President of Council Kathy McNear called Council to order on October 5, 2005, 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 September 21, 2005 were approved with six affirmative votes.  Mr. Wilson abstained.

 

            COMMUNICATIONS

 

            Mr. Knox reported that there are three communications.  During the coming election there will be a special election by petition in Precinct E – that the sale of wine and mixed beverages be permitted for sale on Sunday between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 a.m. at Cost Plus doing business as World Market, 11747 Princeton Pike; two special elections in Precinct G – Sunday sale of wine and mixed beverages be permitted between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 a.m. at GMRI, doing business as Bahama Breeze,  325 North Commerce Way; and at CostCo, 1100 East Kemper Road.

 

            COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE -         none

 

            Mayor Webster introduced Rachael Schmidt, the person who coordinated all the efforts to make the Glendale History Book happen.  We are proposing to engage her services to help us put our history book together.  As all of you know it has been a start/stop project for the past twenty years.  We have a lot of good stuff on line that will be an excellent research source for us. 

 

            Rachael Schmidt said I am assuming your end product will be similar to Glendale’s with the emphasis on images.  Your research from twenty years ago will be very helpful.   There is a search for images right now.  Other than Dave Butsch and the City government there has been no real central depository of images and historical artifacts here.  I’d be the first person to say don’t do this project if you can’t get enough images to get the kind of end project that you want.  Anybody can take text and put it into a book.  I feel pretty good about what we’ve been able to do so far and I think it should come together really well.  We should have the finished project by mid August. 

 

            Mayor Webster stated we have a copy of the proposal.  The cost range is $93,000 to $103,000.  If all of this comes to fruition we would have 2,000 books for sale at whatever price Council decides.  Glendale sold theirs for $45.00 a book.  If we sold all of ours at that price we would recoup upwards of $90,000.

 

            Mrs. Schmidt said in Glendale we were hoping to break even on books.  We sold 700 books in the first year, 600 are local and about 100 are former residents out of town.  Of the 600 we’ve sold locally, that has been to about one-third of our households.  Those households are averaging 2.2 books per household.

 

            Mr. Osborn said we see this as a tool to be used in economic development.  It gives some foundation as to the kind of community we are.  I think it would go a long way to help define us to a major developer when we’re trying to recruit them.  I also think the timing is good.  We have a lot of material collected.  Dave Butsch has a lot of skills in accumulating, scanning and returning originals back to the owners.  We have motivated people willing to put time into this to get it done.  The earlier efforts at this got bogged down in political infighting.  We don’t have that have right now.  We have a very consolidated and homogenous Council.  I think this is a good time to get it done.  We are losing those members of our community that provide us with the information we are putting into this book.  We’ve already lost many of them.  If we postpone doing this book it will become all the more difficult.

 

            Mr. Osborn continued as to the budget, if we get 2,000 copies of a 218-page book, the estimated cost of $59,200 for the production and creative expense, are those that would be coming from Rachael or one of the folks she would subcontract with, such as for graphic design or copy editing and proofing.  The cost for printing is something that is passed right through. 

 

            Mrs. Schmidt said the graphic design and copy editing are independent contracts.  I have no money involved in that.  Those are straight pass throughs to you.  The graphics designer is offering you a fixed fee and the editor gave you a good deal.  We are linked but the money is very separate. 

 

            Mr. Osborn said if Council is in agreement we would bring legislation before you at the next meeting authorizing the agreement with Rachael for that portion of the work she is involved in, and as she said, we’ll contract independently with these other folks directly.

 

            Mr. Danbury said if the legislation is adopted, we’re just looking for seed money.  The City has already invested a lot of time and money into our history.  I’d like to suggest that you have a link on our website with just a teaser so people can see what has been done.  If the press can help plead with people for pictures because many people may have moved out of here. 

 

            Mr. Osborn stated it is very doable to put it on the website.

 

            Mrs. McNear said this will probably cost us a little money but to put it in perspective, think about how much money we blow up every year on the 4th of July, when this is something we can keep for a very long time.

