Council was called to order on Thursday, January 2, 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 Boice, Galster, Manis, McNear, Vanover, Wilson and Danbury.
The minutes of December 4, 1996 were approved with 6 affirmative votes. Mr. Wilson abstained.
The minutes of December 18, 1996 were approved with 7 affirmative votes.
The Honorable Randall Danbury: Today Cincinnati Bell Telephone filed the enclosed notice with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio for a regulatory change that would become effective in 1997.
This change is in response to drastic modifications in Federal laws that govern the telephone industry. These laws now allow competition and will require that Cincinnati Bell Telephone sell its services to competitors. The proposed changes are necessary for Cincinnati Bell Telephone to continue to provide the high quality level of service that is so important to the region.
A principal element of the filing concerns access line rates. Currently, rates for business customers are higher than rates for residential customers. The filing would reduce this difference. Business rates would decrease, and residential rates would increase.
Attached is a fact sheet that summarizes and provides additional information on this regulatory filing. If you have questions or need more information, please feel free to call me at the number below, or contact Robert Horine, Public Affairs, at (513)397-7545.
We appreciate your interest, and would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and other members of your organization to discuss this matter further.
Sincerely, Cheryl Campbell, Public Affairs Vice President
Mr. Danbury said here is the book they sent me. It is almost 300 pages if anybody would like to peruse it.
Mrs. Boice asked what is their thinking - that business rates should be reduced?
Mr. Danbury replied I really can't comment on this due to the fact that my company is going to be in competition. Also, I just received this today. I would like to pass this to Public Utilities.
Mr. Knox said I can make copies of the fact sheet and put it in each Council members' folders.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
Mr. Knox said I would like to remind everyone that the reading of this ordinance will be slightly different than the first time. We have added an emergency clause and have changed the square footage.
ORDINANCE NO. 99-1996 "AUTHORIZING THE PURCHASE OF PROPERTY FROM STERLING HOUSE CORPORATION AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded.
Mr. Galster asked does this work out to about $90,000 an acre?
Mr. Schneider responded it is about $85,000 or $87,000, which is what they paid for the property.
Ordinance 99-1996 passed with 5 affirmative votes. Mr. Galster and Ms. Manis voted no.
ORDINANCE NO. 100-1996 "AMENDING THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE, SECTION 91.10(A) EXCESSIVE SOUND PROHIBITED TO ESTABLISH NOISE LIMITATIONS FOR BUSINESSES USING EXTERNAL SPEAKER DEVICES"
Mr. Galster made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Ordinance 100-1996 was approved with 7 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 1-1997 "ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE FOR FISCAL YEAR ENDING DECEMBER 31, 1997"
Mr. Galster asked under Council, what other items might be covered under the $64,000?
Mr. Osborn replied if you are looking at the recapitulation I really can't tell you. That is a document that is a combination of a number of items from our budget that has to fit into specific categories the Budget Commission uses. I will defer that to Mr. Knox. Look at Council information on the green bar paper. If you look at the page that has Court Expenses at the top, about 2/3 of the way down the page, you will see Personal Service-Legislative, $32,100. That would continue down to Codification-Legislative. That would be the last item. Those nine items are the ones I can account for. Personal Service is about $32,000; Public Information which is the newsletter, etc., is about $20,000. The Codification is $6,5000, etc.
Mr. Knox said those are the totals. These figures were taken directly from the budget.
Mr. Galster said I just wonder why cultural facilities, activities and concessions - whether they are under Parks or Recreation, are separated as well.
Mr. Knox said you are exactly right. It is under Parks and Recreations. It's Hamilton County auditors' terminology that we must fit our numbers into. We ourselves would not call it the exact same thing if we had the opportunity but we don't have that opportunity.
Mr. Osborn said I think you can see our budget is much more detailed than the County budget report. So we have to shoe horn a far more complex budget into a much more simplistic format in order to do their budget report. This recapitulation is taking our budget and transforming it into the terminology the Budget Commission uses.
