October 1, 1997
Council was called to order on October 1, 1997 at 7:00 p.m. by President of Council Randy Danbury.
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by the governmental body and those in attendance.
Roll call was taken by Mr. Knox. Present were Council members Galster, Manis, McNear, Vanover, Wilson and Danbury. Mrs. Boice was absent.
The minutes of September 17, 1997 were approved with 6 affirmative votes.
Letter from Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes to Mayor Webster: State law requires County Auditors to reappraise each parcel of property in their county every six (6) years. Hamilton County, with the help of Sabre Systems and Service, a company that specializes in major property revaluation programs, is currently in the process of conducting this reappraisal for tax year 1999.
This letter is notification that our data collectors will be in the City of Springdale to inspect all real property in order to update and verify information already on file in the Auditorís office. All data collectors will be required to wear identification badges. We feel that it is imperative for you to be apprised of their presence so that residents will not be concerned when they see our employees in the neighborhood.
We know that, with your assistance and cooperation, this major undertaking will proceed smoothly. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call me at 632-8585. Sincerely yours
Letter from Woolpert, LLP: to Council and Commission Members: On behalf of Target, I would like to inform both the City Council and Planning Commission that Target, Woolpert and the City have been diligently working to resolve any outstanding issues for the proposed Target project. Based on your concerns on lack of information, as expressed in the August 20, 1997 council meeting, I would like to offer the following outline of submittals and events:
With regard to the comments received on the covenants and site design, both Woolpert and Target feel these issues can be resolved to the Cityís satisfaction prior to our October 15, 1997 council date. However, the Century Boulevard and Kemper Road comments greatly impacts the feasibility of this development, and we ask that you closely evaluate the information to be offered at the September 24, 1997 City Council meeting regarding the regional traffic study.
If you have any questions, please contact me. Sincerely, - Art Harden, PE, Project Manager
Letter to Mr. Art Harden, Woolpert, LLP - In reference to your letter of September 19, we take exception to your comment that the information received on September 16 involved "significant modifications to Century Boulevard and Kemper Road design and right-of-way requirements" from what was previously discussed.
Regarding Century Boulevard, the issue of prohibiting left turns in to or out of the proposed south driveway was first discussed at a meeting on June 18, with information sent to Lori Wendling soon afterwards. We have a fax from your office, dated June 25, that shows an island in the south driveway making it a right in/right out only (copy attached). This same issue was raised at the July 9 Planning Commission meeting in both the engineerís report and discussion, in the July 23 preliminary review comments of the engineerís report, and at the August 20 public hearing in the engineerís report. It was discussed again at our September 4 meeting and was addressed in our roadway schematic sent to you on September 16. No additional pavement was requested of Target on either Century Boulevard or Kemper Road except for that needed to make a safe and proper transition from the three lane Century Boulevard on the north end of the property to the five lane section at Kemper Road. The additional right-of-way on Century Boulevard would be on the east side and should not effect the Target site.
The issues raised in our September 16 report are not only to improve traffic flow for the city streets, but for Target as well. I believe that saying there were new significant modifications raised in our September 16 report is being unfair to the City and all of the participants who have been working on this project for so long.
If you would like further details regarding any specifics, please contact Don Shvegzda or myself. Sincerely, Wayne F. Shuler, PE, PS, City Engineer
RESOLUTION NO. 23-1997 "COMMENDING OFFICER RON BROWN FOR HIS SERVICE TO THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded.
Mr. Vanover said I have known about Ron leaving for a while. I just got to work real close with him recently. He and Officer Teague have been our right hand men on the Heritage Hill Crime Watch. I donít think you will find anyone more dedicated. He was usually one of the first to get to the meetings and whatever questions the residents had he was more than willing to answer. It was a pleasure working with him. We will miss you but enjoy it, buddy.
Mr. Osborn said I think it is indicative of the stress and pressure on a police officer that their retirement system allows them to retire after 25 years and the rest of us have to work thirty. It truly is a very demanding job. For someone to devote his life to that career is of itself a commendable accomplishment. Ron has been a co-worker of mine for 24 years and we have been on opposite sides of the negotiating table, and on the same side of the table on some issues. Weíve always been able to work in a very amiable way. When Ron was representing his bargaining unit as an employee representative, he did it with all the vigor and dedication that he brought to his job. I just have to say, Ron, it has been an excellent experience working with you and you will be missed.
Ms. Manis said Iíd just like to say thank you although I know that doesnít express it all, how all of us feel about the job you have done for the City. Thanks for all your time and effort to the City.
Mayor Webster said thank you is a pretty shallow tribute to pay you but on the part of all the official family, we are going to miss you. You have done an outstanding job for the City. Ron is one of these officers who lived in the City for a long, long time. The biggest part of his career he was also a resident of the City. His family lived here. The man has had a lot of roots here in Springdale and it has certainly showed by the way he got involved in extra-curricular activities when he could have been home with his family which Iím sure his wife would have preferred, but he gave the extra effort and for that, Ron, we say thank you very much and good luck in future endeavors.
Mr. Danbury said thank you. As Mr. Osborn said, itís a very tough job. Youíve been involved in the community. You werenít just a person with a badge. You are definitely out there and people know you for yourself, not just as a police officer. I want to thank you for all of your service.
Resolution R23-1997 passed with 6 affirmative votes. Mayor Webster presented the resolution to Officer Brown.
Mr. Brown stated thank you very much. Itís been a privilege and an honor. Itís not the easiest thing in the world to do. I do it with mixed emotions. You have a good police department, fire department and good city. These are fine people. I was very proud to serve.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE
Mark Olivier, 512 Observatory Drive, said I am a write-in candidate for the Princeton City School Board. I read the article in the Tri-County Press that there was only one candidate for two open positions. I do have a bachelor of science degree from O. U. and I spent seven years at Proctor & Gamble so I believe my education background as well as big business will give me the skills to run for this position. It seems to me that the majority of current school board members and the candidates are from Evendale - at least 80%. There might be an opportunity to make sure Springdaleís interests are voiced in terms of getting someone on that board.
