point that we have local funding source to match the state and federal funding dollars, I suspect what will actually be built will be more of a political decision than engineering decision.
Mayor Webster asked does O-K-I see you going before the voters to build all three corridors at once?
Ms. Craig replied O-K-I is not in a position to go before the voters at all. Metro or SORTA has the taxing authority and they would be the ones who would put a referendum out for a sales increase. I believe before that happens a regional rail plan would be voted on.
Mayor Webster asked would they be able to levy taxes on the Kentuckians also?
Ms. Craig stated funding in Kentucky is a separate issue. No county in Kentucky has the right to increase sales tax without legislative approval at the state level. There are a faction of Kentuckians that are working on funding in Northern Kentucky. It would not be the same funding source as Ohio.
Mayor Webster asked would the I-75 project be segmented also?
Ms. Craig replied yes. We would go to preliminary engineering next.
Mr. Vanover said Ms. Pollitt brought up a couple of good points. Iíve been traveling between Florence and here the past few days. You had a sign about the truck lanes. Thatís a good idea but enforcement is a whole other reality. Today itís not happening. The bigger question is not the dollars of fixing the road but how are we going to change the mindset of the American public? Until we get that marriage broken between us and the personal automobile, mass transit is in a world of hurt.
Ms. Craig said there are no truck lanes in this region at this time. There are signs but the signage is terrible. Weíve already talked to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet about improving the signage. People have suggested putting in an exclusive truck lane but the problem is you would have to build a new lane or take a lane of traffic. Adding a lane from the Brent Spence Bridge to I-275 costs over $1 billion.
Ms. Craig said changing the mindset of the American people is a challenge for the entire country and Iím not sure it is one I can take on. I can say, however, that actually transit ridership in this country has gone up for the first time since 1956. Never would we expect to solve all of the congestion problems; however, transit improvements are another alternative. A study was done last year that indicated if we would just move 10% of the car trips onto transit, you would level out the growth and congestion. I have been to ten North American cities and everywhere I have been the trains are busy.
Mr. Osborn said some of the problems we discussed this evening such as trucks on the hill in southbound I-75 in Kentucky and the ramp at the Ronald Reagan highway are current problems. The scope of this study, however, is to look out much further than that. We need to look at what is the most efficient transportation system we can put in place. Just think what traffic was like twenty years ago and then think how it will be twenty years from now. I encourage all our residents and business people to get engaged in this debate and discussion at every opportunity. Itís been very enlightening to participate in quarterly meetings because there are representatives there from the private business sectors, the rail systems, Ohio Department of Transportation, a lot of local jurisdictions. Itís quite a daunting task for the leadership of this study to try to reflect as many of those points of view in their analysis as they can. Ultimately it will come down to some decision making by this Task Force, and they, in turn, will need to share those options and issues with their constituencies. This has not had a very high profile the past few months but this corridor study is very critical for the future of our community and its economical viability.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATEĖTHEN AND NOW-State Representative Wayne Coates
Representative Coates said earlier in the year we had a situation in regards to a cell tower on Springfield Pike. I was contacted by the Mayor and Building Department in to see what we could do to persuade them to work with the City. The cell tower company had the immunity of the State. Since then I introduced House Bill 167. That bill had ODOT adhere to the local zoning codes. That is currently in hearings at this time but ODOT has amended their master licensing agreement to adhere to local zoning codes. Part of the problem with the cell tower initiative is that the State can save over $225,000 every time a cell tower goes up at somebody elseís expense. Then the State can piggyback on that tower at no expense. Also your safety services will be allowed to use that as a relay as well.
Mr. Coates stated I congratulate Council people Wilson, Pollitt, Danbury and Vanover on your reelection and service to the community. I think the people of Springdale have shown their confidence in you by their reelection.
