President of Council Kathy McNear called Council to order on April 5, 2006, at 7:04 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 March 15, 2006 were approved with seven affirmative votes.

 

            COMMUNICATIONS

 

            Mr. Knox said we have a communication from the Ohio Department of Commerce Liquor Control saying that all beverage licenses expire on June 1, 2006.  Chief Laage said they would not oppose any license, and they have done several checks and they have all been successful.  With Council’s permission I will send back a negative report.  Council had no objections.

 

            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 Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority telling us their achievements toward their economic impact on the Greater Cincinnati area.  The letter and attached brochure are on file in my office.

 

            Mr. Knox said the last communication is from the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of State Fire Marshall.  It says they are sending us a check for $1,950 as part of a grant for the instruction that we sent some of our firefighters and safety inspector to.

 

            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 Springdale’s issues, goals and community members’ visions for the future.  Clearly the most important contribution we can make to the communities we serve is to operate an environmentally conscientious utility company with a reliable fair-priced product and quality service.  Cinergy is dedicated to providing value to our customers and the communities we serve.  We are also committed to working with your community by providing funding and engaging volunteers and/or expertise when available in areas identified during our interviews.  Based on the community’s needs and goals as outlined in the summary we compiled, the following is a brief synopsis of the contribution Cinergy would like to offer Springdale:  an $8,000 grant to Springdale Veteran’s Memorial, $1,000 to support upcoming events celebrating the Springdale bicentennial this summer, $1,000 grant to expand senior programming at the Community Recreation Center.  Sixty complimentary tickets to the Newport Aquarium were awarded to Springdale and Heritage Hill Elementary Schools.  Please note that the monetary contributions listed above are valid for one year from the date of this letter, non-monetary contributions do not have a cut-off date.”  I’m pleased that Mr. Knox told me he did go on line and fill out the proper forms and we were assured we’d get the three checks within the next week.  On behalf of the City I’d like to say to Duke, we certainly appreciate the contribution that they made.

 

            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 CITY OF SPRINGDALE AND THE BOARD OF HAMILTON COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY”

 

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 Public Works funding through LTIP and Municipal Road funding through the County.  The legislation before you this evening will finalize the agreement with the County for the award of $183,800 that they are contributing to this project.  The LTIP program is contributing $367,600 and the City’s share is $367,600.  The project is anticipated to start construction this summer with final resolution next spring.

 

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 PORT AUTHORITY’S PARTICIPATION IN FINANCING PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS AND AUTHORIZING THE EXECUTION OF PRELIMINARY DOCUMENTS TO EFFECTUATE SUCH FINANCING, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY”

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. 

Mr. Knox said many people on the dais were in at the beginning of this.  One of the other participants was Princeton School District.  This agreement says that the primary payee will be Princeton School District.  The money will come to us and we will pay Princeton, then we will pass the money on to the Port Authority.  We will work with the owner on the special assessment if Council approves a special assessment.  Other than that, the City will have very little to do.

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.

Ms. 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 tell the County Auditor that the assessments are in default and he needs to foreclose on the property.

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.

Mr. Danbury asked is this program brand new?

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.

ORDINANCE NO. 22-2006  “AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH CDS ASSOCIATES, INC., TO PROCEED WITH DESIGN SERVICES AT THE COMMUNITY CENTER TO MODIFY THE CURRENT MEETING ROOMS A, B AND C, PLUS CREATE A SENIOR ACTIVITY ROOM IN THE CURRENT BATTING CAGE/STORAGE  ROOM AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY”

 

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, Cincinnati, and sixty percent of all other jurisdictions.  I encourage Council to consider this favorably.

 

Resolution R6-2006 passed with seven affirmative votes.

 

            OLD BUSINESS                                                         -           none

 

            NEW BUSINESS

 

            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 Kemper Road.  This is an improvement that is needed to support the remodeling of Kemper Road.  Ultimately the cost of this will be paid for out of the TIF.  The mall will be responsible for bidding and constructing the project, but we felt it would be in our best interest to control the design so there is no dispute as to what the best practice is or traffic counts, etc.

