President of Council Kathy McNear called Council to order on January 15, 2003, at 7:30 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance. Mr. Knox gave the invocation.
Mr. Knox took roll call. Present were Council members Danbury, Galster, Pollitt, Squires, Vanover, and McNear. Mr. Wilson was absent.
The minutes of January 8, 2003 were tabled until the next Council meeting with six affirmative votes.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
Civil Service Commission Ė Mr. Strange said they finalized correspondence back to an applicant concerning an appeal. We also discussed the Cityís backfill plan for the position of violations bureau clerk and also the police custodian position. There was also discussion concerning the directorís position at Parks and Recreation. We also made a decision not to enter into a cooperative with other communities for looking for employees. With what we will be doing next year and not looking for particular positions we though it fiduciary not to do that at this time.
Rules and Laws - no report
Public Relations - no report
Public Health, Safety & Welfare - no report
Public Works - no report
Public Utilities - no report
Capital Improvements Ė Mr. Danbury reported the east side of the streetscape project is substantially complete. Work is being done on the west side. There is no change to the Kemper Road Phase II Chesterdale to Old Commons Drive program. The Sharon Road intersection construction will be resuming in March with a May completion date. Lastly, we have a little surprise with the SR 747 CSX grade separation that will be covered later by Mr. Osborn.
Finance Committee - no report
Planning Commission - no report
Planning Partnership Ė Mr. Galster said there was a meeting last week with the partnership to go over more strategies and initiatives. We never got past item one because some people were concerned that they werenít being updated and getting proper information on a timely basis. We originally had a pretty thick document that got into a lot of things. The majority of communities had a lot of the same feelings about some of those issues that we did. To date, comprehensive goals have been approved; core goals and objectives have been approved by unanimous consent. Everyone was happy with the way it was modified.
Board of Zoning Appeals - no report
Board of Health Ė Ms. Pollitt said it was a routine meeting with discussions on smallpox vaccination; food sample and pool reports.
Veteranís Memorial Committee Ė Mr. Galster said we have completed an artistís rendering of the Veteranís Memorial as we would like to see it built. However, there was some tweaking to be done. We are also in the process of establishing a non-profit organization that will go after the fund-raising for the project.
O-K-I Ė Mr. Knox stated they met last Thursday. Mr. Grieme of the Northern Kentucky Planning Commission brought up the questions he had brought up last October; that being why did the transportation in this area change in several major ways and the members of the board werenít informed of it. Mr. Grieme went further and pointed out that there is a change that drops the ridership. They were going to take a different route around Clifton rather than through a tunnel. When you take that into account, the ridership dropped so drastically that the original proposal becomes very suspect. They finally got the head of the OKI to agree that before anything further goes forward, there should be another look at this and they would come back and ensure that the plan is feasible as proposed to the citizens in November.
Mayorís Report Ė Mayor Webster said my wife and I went to Columbus to witness the swearing in of our new State Representative, Jim Raussen. This is the first time we have had a representative residing in our community since the early 70s.
Mayor Webster continued this year there were 214 citations paid for by food. The dollar cost for those fines was $8,390. This is the least amount we have foregone since the Food for Fines Program began.
Captain Hafer stated I believe the shortened holiday season had something to do with it.