Ordinance 1-1997 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 2-1997 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO AMEND THE CONTRACT OF CDS ASSOCIATES, INC. FOR ENGINEERING SERVICES TO THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mrs. McNear seconded.
Ordinance 2-1997 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 3-1997 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO AMEND THE AGREEMENT WITH WOOD & LAMPING FOR LEGAL SERVICES TO THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mrs. Boice made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Ordinance 3-1997 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION NO. R1-1997 "AUTHORIZING THE INVESTMENT OF MUNICIPAL FUNDS"
Ms. Manis made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded.
Mr. Wilson asked have we determined how we are going to invest these funds?
Mr. Knox responded every Monday we contact the three banks we normally do business with and the State of Ohio for their Star Ohio fund. We put the money in the fund that has the highest return. For approximately the last four months Star Ohio has been a minimum of 7 basis points and at times over 20 basis points higher than anyone else so right now we are in Star Ohio.
Ms. Manis asked is this just our annual ordinance we have to do every year to allow us to do that?
Mr. Knox replied yes.
Resolution R1-1997 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION NO. R2-1997 "REQUESTING ADVANCE PAYMENT FROM THE COUNTY AUDITOR"
Mrs. Boice made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded.
Resolution R2-1997 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
Mr. Knox said as you remember, Mr. Danbury, a Mrs. Sandy Edmison addressed the Council concerning the question of county taxes, in the state of Kentucky in her case, being credited in lieu of Springdale taxes. I've done some research in that and have given you and Ms. Manis some information on that. It seems that there are in Hamilton County twelve municipalities which do allow County tax in both Indiana and Kentucky to be used in lieu of municipal taxes, Forest Park being the latest one added to the list. Others are Cincinnati, Amberly Village, St. Bernard, Reading, quite a few places including the city of Fairfield in Butler County. It is a question Council would have to resolve as to whether they want to credit it and to what extent. As it stands right now our tax code has a statement in there saying earnings taxes from municipalities and it doesn't go any further than that. If Council saw fit we could add the words "and counties" to it. I think that would be the simplest thing if that is desired. I would request that if Council sees fit to do this that we do it as of the first of January. Forest Park made a small mistake and they now have three different time periods where it is credited, not credited and something else. If we were to do it the first of January would be, by far, the best date. We have no direct way of pulling out of the data base the amount of money it would cost us. There is no coding for such a thing and we don't have all the numbers anyway. The people in the Tax Department don't believe there are that many people working in that area so the amount of money would probably fall in the range of $3,000 to $5,000 credit. That is an educated guess.
Mr. Galster asked in the existing Tax Code does it says municipalities for Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana or just Ohio?
Mr. Knox replied it just uses the word municipalities. As far as I know there is no county in the state of Ohio that has a county earnings tax. If I were to guess, it's probably a boilerplate statement somebody pulled out and put in the Charter, thinking since Ohio counties didn't have taxes, no one else probably did either, and they probably didn't at that time.
Mr. Galster stated you are not sure if municipalities outside of the state of Ohio are credited or not credited at this point.
Mr. Knox responded municipalities are, wherever they are.
Mr. Danbury said I did speak with Mr. Knox and left a message with Ms. Manis because she is on Rules and Laws and Finance that I think it would be appropriate to try to come up with a recommendation. If we do it I agree we should do it retroactive to January 1, 1997. That way we can work with a clean slate.
Ms. Manis asked if Mr. Knox could copy the information she has for everybody.
Mr. Knox said I will do it right now.
Mr. Danbury asked if Council has a problem with the premise of what they are looking at.
Mrs. Boice said no. In working on the Tax Review Board I think with an appeal like this, it's a case where you are paying the tax and I don't see the difference between municipal and county. I think the fact that the surrounding cities, especially Forest Park and Fairfield, are already doing this I would think Springdale would certainly want to be in step with that. I hope we can get that legislation passed quickly so the Tax Department can roll with this January 1.
