President of Council Randy Danbury called Council to order on February 4, 1998 at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance. Mr. Danbury asked everyone to stand for a moment of silence in memory of Ken Alexander, a former Council person who passed away last week.
Mr. Knox took roll call. Present were Council members Galster, McNear, Pollitt, Vanover, Wilson and Danbury. Ms. Manis was absent.
The minutes of January 21, 1998 were approved with 6 affirmative votes.
COMMUNICATIONS - none
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
ORDINANCE NO. 7-1998 "AUTHORIZING THE PURCHASE OF PROPERTY FROM SAMMIE AND ELEANOR BURNS AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mrs. McNear made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Ordinance 7-1998 passed with 6 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 8-1998 "ACCEPTING DEDICATION OF THE COMMONS DRIVE EXTENSION, AND THE PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS CONTAINED THEREIN, RELEASING THE PERFORMANCE BOND AND ESTABLISHING A MAINTENANCE BOND"
Mr. Galster asked what section of Commons Drive are we talking about here?
Mr. Shuler replied it is the extension of Commons Drive on the east side going back towards Roberds. The original dedication plat did not take the dedicated street all the way around to Champion. This will extend the dedication portion up to the final leg that will be a public street.
ORDINANCE NO. 9-1998 "AUTHORIZING CDS ASSOCIATES, INC. TO PROCEED WITH THE PRELIMINARY DESIGN WORK NECESSARY FOR THE SPRINGDALE COMMUNITY CENTER EXPANSION AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Galster made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Ordinance 9-1998 passed with 6 affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION NO. 6-1998 "A RESOLUTION CONSENTING TO THE EXECUTION OF AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF HAMILTON COUNTY, OHIO AND XLCONNECT SOLUTION, INC., PROVIDING FOR THE ADOPTION OF A PROJECT WHICH WILL PURHCASE TANGIBLE PERSONAL PROPERTY IN THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE AND RETAIN AND CREATE EMPLOYMENT WITHIN AN ENTERPRISE ZONE OF HAMILTON COUNTY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded.
Mr. Osborn said this was before Council at the last meeting but had to be tabled because of the failure of the applicant to obtain a waiver from the Ohio Department of Development. That has now been acquired and we were faxed a copy yesterday. Since the last time this was before you the abatement is now only on personal, tangible tax. It is no longer on the real estate property tax. Duke is the builder of the property. They were going to enjoy some tax benefit from the physical improvements on the real estate but they have elected not to participate so that they can move on with their project. The time was more important to them than the abatement. However, XLConnect is still taking an abatement on their personal tangibles and that will be substantially less than the original abatement. The payroll coming into the City is the same as we heard before. Move in will involve 188 employees with a payroll of $3.8 million. By the end of three years they expect to have 366 employees and a payroll of $12.8 million. This is a very good project in terms of bringing employment to our community and the abatement is substantially reduced from the original application.
Mayor Webster said I would like to pass on my thanks to the people at the school. The school district has to sign off on any of these abatements where the payroll is over $1 million. Princeton has been very, very cooperative. They seem to realize the benefit. They don't get anything on Day 1 but they don't get anything if the land is just sitting there. At the end of the abatement they go on the tax rolls 100%. The administration and hopefully the board feels that what is good for Springdale is good for Princeton.
Mr. Danbury asked if this was the result of activities from the Chamber of Commerce or Duke.
Mr. Osborn responded the first contact we had was through the Hamilton County Development Company. This would have been an initiative of Duke, in my belief, because they owned the property. They were probably looking for a lead tenant and found XLConnect.
Resolution 6-1998 passed with 6 affirmative votes.
Mr. Osborn said in the December newsletter we put a request for responses regarding the future of the tennis courts at Chamberlain Park. As you recall we put money in the budget to either renovate those courts or remove them. We received two responses indicating renovate and one indicating take them out. We are going to tell the public that it is our intention to remove the courts. If folks would like to step forward and voice their opinions we'll give them a second chance. Unless there is strong direction from the community to the contrary it would be our intention to remove the courts.
The low bidder for the 1998 9,900 GVW pick-up truck for the Maintenance Department was Hirlinger Motors at a net cost, including our trade, of $20,506.05. We request legislation at the next meeting for that purchase.
The City is planning its annual employee celebration for Saturday, March 14, at 6:00 p.m. at the Maple Knoll Senior Center. We encourage all of our elected officials to participate.