 

            Mayor Webster said another reason the timing is ideal is, from the financial perspective, we have been blessed this year as the inheritance tax is running about $538,000 more than what was budgeted.   That would more than pay for this document.

 

            Mrs. Pollitt asked if someone has pictures, how do they get them to the City?

 

            Mayor Webster replied they can call me, Mr. Osborn or Mr. Butsch.  We’ve made a plea through our newsletter.  We’ve had some response but it’s not overwhelming.  Through phone calls we have made I’ve been surprised at what we’ve been able to get.  The real tragedy will be if someone comes up with a real treasure after the cut-off date.   One thing we really don’t have is a good picture of the Comer barn.

 

            Mr. Galster said it looks like a new project but I think it’s a fringe project.  With retiring debt I’m not in favor of this at this time.

 

            Mr. Wilson said as a history major in college I’m excited about projects like this.  Will we have a set dollar amount in the legislation?  Will it be open-ended? 

 

            Mr. Osborn replied the amount that will come in with the initial agreement is for Rachael.  The work with the graphics designer and editor and proof-reader will be contracted individually.  Their amounts are low enough that we do not have to have an ordinance. 

 

            Mr. Wilson said there are three different levels.  What level are we looking at?

 

            Mr. Osborn said we would like to do a 218-page book.

 

            Mrs. Schmidt said I managed the Glendale project.  We stayed on time and on budget.  I had no tolerance for overspending.  We were on a tight budget as the book was sponsored by the Preservation Organization, not the Village.

 

            Ms. Pollitt said I have some concerns like Mr. Galster but I look at this as seed money.  For this book to come out in this timeframe, it is something we will be able to use.  I think it will spark a lot of interest.  Having the book available with the activities we have planned, I don’t think we’ll have any trouble selling the 2,000 copies. 

 

            Mr. Wilson stated until I had a long conversation with the Mayor I wasn’t in favor of this.  Other cities have books.  If we have the money I support it.  As long as I have Finance chair I will watch the money carefully.

 

            Mr. Danbury said we will get the money back.  It’s not only our bicentennial, but we will be seeing the revitalization of Springfield Pike.  We will have three different photos of three different eras.  We have the photos in the foyer.  I’m sure we have photos of what it was until recently and then we will have photos when the new shops come in.

 

            Mr. Osborn said we probably won’t have the luxury of waiting until the new retail is developed on Springfield Pike to get an actual photo.  But, we can put a rendering of the elevation of the new development in the book.

 

            ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS

 

ORDINANCE NO. 44-2005  AN ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR THE ISSUANCE OF NOT TO EXCEED $1,250,000 OF RENEWAL NOTES BY THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO, IN ANTICIPATION OF THE ISSUANCE OF BONDS FOR STREET AND RELATED IMPROVEMENTS IN THE CITY, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY”

 

Mr. Knox said the people in Springdale voted in 2004 to raise the tax rate in the City.  One of the positive outcomes of that was that we could foresee that we would have the money to make street improvements late last building season and get things done before they deteriorated any more.  At that time we had a note for $1.5 million.   That money went to the street program.  You can have a note for five years.  We will be very close to paying this off so in 2006 we will have a similar ordinance for a much smaller figure.  The income of the City has been such that we are doing quite well.  We have the half percent increase in taxes but we have also increased five percent from where we would be even if we hadn’t increased the taxes.  The increased income will allow us to take care of this and proceed with the budget we have this year.  We reduced the note $250,000 already so we’re moving in the right direction.   We expect the note to come in substantially lower than the 4 ½% mentioned in Section 3.    

 

Mr. Galster made a motion to read by title only and Mr. Squires seconded.  The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.

 

Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Danbury seconded.