Mayor Webster continued so far this winter we have spent $24,364.62 on materials and salaries to take care of our streets. This is much more than we spent for the entire year last year.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director - no report
Administratorís Report Ė Mr. Osborn said I will begin with the CSX matter Mr. Danbury referred to earlier. This is probably one of the worst bits of news Iíve had to bring to Council. The Ohio Department of Transportation has canceled the contract for the grade separation project. This was brought about because of an impasse that developed between CSX and ODOT. The full responsibility for this rests with CSX. The City, ODOT and CSX entered into whatís called a force account agreement in 2001 which set what part each party was going to do. As an example, under the Stateís contractor, it identified items A, B, C, D, E, which are primarily the construction elements. The railroad had F and G, which are signalization elements. The final plans and specifications for the project were prepared. The bids were awarded last November and the pre-construction meeting was held in December. At that point CSX decided they wanted to do more of the work themselves. They said they want to take on more of the construction work on the project. A special meeting was held to go over their proposal and the costs associated with it. Their force account as originally developed as part of this project and approved by them, identified their force account at $600,000. After the revisions they made, they now want to do A, B, C, D, and E, in addition to F and G. They want to take over the bulk of the railroad-related construction on this project. Their force account jumped to $1.8 million. That wouldnít be bad enough on its own, but in addition, this would take work from the contractor, and take the timing of the project away from the contractor. Now heís going to have to work around CSX and the likelihood is that it wonít move as quickly. As a result, the State would be faced with damages to the contractor. The State had a couple of options available to them. One was to litigate, which was the first thing I thought, but as the State pointed out, we can do that. We would be in court for a number of years, we wonít get this built, weíll lose our funding and we may never win. The State had to make a decision very rapidly because the contractor was scheduled to mobilize this week. In order to head off any additional potential damages claimed by the contractor, the State stepped in on Monday and issued an intent-to-cancel to the contractor. Despite my initial response to this, I do think ODOT is on our side. They have told us they are going to take the project back, rewrite the specifications during the course of the first half of this year to make it conform to the manner in which the railroad wants to proceed with construction on this project. The project will then be bid out next fall and the contract awarded. The best scenario is that we will experience a one-year delay. Obviously, there are complications that could creep in, such as additional costs associated with delaying the project, potential loss of funding. What we canít predict right now is whether there will be a substantial increase in cost, either through inflation or as a result of the railroad taking the bulk of the railroad related construction work. I have talked to representatives at the County Commissioners office and the director of the TID in Butler County to make them aware of this. They are all stunned that this happened. Our strategy in the next several months would be to have our engineering folks closely monitor how this is progressing through the Stateís design people. At the same time we need to nurture awareness on the part of other public officials that have a stake in this, because, quite honestly, this is a regional project. We intend to try to keep this issue before some of the other public officials out there and if it comes back on the table, someone can raise the question of how itís going. I know the Butler County TID is very interested in this job and its director will give close scrutiny to what happens henceforth. Iím sure your initial feelings are of outrage. Thatís how I felt. Now that Iíve had a few days to consider our options, I think the State is doing the right thing.
Mrs. McNear asked when does the funding expire? Mr. Osborn replied the funding does not go away. It has been awarded to this project and the project is still alive. If we run into significant delays and a couple of years expire, then I think we can lose our funding.
Mrs. McNear said we have to consider our costs. Mr. Osborn said that is a factor that I canít put a handle on. I expressed to the people at ODOT that we are not in a position to fund a significant increase in this project. They are telling me that there are limited funds at the State. Because of the timing one of the things we might talk to ODOT about is trying to attract additional funding through the LTIP program. We had never done that in the past and you donít think of this type of project being LTIP. If we get a big hit on the grade separation then we canít expect to get other major projects funded right on top of that.
Mr. Danbury said after talking with Mr. Shuler and then Mr. Osborn, my initial reaction was that they have a signed contract, letís sue them. But I believe Mr. Osborn is taking the right road. They were sitting in on every meeting and I know they have certain reasons why they are doing it. If we rebid this with the new specifications where they will be absorbing some of this, and they change it again, can we go back to the original plan?
Mr. Shuler responded the plans will stay the same. What will be repackaged is whoís going to do what parts of it. The bid documents will be different because there will be less of the project bid out to the contractor that ODOT will hire and more of the same work will be performed by CSX from their force account agreement.
Mr. Danbury said itís not only impacting us but the contractor had this project lined up and Iím sure itís impacting that company.
Mr. Vanover said the last time we were in court over the crossing upgrades, wasnít it like ten years?
Mr. Osborn replied I donít recall the timing but I did talk to ODOT about what the prospects were at litigating. Quite honestly, the railroads have a lot of law on their side. There is an interstate commerce issue here. ODOT is a little concern about the supremacy of interstate commerce authority that the railroads carry and some other issues that they raised. Itís not that we have a bad case but that they have so many things to argue that it could really protract the process. The attorneys would make a lot of money off of this and I donít know what the outcome would be.
Mr. Vanover asked how close is the utility relocation to completion and will they continue with that?
Mr. Osborn said weíre going to continue on with that. The temporary water main will be re-evaluated but the other elements are either near completion or have been completed. The right-of-way is another matter. The State has acquired most of the right-of-way and they are in court on one piece.