Ms. Manis asked if Mr. Olivier was the only write-in candidate and he replied there are three of us. There is an article coming out in the Tri-County Press tomorrow that might reflect that. In voting you need to write down School Board and my name, Mark Olivier.
PRESENTATION ON URBAN RENEWAL - Anne McBride
Ms. McBride said I know many of you are familiar with the concepts we have discussed over the last six to eight months concerning urban renewal within the City of Springdale. I would just like to go through the outline as to the process of how we got to where we are tonight and what it is you are considering and reviewing this evening.
Before an urban renewal plan can be created it requires that the initial finding in an area exhibits the necessary conditions of slum or blighted area. Thatís specifically defined in the Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 725. The City of Springdale retained Pflum, Klausmeier and Gehrum Consultants to prepare such an assessment late last fall. That analysis was conducted in December 1996 and January 1997 for an area in the City bounded to the north by Orange Street, to the east by Walnut Street, to the south by West Kemper and to the west by Springfield Pike. During the analysis we examined the physical characteristics of that area such as: deterioration of structures; street layout and lot layout not conducive to development in the area; diversity of property ownership; tax delinquency; adequacy of landscaping and lighting within the area; compatibility of those land uses with surrounding land uses; and compatibility of that entire area with the Cityís plan and zoning code, specifically on the Springfield Pike Corridor Study and by the CRD overlay district.
The analysis did demonstrate that there was a substantial and predominant number of the conditions and characteristics that are necessary to declare an area necessary for urban renewal. It was determined that the area is a social and economic liability; that the characteristics and conditions that exist in the area impair the reasonable economic growth of the area. There were repeated actions by the Building Official to insure minimum compliance with the City regulations and code. The existing configuration of street layouts and lot layouts was not conducive to redevelopment nor consistent with the policies and plans that have been adopted by the City. On February 19, 1997 Council designated the area we have been discussing as an urban renewal area.
The purpose of the plan was to develop a process by which we could redevelop this property. We wanted to stimulate economic development in that area that would be compatible with the prominent location of that area. It really is a gateway location for the City given its proximity to the significant intersection, the municipal building, etc.
We set out with two elements for the urban renewal plan. One was to set up objectives for the redevelopment of the renewal area. The second was to come up with physical and tangible concept plans for how the area could actually be redeveloped. Looking at the overall goals for the Springfield Pike corridor which I have personally reviewed with Council; and you certainly spent a lengthy time working on the corridor plan. The overall goal for the corridor is to accomplish protecting existing and creating new residential enclaves; creating visible community landmarks; providing accessible public and semi-public spaces; creating a real sense of entry into this corridor. It was seen by the City that that could be done through landscaping, lighting, monuments, etc.
There were a number of recommendations for subarea B. There was a specific recommendation to provide a visual gateway at the northeast corner of Springfield Pike and West Kemper Road. There was the recognition that we needed to increase landscaping on public and private properties; increase the exposure and accessibility of the Municipal Building and the campus here; and also reinforce pedestrian linkages between different areas of the City and the municipal campus.
Based on the findings of our urban renewal analysis and review of the corridor district, review of the CRD overlay district in the zoning resolution, we came up with specific recommendations for the urban renewal areas: remove the existing deteriorated or deteriorating structures within the urban renewal area; redevelop that area to provide for more efficient, safe and effective street layout and access pattern. As you know, it does border an elementary school so safety has to be a primary focus for the City; to consolidate the existing lots in order to provide suitable size properties for redevelopment within the City; to provide for the enforcement of public health, safety and building codes to eliminate current unsafe or unsanitary conditions that exist in the area; to improve deteriorating site features such as crumbling sidewalks, driveways, overgrown or dead landscaping; in general to improve the area; acquire the properties within the area to allow for redevelopment in a cohesive coordinated manner, consistent with the Springfield Pike Corridor Study and one that could be implemented under the provisions of the CRD overlay district. We propose that if the City acquire the properties it would remove the potential for tax delinquencies. The acquisition of these properties would allow any defects or unusual conditions in the existing titles to be eliminated. The acquisition of the properties would allow any conditions which endanger life or property from fire or other causes to be removed or remedied. The acquisition of the properties would also allow for the proper installation of maintenance items, landscaping items, proper lighting, enforcement of our zoning codes, etc.; and also provide economic redevelopment in this area. This truly is a prominent gateway for the City and the appearance of this area really is critical for how the rest of the City develops.
Based on those recommendations we developed two scenarios. Concept A provides for the acquisition of all of the properties with the exception of the existing group home. Both concepts have a similar commercial component on the southern portion of the property. It provides for 8,800 square feet of commercial space such as commercial services, personal services, office space, truly neighborhood oriented. We want to make this a neighborhood focal point, not a regional focal point. The 8,800 square feet of space we saw on the southern portion would be duplicated on Concept B. It provided for approximately 3,600 square feet of convenience type retail, possible relocation of tenants that might be on the property now. We are providing for 63 parking spaces on that southern portion which does meet the requirements of the zoning code. There would be extensive landscaping on Springfield Pike, West Kemper and Walnut. We are creating a landscape buffer around that area to establish the corner. We are providing for limited access on Springfield Pike and also on West Kemper, coordinating those access points. We are also providing for a gateway feature at the corner as we have been discussing. For the office component to the north, there would be a two story office building proposed that would contain 10,500 square feet of office space. That could be professional offices, medical office, or a mixture of the two. To service that we are suggesting 53 parking spaces. There are some items that would be a part of both of these plans. There is a 55 foot right of way proposed for Pear Street that would give us a 24 foot wide pavement. Right now, Pear Street is exceptionally narrow. Weíre also suggesting increasing the right of way on Walnut Street to allow for a bus pull off for the elementary school. The City Administrator and I met with representatives of the school district and that was suggested to better improve that circulation. Safety of the school children and the parents picking them up must to be a major priority for the City. We have provided for curbing pedestrian walks throughout the proposed development. Weíve maintained a 50 foot setback buffer area. That has been done so you have a clear shot, good view of the municipal campus as you come north on Springfield Pike. The coordinated access has been repeated throughout both concepts. Both of the concepts adopt the vacation of Elm Alley and the small portion of Main Street that currently cuts off to the City Building.
