President of Council Marjorie Harlow called Council to order on
March 17, 2010, at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance. Mrs. McNear gave the invocation.
Mrs. McNear took roll call. Present were Council members Diehl, Galster, Hawkins, Squires, Vanover and Harlow.
The minutes of March 3, 2010 were not approved. There were only three affirmative votes. Mr. Galster, Mr. Diehl and Mrs. Harlow abstained. Mrs. Emerson was absent.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
Civil Service Commission Mr. Potts reported a written test for eligible candidates for police sergeant will be conducted in June. We received updates on several open positions: captain in the Fire Department, patrol officer, Assistant Superintendent of Public Works and administrative assistant in Parks and Recreation. The annual report of activities for the previous calendar year was signed and sent to the State today.
Rules and Laws Mr. Hawkins stated we have been looking for our Rules of Council, which are located in the Code under Title 3, Chapter 30, Council Rules of Procedure. Once we located those, we have looked at eight neighboring municipalities. We have noticed a few things that we need to change or dont do. The times of the meetings are listed at 7:30 p.m. instead of 7:00. The gender throughout could be changed as it all references Mr. President, or he, he, he. The rules also indicate that the Committee for Laws and Rules is to review all legislation prior to it coming to Council excluding things that come from the City Solicitor. We also noticed in comparison to other municipalities some differences, in that some of them indicate the amount of meetings that folks have to attend, the number of committees they must be on, maximums and minimums, disciplinary things. We will bring to Council some recommendations to change some things so that we are in conformance with what our rules and procedures are.
Mr. Vanover said some of those will probably require populist vote because they are tied to the Charter.
Mr. Hawkins responded not everything necessarily is. If something is tied to the Charter such as stuff with Board of Zoning Appeals and Planning Commissions assignments, you would have to change the Charter. The smaller issues arent tied to the Charter and can be addressed here.
Mayor Webster said I think three things can come out of this Rules and Laws review. We can go back to live by the rules, change the rules or in some cases, it could be something out of our hands.
Mrs. Harlow said when we get to that stage I would like to have a working session so its a little less formal.
Finance Committee - no report
Planning Commission Mr. Galster said Planning Commission has had two meetings since I last reported. However, the agendas were basically the same so Ill concentrate on the March meeting. Springdale Family Medicine has had a name change and new sign was approved 6-0. Thompson Thrift asked for a revised development plan for 11580 Princeton Pike. This development was originally approved months ago but the applicant has come back with a smaller building and plans to expand in phases. We went from 12 variances from BZA to one. That was approved 6-0. The next item was a major modification to the Princeton Plaza shopping center. Though it is not required we will be asking the applicant to make a presentation to City Council. There are major sign changes, fašade modifications, and a rework of Office Depot. This applicant was talking about phases also and Phase 1 is just signs. They did say they would paint the facades and building to get the look of the changes. This was tabled 6-0. We have a working session on Friday morning with the applicant to try to work through some of the issues we have.
Board of Zoning Appeals Mr. Hawkins said there were two issues. Mercy Medical Associates/Springdale Family Medicine at 212 W. Sharon Road was granted a variance for a ground sign with a zero foot setback from the right-of-way. Thompson Thrift, 11580 Princeton Pike requested a variance to develop the property and a variance was granted for a one foot set back on Princeton Pike. That was also granted.
Board of Health Mr. Squires said the Springdale Board of Health will now be a Level 1 Certification Training Facility. Nuisance complaints are down. They are getting hold of bedbug issues in some complexes. H1N1 vaccine is still available. The Childrens Health Fair will be held May 6.