Mr. Danbury said if there are no objections tonight we can instruct Mr. Schneider to enact legislation at our next meeting with the emergency but I do want to have more discussion on this issue right here.
Mr. Galster said if you live in Springdale and work in Sharonville and you pay Sharonville city tax, does Sharonville reimburse the City or we never get any money back from them at all.
Mr. Knox stated the money stays in the municipality where the person works. In the page from the Tax Code that I have there I used the words "or county". I have given that further thought and it's possible that the words "and county" might be better. If we put the word "or" in there it might be construed that you only get one of the two. The question that Council would have to answer, therefore, would be do you want one tax or the other or do you just want it to go up to but no higher than 1%. If you put "and" in there you would not be going above 1%.
Mrs. Boice said 1% is what we grant everybody else. I certainly wouldn't want any change on that.
Mr. Knox said I'm not saying that would change but say Florence had a 1/2% tax and Boone County had a 1/2% tax making a total of 1%. If we put the word "or" in there it could be construed that a person could only get 1/2%, one or the other. If we put the word "and" in there, then the person could get the full 1% which is our tax.
Mrs. Boice said if they pay 1/2% there, they have to pay the other 1/2% here.
Mr. Knox responded they are running into a situation where both the cities and counties are charging them tax.
Mrs. Boice replied yes, I would agree with that. I also agree very strongly that this become the first year we are going to do this. I don't want to backtrack because then we would be in a real nightmare.
Mr. Danbury said suggested putting "and/or counties".
Mr. Schneider said villages would be included. There is no township tax in Ohio but is there elsewhere? In essence we want to give credit to any local government taxation as I understand it.
Mr. Knox stated we must be careful to have tax on earned income because some of the counties in Kentucky have other taxes such as mental health funds and we really would like to restrict it to earned income.
Mr. Osborn said I was just going to mention that I see a number of places right in here where we will have to change our nomenclature. We refer to it as a municipal income tax. Municipal income tax would imply just municipalities. I think the Law Director will have to take a broader look than just at the items we discussed so far to see how changing the scope of the credit would alter how we refer to this tax throughout the rest of the Tax Code.
Mr. Danbury asked again if it is unanimous that Council would support legislation coming in to rectify the situation. Everyone agreed.
Mr. Danbury said I requested some procedures from Mr. Schneider's office a while back and hopefully with the new year we can get something coming forth. It's a procedure on how elected officials can and should deal with department heads. I don't know if anybody saw in the paper a while back but there is a situation in another community where a Council member allegedly contacted a police officer to find out about an investigation and the Law Director had stepped in and mentioned that this is possibly criminal action because he/she could have tainted something. It's just a rule of guidance and I just want to make sure in the future that everybody knows on any issue with any department head, what our responsibilities are and what we really can't be doing. You can do it at your own will but I do want to let everyone know this can help alleviate any problems in the future. It's not legislation; it's a guideline. I'm just trying to keep out any fires that might arise in the future. I'm not saying it has happened or will happen but I'd rather be proactive on this situation.
Ms. Manis asked Mr. Shuler, who's equipment is that in front of Showcase Cinemas?
Mr. Shuler replied the construction trailers out there are part of an ODOT project on I-275; however, it's a little further down. It's not within municipal borders. They contacted Mr. Sears about that and he said we'd rather not see it there. However, ODOT told the contractor that's where they could put it. As you know, we got that all cleaned up after our Rt. 4 ramp project last year and things are starting to look nice. Then they move back in and put new equipment in there. Unfortunately I did not ask. I do not know how long it will be there but I can find out if you are interested.
Ms. Manis said I thought that's what it was but I just wanted to make sure it is state equipment. We have that nice big area there to use and I'm sure they wanted to take advantage of it.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Board of Health January 9, 7 p.m.
Board of Zoning Appeals January 21, 7:30 p.m.