Concept B is identical to A except that it would propose the acquisition of all of the properties within the urban renewal area. By acquiring all of the properties within that area, the retail oriented component to the south remains the same. The office development can increase from 10,500 square feet to 19,000 square feet. Both of those buildings would be two story. The parking spaces would increase from 53 to 95 spaces to service that development.
We are recommending for both concepts the vacation of Elm Alley south of Orange Street to West Kemper Road; vacation of Main Street north of Pear to Orange. There would be limited vehicular access to both Springfield Pike and Kemper Road. The location spacing with the proposed driveways would be coordinated. The pavement width of Pear would be expanded to a minimum of 24 feet. On street parking would be restricted within the urban renewal area. Weíre suggesting that landscaping be increased on both public and private lands. We are suggesting that the increase in exposure of the Municipal complex be completed, that there be a re-emphasizing on the pedestrian network we are suggesting, and that the architecture and building design that would be a part of these plans would be compatible with community character. Weíd like to create identification for the businesses and services that are to be located within this area. Weíd like to create a visual gateway for the City, particularly at the northeast corner of Springfield Pike and West Kemper.
Mr. Osborn said on the design level, another feature we had discussed with the Planner was moving the parking to the rear of the site and putting the buildings up front just as we have done with the Municipal Building. In many cases where Anne has said acquisition, I think we could substitute the term consolidation because first, it is our hope that this report will stimulate interest in the private sector to approach us about redeveloping this property. Should that occur we would, only as a last resort, become a player in such a development. An example I can give you is the Gundler property to the south of the property currently owned by the City. I know Mr. Gundler has expressed some interest in perhaps initiating some effort to cause his property to be redeveloped in concert with ours, either he acquire our property or he finds somebody to acquire his and ours but whatever form that might take, we would see that consolidation occur through private development. Thatís not to say we will be immune to condemnation. In some cases that will probably be the only way we accomplish this plan. Where we can we hope to see this redevelopment occur through stimulating an interest on the part of the private sector.
Mr. Galster said on Concept B you mentioned that it was a two story building but on our plan it says single story, 16,000 square feet.
Ms. McBride responded it should be single story.
Ms. Manis asked, on the retail are the stores on both sides?
Ms. McBride replied yes.
Ms. Manis asked if a developer comes in and they propose something different, does Planning Commission have to look at it?
Ms. McBride replied these are concept plans. They were not meant to be cast in stone. They were meant to provide some guidance to the City in how that area could be redeveloped. It wasnít meant that the City acquire all of these parcels but rather to provide some type of guidance when a developer or existing tenant or retailer wanted to redevelop their own parcel to provide some specific design guidelines for them in more detail than was provided in the Corridor Study.
Ms. Manis asked does it have teeth as far as Planning Commission saying we want you to have this much frontage, buffer, etc.?
Ms. McBride said the requirements that this document was developed from are largely taken from both the CRD district and the Corridor Study which serves as a guide tool. This would also serve as a guide tool for Planning Commission.
Ms. Manis said this is a beautiful concept but will only work if Planning Commission and Council stick to it, at least the basics.
Mr. Vanover questioned on Concept B you said 93 parking spaces. The drawing is showing 80 on the office.
Ms. McBride replied I must have taken my information off of a different sheet when I made my notes for this evening. Concept B has 95 for the office and 63 for the commercial.
Mr. Osborn said I think I can answer that. We had some internal review on this as we went along. One of the issues we had to decide was were we going to allow the buildings to creep closer to the street or hold the 50 foot setback. We found that we preferred to hold the 50 foot setback but that caused the square footage to drop a little so I think that 19,000 she was using initially was off an earlier version where we were allowing the buildings to come out closer to the street and frankly, that is still a possibility. Iím just saying that this is our recommendation, that we try to hold it. Weíve shown that it is feasible to do it that way. Itís not the only way to do it but we think it makes the most sense.
Mr. Galster said on the gateway, road pavers, etc., it looks real nice and attractive. Iím just curious as to the maintainability of that type of paver. Are oil and gas a problem? Is it something we have to replace?
Ms. McBride replied the specific material would have to be looked into at the time the design was to move forward. The idea was to create some kind of gateway for this intersection, whether itís done through pavers, color contrast, etc., but something to make it different.
Mr. Galster asked if we do this type of gateway here do you envision that being at the other entrances of the City or something scaled down from that? Mrs. McBride said yes.
Mr. Danbury said you have a bus pull off for the children to get off at the school. Has there been any consideration of a car pull off? I believe we now have it set up where children canít go across but we do have a number of children who are transported to school by cars.
Ms. McBride responded the problem is we are locked into a fairly narrow space, even with the additional right of way and creating the bus pull off. We met with representatives of the school district and it was their number one concern to try to get the busses in a safe area and if we can provide in the final design, a pull off area for cars we will certainly do that.
Mayor Webster said they have a directional sign in the parking lot where they encourage the parents to go to drop off the children. The problem is that we donít want cars pulling in the one side where the busses are and kids running around the bus. If they drop them off on the other side then kids are darting across the street. It hasnít been a problem yet this year, but last year we did give citations to people. We gave warnings for several weeks and then we had to put a stop to people dropping their children off on the west side of the street.
Mr. Danbury asked what is the feasibility of the City acquiring a library or post office?
Mayor Webster responded both of those have been very high on our priority list. We have taken the post office issue all the way to Congressman Portmanís office and had him try to intervene on our behalf. To be quite frank, the postal authorities more or less told him to go pound salt. So you can imagine what they have been telling us. Weíve written, called, just about everything we can do to try to get some postal facility in the City of Springdale. The prospects of that happening are not good. Evidently they have adopted some regulations about the distance between post offices. That was before Forest Park ended up with two of them. Every municipality except Springdale and Delhi Township within Hamilton County have a postal facility. I pointed that out to the congressman and to the postal authorities and it has all fallen on deaf ears.
Mr. Osborn did most of the leg work on the library and I think his success is just about equal to mine on the postal facility. The County claims they have no money for any suburban libraries. They poured all of their funds into enlargement of the central library downtown. It still makes me ill to motor around to other cities such as Forest Park, Fairfield, Glendale, Sharonville - everybody has a library except Springdale.