O-K-I - no report
Mayors Report Mayor Webster read a press release regarding BHE: BHE Environmentals headquarters in Springdale will soon be home to southwest Ohios largest private solar array as Phase 1 of a planned 150 Kw project that will be installed and generate electricity by the end of March 2010. Phase 1 will provide thirty percent of the electricity needed to operate the Cincinnati headquarters. BHE expects to generate a surplus of power during low consumption periods and will sell the power back to Duke. Not only does harnessing solar power to supply our business needs make good economic sense, but BHE is taking action to build a more sustainable environment for our employees and our community according to John Brock, President of BHE Environmental. As we work with our clients to develop and build out the renewal energy strategies and portfolios we want to operate from a position of leadership and innovation from all areas, not just in the professional services we provide. The project is a step, albeit a small one, to lowering our dependence on carbon based power and proving our long term prospect of environmental sustainability. BHE is a multi disciplinary environmental and engineering services firm serving industry, commercial, institutional and government clients nation-wide with core partners. Mayor Webster said we have made contact with the folks at BHE and wed like to present them with a resolution at the next Council meeting commending them for their achievement.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director Mrs. McNear said we have extended hours in the Tax Department. The hours will be Monday through Thursday, April 5th to 9th from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 :00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. They will also have the extended hours on April 12th to 14th from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Thursday, April 15th from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Also, another reminder for elected officials that April 15th is the day your Ohio Ethics filing is due. The questions for your position may change so dont just copy last years form.
Administrators Report Mr. Parham said I want to commend Mr. Williams and his staff in the Tax Department on the expanded hours. In the past they have worked on Saturdays in order to accommodate the public. They have been able to adjust the schedules of some of those employees as part of our cost containment process in order to eliminate overtime and those ladies will adjust their schedules and work until 7:00 p.m.
Mr. Parham stated the City Administration has been investigating the opportunity to look at purchasing our electrical energy through a wholesale supplier. The Mayor and I attended a Hamilton County Municipal League meeting in Sharonville in February in which there was a presentation by Good Energy out of the City of New York. They are a broker in electrical energy. They made a presentation to the municipal league about trying to bring together municipalities in the Greater Cincinnati area to form an aggregation for electrical energy. Good Energy promised a savings for each jurisdiction that participates. We are only talking about the facilities of each of the public institutions, the Municipal Building, Public Works, Fire, Police and Recreation Center as well as traffic lights, all those things that generate energy. We have nineteen accounts that cover a multitude of situations for us. The more kilowatts per hour that you bring to the table the lower the rates should be. Duke Retail Sales were promising a fifteen percent savings if you use their services. At the presentation Good Energy guaranteed that they could save more than fifteen percent. The Center for Local Government will serve as host for the aggregate. They asked us to provide three months of electrical bills to Good Energy. We all sent in the information and received back on Monday an analysis of each communitys bills. Even with the legislation we have tonight we have not made the final commitment. We are asking for authorization to enter into this collaborative. We are going to rely on the Executive Director for the Center of Local Government to look at the actual numbers when the brokers take it out to the market to determine whether or not it is something we think would be beneficial to us. Nineteen communities submitted their information. Of those, results from sixteen communities were received back from Good Energy. One decided by Charter they could not participate and two did not provide all the necessary information so they were not included in the calculation. Loveland indicated that they had found another supplier. One other community decided Monday to go along with Duke because Duke promised them fifteen percent savings. The analysis came out Monday afternoon. We received ours. The numbers indicate we would experience a thirty-eight percent savings. They were only looking at the month of December which factored out to about $12,300 a month or $147,000 over a twelve month period. If you compare that to what Loveland has received, thirty-six months at $132,000 savings to Springdales estimated $147,000 savings, our numbers look pretty good. Loveland has since received their analysis from Good Energy and I think they are taking another look before they commit to the First Energy Group. This is electric only and does not address gas. The FPP (Fuel Power Purchase rider) is defined as the primary vehicle by which Duke Energy is able to increase generation costs passed onto customers without changing the established BGS (Base General Supply) rates. When they need to capture costs for things like the storm of 2008, they get approval from PUCO and then they can institute these riders. The FPP rates have increased seven percent for the month of January. If you compare the savings of the December bills they are assuming we would have an even greater savings if we looked at our January bill. That is to say, when they performed this analysis the conditions that exist in December, if they are the same conditions today, that is the savings we would realize when they go out to the market. We are hoping that happens real soon because the more time we delay, the less time were going to experience those savings. We want to make our commitment. If you had a chance to review the legislation you would see that it speaks to us having the ability to join the collaborative, but also gives us the ability that just in case those numbers arent to our satisfaction, that we have the ability to look at other brokers and suppliers in order to find a way to experience the savings.