 

Mayor Webster said I think it is important in light of Mr. Galster’s comment regarding the prior topic, we all share the desire to try to retire this debt as much as possible.   When the 2005 budget was put together all we were going to do is roll this note in its entirety.    Since we have revenue sources stronger than what we anticipated, we suggested we retire $250,000 of the debt.  We are going to put $1.2 million into the budget and try to pay this off next year.  Unless we have a  catastrophe I guarantee you there will be a substantial reduction in this note next year.   

 

Mr. Osborn stated while we did originally vote to roll this note, we are paying off the $425,000 advance that we took from the insurance trust fund to the general fund.  As a result,  with the additional $250,000 we are retiring right now, we are retiring in total around $675,000 in debt this year.  It’s our objective to retire the balance of this 2004 note in 2006.

 

Mr. Osborn said I had a conversation with Jeff Williams, Finance Officer, earlier today asking him what he thought the true interest rate would be.  Because of the timing of the sale we are going to get a premium on the sale of the note which is cash, but translates into an effect on the interest rate.  If the note sells for what we think it will the interest rate would be closer to 3.2%. 

 

Mr. Danbury said the cost of construction material definitely would have gone up this year and next year due to the oil shortage and the demand for all the reconstruction down south.  We knew it had to be done and at 3.5% interest, it is very prudent.

 

Mayor Webster added the residents have the benefit of using the streets without potholes.

 

Mr. Knox stated the 3.2% interest reflects what the financial market thinks of the City of Springdale in financial matters and economically.

 

Ordinance 44-2005 passed with seven affirmative votes.

 

ORDINANCE NO. 45-2005  AMENDING SECTION 155.063 OF THE PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE OF THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY”

 

Mr. Galster made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.

 

Mr. Osborn said this change to the Property Maintenance Code helps us better expedite the cutting of grass on property where the owner is actually the occupant of the home.  Presently we can give notice by certified mail if there is an absentee owner, but if the property owner lives at that address, then we have to give personal service.  Sometimes this protracts the delivery process.  In the meantime the weeds continue to grow.  Under the new language the Building Department would be able to give notice by certified mail or by posting the property with a notice of the violation.  We ask Council’s favorable consideration on this as another step in addressing our concerns about the Property Maintenance Code shortcomings.

 

Mayor Webster added I might also address your attention to Section C of 155.063.  We can promptly post it.  If the owner does not comply we can go in, have the work done and have the bill for the work added to the tax bill. 

 

Ordinance 45-2005 passed with seven affirmative votes.

 

ORDINANCE NO. 46-2005 “AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO EXECUTE A CONTRACT TO PURCHASE THE HOMECOMINGS FINANCIAL NETWORK, INC., PROPERTY LOCATED AT 703 YORKHAVEN, SPRINGDALE, OHIO  45246, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY”

 

Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.

 

Mayor Webster said this goes along with the previous ordinance in trying to protect the housing stock in the City of Springdale.   If Council approves this I think you’ll have a whole street full of people that will be congratulating you for finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on this house.  I got my first call on this house two years ago from someone who lives across the street.  At that point they were totally frustrated.   This property has been tied up in bankruptcy and then foreclosure.  Within the last thirty days it has gone on the market.  We have submitted a bid for $115,000.  This is a neighborhood where a house in good condition should be selling for $150,000 to $160,000.  We certainly have some room to effect some necessary improvements and put this house back on the market, sell it and recover all of the City’s money.  That won’t be true in everything we bring to you, but I feel very good about this one.  This will be a project for our Street Maintenance Department throughout the winter.  They will be doing drywall, painting, removing pool, landscaping.  Major work such as driveway, electric, plumbing, new roof will be contracted out.

 

Mr. Danbury said a few weeks ago I went to a function.  There were about thirty Springdale residents there who were asking what Springdale can do about some of these houses.

 

Mr. Galster asked when will the property be back on the market again?  Would that happen in a relatively short period of time or when the majority of this work is completed?

 

Mayor Webster said the closing is scheduled for October 18.  We will start the improvement process.  In the interim if someone wants to buy the house I guess we would have to consider what they are going to pay us and what we have in it.  Ideally, once we start the renovation we would want to wait for spring and put the house on the market for market value.