Mayor Webster said Mr. Osborn is right that this is the most distressing news heís had to bring before Council ever. Itís really a pathetic situation. Three parties sat down and entered into a good contract. Then one party says it wants to change things and they are so big, so powerful and strong that even the State of Ohio doesnít want to take them to court. Then we hear they have done just the opposite on other projects. Whoís to say they wonít change again and weíre sitting here in the same situation a year from now. Even worse, if they stick to their word and want to do these things, the whole project is going to be done at the pace the railroad wants to work at and we know what that is. Weíll be lucky if weíre using this underpass in 2010.
Mr. Danbury said weíre going to make it so people arenít driving over the railroad tracks. Every ten or fifteen years they have to fix the tracks; they have to maintain the gates, so actually they are going to cost themselves more money in maintaining the roadway over it by delaying it like this. Thatís why I was wondering if we could have a back up plan because we canít anticipate what they are going to do.
Mrs. McNear said in the past when they did decide to do repairs they gave the City a couple of days notice which did not give us time to notify the public and trucking carriers that use that road. Our police, fire and emergency teams arenít made aware because of a lack of communication from CSX to the City. Itís a very sad state of affairs.
Mr. Osborn said last April we had a situation where the railroad blocked the Crescentville crossing for three hours. When our Police Department investigated why the train was not moving, they found out there is a limit as to how many consecutive hours an operator can operate a train. The operator had reached the end of his timetable so he pulled the train over onto a siding. He thought he had pulled far enough forward to clear the main line but he hadnít. He got out of the train and into his car and started to drive back to his home in Indiana. When he saw the train was blocking the line he called the yard master in Cincinnati and it took them three hours to get another engineer out to move the train. We cited that operator. Under current City regulations we canít site the company. I know that Chief Laage asked the Law Director to look at whether or not we could cite the company. Tim, would you mind checking with Ken and seeing what the response was?
Mr. Osborn said there was a case decided by the U. S. Supreme Court last summer on the Watch Tower Bible and Track Society of New York versus the Village of Stratton, Ohio. That case ruled that local jurisdictions do not have the authority to regulate solicitation by political or religious organizations. We have a solicitation ordinance that requires that solicitors register. Weíve never charged political or religious solicitors but we do make them register. This case says we canít even make them register. Iíd like to have the Law Directorís office look at our solicitation regulations and bring them into conformance with this case.
Mr. Osborn continued we received a check from the State for $14,603 which represents the 2002/2003 DARE grant. The Police Department had applied for $17,800 which represented 50% of the DARE officerís salary during the nine-month period of the school year. Weíd like to express our appreciation to the Police Department, especially Officer Witte for his pursuit of this grant.
Mr. Osborn also said Iíd like Council to consider legislation at the next meeting for the lease/purchase of a 2003 Ford F550 dump truck. We had this budgeted in 2003 at $60,000. The purchase cost came in just under $45,000. For a five-year lease at 7.6% interest, the annual payments come out to be $9,983.82 so the truck would cost us $49,919.00. We will have an ordinance at the next meeting for the lease/purchase of this vehicle.
Mr. Osborn stated the date for the 2003 Employee Celebration will be March 22. Right now we are trying to plan it to be held at Dave & Busterís. Instead of an event gift, you will be given a power card.
Law Directorís Report - no report
Engineerís Report - no report
RESOLUTION R3-2003"COMMENDING C. J. NICHOLS FOR HIS SERVICE AND DEDICATION TO THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE"
Mr. Danbury made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Mr. Danbury said this is most colorful resolution weíve ever had but I think it fits the person. Heís the most colorful and loved person Iíve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I donít think you can find a person who doesnít like CJ and Charlotte. I have known them personally since ninth grade. CJ and Charlotte were always at baseball games, at football games. They were always involved in their family. Whenever there is a tournament going on, they are always up there. Anytime you saw someone talking to CJ they always had a smile on their face. CJ, youíve always been the perfect gentleman and perfect friend. Good luck with everything. I know you are going to continue on here on a part-time basis and we are glad we got to see you tonight.
Mr. Vanover said you canít add a whole lot to what Randy said but CJ is just one of those special people. Maybe once or twice in a lifetime we get touched by people like that. Thank you for everything.
Mayor Webster said Iím truly blessed to be able to call you friend and I appreciate your friendship over the years. We do appreciate your contribution to making Springdale a better place to years. Itís been a quick twenty years.