Mr. Danbury said you build the libraries where the people live. The library downtown is very nice but people arenít going to travel down there to utilize it as much. Sharonville has a really nice one.
Ms. Manis asked did I see a commercial about them moving post offices to malls trying to be more consumer oriented? Do you know if they are planning one for Tri County? They looked back here for the library and were receptive to us.
Mr. Osborn replied it could be. Tri County may be outside the concentric circle from the closest post office. We happen to fall within the two mile radius that the postal folks draw on their maps. I met with Mr. Stonestreet, the Executive Director of the Cincinnati/Hamilton County Public Library and he likes this area. We actually physically walked the general area here and talked about different possibilities. As the Mayor indicated; however, at that time he was in the midst of the major construction underway downtown and he had his short term resources over the next five years committed to that facility.
Mrs. McNear said last Christmas the post office did have a store at Tri County Mall. They sold wrapping paper and gift boxes as well as stamps. Maybe that was a trial to see if it could go year round.
Mr. Danbury said the reason I brought that up is that you said you wanted to have some neighborhood type establishments and thatís what I envisioned and we had discussed the post office and library in the past. Are there some other possible uses?
Ms. McBride replied those types of uses would certainly be perfect for this area. The types of services we were more envisioning were hair cutting facility, dry cleaner, the kinds of things where you would drop something off on your way to work or when you are running your Saturday errands.
Ms. Manis asked, with your experience with this in other cities, after one corner develops like this, do you see a tendency for others to come along without other prodding.
Ms. McBride responded certainly less prodding. It serves as a catalyst and stimulates redevelopment. It raises the property values in the area and in general, creates interest in the area.
Mayor Webster said I would like to thank Anne for all her hard work. We appreciate all the leg work that you did in pulling this information together and presenting the report as it is here tonight.
ORDINANCE NO. 69-1997 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT WITH COLLECTECH SYSTEMS TO PROVIDE COLLECTIONS SERVICES FOR DELINQUENT TAX ACCOUNTS AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mrs. McNear made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Mr. Wilson asked is this a one year contract? Are we going to vote annually?
Mayor Webster responded itís $8.50 for every one we turn over to them and right away, we are going to turn over 637 accounts. Once itís approved we can continue to turn over a few every year.
Mr. Knox said itís a one time device that we can continue to do the same thing. They really donít have a contract per se; they have an agreement. Their price varies as to the volume.
Mr. Wilson said so we can stop at any time. Is that with a thirty day notice?
Mr. Osborn said there is no requirement for a notice because this is on a per piece basis. We will give them 600+ items to pursue. We may never give them another one. If we donít thatís the end of our relationship.
Mr. Knox stated it gives us the advantage of seeing how well this works without committing ourselves long term.
Mayor Webster said the total outlay is $5,400. If we continue to use it, it would be around $8.50 per account. The $5,400 is an accumulation of eight years.
Mr. Danbury said I like this because I think it would be the most economical way to go after these people. If we find that this doesnít work we can always go to other areas like Mr. Galster suggested.
Mayor Webster asked donít we get a rebate if they donít collect so much money?
Mr. Knox replied yes, they should collect a minimum of twice the amount of money we spend.
Mr. Galster said right now we are turning over 637 accounts. We surely donít expect that to be the yearly case. If thatís eight years of accumulation, then if we turn over 50 a year what would be the rate?
Mr. Knox replied I believe their highest rate is $9.25. One of the things weíd like to look at is how successful we are in this initial offering of 637. If we have a continuing relationship that is beneficial to both of us then we can discuss the exact amount of money.
Mr. Galster said I did talk to the Attorney Generalís office and they used eight different collection agencies. I contacted one of them and he does this 100%. Thatís all he does. He brought up a couple of things such as they are not governed by the same rules that a standard collection agency is governed by. There are confidentially issues that are not necessarily the same with a standard collection agency. Iím all for getting everyone to pay their taxes. My concerns, in addition to those, is that probably two-thirds of these 637 accounts are corporate accounts. I donít know that letters or phone calls threatening to turn them in to the collection bureau are going to get the results that we want. I think ultimately we need to be able to follow through and take them to court. I donít think that this type of approach is going to be effective on those two-thirds. That only leaves a third to begin with, yet we are turning over all of them. I know $8.50 seems like a small amount of money, but if we look at regular collection agencies, we donít pay them unless they collect. And they also have the ability to follow through all the way to court if that is the step required to clear the account and get it off the books. We donít have that option here. I donít have a problem with testing it and seeing how it goes. Maybe I have a problem with it being 637 accounts when we could maybe phase it in in smaller amounts.
Mr. Knox said there is nobody in this room and probably not in the State of Ohio who can predict exactly what is going to happen in each one of the accounts. Iíll admit that some are more likely than others but we donít know this until we try it; and this is the most economical and efficient way. Weíre not going to get 100%. If we get 50% Iíll be vastly surprised. But this puts the people on notice for one thing. It will put the entire community on notice that the City is going to take the steps necessary to collect the taxes. The Mayor made an excellent suggestion that possibly we could have a tax court once a month. As we discussed in the Finance Committee meeting prior to this, the part time person will be working most of the time on collections. The combination of these two will start upping the amount of return we get.
Mayor Webster said the first night the presentation was given by Collectech I detected and I share to some degree, that we donít want to just turn these over to some collection agency and have them use whatever means necessary to go out in a rough shod manner and try to collect the taxes. I think you made that loud and clear, Mr. Galster. You were even concerned as to what tone of voice the collector might use on the phone. I think weíre recommending an approach that is going to get results. Itís guaranteed to double our $5,400 investment or we start getting rebates. At the same time itís not a bash your head type approach. I donít know that thereís anything that says, in a year from now if theyíve only collected on 37 of these, that we canít take the 600 and go to a more aggressive method of collecting those. Thereís nothing exclusive about this.