We wanted to cover the direction the work on concept planning for the Community Center renovation has taken since our last meeting. Mr. Parham and I met with our architects and tried to tap their experience for the best course of action to first generate public input and then consolidate that information into some sort of plan. The outcome of that is contained in your Council update. The first step is a guided tour of the Sharonville, Evendale and Blue Ash community centers for all of our public officials on February 7. To supplement the information we would be getting from personal exposure to what other communities had done, the consultant has suggested that we do a city-wide mail-in survey. I have a text of the survey document. We are proposing a return on the survey for March 7. Sharonville did a similar survey and got a response rate of 15%. The material gathered by the survey would be consolidated and developed into a presentation by the consultant in a meeting that we would anticipate occurring the week of April 6. They would make a presentation to the public showing their initial thoughts about how the input that we have given them from our tour and the survey can be utilized to renovate the Community Center. They will also have some visuals for the public of certain features at other centers, such as running tracks, aerobic exercise areas, etc. The drawing will be a very rough drawing. It won't be an architectural drawing with doors and details of that nature. It will be sufficient for a discussion for what the community wants to see happen at the center. Once that public input meeting is held the week of April 6, we expect the architects to take the information and prepare for a final presentation to City Council and the public on June 3. The architect's indication was if we were to finish the concept planning in June and we could start detail plan design in July, we could see that plan design completed in February 1999, bid the project in February 1999 with a target completion date of May 2000. That's as short a time line as they are willing to commit to at this point given the variables we still have to resolve. I thought we'd give you an overview of the approach we recommend taking here. You have had the legislation before you this evening for the concept planning with CDS. That legislation was based on a scope of services that reflects this outline I've given you this evening.
Mr. Danbury said the survey says "how often do you visit the Community Center?" Based on some of the discussion you and I have had 50-60% of the residents currently don't use the Rec Center. Maybe we could have a line that says "if you don't, why not? What would you like to see?" At our last meeting Ms. Manis brought up a task force she had put together. The idea of touring the three community centers is not necessarily to circumvent the committee that she wanted to put together. From speaking with Mr. Osborn and Mr. Burton, we want to get everyone's input, not just a few people here and there. It's not to say that the people she selected are not able to give good recommendations but we would like to allow everyone to give recommendations.
Ms. Pollitt said I think Mr. Osborn's staff has done an excellent job in the short time that they've had to pull this together.
Mayor Webster said we should acknowledge that we all received Bob Simmons' letter. He was in attendance at the last meeting. You can always count on Bob to give you some good suggestions. The one thing I would like to publicly communicate back to Bob is that we can probably build the Community Center, whether we build from scratch or add on, for less money than we could buy the property which he suggested.
Mr. Danbury said one item he brought up that I would like to look into is to see if we could finish off the basement here and provide meeting rooms down there.
Mayor Webster responded that is certainly a possibility. We have a lot of square footage down there. Right now, the concern would be staffing as we do not have anybody scheduled to work and the building is locked up when the last person leaves.
Mr. Osborn said we do host outside groups during the daytime such as Princeton School District and the Center for Local Government. As the Mayor points out, the reason we haven't seen that extended to the evenings is that we would have to start staffing. The cost of finishing off space up here and providing appropriate levels of supervision could be factored into this whole evaluation that is being done right now.
Mr. Knox said I personally would like to apologize to Mr. Simmons for not reading the excellent letter he wrote. However, nobody thought to tell me about this. It was slipped into my folder and I just discovered it after I said there were no communications. I apologize, Mr. Simmons, there was a communication. Everyone on Council has a copy of it and I believe the Mayor and President of Council have covered it pretty well.
Mr. Galster said I believe Provident Bank has space down below that they will allow certain types of groups to use.
Mr. Osborn said I provided members of Council with a summary of the responses we have received on the Community Center landscape feature project. As of this date we have received 98 responses pledging about $10,480. As I point out in my memo, the factor that is hurting us the most is that the biggest source of revenue potential is in the 2,360 4"x8" bricks. We only received pledges for 112 of those bricks. As a result the amount of money that has been pledged is relatively low. I also have pointed out that one of the factors in the current cost of $153,000 is the cost of those brick pavers at $23,000. If we took another direction on this project and we chose not to do the pavers we could cut about $20,000 from the project.
Mr. Galster said in discussions with Target, which I know is not final approval, we have some funds because of the inability to plant some trees. If we applied that to the paver side to reduce the per brick cost down to $25 I think there would be a tremendous increase in responses.