Mrs. Harlow said the service is still provided by Duke, right?
Mr. Parham responded Yes, Duke would continue to provide the repair service. If we called Duke for a repair, the repairman who comes out does not know who is providing our service.
Mr. Vanover said some savings programs involve demand meters where they can shut down the power during peak periods. Is this part of that?
Mr. Parham replied as I understand it, that is part of the process. The representative said it depends on how you use your energy. Most of our communities are going to be using our energy at the same time but some municipalities may have a water feature or something that shifts operations during nighttime and may come in at a lower rate.
Mr. Vanover said Duke is a multi-state operation. They are bringing in manpower from other areas.
Mayor Webster said the good news is we can save $147,000 a year. The bad news is the contract will only last through 2011. Duke has to go back to PUCO and get a new contract with them. I would think the numbers will probably change in 2011 but the disparity will still be there.
Mr. Galster asked is there any way to have a residential rider in the agreement so the residents can utilize the buying power that the City has?
Mayor Webster replied according to Good Energy the savings isnt there for the residential customer. You probably have gotten solicitations from Duke so you can save some money but with the small amount of wattage you are using it doesnt justify the savings. We could aggregate the whole Citys usage but that puts the City in the utility business and I dont think we want to go there.
Mr. Galster said I understand. I was just trying to figure out a way to get the buying power for all the residents of the City.
Mayor Webster said I would venture to say if we embarked upon that now, that 12/31/2011 would have come and gone, and wed still be trying to figure out who wants in.
Mr. Parham stated you really need to have the authority from your legislative body in order to participate in the collaborative, because by the time they get the rates its too late if you then have to go back to the legislative body. It seems to me that years ago during deregulation, if you wanted to include the whole City, then each residential unit had the ability to opt in or opted out. I think that just stretches it out further.
Mr. Parham continued that a new fire captain has been appointed and at the April 7th meeting we would like to have the Fire Chief come in and introduce him as well as share some other information.
Mr. Parham continued by the time we have our next Council meeting we will have experienced our first cost containment day. On Friday, April 2nd, the Municipal Building, Community Center, and Public Works buildings will be closed. The public safety building operations will be open. The Community Center will be open Saturday, April 3, however will be closed on Easter Sunday, April 4.
Mr. Parham stated the Hamilton County Sheriffs Department is responsible for notifying where sexual offenders or sexual predators are located within communities throughout the State. We have been notified that the County Sheriff has suspended that notification process because of a lawsuit that was filed in 2009 by an offender who indicated that his civil rights were being violated. City Council passed Ordinance 35-1999 that expanded who would receive notifications in the City of Springdale. At that time the Sheriffs responsibility was for residents adjacent to the offenders location, daycares, schools, and adult daycare facilities. The City expanded the process to include residents, commercial establishments including the malls and apartment complexes who are within a two block radius. At that time the titles that were given to the offenders were habitual sexual offenders and predators. Over the years there have been constant appeals and challenges to the law itself. Today there are new titles. A habitual sexual offender was defined as someone who commits two or more specified sexual offenses. A sexual predator is someone who was determined by the court to be likely to commit a sex offense in the future. Some individuals still receive the title of sex offender but not habitual sex offender, and others receive sexual predator. At that time the only ones the County was sending notices for was sexual predators. They have over time changed to Tier 1 offenders, Tier 2 offenders and Tier 3 offenders. Tier 3 is the most serious and sexual predators are included in that tier. Tier 3 is the only one receiving notices under the County Sheriff. The Sheriff has delayed that process because of a lawsuit. Apparently, there was an individual who was a Tier 2 at some point who had been elevated to a Tier 3. Once he goes to Tier 3, a notice will go out. He then filed the lawsuit and the County Sheriff felt while this lawsuit was in place, they would not send out any future notices until it is resolved. They do believe that they will prevail and that it should conclude in the next couple of months. I had a meeting