Mr. Vanover said just last week we listened to the horror stories about the IRS and the overstepping of their bounds. I would highly endorse an aggressive tax court approach especially with businesses. I think that would be much more effective. There are some confidentiality issues that are prudent and need to be protected but at the same time these people are not paying their taxes. Iíve heard on several occasions from people who have worked with the Tax Department that we are not being cold hearted and vindictive. They have every opportunity to work through the problem which is being ignored and that we cannot stand.
Mr. Danbury said I would like to revisit this for the people in the audience. We have eight years of unpaid taxes by some people. Some of it may be disputed. Some may not be aware that they owe any taxes to the City. It has been our past practice to send out three straight letters to the residents stating that they owe us delinquent taxes, then we serve them a subpoena for them to appear in court. We still have the Tax Review Board in place so there is a place where people can go to plead their case. Itís totally confidential. No one knows about this except this review board. Weíre making a lot of effort. The total sum is $325,000 and we are spending $5,000 to try to recoup some of it. Even if we recoup half of it, itís a great investment. Iíd rather go this route than give an agency 30% of what they collect. I think what we are looking at is very economical. Itís just trying to flush them out. Once we make this announcement I think people may start coming to us voluntarily.
Mr. Wilson said Mr. Knox and I were having a little side conversation and he brought up an important point. If our return is 15-20% on this investment, dollarwise it is $50,000 to $70,000. Anything over 20% looks good.
Mr. Galster stated based on the IRS stories that are out right now, maybe by offering some type of limited amnesty day without penalties before we turn these over, weíll get an influx of people who are willing to come in and settle their debt. If we are going to go with this Iíd like to request that confidentiality agreements with all the people in the office, including existing and new hires, be completed. I donít think that everybody who hasnít paid is just a low life and not going to respond. I think some are in dispute and some are afraid of the dispute confrontation. I donít think itís all bad people.
Mr. Knox said Collectech has been in business over ten years and has never been sued on a liability issue like that.
Ms. Manis said Mr. Knox on the Collectech Systems Inc. guarantee addendum City of Springdale, we agree that no account is older than twelve months from date of last charge or payment. Can we guarantee that? It says we also have to provide them with the correct name and address and if not, they donít do anything with them?
Mr. Knox responded yes and I have discussed this with Mrs. Burton and she assures me that the addresses we have right now, to the best of her knowledge, are good. I would estimate that 95% or more of them are going to be accurate. We will miss on some of them but that has been looked at very closely. That will not count against Collectech if the people are not there. We should be able to meet the twelve months from date of last charge if we move quickly. The eight year old accounts are accounts that have continued for over a period of eight years.
Ms. Manis said then an interest charge is counted as a charge against it. What does the first thing mean, "all contract series from an order must be activated by assignment within a period of one year from the date of that order." Do they have a year to start working on them?
Mr. Knox replied they will start working on them as soon as their reasonable business schedule will allow which should be within thirty days or less. That means we have to get those accounts to them within a year. We donít have to give them all of them all at once.
Ms. Manis stated I have worked for numerous law firms and for every case we had to sign a confidentiality agreement.
Mr. Knox replied Iím going to check into that to make sure that they have that in place already. I canít see a company of that sort not having it in place already. It wouldnít be good business.
Mayor Webster said I share Mr. Knoxís comments. If this company doesnít have that on file for all employees then I would question whether we would want to do business with them. But I donít think we want to personally have a contract with each one of those people but we want to make sure that this company has those and we want to have a contract between the company and the City to protect the confidentiality.
Ordinance 69-1997 passed with 5 affirmative votes. Ms. Manis voted no.
ORDINANCE NO. 70-1997 "ACCEPTING A PROPOSAL UNDER THE STATE ADMINISTRATIVE PURCHASING PROGRAM AND AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH OTS, INC. FOR THE PURCHASE OF AN ELECTRONIC TIME RECORDING SYSTEM AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mrs. McNear made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded.
Ordinance 70-1997 passed with 6 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 71-1997 "CONSENTING TO THE EXECUTION OF AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF HAMILTON COUNTY, OHIO AND INTERNATIONAL PAPER CO. PROVIDING FOR THE ADOPTION OF A PROJECT WHICH WILL LOCATE A BUSINESS IN THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE AND CREATE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN AN ENTERPRISE ZONE OF HAMILTON COUNTY AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Ms. Manis made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded.
Mr. Parham said you recall at the September 17 meeting I made a presentation recommending a 70% tax abatement on the purchase of equipment by International Paper and that legislation is the one that was just read. At that time I did indicate that representatives from International Paper would be more than willing to come before you this evening to answer any questions you may have. This evening in the audience we have Dale Ziegler, Plant Manager; Cheryl Rollins, Finance Director; and Ben Wood, Vice-Present for the Employees Union Group. They are here to answer any questions you may have. The County Commissioners did approve this application last Wednesday at their meeting.
Mr. Danbury said I do have one question to Mr. Schneider. In the heading it says this is consenting to an execution of an agreement that will locate a business in the City. Is that correct verbiage since they are already here or could the heading say maintain jobs?
Mr. Parham suggested it say "retain" in the City of Springdale employment opportunities".
Mr. Vanover made a motion to change the heading and Mrs. McNear seconded.
The motion changed with 6 affirmative votes.
Mayor Webster said I think the fifth whereas has the same change as the title.
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded.
The motion passed with 6 affirmative votes.
Ms. Manis said thank you for coming to the meeting. I actually think we have nothing to lose by passing this. We have everything to gain by retaining the jobs in Springdale.
Mr. Danbury said I fully support this. Youíve always been there for us but do you really think this will help keep your plant viable locally?