Resolution R3-2003 passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Webster presented the resolution to Mr. Nichols.
Mr. Osborn said Chief Laage wanted to me tell you that he wanted to be here tonight but he is chairing a meeting at the Community Center that he could not get out of.
Mr. Knox said we have two communications that arenít signed. If you donít sign it and put your address down we canít read it.
Mr. Knox said the other communication we have is a resume from Mr. Roger Stephenson. It reads, "I have been a resident of Springdale for 43 years. I have a daughter, Rene Staid, who resides in Danville, Kentucky and a son Mike living in Indianapolis, Indiana. I helped coach soccer and baseball for eight years. Those were the most fun years of my life. I served on Charter Revision Committee in the early 1990s, serving the last four years of a five-year terms. I served on the driveway apron replacement committee in 1997. I retired December 27 of last year from the U. S. Postal Service after 41 years of service. Roger Stephenson, 590 Cloverdale Avenue"
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
DISCUSSION OF NPDES PHASE II PERMIT PROCESS
Mr. Osborn said at the last meeting we distributed a copy of the December 30th correspondence from William Brayshaw, County Engineer. He has outlined a proposal that has been brought forward for a Storm Water Utility for Hamilton County. At the last meeting it was our recommendation that Springdale not participate in this and that remains our position. We believe that in the short term we can duplicate or improve on what has been proposed by the County and in the long term we will probably be able to position ourselves better to support the interest of the City if we are operating independently. The cost to make the application for the Phase II permit is very similar to that represented in Mr. Brayshawís letter. Over the course of the first two years the cost that he outlines for Springdale would total $11,600. Based upon a proposal we have in hand from Burgess and Nipel, we would be doing very similar work for $12,000. Itís years 3, 4, and 5 that give us greater concern because as you know from reading the material, the County has low-balled the front end numbers to give everybody an opportunity to buy in and not impact on their budgets and even talk about ramping up the costs in future years. We believe we can continue to maintain our permit at a lesser cost than if we stayed with the County. We have several concerns of creating another bureaucracy in the County, one that would give license to raise funds without a vote of the people, only by vote of the jurisdictions by buying into the program. We also are concerned that while the current proposal is for a water quality program, there are numerous indications in the document we received that the intent is to take it into storm water quantity management. Given the fact that we believe there are jurisdictions that have not done all that they can do to protect themselves and their businesses by regulating how properties are used in the flood plain, we are not as sympathetic as others might expect when it comes to providing assistance to now go back and protect facilities that have been built in the flood plain. Given that, it is our recommendation that the City operate independently and apply for our Phase II permit. We will be working in partnership with Forest Park, using the same contractor and going through the same process. I had hoped to have Mr. Butsch here this evening but he is going to graduate school at night and this is the first night of a new course so he asked if at all possible, not to miss this one. He has certainly expressed his position in other forms and he does believe the City would be best served operating independently. If Council is in agreement, then we will issue a purchase order and engage Burgess and Niple to begin work on our Phase II permit. If you prefer to go with the County we will have to adopt the resolution that Mr. Brayshaw provided and get it to the County by the end of the month.
Ms. Pollitt said it talks about the table on page 18 and thatís the annual cost to communities. Thatís assuming that all the communities listed buy in. Can you tell me what you know about the participation of the other communities?
Mr. Osborn replied as far as I know, all other jurisdictions except Forest Park and Springdale are going to participate so those numbers are fairly close to what the front end numbers would be.
Mr. Vanover said they pretty well spell out what their intent is when you look at the last line of the mission statement, "address the NPDES Phase II Storm Water Permit Regulations and efficiently and effectively manage storm water." We were at an early meeting and the original intent of this was water quality issues, not storm water control. Itís gotten away from the focus and I would wholeheartedly support that we remain independent. Mr. Vanover made a motion that Springdale remain independent. Mr. Squires seconded. The motion passed with six affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 3-2003 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT WITH BUTLER COUNTY ACTING AS LEAD AGENCY FOR THE RESURFACING OF EAST CRESCENTVILLE ROAD AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Ordinance 3-2003 passed with six affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 4-2003 "AUTHORIZING THE PURCHASE OF RIGHT-OF-WAY (ROW) RELATED TO THE EAST KEMPER ROAD IMPROVEMENT PROJECT, PHASE II FROM BRINKER OHIO, INC.