Mr. Coates continued yesterday I spoke with both the Sharonville and Springdale Chambers of Commerce about House Bill 405 which was the budget correction bill, which was to cut $660 million in State services and raise $330 million in additional revenue by closing loopholes. I did vote against that bill. There are going to be additional cuts in the local government fund. Having been a former mayor I know the impact that it has. Couple that with the phasing down of the estate tax and inventory tax that I know you have been injured by as well. The governor has signed a bill that would offer an Ohio tax amnesty program for those who have not already paid their taxes. They do not know who you are and if you want to come in there will be no penalty and only half the interest on any amount due. They anticipate generating $17 million in new money. You can contact the website for the State,www.state.oh.us/tax or you can call 1-800-304-3211.
Representative Coates said the bill that Springdale has brought to my attention from Finance Director Knox and a resolution, has been sent to Legislative Service and is being currently assigned a number for hearings. As soon as I know what the hearing dates are I will contact Springdale so you may add your voice to that legislation.
Mr. Coates said I did miss the grand opening of your Recreation Center and I apologize for that. I brought an Ohio state pendant that you can fly proudly. Mr. Coates presented the flag to Mayor Webster.
Mr. Danbury said a lot of people are wondering about internet sales and the potential loss of revenue on communities such as Springdale where we have a high concentration of retail. Can you tell us what the State of Ohio or any neighboring states are doing to get any taxation?
Mr. Coates said House Bill 143 passed the house last week. I did vote against that bill. It is to set up a compact for the potential taxation of the internet. Itís put together by the National Conference of State Legislatures who are doing a study and designing a compact so they can have their tax laws be similar in nature that other states would have. Only Congress can enact that legislation. Congress has offered that if and when the states can get their act together and offer them a comprehensive piece of legislation, they my vote on that. The Supreme Court has ruled in the Quill decision that the states cannot tax outside the state boundaries. The Department of Taxation said there were only ten companies nationwide who volunteered to help the State of Ohio with their tax situation. One of the things I have found is that only 1% of all retail sales is internet sales. Currently in Ohio they are offering tax breaks to those internet companies who are now offering storefronts or brick and mortar as well. They are giving them tax abatements to help them set up in Ohio. House Bill 143 is going to the Senate and it may take a few years to work it out.
Mr. Knox said youíve probably heard of House Bill 258. It is a bill currently being discussed in the legislature that says no municipal employee either certified or licensed by the state could be required to live in any specific area. No city would be allowed to demand that their employees live in that area. We in Springdale do not have that in our Charter. I donít believe Forest Park has that either. The effect will be for the State to overturn all the current charter ordinances and votes by the residents saying they wanted it that way. I wonder what your thoughts are on that.
Representative Coates said the residency requirement under House Bill 258 in my estimation would cause some constitutional questions with our home rule. I have been opposed to House Bill 258 because of being a mayor and knowing our home rule authority of our constitution. Apparently there is a situation in other areas where someone has signed on to work in a municipality; then years later they want to move on. It becomes a contractual issue now because those issues were known before and they signed on with that premise. It also sets a bad precedent because it causes more problems because of union contracts.
ORDINANCE NO. 55-2001 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO EXECUTE A CONTRACT TO PURCHASE WITH JAMES R. LUTTS AND LINDA R. LUTTS FOR THE ACQUISITION OF PROPERTY LOCATED AT 367 PLUM STREET, SPRINGDALE, OHIO 45246-3665, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Squires made a motion to adopt and Ms. Pollitt seconded.
Ordinance 55-2001 passed with six affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 56-2001 "REJECTING THE BID REGARDING THE SPRINGFIELD PIKE STREETSCAPE, STREET LIGHT AND TRAFFIC LIGHT PROJECT AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Mr. Osborn said this relates only to the purchase of material. The City had put out specifications for street light poles and traffic poles that would later be used in the
streetscape project. We received only one bid and that bid was incomplete. As a result, we are recommending that the bid be rejected. In discussing this with the consultant we believe we can stimulate a better bidding process by repackaging the specifications so they are in the process of doing that. We plan to open re-bids in December. This is not part of the construction project. This is merely an attempt to reduce the construction period next year by ordering these poles because they have a very long lead time from the manufacturer.
