President of Council Kathy McNear called Council to order on February 5, 2003, at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance.
Mr. Knox took roll call. Present were Council members Danbury, Galster, Pollitt, Squires, Vanover, Wilson and McNear.
The minutes of January 8, 2003 were approved with seven affirmative votes.
The minutes of January 15, 2003 were approved with six affirmative votes. Mr. Wilson abstained.
Mr. Knox said we have one communication from Jim Raussen, our State Representative. He says, "I also appreciate your making the Council views known regarding Tax Commissionerís Zanoís proposed changes to the way in which municipalities levy taxes. I agree that it would be bad policy for the State to reroute local monies through the State capitol. Later this week I will be meeting with the representative from the Ohio Municipal League to discuss this issue. In coming weeks I will continue to work on this issue with the Municipal League and local entities."
Mayor Webster said Mr. Osborn and I attended the Hamilton County Municipal League meeting last Thursday night. Representative Tom Brinkman spoke briefly and he suggested that all the communities pass a resolution as we did. Mr. Brinkmanís suggestion was that we make sure all eight local state representatives, if not all 99 representatives, get a copy of that, and also our state senator, Mr. Blessing.
Mayor Webster continued the State is shaking every tree possible for revenue. It would appear that the Governorís proposal doesnít care where they get the money, as long as they balance the budget. The Feds are doing it to the states, so the states are doing it to the cities, villages and townships. One of the Governorís proposals is to take $30 million from the local government fund. We get local money directly from the State and some from the County. I donít know which fund this is going to come out of, but itís going to hit all the cities. Weíreally would like you to consider a resolution objecting to that and maybe we could even allude to this earnings tax.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
PRESENTATION - Jeff Williams Ė GFOA Award
Mr. Knox said I have the honor of introducing Mr. Jeff Williams, our Tax Commissioner and Finance Officer. Jeff has been with us less than three years and during that period of time he has submitted two reports, both of which have won an honor.
Mr. Williams said I am here to present to the City the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association. This award is for the year end 2001 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). This is the highest recognition of governmental accounting and financial reporting on a national basis. Nationally there are 82,000 governmental entities, and of those, only 3,000 were given this award for 2001. In Ohio there are 2,200 applicable governments that prepare financial statements on a GAP basis such as we do. Only 280 were given this award in 2001. This is the second consecutive year we have received this award.
ORDINANCE NO. 5-2003 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AGREEMENT (PSA) WITH TEC ENGINEERING, INC., FOR A TRAFFIC SAFETY STUDY ON STATE ROUTE 4/SPRINGFIELD PIKE AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Ms. Pollitt seconded.
Mr. Osborn said seven months ago the City, along with their consultant, TEC Engineering, made an application under the Governorís Highway Safety Office Grant Program. The purpose of our grant request was to do a 402 Safety Study of the Springfield Pike corridor, focusing on the traffic signals and the intersections, and looking at ways we can improve highway safety through modifications, either in timing or in physical alterations to the signal system. The grant amount of $20,000 represents 100% of the cost to do the study so there will be no direct cost to the City of Springdale. We encourage Council to approve this ordinance.
Ordinance 5-2003 passed with seven affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 6-2003 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH 32 FORD FOR THE LEASE/PURCHASE OF A 2003 F-550 FORD DUMP TRUCK FOR USE BY THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Mr. Danbury said normally when you lease anything, there is normal wear and tear on the vehicle. Has this been defined for the dump truck? There may be excessive scratches, etc.
Mr. Osborn replied this is a lease/purchase and we will retain ownership at the end of the lease.
Mr. Danbury said I know a lot of times things come in at the last second but I donít have the revised agenda, the last resolution and I donít have the item we are voting on. It would be nice to have everything in front of us.
Ordinance 6-2003 passed with seven affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION R4-2003 "URGING THE OHIO SENATE AND THE OHIO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO MAINTAIN STATE FUNDING FOR CITIES AND VILLAGES AT CURRENT LEVELS"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded.