Mayor Webster said we have $50,000 in the forestry fund. We have checked on that and could legally use that money for a project like this. With the $33,000 from Target, if we exhausted that fund it would be over half the project cost. We'd like to have some direction from Council. . When I look over the list of subscribers I don't feel there is a real broad base of support from our elected officials. If we're trying to push a three wheeled wagon up a hill tell us; we have other things to do. We are still very much in favor of it and would like to see it built. I don't think we're going to have an outpouring of support if we reduce the price form $40 to $25. I don't think a $15 reduction is going to make everybody raise their hands. I know we had the gentleman in here who was adamantly opposed to it. In my first Mayor's Night In last week three people addressed that topic. All three are 30+ year residents of the City and very much in favor of the project. I know some of you talked to some of your constituents and you have not picked up that kind of support. Do we continue to try to get the media to help us advertise this or do we just say we don't want to do? You all tell us what you want.
Mrs. McNear said I agree, Steve, that the price would make a big difference. My name is not on the list. I have been carrying around my order form since we got the newsletter two months ago. Perhaps we should put something in some of the City facilities where people can sign up for the bricks. Advertising is repetitive. Let's put a sign up in the Recreation Center and put it in the press again.
Mr. Osborn said we have intentionally not solicited the business community because we wanted to validate that there is strong support throughout the residential community for the project before we attempted to do that.
Mr. Wilson said I agree with Mrs. McNear that it has to be repetitive. I would like to see another article in the newspaper with an artist's rendering of what it's going to look like and then a solicitation again. Maybe we could run this for a couple of months. If we tell companies that in lieu of trees we want x dollars for plantings, I don't think we can turn around and use that money for bricks.
Mr. Osborn said I agree in principal that we have told these business folks that we're going to use the money for the urban forestry fund. There is a moral obligation on the part of the City to try to follow that practice. Legally, there are no restrictions on that fund. We happen to call it the Urban Forestry Fund. If you look at the text of the legislation that created it, there is no real limitation on how the money can be spent. Your suggestion, if we do use any money out of this fund, would be more appropriate; and that would be to reduce the cost of the overall project by pulling out some of the landscaping and covering it with some of this money. Maybe if we continue to solicit the community we'll be able to avoid that.
Mayor Webster said we're going to make a mailing to every home in the City soliciting their input on the Community Center. Why not put a notice in with it saying "have you ordered your pavers yet?" I don't know what more we can do than a direct mailing to every home in the City.
Mr. Wilson asked are we going to stay with the $40 price or go to $25.
Mayor Webster recommended they stay at $40 as it costs $13.50 to put an engraved brick in. Mr. Wilson responded that he didn't know it was a money making project. Mayor Webster explained that we have a water fountain that we want to put in and an electronic signboard and park benches that we want to put in. We aren't going to make a profit off this. We are trying to fund the whole project.
Mr. Galster stated I mentioned the Target project because it hasn't been approved yet. I think community beautification and enhancement of the community is what we are trying to accomplish. We have planted trees everywhere and that fund is still available to maintain them and continue to plant them. I think we would get a lot more responses at $25. If we have somebody in Planning Commission and we wait until after final approval has been granted, and we start soliciting for this project, would we have a problem with that?
Mrs. McNear said perhaps we should suggest on our order form that it's a good gift for anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, a memorial to someone who has passed on. Mr. Schneider, would this donation be tax deductible?
Mr. Schneider said the tax deduction would be limited to anything in excess of value received. If it's determined that there is no real value received by merely putting a name on the brick, maybe it's a full donation.
Ms. Pollitt suggested putting a solicitation box in the Finance Department because we have so many people coming in at this time of the year.
Mr. Knox suggested selling the bricks for $40 each or 3 for $100. The children whose names will go on these, a long time from now, will be able to point to these and show their early regard for the City of Springdale.
Mr. Danbury said there are 2,360 bricks. If we lower the price it would make it more attractive to sell more but it will decrease the total profits, which will increase the City's contribution.
Mr. Wilson said it may mean the difference between completing the project and not completing the project. Right now the bricks aren't selling. Maybe, if you buy more bricks you get a slightly reduced cost, then maybe we'd get more people involved because we're dealing with numbers. Steve mentioned Planning Commission. We have companies coming in wanting abatements, etc. Look at the Vineyard Church. They are going to owe us a bunch of money because of those trees. We can work out something. They can offset some of the costs of this project as well and we get more of the community involved. Maybe $40 is more than what they care to put out. Maybe large families would buy multiple bricks if there was a lesser cost per brick.
