President of Council Kathy McNear
called Council to order on
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance.
Mr. Knox took roll call. Present were Council members
The minutes of
Mr. Knox said we have a
communication from the Ohio Department of Commerce Liquor Control saying that
all beverage licenses expire on
Mr. Knox stated the second communication informs us that Brenda Weimer, our bond counsel, now works for Peck Shaffer, not Peck Shaffer Williams.
Mr. Knox continued we have received
a letter from the
Mr. Knox said the last communication
is from the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of State Fire
Mayor Webster said I received a
letter from Cinergy reading: “Dear Mayor
Webster: We regret that you were unable
to join us at the Springdale Community Outreach luncheon on March 30. For those able to meet with us prior to the
luncheon, we appreciate the time spent with us to discuss
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
Mr. Danbury made a motion to read Ordinance 20-2006 by title only and Mr. Galster seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 20-2006 “AUTHORIZING AN AGREEMENT RELATIVE TO THE IMPROVEMENT OF STATE ROUTE
747 BETWEEN THE
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded.
Mr. Osborn said this relates to the repair
and resurfacing of SR 747 in the I-275 area just south of the grade separation
project. The estimated cost of the
project is $919,000. Earlier
this year we applied for Ohio
Ms. Pollitt asked does this go up onto the ramp at I-275?
Mr. Osborn replied no, this is just on SR 747. There is a much bigger project that will launch in 2007 that will repair and widen I-275 through our community.
Ms. Pollitt asked who does do the repairs on the ramps. The eastbound ramp is deteriorating.
Mr. Osborn said we will certainly renew our request to have them take care of that area. We have found, that while ODOT in many ways is very cooperative with the local jurisdiction, they do protect their improvements and their right-of-way very closely. At one point we had offered to make some improvements to one ramp where the guardrail needed to be replaced, and they declined to let us come on their right-of-way to repair their guardrail.
Ordinance 20-2006 passed with seven affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 21-2006 “REQUESTING THE
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Danbury seconded.
Mr. Knox said I’d like to point out the fine work that Mr. Schneider and Ms. Weimer have done on this. The document is rather large and there have been many iterations. I believe that the documents, as they stand, are in our favor. It mentions that there could be changes in the future, but any changes would have to be signed off by the Mayor, Mr. Schneider and me. We are working on a constricted schedule which is why we need the emergency clause.
Mayor Webster said it might be worthwhile to have Ms. Weimer walk us through this. I had four or five lengthy e-mails today from Mr. Baumburger, the Port Authority’s bond counsel. It’s almost a full-time job to keep up with this, and I think Mr. Knox has done a remarkable job.
Ms. Weimer said the current documents being authorized tonight are the preliminary financing sheets, which spell out how the bonds are going to be issued to pay for the project. The bonds are set up to be issued at the City’s request and MEPT’s request through the Port Authority as Port Authority revenue bonds. They are contemplating a variable rate structure on the bonds for a maximum duration of twenty to twenty-nine years depending on what time period the City puts the special investments in place for. Those documents are to come at a later date. The financing will be handled by the Port Authority. It will not be carried on the City’s balance sheets. You will assign certain revenues from the service payments from the TIF and certain special investments that you will be asked to enact at the property owner’s request at a later date. MEPT has, as property owner, also requested the Port’s participation in this particular structure. It sets out that the City will be represented by Mr. Schneider and me for the duration of this transaction, that the Port Authority will be represented by Squires Sanders & Dempsey, and local issuers’ counsel that they also have on board, that the underwriter that has been chosen for this transaction is Seasongood & Mayer. They will be represented by counsel as well. There is also a preliminary agreement as part of the initial document, which again, spells out that the parties are agreeing to have this financing done through the Port Authority and that all obligations are limited to the assignments of the identified revenues, that there is no general full faith in credit pledge by the City for any financing on this project, and the preliminary agreements sets forth that there will be expected by the City special assessment proceedings upon receipt of a petition requesting such proceedings from the current property owner. There will also be additional documents that the City will need to be a party to that are coming later. Those include, as the most important document, the cooperative agreement between the City, MEPT, the Port Authority and the trustee for the bond, who will be managing the flow of funds for the bonds. That document will spell out all the nuts and bolts of the transaction and the City will have input into the terms of that document and review process at each step of the way in creating that document because you will be a party to that document. Some of the future transaction documents will be between the port authority and the bank trustee. While we’ll have the chance to review them, our input will be less substantial because we will not be a party to those documents. The other document being authorized tonight is the engagement letter of Squires Sanders by the Port Authority. We are signing that as an acknowledgement. We hereby understand that Squires has been engaged by the Port Authority and will take the roll of bond counsel on this transaction. If the ordinance is passed this evening we will sign these documents and they will be delivered to Mr. Baumburger, who will take them to the Port Authority for authorization and signing tomorrow morning. After they have been signed by all parties Jeff will start drafting the next round of documents, and we will start seeing those drafts and providing our input. This special assessment petition will also be formalized and presented to Council for action, which will be followed by all of the normal special assessment preceding documents, the resolution of necessity, the ordinance determining to proceed, etc. Those will come to Council for action at a separate time. Once the special assessments are in place and the cooperative agreement is intact, the bond financing will occur on a more normal schedule. After we get the cooperative agreement and special assessment proceedings in place, the rest of the bond proceedings will seem more standard. The trust indenture will be drafted and negotiated with the bank trustee. Closing documents will be prepared. Disclosure will be prepared for the marketing of the bonds. The bonds will be marketed and sold, and the closing documents will be finalized and executed. At that level, most of those documents will be executed by the Port Authority because it will be they who are issuing the bonds at that point. The bank has issued a commitment letter providing a letter of credit securing these bonds under certain conditions. That provides that U. S. Bank has submitted to provide credit enhancement to back these bonds under certain conditions for a certain period of time. Their letter of commitment is good until June 30 so these bonds are scheduled to be closed on or before June 30 and the transaction finalized by that date.