earlier today with the Police Chief and our Juvenile Officer, who says the law constantly changes. Even if we update our ordinance it is going to change again because there are constant challenges to the law. As we look at our ordinance, because it refers to habitual sexual offenders and sexual predators and it has a notice provision, there are some things we think we need to update in the ordinance including the tier system as well as changing the definition of whos to get and receive the notices. The County Sheriff says we are the most active municipality and nobody else performs in this manner. Our juvenile officer checks the Hamilton County Sheriffs website for sexual offenders on a weekly basis. Currently there are fifteen offenders that reside in Springdale. If he finds a new offender listed on the website, he then visits that offender, introduces himself to them and wants to make sure that they are aware that we know where they are located. If they change their location they should let us know because if he goes back, and he does go back three times a year to each of the offenders, if he goes back and they are no longer residing he will turn that information back over to the County Sheriff. They will then put a warrant out for that individual. We have a very proactive program. We are looking at our current ordinance with the Law Office and Police Department. We will come up with a document, which we think is appropriate to present to a Council committee to review and determine where we are now and where we hope to be in the future. Then Council can choose whether to adopt a new ordinance or not.
Mr. Galster asked was there a change originally as to how much distance was notified and do we do notification outside of what Hamilton County does?
Mr. Parham said in 1999 the Sheriffs responsibility was to send it to adjacent properties and we went two blocks. Now the State law says within 1,000 feet which I think is better. The Attorney Generals office can define what a neighborhood is. They can say its a subdivision or the entire city. In 1999 Springdale was broader than Hamilton County. We quit sending our notification when Hamilton County quit sending their notification.
Mr. Galster asked do we notify our residents or does Hamilton County do the notifying?
Mr. Parham responded we added to what Hamilton County did in 1999. Since then, as it continuously evolved, they changed it to 1,000 feet. Ours has always been the two block radius.
Mr. Hawkins stated under the old classification system there was more subjectivity as an offender would be screened by a professional and they would make a determination of what their classification was. With the tiers, there is no more subjectivity. Its all objective based on the offense the person has committed and been found guilty of. There may have been people classified at a lower level who have been classified at a higher level with the new tier system and vice versa. Did you get any feel if those numbers had gone up or down based on that?
Mr. Parham replied we have fifteen offenders in all three tiers. If you are moved into Tier 3 a notice will be sent.
Mr. Forbes said I dont have all the details about the lawsuit that has sparked all of this but that is one of the issues. The offender under the old law was in a classification that did not require public notification. When the State law changed, he was reclassified as a Tier 3 offender simply by the offense that he had committed. One of the elements of the lawsuit is whether that can be applied retroactively or whether its constitutional in the first place.
Law Directors Report - no report
Engineers Report Mr. Shvegzda reported construction will probably start in late May for the ST 4 southbound lane addition at I-275. The Northland Boulevard repair and resurfacing project is anticipated to begin in April. The Beaver Run Creek riparian restoration final plans and specifications should be complete the week of March 29. The plans for Merchant Street repair and resurfacing are complete and being reviewed by the Public Works Department. A request for funding has been sent for the Ross Park vehicular bridge replacement in the amount of $360,000. Well see how fortunate we are in that funding application. Revised plans have been submitted to ODOT for SR 4 south (Cameron to Sharon) repair and resurfacing.
Mr. Vanover asked Mr. Shvegzda please keep me in the loop on the Beaver Run project? I heard the Jobs package went through. Do we have any jobs on the horizon?
Mr. Shvegzda responded there are certain billions of dollars committed to highway infrastructure but were not sure if its going directly into the highway trust fund or if a portion is freed up for these types of projects that are not in the pipeline.
Mayor Webster stated we have approval for 100 percent reimbursement for the SR 4 project from Cameron to Sharon if that Jobs bill goes through. If the Jobs bill doesnt go through, then we dont do the project. The same is true for the gabion wall at Beaver Creek, Merchant Street and Ross Park bridge.