Planning Commission January 14, 7:00 p.m.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE
Brad Combs, 11646 Neuss Avenue, asked if the City could obtain the Swallen's building as a second rec center for alternative activities such as skating. Its size would be excellent and it would be a good place for the kids in the neighborhood to go skating. Right now we have trouble leaving the dead end street I live on without being followed by the police.
Shawn Edmison, 11681 Van Camp Lane, said it's getting so bad that we go skating and maybe we break down and they'll just ask us to leave the property. If we can't leave fast enough they'll call the police and have us taken away.
Brad Combs said maybe we could start a hockey team in the City. There would be more than enough room in the basement of this building to build an indoor court. It would be relatively inexpensive because there are already concrete floors. There is a possibility of getting inter city roller hockey teams starts and people from other areas are trying to do the same thing. You can charge a fee for the roller hockey team to cover the cost as well as charge admission to the skating area.
Ms. Manis said we have had people here before about skateboarding, etc., and we have looked at ramps and things. I know with the X games the alternative sports are getting bigger and bigger. I'm sure there are other things involved besides buying the building and setting it up. If you know anybody else who might be interested in investing as a business opportunity I think it would be an excellent idea for a private thing such as at Icelands. They're making money hand over fist over there. If somebody could use that building for that I think it would be excellent but I don't think that's what the City is looking for right now. We are looking at expanding our facilities elsewhere.
Mrs. Boice said I think it's an excellent idea. You say it could pay for itself. I think one thing you have not included here is that that is an expensive piece of property. When you say it could easily be converted because of the cement floor, I think through experience, when you are remodeling something, that is almost more costly than leveling and starting over. The big ticket item I don't think you've included in your projections is staffing. That is a very big ticket item. If it were owned by the City it would have to be under the jurisdiction of the City and the City would have to do the hiring, firing, insurance, etc. It would be a very costly venture. I agree completely with Ms. Manis. I think it is a good idea. In fact, a couple of months ago my daughters and I were just discussing how great it would be for a skating rink and the different things with the different levels. I'm sure all of us seated here are familiar with the building. I don't know if anyone knows what the appraisal of that property is but I think it would be tremendous. I think the staffing would be a very big ticket item.
Mrs. McNear said recently I was looking for property to move my business into and the Swallen's building is one I was interested in because it was so close to the expressway and close to retail. To lease that building they want approximately $20 a square foot. That's a tremendous amount of money especially when you look at the size you would need for an ice skating rink, ramps for skating or skateboarding. It would be very expensive to do. As Mrs. Boice said, sometimes it is more expensive to remodel than it is to build a facility of that sort.
Mr. Danbury said we had this come up about six months ago. We looked at the cost of putting together some ramps. We're looking at over $100,000. It is becoming more and more popular. We just did an extensive survey of our citizens and that was one of the questions that was asked. Would you be interested in this kind of thing? I just don't see that we would get a big return on our dollar for over $100,000.
Mr. Galster said I know Icelands had a problem when they were trying to move into the old Macro building. Removing columns to make a rink is a major undertaking. The cost to reconstruct that would be tremendous. The other thing I think we should be considering here is I think there are a lot of in-line skaters. I think there are a lot of them who want to play hockey and maybe we need to look at how many people use the handball courts for handball. Maybe we can put a summertime portable in-line skating rink in that handball concrete area and put down the pad they use for in-line skating and hockey and put up a board so the ball doesn't fly all over the place and everyone isn't running into the grass to get the puck or ball back. I think that's a more viable alternative as far as cost. Unfortunately, it doesn't take into account the skateboarding.
Ms. Manis said I agree with Mr. Galster. I think it can be done rather cheaply and in the summer the court is used for warming up, softball, etc. that it wasn't intended to be meant for. I also just want to tell you that you aren't the first ones. We were sitting at the bank one day and although my kids are younger they had similar ideas. They thought it would be a great place for Leaps and Bounds or Discovery Zone with tunnels, slides, etc.