Mr. Ziegler replied if we donít it wonít be viable. I was brought here and have been running the facility for nine months. I have done several evaluations of our operating profit. This facility has not made money since 1989. Itís gone through many iterations trying to address that situation. As many of you may know, John Dillon the CEO of International Paper, made the statement that International Paper would no longer maintain facilities that are not profitable, viable and meet certain EBIT, Earnings Before Interest and Taxes; and ROI, Return on Investment criteria. He set the criteria at 12% for all businesses. Each facility within International Paper is a separate profit and loss, autonomous operation that stands alone. While we are strategically aligned with our mills, which is the only reason we have existed this long, his announcement to Wall Street in the divestiture of over $1 billion of businesses already to date, has told everyone his plans. Cheryl and I, working with the Union, have assessed our facilityís position in the market place and we work in a market that is very low margin. Weíre very volume driven. The only way we can ensure long term viability and survivability of this facility is to add this equipment. Itís the nature of the business. In my time, Iíve done enough closures so itís been my effort to ensure the viability of the facility because we have 200 employees and their jobs count. We feel tied to the community and we are in support of the community; and the community has been supportive of us. This is the only way that that will happen. This will improve our sales to between $44 and $50 million. Right now we are on a pace for $27 million. As you can see the margins are very low. You have to pump up the volume. Only through this equipment can we do this. Clearly as a two printing press operation we could possibly make some money if you have all the right things happen for you but we havenít made money to date. Once we put this proposal together Mr. Dillon has given his tentative approval, but it is incumbent upon me and the rest of the members of my staff to seek support from the community so that I can show our Board of Directors that we do have support and that we are a viable operation.
Mr. Vanover said you have stated that the plant has not made money for some time. Is it just a matter of work close and this will swing us or are we light years apart?
Mr. Ziegler reported that last year the facility lost $2.5 million. Since 1989 they have lost about $28 million. This year to date we have lost $500,000. We have positioned ourselves to make money the last few months of this year. Cheryl and I have done our proposal for next year and weíve been conservative. Weíre projecting our EBIT to be $1 million, but the upside is roughly $2 million and thatís a huge swing. While that may not be a lot of money on $44 million, the strategic alliance we have with our mills positions us to be a valuable asset to the company. We cannot be a valuable asset if we continue to lose money.
Mayor Webster said what I heard you say is even if this passes you still may not buy the equipment.
Mr. Ziegler replied no, weíll get the equipment but if we would not make money, then the possibility is there for us to be closed.
Ordinance 71-1997 passed with 6 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 72-1997 "AMENDING THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO CHAPTER 152, TO UPDATE THE BUILDING CODE AND REVISE VARIOUS FEE SCHEDULES"
Mr. Osborn said I just distributed to Council a report put together by our Building Official, William McErlane, concerning specific changes that he has recommended and which have been incorporated into the document. Attached to the ordinance you have the regular version and you have the copy where we have strike outs and highlighted areas that distinguish those parts that have been dropped out and those that have been added. We asked him to do a summary. One of the key points Iíd like to highlight is the increase in the fee structure. While we have reduced or eliminated some fees over the last several years, we have not done a major revision to our fee structure since 1983. When we sat down and compared ourselves to other jurisdictions we found that we were substantially behind the pack. Mr. McErlane took our 1996 experience and used the fee structures for several different communities. There is a dramatic spread there. We are not suggesting that the City of Springdale catch up with some of those other communities. One reason we would not want to take that position is because when he did the analysis, some of the ground we are losing to those folks fall in the very areas that we pruned back or eliminated fees; that is, home repairs and other residential permits. So while we may be substantially behind Sharonville and Cincinnati and the County, we felt it would not be consistent with Councilís past position on the residential side to make any adjustments. The document I distributed this evening is just additional background. Should you have any questions in the next two weeks donít hesitate to call us.
Ms. Manis asked if the penalty fee where no permit fee is required is being raised to $50 or $100?
Mr. Osborn responded the penalty for failing to take the permit is sometimes less than the permit itself in a commercial setting. I think Iíd like to defer that to Mr. McErlane and I think Iíd like to have him at the next meeting. I asked a similar question. His point here is that the current penalty doesnít give contractors an incentive to file for a permit. In many cases the penalty isnít worth the inconvenience of filing on time. We want to put a little more teeth in that. Keep in mind on the residential side that we have already eliminated any type of fee.
ORDINANCE NO. 73-1997 "ORDINANCE ADOPTING AN URBAN RENEWAL PROJECT KNOWN AS THE WEST KEMPER ROAD/SPRINGFIELD PIKE AREA"
Mr. Danbury said I have a letter from Mr. Lancer Weinrich, an attorney who represents Mr. Sam Patel who came before Council on August 6 with a proposed hotel on Sheraton Lane. Mr. Patel had contacted me and wanted to find out what he could do to come back to Council. I told him he would have to submit a plan and go through the entire process again through Planning Commission. He asked me how many more parking spaces would he need and I said I couldnít tell him. We have to make the determination based on the plans submitted. Mr. Weinrich is writing us a letter if anybody else has any suggestions. I would like to forward this to Mr. Schneider so he can send some correspondence to Mr. Patel and his attorney to let them know that the proper way of doing this is just to go back to Planning Commission again. I can understand Mr. Patelís situation. He doesnít want to invest any additional dollars on this if he is going to be turned down again. He has copies of our last meeting minutes so he knows our feelings.
Mr. Galster said at the September meeting we requested a land use plan from Ms. McBride as a result of Planning Commission meetings and also the Zoning Code Review Committee. Itís a little more elaborate than just straight map zoning. It tries to tie down the redevelopment more specifically as to what weíd like to see go there; has a little more enforceability so we have requested that proposal from Ms. McBride.
Mr. Vanover asked what are we going to do on the history issue? Itís been a month since Iíve been back.
Mr. Danbury said basically it has been the recommendation that we publish the history up to 1987. Future Councils can look at the updates. To update to where we currently are, we are a little too close. I think a lot of people may view different things differently.
Mr. Vanover asked if that was decided at one of the meetings? I never saw anything in the minutes on that discussion.
Mr. Vanover made a motion that we publish the history of Springdale as it has been developed up to and including the most recent ten year period and publish it in paperback form as was presented the last time we discussed it. Mrs. McNear seconded.
The vote was 3-3.
Ms Manis made a motion to publish the history of Springdale through 1987 in paperback form as was presented the last time we discussed it.