Ordinance 56-2001 passed with six affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 57-2001 "REPEALING ORDINANCE 39-2001 AND CREATING THE POSITION OF ASSISTANT TO THE CITY ADMINISTRATOR/ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Mr. Osborn said last summer when we first came to you with the request for an additional administrator in the organization, we initially thought the best distribution of work would be to assign the human resources responsibility to this new person. After looking into the recruiting options we had and what individuals were available, after advertising and taking applications, we felt we would be best served by having this position restructured so that the assistantís primary area of responsibility would be economic development. Even at that first meeting I indicated that we had been looking in both directions and our initial read on it was that we would recruit for a personnel director type. After reassessing this we thought it would be better to reverse our field and have the position staffed for the purpose of economic development. With the downturn of the economy we have experienced the last several weeks it is certainly appropriate to be talking about filling this position. We ask Council to favorably consider this ordinance.
Mr. Wilson said it appears this person may be working closely with our Chamber of Commerce and other Chambers of Commerce in the area.
Mr. Osborn replied that is correct. This person will be our go-to person for the business community. We want that tie. We want to know early on if a business is having trouble or has an issue about something. We have tried to stay close to the Chamber of Commerce but we have not had someone dedicated to the area of economic development. Derrick and I have tried to handle that as we can but we think by having someone focused on supporting the business community, filling vacant storefronts, we will be better off.
Mr. Wilson said I realize that is only one of fifteen items we have listed under typical tasks but does this conflict with what we thought the Springdale Chamber would do?
Mr. Osborn replied no, I think it fits very well with the initiative for the Springdale Chamber. Keep in mind the Springdale Chamber represents the business community. When the Chamber was formed it created a forum where businesses could come together and coalesce around issues, discuss priorities, etc. We are proposing to add someone to the organization who will have specific dialog with the Chamber and any business in the community.
Mayor Webster said we list all these functions and duties but the bottom line is to create jobs. I donít think itís the Chamberís charge to create jobs. The primary charge is to unite the business community and keep us apprised of any issues we need to address to try to keep businesses here. I donít think it was ever part of the Chamberís charge to recruit new business.
Mr. Vanover said I think this is a very smart move and I think we are all aware of the very difficult task we have ahead of us, not only growing new business but maintaining and redeveloping. We can poll retail centers right now and there are vacancies that need to be filled. This person is very needed for that specific role.
Mr. Squires said I echo what Mr. Vanover has said. I personally feel very strongly about this legislation. I think for many years we have been too lean at the top of our management structure. This position is just what the City needs. Those of us who have been in Springdale many, many years know that if a business left Springdale, it was just a very short time until another moved in. Thatís not happening anymore. We are under constant competition from other municipalities. You only have to look north at Union Center to see what they are doing there. We have to take leadership in this area and this is a move in the right direction.
Ordinance 57-2001 passed with six affirmative votes.
Mr. Knox said I always enjoy giving atta boys. There was an article last month in the Enquirer that stated that the road salt shortage looms to the point that some cities are unable to get road salt. The atta boys go to Mr. Osborn and Mr. Butsch because they filled up our big new device under the old price, which has almost doubled. Iíd like to compliment them on having done that.
Mr. Osborn said the leaf program has gone city-wide this year. We are making good progress with it but there are a few things we need to mention. We need to encourage residents not to rake the leaves into the gutter or onto the street. That could cause tremendous problems for us in our storm sewer systems and ultimately affect property by backing up storm water into homes, etc. We really have to ask residents to be conscientious about keeping leaves between the gutter and sidewalk in that grass strip if at all possible; if there is no sidewalk, certainly behind the curb and out of the gutter plate. We will continue to chip brush on a regular schedule but please do not put the brush in with the leaves because they are collected at separate times. It really slows both processes down when people combine these into one pile.
Mr. Vanover asked have we reached the point that we carry a door hanger to put on residentsí doors?