Mr. Parham said we do have funding in 2013 for SR 4 if it doesnt go through sooner. Also, the information we saw on the Jobs program was focused more on public jobs
Mr. Shvegzda said it would be funneled to the states for use of various governmental organizations for maintaining different staff positions.
Mr. Vanover asked do we know how soon they will start up on I-275 again?
Mr. Shvegzda replied they are currently performing certain aspects of the work there. There are a couple of areas where there is a gap in the permanent center barrier as well as some signs. The final paving work is in the June time frame.
Mrs. McNear said we have a letter from the Liquor Control Board to inform us that all permits in Springdale for selling of alcoholic beverages will expire on June 1, 2010. They suggest we contact our local law enforcement agency to determine if we have had any issues in the past. I will contact the Police Department and report back at the next meeting.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE
Tom Weidman, Sycamore Board of Trustees introduced himself and said he is a candidate for State Representative in the 28th House District.
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
ORDINANCE NO. 7-2010 AMENDING SECTIONS 153.523 AND 153.531 OF THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE ZONING CODE REGARDING ELECTRONIC SIGNS
Mayor Webster said I commend Planning Commission for their work. There were lots of meetings to come to this point. Its long overdue. You see the electronic signs in other cities. I think the demand has been there and what the commission has tried to do is put us in a situation where were competitive and our business communities have the same opportunities for signs as other communities, but at the same time, weve tried to keep our finger on the pulse, and not go hog wild and have electronic signs all over the place. They put a lot of controls in here. Its a good first step. Time will tell if it has to be tweaked as we go forward. I urge Council to adopt this.
Mr. Galster said probably the biggest issue the committee looked at was the quality of the sign. We have addressed the locations. You need to have a certain amount of frontage, a certain amount of leasable space, and the actual numbers are relatively small for the actual sign. One sign of 75 square feet is the maximum with the understanding that the businesses would have an appeal process. We were approached by a county in a southern state who wanted to use this as one of their model ordinances.
Ordinance 7-2010 passed with six affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 8 - 2010 AUTHORIZING THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT FOR ALTERNATIVE SUPPLY OF WHOLESALE ELECTRIC ENERGY AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Ordinance 8-2010 passed with six affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 9-2010 AMENDING THE CODIFIED ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO, TO AMEND SECTIONS (A)(3)(a) AND (A)(3)(b) OF CHAPTER 153 .533 OF THE SPRINGDALE ZONING CODE
Mr. Parham said this is the legislation that would renew the one year temporary banner permit allowing banners for a period of thirty days that can be renewed for twelve months. The current one expires April 17th and the new one would go into effect on May 7th.
Mr. Galster said there are businesses using this and I think its been a good ordinance.
ORDINANCE NO. 10-2010 AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 26-2008 TO CONFIRM THE DESIGNATION OF DEPOSITORIES FOR THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Ordinance 10-2010 passed with six affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 11 -2010 AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 2-2009 TO PROVIDE A WAGE ADJUSTMENT FOR CERTAIN POSITIONS ON THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE PAY CLASSIFICATION TABLE AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Ordinance 11-2010 passed with six affirmative votes.
OLD BUSINESS - none
NEW BUSINESS - none
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Charter Revision - March 29,
Finance Committee - April 5, 11 a.m.
Board of Health - April 8
Rules and Laws - April1 12, 5:30 p.m.
Planning Commission - April 13
Special Planning Commission - April 19
Board of Zoning Appeals - April 20
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
Mr. Squires made a motion that Council go into executive session as a committee of the whole to discuss personnel issues and possible litigation. Mr. Vanover seconded. The motion passed with six affirmative votes.
Council went into executive session at 8:35 p.m. and reconvened at 9:08 p.m.
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Ordinance 9-2010 - April 7
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
BHE resolution - April 7
Council adjourned at 9:10 p.m.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Marjorie Harlow, President of Council