 

Ms. Pollitt said I really do think this is a good idea.  There is a house in our neighborhood that has been rehabbed recently.  It was falling into disrepair.  Now it is nice and shiny.  I think we can turn this house into the same type of situation and make those residents up there very happy.  We will get our money back when it is sold.   We all need to keep our property values up and this is one good way of doing it.

 

Mr. Osborn stated the City also has a very powerful tool that we can use where a property owner has failed to maintain the property over time and has a continued history of violations, or has in other ways failed to address issues for which they have been cited by the Building Department.  The process would involve a notice from the Administration that we have a house that we want Council to consider.  Council would then set a public hearing and the owner of the property would be invited before you to discuss why the property should not be acquired through condemnation by the City.  If Council determines that we should pursue condemnation, then our Law Director would file condemnation proceedings in the court.  The City would have to make the same case we would always have to make, for public purpose.  It’s a tool that’s out there.  While we don’t want to use it, we do have properties in the City that may result in the use of that to get the property corrected, and that could happen in the short term.

 

Mayor Webster said the ordinance Mr. Osborn is referring to is the spot blight ordinance.  It’s primarily directed at vacant properties and habitual offenders of the Property Maintenance Code.  This is a worst case scenario, such as a house that has gone into bankruptcy and foreclosure, and for various reasons, we have not been able to effect the repairs or outstanding orders on this property.  Hopefully with the changes you have given us we wouldn’t have one get in this bad of repair before action can be taken.  This one has slowly deteriorated over two years.  It was on the market and anyone could have purchased it.

 

Mr. Vanover stated it would be a waste of time and effort if we don’t clean these up.  The house is not up to code.  If we stop short in restoring it to a nice condition, then we haven’t done anything.  The intent is to give the residents of that neighborhood a viable and redesigned house that is benefiting of their neighborhood.

 

Ordinance 46-2005 passed with seven affirmative votes.

 

ORDINANCE NO. 47-2005 “AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO EXECUTE A CONTRACT TO PURCHASE THE RUTHIE B PROPERTY LOCATED AT 11649 SPRINGFIELD PIKE, SPRINGDALE, OHIO  45246, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY”

 

            Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded.

 

            Mr. Osborn said the $50,000 sitting out there as a future obligation is a piece of property bordered on the north and west by the  CVS driveway.  The CVS driveway crosses the property we are acquiring.  If we should sell that property in the future, then we have an obligation to pay Ruth B, Inc. an additional $50,000.  If the property is sold for more than $50,000, then fifty percent of whatever is over $50,000 also goes to Ruthie B.

 

            Mayor Webster said this is another situation where we’re land banking some property and effecting a big improvement in our downtown.  The streetscape program is going forward.  We are plucking an eyesore out of the middle of that area.

 

            Ordinance 47-2005 passed with seven affirmative votes.

 

            OLD BUSINESS                                                                     -           none

 

            NEW BUSINESS

           

            Mayor Webster announced Halloween trick or treating will be October 31, 2005 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

 

            Mr. Knox said I have a request for a liquor license for Buffalo Wings & Rings at the former Baxter’s.  There were no objections.

 

            MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

            Fire Department Open House                                                -           October 8

            Planning Commission                                                                        -           October 11

            Board of Health                                                                       -           October 13

            Board of Zoning Appeals                                                         -           October 18

            Halloween Carnival                                                                 -           October 30

 

            Mr. Danbury reported you can get free smoke detectors from the Fire Department and free gun locks from the Police Department.

 

COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE                        -           none

 

UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT       -           none

 

RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED

 

Resolution for millage rate                                                      -           October 19

Contract with Rachael Schmidt                                              -           October 19

 

Council adjourned at 8:17 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        Edward  F. Knox

                                                                        Clerk of Council/Finance Director

 

Minutes Approved:

 

Kathy McNear, President of Council

 

 

 

__________________________, 2005