Knox said many people on the dais were in at the beginning of this. One of the other participants was
Mayor Webster says the schedule shows $10 million estimated. We’ve heard amounts from $9 million to $12 million. Is $10 million plus the $1 plus million we have on deposit already the total amount?
Ms. Weimer responded that is what U. S. Bank has committed to provide a letter of credit for. The other participants will be working very hard to stay within those parameters because U. S. Bank has not extended their letter of credit in excess of that. That means they would be marketing bonds that may not be fully insured by that letter of credit. There are some numbers that are still tenuous in the whole picture. We know what the project costs are but we won’t know what the capitalized interest component is until the day of pricing so that will adjust slightly based on the actual market when they price in June. They are trying to stay as close to that $10 million number as possible but that is what the bank’s letter of commitment to provide enhances for the deal is.
Mayor Webster said if this project would go into default, the City would not be liable to pay those bond holders a cent.
Weimer stated if the bonds are issued by the Port Authority as revenue bonds as
these documents indicate, the City’s only responsibility in a default situation
will be to instruct the County to foreclose on the special assessments. No City money is at risk, not the general
fund. You just have the obligation to
Mayor Webster says the special assessment procedure is pretty well dictated in our Charter. Does this fall within that realm? If we were going to issue a special assessment paper, we would have to appoint an equalization board and go through that whole process. Do we have to do that with this special assessment?
Mr. Schneider replied we have to comply with any Charter requirements.
Ms. Weimer said the statute provides that if the property owner requests the special assessment, they can waive all statutory requirements. Mr. Schneider and I have to look at your specific Charter provisions and make sure a petition can waive the Charter requirements as well as statutory requirements.
Ms. Weimer replied when this transaction was originally started the current Port Authority did not exist. It might have been possible that the former Port Authority did not have bond issuing capacity. The current Port Authority does have statutory and City/County authority to issue these types of bonds and be a participant in these types of financing.
Mayor Webster said the City was supposed to issue these bonds as a TIF bond. We were assured from Day One that these bonds would be 100% collaterized with a letter of credit. Last January we had a meeting and they say they are not going to collaterize this. Once the service payments were high enough to cover the yearly debt service, they were going to let the letter of credits drop off and pointed to some documents that we had executed previously that said they could do. It was totally contrary to what the agreement was from Day One. I let everybody know that I absolutely refused to sign any agreement that would lead us down that path. Things have been in limbo and thank goodness, the Port Authority did get involved. I think we will be in a better situation now than we would have been even with the letter of credit.
Ordinance 21-2006 passed with seven affirmative votes.
22-2006 “AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR
Mr. Squires made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Mr. Osborn said when we accepted the opportunity to add a great deal more senior programming at the Community Center we had to evaluate what needs we might have as a result of that. About that same time we were coming upon the deadline for the Urban County Community Development Block Grant program. We applied for $160,000 to remodel interior portions of the Community Center that are currently left unfinished. We were awarded $100,000. The cost of the project is now estimated to be $165,000. Between the amount of money we will be receiving from CDBG and our original budget balance of $160,000 for this line item we are $5,000 short. We would recommend that the contract be awarded to CDS. The fee for the design will be $30,000 and we would like to get this started as quickly as possible.
Mr. Danbury asked are we no longer going to have the batting cage?
Mr. Osborn replied we will still have the batting cage.
Ordinance 22-2006 passed with seven affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION R6-2006 “APPROVING THE UPDATE OF THE SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT PLAN OF THE HAMILTON COUNTY SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT DISTRICT”
Mr. Danbury made a motion to adopt and Ms. Pollitt seconded.
Mr. Osborn stated the
plan has been under review for well over two years. The Solid Waste Management District has done
an excellent job of trying to bring in the input and comments from the stake
holders in this issue. We attended
hearings, made written comments on draft versions that were posted on the
internet and I think it is appropriate that we adopt a resolution supporting
this. Currently the tipping fee that
goes to the district from the local jurisdiction stands at $1 per ton. That will hold up until 2010 when the price
will go up to $1.20. It will increase to
$1.50 a ton in 2014 and stay there until 2021.