Mayor Webster said Iím trying to find a diplomatic way to say this. I have reviewed not only the last chapter but the history since 1971 which I can certainly relate to and there are some comments in the history that I think personally serve me very well. There are some comments in there that call me everything but a common crook. Thatís history. Iím willing to live with history the way it happened. The historian reviewed the City records, taking quotations from minutes, some people who read prepared statements that called me incompetent, called Mr. Osborn incompetent, called Mr. French incompetent, called everybody except themselves and they should have looked in the mirror when they were reading this and they should have indicted the author of this memo. But Iím willing to say, hey, if thatís the way future generations are going to review the minutes, then so be it. But I take great exception on the fact that somebody objects to something that is said about somebody who has been here in the last ten years so we donít print that history because we are portraying that person in bad light. Does that say that we are going to have that part of the history redone or are we going to wait until whoever finds that objectionable moves on and is no longer involved in the government. The history is there. Itís a personís perspective on what they saw. I think if we canít print it the way it is, we donít print it period. If we want to selectively say this is my friend youíre saying bad things about, and I donít want to be a part of it, then letís just shelve the whole project. I take exception to some things too in the section prior to that but Iím willing to say history is history, let it go.
Mr. Danbury said I was the person who initially felt this wasnít a fair representation of our history. A lot of people are wondering what is going on but the history dealt with the hiring and promoting of an employee who sued Mayor Pitman for sexual harassment. That is part of the history whether we like it or not. Iím not here to defend the Mayor. I think the courts have shown that the Mayor acted properly. What I object to is that they delved a lot of time into that. If you really want to get down and dirty about it, we had an issue, Hooters. We had every single TV station doing a live report out here, live at 11:00. Every newspaper had headlines on it. I was quoted in the New York Times. The Wall Street Journal did this. I went to Florida on vacation and went to a Hooters just north of Tampa. It was on a Friday night and I went up to a family at about 9:00 p.m. on Friday and asked why would you bring your kids to Hooters and they said the kids love the food. I asked arenít you embarrassed about the attire and they were like, no, I donít know what the big deal is. I said well, the reason Iím asking is because Iím from a city in Ohio. They said, oh, youíre from Springdale, Ohio. I asked how did you know that and they said itís national news. Weíre laughing about you people. If we are going to have an issue about this right here, letís talk about some of the biggest issues. Hooters was major issue. Why donít we have more about the Rec Center? Why donít we have more about the fact that we have racquetball courts down there and now people are starting to see their friends for the first time in ten years. Before we were a closed community. What you are saying is absolutely true. Iím not saying that it should all be negative but history is the way you look at it. I could look throughout the minutes and I could find so many positive things about this City. There are four or five pages about the fact that Beth Burkett was hired, etc. Why delve into that when we could be talking about the fact that we have the junior Olympics as a major part. We have three generations of people now living in Springdale. We have a survey where 70% of the residents love everything we are doing. We could be looking at a lot of different things. Just because you commission an artist to paint a portrait of you it doesnít mean if this is the portrait they paint, you have to like it and pay for it. I just personally think the way this was developed I just feel as though it wasnít the way I look at Springdale. I said it before and I was misquoted in the paper before, Iím not here to sugarcoat it. If something negative happened lay it out for everybody to see, but letís lay out everything, all the positives, all the negatives. With a fifty page addition I donít know if you can do that but I feel it was very selective in some of the portrayals of the City and I personally donít like the additional portion as it is presented.
Ms. Manis said I agree with Mr. Danbury. There is nothing in there I would like to change. It can be printed as is if some things were added. I just think the things that were chosen to be included need to be revisited. I think itís odd that the biggest event we have at the Community Center, the festival, is not mentioned, yet the Community Pride Program is mentioned heavily. Hooters isnít mentioned at all. I just think there are omissions rather than things that need to be changed. I donít have a problem with that. As I think Mr. Osborn said, itís not a current events book, itís a history book. We started with something and it was revised before. I donít see why the last ten years canít be kept for good measure and added to. Mr. Galster gave the example of Mr. Steins for the Reds who was batting .900 and if history were printed today he would be a major portion of the Redsí history. Next year he may fall flat on his face and we never hear from him again. Then in ten years the scope of his contribution in one year would be meaningless. I think thatís what we have to do with the history. We have to step back and look at it because right now itís not history; itís still current events.
Mr. Wilson said I think the last ten years of the history is incomplete as was already alluded to. There are some things that were omitted. There is perhaps one or two personsí interpretation of minutes and events. Any time you have live people who can be interviewed about history, some times things can be slanted one way or the other. I think we need to look at these last ten years in the future and include some of the things we just talked about. It appears that it was just incomplete. Maybe it was hastily written to bring it to date but the bottom line is there was too much inconsistency in what was written.
Mrs. McNear said I donít want to see this published with the last ten years left off. If we need to add more things to it I donít have much problem with that. When it comes to current events or history, if itís already happened itís history. Desert Storm happened, World War II happened. There were people who were alive even in this room that were alive during that period. If we have to add some additional things thatís fine but I donít think we should leave off the last ten years. We paid to have it updated. Itís the facts of what happened from our minutes. If we need to put something more in it, letís take a look at it but letís not leave off the last ten years.
Mr. Vanover said ShopCo probably is and has been, and hopefully will be, the most decisive and division producing issue that has ever hit this City. I read through that and it was very near and dear to my heart. From my point of view it wasnít dealt with the way I saw it but maybe Iím too close. I know I have my memories and recall of what happened. You mentioned the press coverage. We had to move the public hearing to the gymnasium because we didnít have room. The Fire Chief was booed when they cleared the aisles in the old Council Chambers because of the number of people. One individual who showed up at one meeting and was not seen again was our dear friend, Mr. Stanley Aranoff. Was he that big a portion of our history? I donít think so. Did it have relevance to the issue? Kind of. Again, Iím reading it and recalling it from my point of view. We all can take a twist from whatever angle weíre coming from but you begin to border on censorship and I donít think thatís our point to do.
Mr. Danbury said Iím not saying what youíre saying is not true. Again, Mrs. McNear hit the whole issue on the head. I think the update is totally incomplete. I think there are a lot of things that need to be added. I never said we need to eliminate anything, ever. Look at the minutes. I believe we need to include all the other things that I think are significant to the City. If you were to poll 100 people here I bet you would get 50 different positives and negatives of the City. To look at just the minutes of the meetings. Thatís just what is happening with the government. I donít think that is going to be reflective of what is important to the citizens. A lot of people may feel that Maple Knoll had a great addition or the pool additions or the slide is coming.