 

            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 in Ohio.  I’d like to read this to you. There is going to be a state constitutional amendment referred to as TEL.  It may surface as Issue 1 or Issue 2, etc.  The essence is the tax expenditure limitation act.  “The TEL is being touted by sponsors, many from out of state, as the only way to end out of control state spending and high state taxes.   Hidden behind that rhetoric is a viscous, punitive attack on local government, basic local services, and local control.  A few things everybody needs to know.  The TEL proposal does not require the State to have a popular vote on new taxes or tax increases.  The expenditures for the State at capped.  The State may exceed the cap if a majority of the electors voting in such an election approves”.  Just like any other election in the history of this country, with one vote over fifty percent an issue passes.  For local governments the TEL places an impossible to obtain  vote requirement if expenditures are to be raised or taxes imposed to raise.”  It doesn’t make any sense.  I’ll tell you what it means in just a second.  “The vote requirement is a majority of electors in that political subdivision.”  There’s no mention of those voting.  Now, all of a sudden, for the City to get around the caps of this constitutional amendment, we would have to go before the voters and get a majority of the registered voters to support it.  If you stay home, you are counted as a no.  “All funds would be lumped together and compete with one another.  In other words, do you want the garbage collected, a rescue squad, a drink of water or police protection, a public park, or streets paved, etc.?”  You can only increase your budget in a formula that they outline and the maximum it can every go up from one year to the next is 3.5 percent.  We identified a need a few years ago to raise earnings tax.  We convinced the people it was necessary and seventy percent of the people were in favor of that, but I’m not so sure that was a majority of registered voters.  I suspect it was not.  Even if it were, we would still be limited by the 3.5 percent cap.  We would have this money coming in but we wouldn’t be able to spend it.  If we want to spent half a million dollars on a fire truck and we save our money, and this year we spend the money, then that money puts our budget up a half million dollars.  Then we have union contracts that we have to honor for our police and the fire, we might have a ton of money in the bank, but we still can’t pay our bills, because by paying our bills it would increase our budget by 3.5 percent.  There’s a section in here where you can get around this by declaring an emergency.  Great, we get some relief.  Well, not quite.  There will no longer be such an event as a local emergency for which you may spend in excess of the cap.  Local control is abandoned in favor of the Governor deciding what are emergencies, and even those will be restricted by constitutional definitions.”  So we as elected officials of this community will not have the ability to say we just had an emergency.  If we have an emergency we have to appeal to the Governor.  “The required local government fund is a complete sham.  While state monies are earmarked for the local government fund, it is to be shared with a laundry list of local governments, special districts, other taxing districts and the schools, and everybody is not guaranteed a distribution.  Distribution formulas are to be determined by the general assembly.  Now that the distribution formula is determined here locally and we have had a standing distribution formula in place for a number of years, the TEL declares that it has primacy over all other parts of the state constitution.  So with any conflict at all this can override anything else in the constitution, our charter or anything else.  “If this passes gone will be local control, gone will be quality local services, but there will be full employment for lawyers.”  They had to pay people to circulate petitions to get this on the ballot.  It’s my understanding that they have in excess of 300,000 signatures to get this on the ballot.  We all better become anti-TEL very quickly and we better spread the word to our constituents. 

 

            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 Ohio is a home rule state.  It sounds like they are negating that in lieu of this.

 

            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.  Colorado has had something similar to this for a number of years, and just last November they voted to hold it in abeyance for the next five years to try to dig themselves out.

 

            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

            Groundbreaking for Springdale Town Center -                       April 12

 

COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE           

 

Connie Pilloch, 9910 Forest Glen, Montgomery, said I am running for the state legislature.  I came here tonight to learn about what is going on in Springdale.  I think it was very educational and I thank you for the time to come in and say hello.

 

UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT

 

Kemper Road             Phase III                                              -                       April 19

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  8:13 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        Edward  F. Knox

                                                                        Clerk of Council/Finance Director

 

Minutes Approved:

 

Kathy McNear, President of Council

 

 

 

__________________________, 2006