They redistribute the money back into the communities. My biggest concern has been their policies of
distributing the money intended as an incentive for recycling. Under the old policy the amount paid per
recycled ton was the same for every jurisdiction whether the local jurisdiction
was paying for it or whether the cost was put back on the residents. In those cases where the cities were not
paying for it, they were getting a windfall.
My argument has always been that that money should be directed to those
jurisdictions that pay for the recycling.
A compromise reached on that is fair.
Those jurisdictions that don’t pay for it have a much lower level of
participation. Now the formula is going
to be based upon the percentage of your annual waste disposal that is
recycled. Since we have a very high
level of participation by our residents, that means we will get more money in
comparison to other cities our size that don’t have as high a participation
rate. To get approval the District has
to have an affirmative nod by the largest city,
Resolution R6-2006 passed with seven affirmative votes.
OLD BUSINESS - none
Mr. Osborn said I have four pieces of legislation to request for the next meeting. The first is awarding a bid for Phase III of East Kemper Road to Sunesis Construction. We are still evaluating the four alternates and still working with other jurisdictions involved in this project to resolve cost sharing.
Mr. Osborn stated the second
legislation would be for engineering services for the modifications to the new
signalized exit from Tri-County Mall to
Mr. Osborn continued I’d like to request legislation renewing the City Planner’s contract that expires at the end of this month. Finally, I am requesting legislation awarding the contract to construct the first phase of the HVAC replacement project at the fire station.
Mr. Parham requested legislation for the renewal of the health insurance program. I will have a report in your mail bins tomorrow. There will be two pieces of legislation, one for stop-loss and one for the third party administrator.
Mayor Webster said I’d like to talk
about something that is going on with the state constitution in November. This is critical to every local jurisdiction
Mrs. McNear said the thing that frightens me about that registered voter list is, if you have ever looked at one, there are people on there who are deceased, people who have moved. Those numbers are really inflated.
Mr. Vanover said it sounds like they
are abandoning us because
Mr. Knox said I fully support everything Mayor Webster has said. He hasn’t said it all. There are other things in here that will really hurt some cities.
Ms. Pollitt asked who’s funding this bill and who’s behind it?
Mayor Webster replied I asked the
same question to Sue Cabe, the executive director of
the Ohio Municipal League. One of the
gubernatorial candidates has his name attached to it. I understand he’s trying to distance himself
from it now but her comment to me was that there are a lot of out of state
people behind this.
Ms. Pollitt asked how can we, as elected officials, get the word out to residents in our district that they need to do their homework on this bill and become an informed voter?
Mayor Webster stated I think we are the ones who will have to do this. It’s up to us to talk about it at any opportunity we have. This is just a bad, bad amendment to the constitution.
Ms. Pollitt asked is it possible to have any voter forums prior to an election where we can inform the residents in our community about all the issues that are going to be on the ballot?
Mayor Webster responded I think we can do that. I think we would have a hard time spending the City’s money trying to put out fliers or signs. We would have to dig in our own pockets to come up with the money for material but I personally am not opposed to doing that. Mayor Webster said if they were just talking about operating expenses maybe we could live with that, but they have lumped all the money together.
Mrs. McNear said we have members of the press here. Mayor Webster said I would hope that anybody who has the opportunity to tell people about this viscous attack on local government would certainly take the opportunity to do that.
Mr. Galster said a few years ago when our revenue started declining we started decreasing our budget every year to be as fiscally responsible as we could. At some point we reached the low point and had to go for the earnings tax. Once that earnings tax was passed I assume we can’t go back up to where we were three years ago when the downturn started. We would have had to start our recovery at a rate of 3.5 percent, and we wouldn’t have recovered.
Mr. Osborn stated I think in the very near future you will see talking points come out from the Ohio Municipal League, the Hamilton County Municipal League and there are several of us getting together to put one together for local managers. Those materials would help simplify the information as to what this proposal contains. If we can find talking points that hit the key issues and raise the concern we feel here, I think that will be a great benefit. The other thing is that this particular amendment to the constitution, particularly with the spin we will see from proponents is going to look awfully attractive to the voters; cut your taxes, save your money. That would be all true, but they don’t say anything about the decline in services that you would have to also experience. I’m sure it will be a very flashy campaign by the proponents and it will be in ten to fifteen second bytes of information. It won’t have a rational argument, it will have an emotional argument. I think we have a lot to overcome to make sure this doesn’t pass.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Planning Commission - April 11
Board of Zoning Appeals - April 18
Board of Health - April 13
Opening Day - April 29
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE
Connie Pilloch, 9910 Forest Glen,
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Fire Station HVAC - April 19
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
City Planner’s contract - April 19
Contract with Sunesis - April 19
Signalized exit at Tri-County - April 19
Resolutions for Eagle Scouts - April 19
Health Insurance Stop Loss - April 19
Health Insurance third party - April 19
Council adjourned at
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Kathy McNear, President of Council