Mr. Galster said there is one thing I have learned in this process and the debate about the history. Maybe we shouldnít research and write the history until ten years have past. Granted we spent the money to bring the history up to today. I think that time does tell history. I think history is judged by time. Maybe in the future when we go to do our updates, we keep that in mind and donít bring it so close. Then we wouldnít have this discussion. I just hope we learn that for the future. I have no problem in publishing whatever. Itís written. I have no problem adding to it but I certainly wouldnít detract from it. Itís just one or two peopleís view. Hopefully, when my kids read it I can add a couple more bits and pieces of information to it and I can round it out that way.
Mr. Danbury said we have a motion to publish it up to 1987. We also have a suggestion to embellish the additional part.
Ms. Manis said she would like her motion to stand - to publish up to 1987.
The vote was 3-3.
Mr. Danbury said we will consider this at our next meeting.
Mr. Knox stated on the question of driveway aprons, there were 170 people who had driveway aprons installed by the City. To date 58 of the residents have paid for the driveway aprons. Iíd like to again state that we must have any payment in the office of the Finance Commissioner by October 8, because on October 9 weíre sending the remaining names to Hamilton County to be put on the assessment rolls. You can put them in the drop box. Just call Marty Holden and she will give you the information you need here at City Hall.
CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO
OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
WHEREAS, a home fire occurs in Ohio every 37 minutes and 80% of fire deaths occur in homes; and
WHEREAS, 14,421 residential fires occurred in Ohio in 1996 resulting in 125 deaths and 950 injuries; and
WHEREAS, the theme for this year's Fire Prevention Week is "Know When to GoÖ React Fast to Fire" because smart, knowledgeable decisions can save lives and property in Ohio; and
WHEREAS, a quick, decisive response is often what makes the difference between life and death in a fire; and
WHEREAS, it is essential that Ohioís citizens plan and practice a fire escape plan from residences and workplaces alike; and
WHEREAS, once a fire breaks out, it is too late to develop an escape plan that could have significantly increased the chances of survival or escaping the fire unharmed; and
WHEREAS, the Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of State Fire Marshal and the Ohio fire service are joined by all Ohioans, including businesses, schools, service organizations, and civic groups in their fire prevention efforts.
NOW THEREFORE, I, DOYLE H. WEBSTER, Mayor of the City of Springdale, do hereby proclaim the week of October 4, 1997 through October 11, 1997 as
"Fire Prevention Week"
in the City of Springdale and urge all citizens to exercise fire safety in order to protect themselves and others from the ravages of fire.
Mayor Webster said I would like to announce that we will have an open house this Saturday at our Fire Department, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Firefighter Phil Show is scheduled for 10:30, 12:30 and 2:30. Refreshments will be available and the fire house will be open to the public the entire day with firefighters available to conduct escorted tours and answer questions. All of our equipment will be on display.
CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO
OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
WHEREAS, it has been proven that community crime prevention efforts are reducing victimization, the fear of crime and helping to rebuild a sense of mutual responsibility and shared pride in community throughout the State of Ohio; and
WHEREAS, successful crime prevention programs depend on effective partnerships among law enforcement, concerned individuals, government agencies, schools, community groups, businesses and neighbors; and
WHEREAS, crime prevention is more than self protection and security, but encompasses the promotion of positive alternatives to delinquency and drug use among young people and encourages our citizens to recognize their personal stake in their neighborhoods; and
WHEREAS, it is essential to raise public awareness of crime and violence prevention efforts and increase involvement in crime prevention, community policing, and related community service programs; and
WHEREAS, in this era of escalating fear throughout the nation because of violence, citizens must be made aware of what they can do to protect themselves, their families, their homes, their neighbors, and their communities; and
WHEREAS, the financial loss, personal injury, and community deterioration resulting from crime are intolerable and need to be addressed by the whole community; and
WHEREAS, the Ohio Crime Prevention Association is celebrating twenty years of service to our state in partnership with the citizens of our communities;
NOW THEREFORE, I, DOYLE H. WEBSTER, Mayor of the City of Springdale, do hereby proclaim the month of October, 1997 as
CRIME PREVENTION MONTH
in the City of Springdale and call upon all citizens, governmental agencies, public and private institutions and businesses to increase their participation in Ohioís community crime prevention efforts in partnership with the Ohio Crime Prevention Association, to more tightly weave the fabric of the community and strengthen community spirit.
Mayor Webster read a memo that the Police Chief sent:
To keep you apprised of Police Department activities CAP officer Lynn McGee has arranged to have Safety Day at Hunterís Glen Apartments on Saturday, October 18, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The DARE car and a marked patrol vehicle will be displayed. Three to four officers will be present to offer crime prevention tips, distribute literature and register bicycles. The Fire Department also will be assisting with the display of equipment. Officer McGee has done a great job in taking it on himself to initiate this community event.
Mayor Webster said the agreements for our magistrate services, our prosecutor, and our public defender all expire on November 30. We can have two readings with the emergency clause so they can take affect immediately upon their passage.
Mr. Osborn said we had a bid opening on September 26 for highway rock salt. We received four bids. Our lowest bid was by Cargill and we would request legislation at the next Council meeting awarding the contract.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Board of Health October 9, 7:00 p.m.
Board of Zoning Appeals October 21, 7:00 p.m.
Planning Commission October 14, 7:00 p.m.
Finance Committee October 8
Parks and Recreation October 7, 7:00 p.m.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION
Item 1 - Building Codes - consider October 15
Item 5 - Urban Renewal
Item 6 - Resolution for the enterprise zone was actually an ordinance
REQUESTED ITEMS FOR NEXT COUNCIL MEETING
Legislation for rock salt
Three agreements for prosecutor, public defender and magistrate
Two public hearings in progress dealing with proposed Target meeting
Mr. Vanover made a motion for Council to go into executive session as a committee of the whole to discuss land acquisition. Mr. Galster seconded. The motion passed.
Council went into executive session at 9:10 p.m.
Council reconvened at 9:56 p.m. and adjourned at 9:57 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Randy Danbury, President of Council