Mr. Osborn replied after the first couple of collections we identified places where that was happening. The Public Works Department has been handing out leaflets advising those individuals that we had observed this practice in front of their house and wanted to bring it to their attention.
Mayor Webster said the three contracts with the magistrate, prosecutor and public defender will expire on December 1. They would all like to continue at the same rate of compensation as this year. I would like legislation at the next Council meeting.
Mr. Wilson said Iíd like to thank all the residents in my district and throughout the City who helped me in my campaign for reelection.
Mr. Knox stated we have liquor license transfer. One person has bought 100% of the stock. There were no objections.
Mr. Parham reported, as you are probably aware, weíve begun the labor negotiations with the Police Department and the existing contract expires December 31. As we have come to you before in negotiations we request an extension agreement to be authorized by Council so that if we reach the point that we have to go to a conciliator, the conciliator can make financial implications towards the contract for the year 2002. If we do not sign the agreement, he/she will be unable to do that, and therefore, we may end up paying for it for the year 2003. I would ask for a motion from the floor to authorize the extension agreement.
Mr. Vanover made a motion that Council approve and sign the extension agreement for the negotiations. Mr. Squires seconded.
The motion passed with six affirmative votes.
Mrs. McNear said some boards and commissions positions will be expiring in the next month or so. I will read them off so if anyone has people who have contacted them regarding positions or anyone in the listening audience would like to apply to be on one of these boards or commissions please call the office. The positions that will be expiring are Board of Zoning Appeals (one position), Charter Revision (one position), Civil Service (one position), Review Board (two positions), Board of Health (three positions).
Mr. Danbury said the Board of Review appointments are a Council person and someone from Civil Service by virtue of the position, so we would not fill a slot by members at large.
Mr. Squires asked, Ms. Pollitt, is there any update on the flu shots?
Ms. Pollitt said the vaccine had been ordered and was targeted for the senior citizens and those at high risk. We had a clinic on Tuesday and it was very well attended.
Mr. Osborn said the vaccine so far has been for seniors, people in high risk groups, with respiratory problems, etc. There is a significant shortage again this year. The problem has to do with the manufacture of the product. The Health Department is trying to get additional serum and we do plan to have an open inoculation clinic later this fall but we canít announce it yet because we donít have any guarantee on serum availability. This Health Department is participating with other health departments in the county to help defray the cost of flu shots that will be administered in doctorsí offices. The charge to the doctorsí offices when added to the reimbursement they get through Medicare/Medicaid proves to be less than profitable for them so there is no incentive for doctors to do that. The local health department association is trying to work with doctors to encourage their distribution of serum when it becomes available as well. The Consortium of Health Departments will be taking over the telephone system that you can call to find out where to get a flu shot. Itís been supported by a private foundation for the last couple of years but their grant has run out. Our health department has been very involved in trying to address issues related to flu vaccine and the distribution of the vaccine.
Mr. Vanover said I swung by here Tuesday evening and there was quite a bit of traffic. I know the voting polls had been moved. Was there any big mix up or concern?
Was the notification ineffective on that move?
Mayor Webster stated every voter was sent a card so if they read the card it told them that it was moved. We put a sign out front also.
Ms. Pollitt said we received two notifications at our home, one six weeks ago and one last week.
Mayor Webster said a lot of people did not get the first notice and my wife called the Board of Elections and told them. I guess to be safe they did all five precincts.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Board of Health - November 8
Board of Zoning Appeals - November 13
Turkey Shoot - November 18, 2-4:30 p.m.
Free throw contest
Teen Night - November 23, 9-11 p.m.
Tree Lighting Ceremony - November 23, 7:30 p.m.
Town Meeting - November 15
Special Council Meeting - December 1, 7:30 p.m.
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 six affirmative votes.
Council went into executive session at 8:40 p.m. and reconvened at 9:05 p.m.
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Ordinance 58-2001 - November 21
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Ordinances for prosecutor, public defender and magistrate.
Council adjourned at 9:08 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Kathy McNear, President of Council