President of Council Randy Danbury called Council to order on April 15, 1998 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 Galster, Manis, McNear, Pollitt, Vanover, Wilson and Danbury.
Mr. Danbury welcomed John Eisenmann, sitting in for Mr. Shuler.
The minutes of April 1, 1998 were approved with 7 affirmative votes.
COMMITTEES AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
RULES AND LAWS - Ms. Manis asked if anyone had comments on the invisible fence ordinance. Mr. Galster said I still question the 30 feet from the public right-of-way. I understand the intent but I think something like 10 feet accomplishes the same purpose.
Ms. Pollitt asked could we please get any laws we have on the books pertaining to leash laws and the number of animals allowed in a household for the Board of Health? They also have this on their agenda and they understand that there were some laws on the books at some time?
Ms. Manis replied we have a book of ordinances here. Running at large prohibited is 90.01; and the vicious dog ordinance is 90.15. I believe in one of those it states about the number of animals.
Mr. Osborn said that is in the Zoning Code under 124.
Ms. Manis said this ordinance was sent to the department directors and Chief Freland wrote back and said although the public thinks that we have a leash law, it's not actually written that way. It said the dog could be under voice control and they wouldn't have to be on a leash. As for grandfathering, if this is considered an issue of public safety, then we don't have to grandfather. We had discussed whether the City could pay for moving it, even if it is on private property.
Mr. Schneider said, if in fact, it's a zoning law, it's automatically grandfather provisioned. The property owners are entitled to that. This is an enforcement of a police regulation and is not grandfathered. It will apply to everyone as soon as it goes into effect.
Ms. Manis said so the people who have these fences would either have to not use them or else have them come out and put new ones in.
Mayor Webster said, Ms. Manis, you say the police chief is the one who pointed out that we don't have a leash law. What about all those people over the years who have paid fines in Mayor's Court?
Mr. Galster replied the dog may have been under voice control and running away from the owner.
Ms. Pollitt asked will the people who currently have an invisible fence have a certain amount of time to comply?
Ms. Manis responded the ordinance will go into effect 30 days after passage.
Ms. Pollitt said I would like to have the Board of Health see this prior to passage.
Ms. Manis stated it has already been to the Health Department Director.
Ms. Pollitt replied that as of last Thursday the board had not seen it.
Mayor Webster said Ms. Manis is saying it went to the department directors so Mr. Winfough should have seen it early on but he has not seen this final copy.
Mrs. McNear said I think what we were putting in the newsletter was the pooper scooper law.
Mr. Danbury said we did have a leash law when I did the newsletter 6 or 7 years ago.
Mayor Webster said as for the effective date of the ordinance, Council can make it effective immediately. If they don't pass it with the emergency it would be 30 days. From an enforcement standpoint we could certainly exercise some common sense and give people a reasonable amount of time to get it torn up or a new one put in.
Mr. Knox said about 7 or 8 years ago I wrote the article as though there was a leash law but I ran it by Chief Freland. At that time he pointed out that we did not have a leash law; that it could be voice control.
Ms. Manis said if it was up to me I'd just have it ten feet or so off the right-of-way. We have the fence law for aesthetic reasons. It's in the Zoning Code.
Mr. Osborn said in paragraph C it indicates that no person may allow an animal under their control to be at large on any street, alley, public grounds or within 30 feet of a public right-of-way even if it is constrained by an electronic dog containment system. Does that mean that it has to be more than 30 feet? Thirty-one feet is okay but 30 feet is in violation.
Ms. Manis also that paragraph means you can't have your dog chained up in your front yard either.
Mr. Schneider stated it just says to run at large. I would think if it is chained that would not be running at large, therefore the 30 feet would not come into play.
Mayor Webster asked where does it say in here about the sign?
Ms. Manis replied it doesn't. That would be a different ordinance if we decided to go that way. It would be under Signage, 153.049. If they are limited to the backyard I don't think it would be necessary but if we are allowing the fence in the front yard I think it would be nice.
Mayor Webster said if Council decides to move it out to within ten feet, then I think the sign should be a companion ordinance. I have empathy for people on cul-de-sacs who don't have 30 feet so I personally would like to see it be 30 feet or the front of your house. If the front of your house is within 15 feet, then that would suffice. Right now you can put an above-ground fence to the front of the house. I would hate to see us take it down to ten feet.