Mr. Osborn said we are concerned about the proposed cuts in local government funding that the Governor has put on the table. The Governor is also backing a proposal for the State of Ohio to take responsibility for the collection of municipal income taxes. We feel both of these changes would very negatively affect local government in general, and certainly Springdale specifically. Some additional information that was forthcoming today from the Municipal League is that of that $30 million that the Mayor mentioned that will be cut from the local government fund this year under Governor Taftís proposal, $19 million of that would come from cities, villages and counties, and only $11 million from the libraries. That fund is used for supporting libraries throughout the State and any monies they deem appropriate and left over, goes to municipalities. Thereís a formula and I donít begin to understand that formula. With the knowledge that there is a formula that distributes that money between libraries and local government Iíll read this paragraph that was in this memo today. "In addition, though we expect no March reconciliation, we do expect a negative reconciliation in July that will further reduce funds coming from the Local Government Fund and the Local Government Revenue Assistance Fund. The estimates we have gathered put the reconciliation of LGF and LGRAF at an additional loss of about $30 million from municipalities, counties and townships in July. This loss would occur no matter what happens in the budget." The Municipal League is trying to alert us that even if we can convince the State legislature not to change the proposed funding levels for local government, thereís a formula within which there does appear there will be a change anyhow, so weíre getting hit with a double whammy. If this formula results in a significant reduction and on top of that, there are further cuts in the governmentís proposal it really starts piling on. In that same vein, the Municipal League earlier this week advised us that PERS, the Public Employees Retirement System that covers all non public safety employees in local government, has now indicated that under their rules they can issue an order that says that beginning in July all jurisdictions have to remit monthly. That sounds pretty benign until you start looking at what it means to us in terms of dollars. Because we have to pay fourth quarter of 2002 in the first quarter of 2003, we have nine months in quarters that we will pay; then we have five more months that we will be paying over the balance of the year, so we will be paying fourteen months of remittance to PERS in twelve months. We have two months of remittance that we havenít budgeted for that we have to pay PERS. Jeff is working up some numbers for us so we can start setting money aside so that we can do that. Itís just another blow to local government and I canít believe that this is calculated. Itís just that everybody is looking to cut expenses and find money and as the Mayor said earlier, weíre at the bottom of the list here and weíre bearing the consequences. We would encourage Councilís support on this resolution.
Resolution R4-2003 passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Galster suggested that this resolution go to all the representatives also.
Mr. Osborn stated that we received word from the State of Ohio that their cost estimate for the Sharon Road bike path project had gone up and we elected to postpone that project until we had a better understanding of what our revenue picture might be for 2003. I did communicate to OKI and ODOT based upon Councilís decision to postpone the project. I received a call from Mr. John Hielman with OKI. They did find some additional funding that they can apply to this project, another $15,000, which makes the outside funding increase to $100,000. That would then make the Cityís share $44,000. I think that given this additional effort on the part of OKI to find funding for us, the fact that we are now looking at $100,000 of outside funding for this project, I would recommend that we go forward with the project, adopt the legislation and authorize the State to go forward with this project. I met with Capital Improvements Committee prior to the meeting and Iíll defer to them for their comments. Although weíre in a tight fiscal situation it is very difficult to let go of $100,000, particularly when I think OKI has made its best effort to try to help us with this situation.
Mr. Galster asked prior to the increase in the cost of construction, what was Springdaleís share?
Mr. Osborn replied it was $22,052. The cost is now $44,800. Our cost has gone up $22,000 from what we had budgeted.
Mayor Webster said it has gone up steadily over time. Theyíre ready to do it and theyíre saying we need to come up with $44,800 to cover the rest of it.
Mr. Danbury said Mr. Osborn confirmed to me what I already suspected, that the City has already invested a lot in this project, and weíve done the engineering for it.
Mr. Osborn said we recently saw the completion of Phase II of the 915 sanitary sewer through Heritage Hill over to Princeton Plaza. We received word that Phase III of the project will run from Princeton Plaza under Kemper, along Northland into Forest Park. The advertising date for this phase of the project is March 11. Bids would be open by MSD on March 25 with construction to start in May 2003 and take twenty months.