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Ms. Pollitt seconded.
Mr. Osborn reported this is right-of-way for the Phase II East Kemper Road project. We secured temporary work easements from this property owner in 2002 pending the completion of all the corporate paperwork. The numbers have been agreed to. The cost of the right-of-way is within our appraised value. The cost is also within the money we budgeted for this expense.
Mr. Parham said the heading of the document lists 855 East Kemper Road as Macaroni Grill and 925 East Kemper Road as Chiliís, but in Section 1 it gives you the reverse for the two.
Mr. Galster made a motion to correct the header and Mr. Squires seconded. The motion passed with six affirmative votes.
Mayor Webster asked is this a permanent take? How much property are we taking?
Mr. Osborn replied this is permanent. There was a temporary easement pending the adoption of the ordinance and payment.
Mr. Shuler stated we are taking approximately seven feet across the entire frontage which is a little over 500 feet and a small amount on Century Boulevard.
Ordinance 4-2003 passed with six affirmative votes.
Mr. Galster nominated Tim Miller. Mr. Squires nominated Roger Stephenson.
Mr. Miller was chose with a vote of 4-2.
RESOLUTION R32-2003 "APPOINTING TIM MILLER AS A MEMBER OF THE CHARTER REVISION COMMISSION"
Mr. Galster made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Resolution R3-2003 passed with six affirmative votes.
Ms. Pollitt said I suppose we should talk about the animal nuisance program that we talked about last week.
Mr. Galster stated I want to back off my desire to push the continued trapping of the squirrels.
Ms. Pollitt reported that the Board of Health recommends that the City continues to pay for raccoons, skunks, bats and feral cats. They have worked out an agreement with the gentleman who does the trapping to use the same rates as they charge the City for one year. I think being able to help with squirrels is a nice gesture on the part of the City but unfortunately, it has gotten to the point that it is very expensive. I think there should be a recommendation from Council that we take to the Board of Health.
Mr. Vanover said ODNR mandates that opossums must be euthanized, mostly because of distemper.
Ms. Pollitt replied we had five of them last year. Iím not sure how they were caught but I donít think we want to go out of a call for them. If one were caught the trapper would probably communicate with the Health Department on how to handle that.
Mayor Webster said this is a recommendation of the Board of Health but Council makes the final decision.
Mr. Danbury made a motion to continue the program as is. Mr. Squires seconded.
Mrs. McNear said I have used the service and really appreciated it when they took the skunks but it is really out of hand. If you had a mouse infestation you canít expect the City to pay for that. I think the time has come to put the brakes on. We are tightening up our belts in the budget every place and I think the squirrels is probably a place we should do that, especially with a suggestion from the Board of Health and I will be voting against this. The motion failed with a 2-4 vote.
Mr. Galster made a motion to modify the trapping policy in reference to the squirrels and opossums as recommended by the Health Department. Ms. Pollitt seconded. The motion passed with six affirmative votes.
Mr. Danbury asked do we need any legislation to cancel contracts on the CSX project?
Mr. Shuler answered we will be working closely with ODOT and if we need to do something we will bring that back to Council.
Mr. Vanover said in the past we have been proactive in voicing objections. Is there anybody we can voice our objections to?
Mr. Osborn responded our objective is getting the project completed. We are going to monitor very closely what ODOT is doing. At the same time we will nurture concern and attention on the part of elected officials including our State representative and senator at every opportunity we have. To seek retribution against CSX at this point is a losing game and wonít help us accomplish what we want to get done. The important thing is keeping this as a priority project and developing a knowledge of what has happened on the part of the State elected officials so if we have to press for political support on this it wonít be a new topic to them.
Ms. Pollitt asked has this ever happen to a community before, where they threw this monkey wrench in at the last minute?
Mr. Osborn replied not to the point that it caused the project to be terminated. Rick Bailey, current director of the Butler County TID was formerly with OKI and he was the one who used the term stunned. He was very instrumental over the history of this project and he has been one of the key players who brought it to where it is.
NEW BUSINESS - none
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Board of Zoning Appeals - January 21
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT - none
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Lease purchase for F550 dump truck - January 21
Council adjourned at 9:08 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Kathy McNear, President of Council