Shawn Edmison asked if the City could at least give us the land to build on. We could probably salvage up enough money to build structures. Maybe you could give us a piece of Ross Park right now. There is nothing there.
Mr. Danbury said that is really out of the Parks and Recreation Commission as to the land we have. There would have to be some recommendations. We did visit this this past year. We can revisit it. We can bring it back to the Parks and Recreation Board and have them look at it. That land or other parcels may be committed for other activities. I'm not saying you don't have a valid interest. I know there are a lot of people who like to in-line skate and skateboard and I know it is dangerous and you can't do it on the streets. We can send it back to the Parks and Recreation Board and see what the recommendation would be. Right now I don't think it would be appropriate for us to say, okay, you can have this area here. Mr. Osborn, what would you recommend?
Mr. Osborn said yes, I'm sure we can do that but again, this was the exact piece of property we looked at. Since it is City property we would have responsibility for liability. We looked at the cost of constructing a vert ramp, other types of apparatus for in-line and skateboard use. Our costs were around $100,00. We concluded it was not cost justified in terms of the interest it would meet. There was not that much interest expressed from the community. Council at that time chose to drop the project. We can certainly put the issue back to Recreation Commission as to whether they would like to look at that again. To be fair to you, we've been here one time already and decided to pass on it.
Mr. Danbury stated it is not a dead issue but it is something we have visited and we may be able to come up with a solution in the immediate future but chances are it's going to be a while. We don't have that kind of money we can just put into something like this unless our citizens really would use it a lot.
Ms. Manis said they can go to the Rec Commission meeting themselves. You can tell them your ideas and see what they have to say. And also if you have a proposal write it up and give it to the Rec Center people or someone up here. We'll look at it. Like Mr. Galster said, get a petition with lots of signatures.
Mr. Galster said if we see a sincere interest in that then it would be a different story.
Ms. Manis said when the skateboarders came it was three guys and then we never heard from anyone else who was interested. It's kind of hard to say we'll spend $100,000 for three people but thanks for coming up.
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Danbury said as everyone can see we have cleaned up a lot of the information. Items 1 and 2 are still open. That is dealing with the jail cell facility for Glendale. We completed items 3, 4, 5 and 6 tonight. Mr. Osborn do you anticipate having legislation next time on item 7 dealing with urban renewal?
Mr. Osborn replied I anticipate having a report to you on the topic by the next meeting but not legislation. It would be premature to do that before we have a discussion with City Council.
Mr. Danbury said there is nothing that is still outstanding. I would like to add one item. Can we talk to the City of Glendale and see what we need to do about that traffic light at Rt. 4 and Sharon? I've talked to a number of people who were talking about the near misses there.
Mr. Osborn asked Mr. Shuler if he knows when that is going to be upgraded. It's programmed to be reconstructed. It would be a lead and lag type left turn so you would not be confronting oncoming traffic to make a left turn. It's not going to change the geometrics but it's going to allow you to make a left turn without you having to guess as to whether or not there are cars coming head on.
Mr. Shuler said that project is tracking about the same as those two signals that we have into ODOT for construction, the Kemper/McGillard and Kemper/Lawnview signals so it will be built sometime this year but obviously we don't know exactly when since it's an ODOT construction project. Mr. Osborn is correct, when that new signal goes, it won't change the geometrics but it increases the number of phases than can be built into the signal so we won't have those movements happening at the same time and we will at least be able to increase the safety by putting that new signal in.
Mr. Danbury asked if there will be a left turn arrow.
Mr. Shuler said yes, the left turns will move on an arrow versus just the green ball which is at your own risk as it is now.
RECAP OF LEGISLATION FOR NEXT MEETING
Mr. Danbury said we have legislation from Mr. Knox dealing with the earnings tax issue and we will request an emergency on that.
Council adjourned at 7:55 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Randy Danbury, President of Council