Mr. Schneider stated you could make it building lot line.
Mr. Danbury said if you have any additional comments you can pass them on to Ms. Manis.
PUBLIC RELATIONS - no report
PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE - no report
PUBLIC WORKS - Mr. Vanover said the design portion of the 1998 street program is underway for both the crack sealing and the concrete repair. We will take it to bid in late April, award the contract in late May with construction to run from June to October 1998.
PUBLIC UTILITIES - no report
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS - Ms. Manis said a public meeting was held on March 24 on the Sharon Road resurfacing. The bid opening was held April 14. A summary of the preliminary bid results has been submitted and a recommendation will be submitted by April 17. The second portion of the HVAC renovation at the Police Department will be advertised for bid the second week of May. A bid opening was held on April 9 for the site work for the Public Works Facility expansion. Recommendation of an award of a contract has been submitted. Completion of the site work is scheduled for September 1.
FINANCE COMMITTEE - Mr. Wilson reported the Finance Committee met today at 6:00 p.m. A decision was made to hire a full-time person in the Tax Department. The second issue of discussion was relative to PERS contributions for prior governmental service. The decision was to introduce legislation at our May meeting about this.
PLANNING COMMISSION - Mr. Galster said they met April 14. They had approval for the subdivision plat for the Paffe property, now the Target development. That was approved 6-0.
BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS - Mrs. McNear stated the meeting will be held next Tuesday, April 21 and I would like to request time on the agenda at the next meeting so I can give the report at that time.
BOARD OF HEALTH - Ms. Pollitt said they met April 9. They discussed the electronic fences and they are very anxious to see what Council is coming up with on that. They also passed Regulation R1-1998 which was the increase in the swimming pool licensing fee.
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION - Mr. Coleman said the written examination for the position of property maintenance inspector was administered on Saturday, April 11, 1998. There were 19 individuals who took the examination. On April 23, the written examination for the account clerk I position will take place at the Springdale Elementary School at 6:30 p.m. The Civil Service Commission also acknowledges the probationary appointment of Timothy Green to the position of public works inspector effective March 16, 1998.
O-K-I - Ms. Manis reported that they met March 26. They voted on a resolution accepting the recommendations of the I-71 Corridor Study Oversight Committee. For the past three years the Oversight Committee had been studying methods to address the transportation needs of the I-71 corridor. The committee had eliminated heavy and light monorail technologies, highway widening, commuter rail, high occupancy vehicle lanes and the busway. The only alternative still under consideration is light rail transit. The resolution, if passed, would move the study forward into the preliminary development phase which included more detail planning, preliminary engineering, a draft environmental impact statement, more refined cost estimates and a detailed financial plan. The resolution passed 25-9-1. I voted yes. Steve Chabot has an editorial in today's Press called "Dump Expensive Light Rail Tax Hike Plan". They didn't discuss anything about a tax hike at the meeting but it is very expensive to do the whole thing. The purpose of the study was to reduce the amount of vehicle emissions and traffic on I-71. By the time this is done the numbers show that the traffic is the same as it is now. I guess if you consider if it wasn't done then the traffic would be much worse than it is.
Sterling Euler from Fairfield, came over to me before the meeting and said they would be starting the I-75 corridor study before July and he would like some input from our City.
Mr. Vanover asked has there been any word on what O-K-I is going to do since Commissioner Dowlin has said there wouldn't be any more funding provided for the studies?
Ms. Manis replied some of the funding is federal. Dowlin voted no.
MAYOR'S REPORT - Mayor Webster said with a great deal of sadness I have to report that we lost another former Council member last weekend, Mr. Jerry Yingling who served the City in the late 60s, early 70s. On behalf of the City I extend the City's sympathies to his wife and children. I also have to cancel Mayor's Night In scheduled for April 22. I will be out of town. The next Mayor's Night in is Wednesday, May 27.
Our debris removal program is in full swing. As of the date of this report we had 38 out for April. The program has picked up in popularity.
Mr. Galster said I heard a comment from a resident who was having a hard time getting a permit signed and back to the Maintenance Department to get a truck. The City could fax out the form to be signed but the resident couldn't fax it back because the signature wouldn't be an original signature. There was a suggestion made to have a drop box where the residents could drop those after hours.