Mr. Vanover said before we start the discount I think we should see what the increased advertising does. I wouldn't have a problem with the multiple but if we cut it to $25, to get the same balance you would have to double the numbers.
Mr. Galster stated the tree money is about 1/3 of what the bricks were supposed to raise. If we contribute that money to the bricks themselves, which is what we are trying to get the residents to buy, then we don't have to sell more bricks. We sell the same amount of bricks but they cost less because we are using that $33,000 to off-set what the resident isn't paying. Even if you look at the bricks raising $94,000, if the number is $33,000, that's a third of it. I don't want to mislead everybody in thinking that if we lower the price we have to sell so many more. We don't if we can apply some of the tree fund to community beautification.
Mayor Webster responded that the total project cost is estimated at $153,000. Sixty-five thousand dollars is coming out of the Capital Improvements Fund. If we can raise the money from other sources and not take it out of there, then the City is that much better off. If we sell all the pavers at $40 apiece and we sell all the trees, benches and medallion benches, we're still $65,000 short of the project paying for itself.
Mr. Osborn said I thought there were some good ideas here and I was following up on the suggestion from Mr. Wilson and Mr. Knox. Perhaps we could have a structure of: 1 to 2 bricks at a cost of $40 each; 3-4 bricks would be $33 each; 5 or more bricks would be $25. We need to reach agreement on pricing them so we can advertise. Maybe part of this is not just raising money, but getting more people to participate. By going to this volume we get more people to put their names on bricks so that when you walk out there, you see more bricks with names on them. We could continue to price it the way I suggested with the next mailing and see what kind of response we get. Of course, now the public is probably going to hold out for a brick sale!
Mrs. McNear said I agree with Cecil's discounted prices.
Mr. Knox pointed out under this pricing, if you buy 4 bricks it would be it $132; if you buy 5 it would be $125.
Mr. Danbury said I dropped off for everyone a copy of a memo Mr. Schneider put together for me last year. This is just a reminder of the proper procedures to deal with any kind of issues we may receive from our constituents.
Mrs. McNear asked if we could have the answer on the tax deduction prior to sending out the mailer.
Mayor Webster announced the appointment of the two new police officers, Leon Towne and Matthew McGee. Officer Towne is to be enrolled in the academy on February 16. Mr. McGee does not have to go to the academy. I have three letters of commendation regarding our police department which I would like to read when we have these gentlemen in. All of you are going to be very proud of your police department when you hear these commendations.
Mr. Vanover said we need a resolution at our next meeting for the acceptance of the right of way dedication and Maple Knoll frontage.
Mr. Osborn said there will be two other purchases which are budget items that we would like to bring before Council with legislation at your next meeting. The first is our contract with Rossi's for the Spirit of Springdale fireworks. The second is the purchase of a video imaging and badging system for the Community Center which we will be purchasing under the state purchase agreement.
Mr. Danbury said I received some correspondence from Mr. Osborn and I would like to pass this around to the elected officials. It's a fund raiser for the music boosters at Princeton High School. It's an opportunity for the elected officials or the City to buy some space in a message center.
Mr. Vanover said I would like to invite any of the elected officials to join in the spaghetti fund raising dinner that Boy Scout Troop 164 is having on March 7, 7-9 p.m. at Landmark Baptist Church.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Planning Commission February 10, 7:00 p.m.
Board of Zoning Appeals February 17, 7:00 p.m.
Board of Health February 12, 7:00 p.m.
Mr. Osborn said I will be in Columbus at the OCMA Winter Conference during the next Council meeting but Mr. Parham will be here.
Mr. Danbury said the Springdale Youth Boosters will be having their horse races on February 28, 1998.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Underground fences - still open
Ordinance accepting Commons Drive - next meeting
Pick-up truck for Maintenance Department - next meeting
MARS music first reading - next meeting
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Resolution to accept right of way for Maple Knoll
Ordinance for contract with Rossi's for fireworks
Ordinance for badging system
Ordinance for the expansion of the Public Works facility
Mr. Vanover made a motion for Council to go into executive session to discuss possible real estate acquisition. Mrs. McNear seconded. The motion passed 6-0.
Council went into executive session at 8:11 p.m.
Council adjourned at 9:02 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Randy Danbury, President of Council