Mr. Osborn said we have a budgeted item in the Fire Department this year to replace the fourth of the defibrillators. We did two last year and one the year before. We do have a grant to help defray the cost. The actually cost is $17,591. Of that we will receive reimbursement through a State grant of $5,725. Because we canít net that out ahead, we have to come to you for an ordinance because the original contract amount will be more than $15,000. We would like that at the next meeting.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Planning Commission - February 11
Board of Health - February 13
Board of Zoning Appeals - February 18
Springdale Youth Boosters Horse Races - February 22
Opening Day - April 12
Mr. Danbury said just recently we had a passing of a very dear lifelong friend, Mr. Ted Tarter. He was a member of Civil Service for over twenty years. He raised a family here and recently retired from GE. Unfortunately, he had a heart attack and passed away. Our condolences go out to his family.
Mr. Squires said Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Sinks recently lost their granddaughter resulting from a kayak accident eighteen months ago. Iíd like to offer condolences to them also.
Mr. Osborn said Mr. Shvegzda reminded me of another item that I did discuss with Capital Improvements Committee. I will not be at the next Council meeting and this will probably not wait until I return. We have for some time been considering the alternative of using cameras for the identification of vehicles at intersections to send messages to the computers that control the signals. In fact, we have a couple of intersections where we have done this. These cameras are not affected by weather conditions. They do not send a video signal anywhere. They record pixels and changes in those pixels tell the computer that there is a car sitting there or a car moving or nothing sitting there. The advantage to the City is that although itís more expensive on the front end, it will save us considerable money over the term of the intersectionís operation. The loops are buried in the ground and subject to freeze/thaw, and we have routinely had to go out and replace loops. This may cost $1,500 to $3,000 for an intersection. The engineers had come to me prior to the work on the Springfield Pike project and wanted to put the cameras out there as well. Based on early experience when we had to put the cameras on mast arms, I told them if they canít do better than that, weíre not going to use them. The cameras at Northland and Springfield Pike were on masts that were three or four feet high and had a very industrial look to them. We had Wagner Smith mount the cameras directly on the head of a signal and this really did improve the looks. We looked at several other installations in southwest Ohio and concluded that the way we had that configured was pretty nice. Also, they have indicated that we can paint the body the same color as the signal head and that will further reduce the visibility. Given that, Iíd like to recommend that we follow the approach of using cameras on Springfield Pike. As part of our resurfacing costs for Springfield Pike we have $29,050 set aside for the replacement of loops. To put the camera systems at Northland and SR 4; Peach Street and SR 4; and Kemper Road and SR 4 will cost $41,500. Thatís a net cost of $12,450. Thatís a conservative number. We are not taking into consideration that in 2004 we plan to resurface part of Northland Boulevard and there are loops on Northland that if we go ahead now and put in the cameras, those loops will not have to be replaced in 2004, further bringing our cost down. I believe that within a matter of four or five years that cost would be eaten up by loop replacement work we would have to do, so I think for the reliability and long term cost savings, we recommend that the contract with our streetscape project vendor be amended to add the installation of the cameras at intersections. I asked Mr. Shvegzda how quickly we ought to do that. If Council would like to consider an amendment to their contract at the next meeting they can do that, or if you just want to give us concurrence we could hold off the legislation until the following meeting.
Mayor Webster said as evidenced by the $29,050 thatís in there for loop replacements, we incur that cost every time we resurface SR 4. I think itís a long term payback.
Mr. Galster made a motion to go forward with this. Mr. Squires seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mayor Webster said if you recall at the last Council meeting I shared with you a phone call I had gotten from Steve Barnes about his father. Unfortunately, his father expired last Thursday. He was another long term resident.
Mayor Webster continued Mr. Tarter was a coach when his son was younger. Debbie Roberts, who we lost in the last few months was a youth booster and coach. Both of them will be inducted into the Coaches Hall of Fame at the conclusion of the opening day ceremonies. We donít think Mr. Barnes was a coach but if he was, he also will be in there.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Amending the Springdale Code of Ordinances
Regarding solicitation - no date set
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Sharon Road bike path project - February 19
Purchase of defibrillators - February 19
Council adjourned at 7:45 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Kathy McNear, President of Council