Mayor Webster responded we could do that but if someone put a stamp on the envelope and mailed it back it would reach the City the next day.
Ms. Pollitt said the Maintenance Department opens at 7:00 a.m.
Mayor Webster said Springdale has been named a 1997 Tree City once again for the sixth consecutive year. We are very proud of this. Dave Butsch and Darrell Perkins deserve a lot of the credit for this but Council provides the funds and the inventory of the trees. We should all take pride.
CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR - Mr. Knox stated the test Mr. Coleman said would be given April 23 can now be used for two people rather than just one. We will be adding a person in the Tax Department as well as replacing one in the Finance Department.
As you remember several months ago you authorized funds for Collectech and now we are getting results. We have expended $2278. We have collected $6993 from 48 accounts. It is working and is profitable to the City.
ADMINISTRATOR'S REPORT - Mr. Osborn said I'd like to report on the bid opening for the playground equipment at Beacon Hill Park. This is the third year in a row we have gone through the process of upgrading playground equipment at one of the outlying parks. The best bid was received from David Williams and Associates at $21,402. There was a bid by another vendor that was $120 less but the bid by David Williams and Associates was determined to be the better bid because of some of the features of the equipment. We spec 4.5" diameter pipe for the system. The equipment Williams will provide has a 5" diameter. In the opinion of our recreation staff, the play surface that Williams is bidding is a better play surface. We would request legislation at the next meeting authorizing that contract.
The best bidder for the Public Works Facility was CJ&L. With the alternate bid that came out to $407,611.72. We would recommend that CJ&L receive the contract. This part of the facility had a budget number of $408,560.
We did receive five bids on the W. Sharon Road project. We don't have a recommendation yet but all five bidders were below our budgeted number of $380,000.
We do have an Arbor Day celebration planned for April 24 at 4:30 p.m. at the Community Center.
LAW DIRECTOR'S REPORT - Mr. Schneider reported I just received a notice in my mailbox here of the City being named as a potential participant in an obligation relative to a superfund site, a place called Skinner Landfill in West Chester that was operated as a dump for a period of time starting in the 1930s until 1990. Many cities have been previously named in the lawsuit. We have been given notice that a party to the litigation has mentioned us in a deposition as a potential provider of hazardous waste to that site at some period of time between 1930 and 1990. I don't know yet who that might have been or what was the basis of that. It's a cost responsibility of $14 million. Two million dollars have already been spent by the plaintiffs in this matter. They are attempting to get others into the litigation to help share the costs. The plaintiffs in this are the Dow Chemical Co., Ford Motor Co., GEAE, Morton International Salt, PPG Industries, Inc., Velsicol Chemical Corporation. We have not been named at this point. The allocator, who has been selected by both sides of the litigation, has sent us a notice that we have been mentioned in a deposition, allowing us to participate in the allocation process and review he is conducting. I need to review this to see what degree of participation we should put into this and whether it is in our best interest to participate or not participate, to become knowledgeable, answer questionnaires, etc.; and I'll work with the City Administrator and try to assess that. Our office is already representing two governmental bodies. We will work on a sharing basis any expenses that are joint such as attending depositions. We will segregate separate work for Springdale.
Mr. Osborn said we are unaware of what this reference relies on in terms of some sort of act by the City in contributing to the material at that landfill. We use Rumpke. It could be that a contractor we used on a project used Skinner Landfill so they are linking back to us. The strategy here is to throw the net as broadly as possible to capture as many businesses as possible, regardless of whether you put tissue paper in there or some kind of highly volatile material. And the burden is on the individual to prove that they didn't. We don't know why we have been brought into this group. We have to obtain more information before we can begin to tell you what the degree of exposure the City might be in. There has not been any long term or identified short term use of Skinner since I've been involved with the City, which is approaching 25 years.
ENGINEER'S REPORT - no report
Mr. Knox said we have a card from the family of Frank W. Smith thanking the Council and Administration for the floral arrangement. They said it was beautiful.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE
Robert Coleman said the discussion on the use of the fax to have a City truck brought to a resident's property did not sit well with me. I would like clarification of the procedure and what is determined to be an original signature. It would seem to me that if it is okay to fax the form in this age of e-mail, fax machines, and cell phones, that it would be appropriate to fax it back with a signature. This is a deterrent to the resident.
Mayor Webster said I'll yield to Mr. Schneider on the legalities of faxing the signature. It's not like you're just placing an order for something. There is liability that the City has to have the resident sign a waiver on so we have to have a document in hand that is enforceable if we end up in court on this. We are not trying to keep people from taking advantage of the service. We want to make it as easy as possible but at the same time we have to protect the interest of the City.
Mr. Schneider stated that an inquiry was made to our office of that question. Facsimile signatures are not signatures for legal purposes. You must have an original signed document to put forth in a court of law. If there is a liability question, it has to be physically signed by the individual. You couldn't sign for your wife, etc. It has to be the individual requesting it and a facsimile is not adequate.
ORDINANCE NO. 25-1998 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO AN ADMINISTRATIVE AGREEMENT WITH UNITED MEDICAL RESOURCES (UMR) AS THE THIRD PARTY ADMINISTRATOR OF THE CITY'S SELF-FUNDED HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mrs. McNear made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Ordinance 25-1998 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 26-1998 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH US BENEFITS, INC. TO PROVIDE FOR STOP-LOSS INSURANCE AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded.
Ordinance 26-1998 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
Mr. Osborn said we held a meeting last week to bring the community up to date on the city-wide survey regarding the Community Center expansion. There were about 50 people at the meeting and a number of those were board members or elected officials but I felt overall we had a good turnout. The discussion was very positive. There was a good deal of input from the public. The material from the survey as well as comments from participants at last week's meeting will be put together with a plan that will be presented to Council on June 3. At that time the consultants should be bringing forth a preliminary plan for the expansion of the Center with a cost estimate.
Mr. Danbury said we had a good cross section of the community.
Mr. Danbury said we have a C1/C2/D6 liquor license transfer from Tyme Pony Keg to Sam's Club. There were no objections.
Mr. Knox said we were contacted by letter as to whether there were any objections to existing licenses in the City. Mr. Osborn checked with Chief Freland and the police have no objections to existing licenses. Does anyone on Council have any objections? There were no objections.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
BZA April 21, 7:00 p.m.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Underground fences next meeting, first reading
Newsracks still open
Codification of ordinances (2) next meeting, first reading
Grade separation for CSX next meeting
Uniform bids (2) next meeting
Playground equipment next meeting
Public Works expansion next meeting
Mr. Vanover asked about the companion signage ordinance for the underground fences. I am concerned about emergency medical personnel or firefighters coming into the yard not knowing.
Ms. Manis replied we would not have the signs if the fences were in the back yard. If they have access to the front of the house they would see the dog on the side. I don't know if it's a problem with emergency personnel anymore. They're still going to do what they have to do.
Mayor Webster said I would not want to see us use the signs unless we are going to move the fence out to within ten feet of the right-of-way. A sign is a sign. To see them all up and down the street does not add to the aesthetic value of a community. If we are going to move it back thirty feet or to the front of the house I would recommend that we not do signs.
Ms. Manis asked are they tearing everything down at Beacon Hills Park.
Mr. Osborn replied yes.
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Osborn asked Council to consider legislation at the next meeting for the Sharon Road project. We would bring the recommendation in at the same time.
Mr. Wilson said we're proposing an ordinance next month adopting a plan allowing members of the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) to elect to purchase additional service credit on a tax deferred basis and authorizing the Clerk of Council/Finance Director to implement such plan. This will allow employees to transfer credits of prior governmental service to PERS. It doesn't cost the City anything. It will allow the employees to purchase prior service on a pre-tax basis and add it to PERS.
Mr. Osborn said we had asked the Law Director's office to consider the issue because it came up as part of a PERS presentation. The legislation would limit this to PERS. I'd like to ask the Law Director to determine if the Police and Fire Pension System, which covers half of our employees has a similar process. Perhaps we could combine them in the same legislation or have a sister ordinance to this one that would extend the same opportunity to employees covered under police and fire pension.
Mr. Wilson said they could add an addendum to this one. I think it's an excellent perk for our employees. It doesn't cost us anything but it may help retain some employees who might be thinking of moving because other organizations might offer them something that we have right here.
Mr. Galster asked to have the emergency clause added to the second reading so it could be effective June 1.
Council adjourned at 8:05 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Randy Danbury, President of Council