President of Council Kathy McNear called Council to order on May 19, 2004, at 7:00 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, Wilson and McNear.
The minutes of May 5, 2004 were approved with six affirmative votes. Mr. Wilson abstained.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
Civil Service Commission – Mr. Strange stated a member of the firefighter union had approached the commission relative to a hiring situation. After discussion in executive session the request was denied. A patrol officer test was administered and 190 out of 298 applicants passed. The top 100 candidates were administered the physical fitness test. Eight candidates took the fire captain test, of which seven passed. On May 1 a Civil Service test was administered for a firefighter position. There were 186 applicants and 147 passed. We will administer the physical fitness test June 1. We are still looking to update our Civil Service rules on when to administer physical fitness testing.. This was Marcia Sherry’s last meeting and I would just like to acknowledge her dedication to the City.
Rules and Laws - no report
Public Relations - no report
Public Health, Safety & Welfare - no report
Public Works – Mr. Wilson said the plan preparation for the work in Springdale Park subdivision is under design. Construction should begin mid August and be completed in mid November. The construction of sidewalks on SR 4 from Cameron Road to Silver Maple Way and on Cameron Road three hundred feet south of Naylor Court to the Cameron Park entrance will be part of the 2004 street program.
Public Utilities - no report
Capital Improvements – Mr. Danbury stated the storm sewer on the north side of the track and the storm sewer main on the east side of SR 747 are near completion. Storm sewer in the vicinity of Staples and the Crossings should be under construction next week. The new water main construction is beginning and they are doing the embankment construction for the temporary railroad crossing. We are doing minor renovations in the Fire Department. The bid opening on the toilet room/shower renovation will be May 26.
Finance Committee - no report
Planning Commission – Mr. Galster reported Steak N Shake requested approval of landscaping and lighting. That was approved 7-0. Provident Bank requested relief from the condition to paint the roof at their facility at 11525 Springfield Pike. Due to the fact that the bank is going under an acquisition that is anticipated to be finalized by January 1st, we have stayed the condition until March 2005. A request for approval of a Tri-County Mall interstate identification sign was continued until July. A final development plan for a retail building to be constructed in Cassinelli Square was approved. Haverty Furniture at Cassinelli Square was approved by a 7-0 vote. Cingular Wireless asked to co-locate on the existing monopole at 525 Kemper Commons Drive. That was approved 6-0-1.
Board of Zoning Appeals – Mr. Squires said four of the five items were tabled. Tri-County Pontiac asked for a variance to replace "Walker" with "Buick" on their sign. It was approved.
Board of Health – Ms. Pollitt said the Board of Health went over the food sampling program, budget, infrastructure grant expenditures, listeria problem with Meals on Wheels, and West Nile Virus. A mammogram van will be at the Community Center on June 22. There will be ServSafe classes in July and August.
Veteran’s Memorial Committee - no report
O-K-I – Mr. Knox stated that there is a federal program that provides funds to buy vans for agencies that serve various parts of the community. Seven vans are being funded by the federal government and one is for LifeSphere (Maple Knoll).
Mayor’s Report – Mayor Webster said I received a letter from James Crane from the VFW Paul Vale Post 369 in Sharonville. They are having a dedication ceremony on May 29. They asked the mayors of Sharonville, Evendale, Blue Ash and Springdale to participate in the service and to announce a proclamation. Mayor Webster read the proclamation he has issued.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director – Mr. Knox reported as a follow-up to some resolutions we passed about two months ago about the local government funds and local government revenue assistances fund, thirty-nine communities voted in favor of the former; thirty-seven in favor of the second one.
Administrator’s Report – Mr. Osborn said I wanted to ask Council to consider legislation for the first half of the engineering for Phase III of the East Kemper Road project. We don’t need to complete the entire design and detail plans for the project in order to make a funding application. We plan to apply for LTIP funding this fall. That will take us up to the 50% point on that project. The amount is $125,250.
Mr. Osborn stated the Bike Safety Program will kick off at the Community Center on May 22. This will also be the debut of the Police Bike Patrol Program. Chief Laage was able to acquire funding to finance this.
Mr. Osborn said the pool will open May 29.
Mr. Osborn reported that the tax budget is due to the County Budget Commission by July 20. We’ll have to have that adopted the second meeting in June. The tax budget is an exercise in projecting revenues. The budget commission reviews those numbers to see if we have understated or overstated our revenues, then they certify our budget. We won’t actually adopt the true budget until winter.
Mr. Osborn stated that we have received word that the I-275 improvement project will be bid in the fall of 2006. The eastbound lanes will be reconstructed in 2007 and the westbound lanes in 2008. It will add a lane in each direction and eliminate that double barrier median. It’s a continuation of the project you saw to the east of us.
Law Director’s Report - no report
Engineer’s Report - no report
Mr. Knox read from a letter from Cinergy addressed to Mayor Webster. "I’m writing to let you know that the Cincinnati Gas and Electric Company will apply to the Public Utility Commission of Ohio next month to increase our electrical distribution rates. We had initially announced this plan in January. We understand that price increases are never popular but you should know that our electrical rates for residential customers are actually lower than they were in 1994 when we last raised our electrical distribution rates. We are proud that during this time our reliability and customer service actually improved even while rates decreased. In fact last year Cinergy, the parent company of CG&E was rated second in the Midwest and tenth in the nation among electrical companies in overall customer satisfaction by a customer research firm. The new electrical distribution rates will take effect for all customers around January 1, 2005, if the Commission approves our pending electrical reliability and stabilization plan for our generation service. If the commission approves our competitive market option rate proposal, new distribution rates would not go into effect for residential customers until January 1, 2006. If you have any questions regarding our service please call Cinergy (CG&E) customer service managers. As always we value your role as customers and as elected representatives of the community we serve. Greg Fickle, President"
Mr. Knox said the second communication is from the Wilson family thanking us sincerely for sharing in their sorrow.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
ORDINANCE NO. 22-2004 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT WITH CDS ASSOCIATES FOR ENGINEERING SERVICES ON THE SPRINGFIELD PIKE (SR 4) STREETSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT, PHASE II, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY (KEMPER ROAD TO GLENSPRINGS DRIVE)"
Mr. Squires made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded.
Ordinance 22-2004 passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mrs. McNear said our power has been out twice this week. Mr. Parham, do you know if there is construction going on that would cause this?
Mr. Parham replied the last contact I had with Cinergy the majority of the installation was complete. Part of the restoration had been done. They understood that with the amount of cuts that had taken place there would be some settling of the properties. They understood that they would be coming back. Although the installation is in, they were still functioning with the old lines. The outages may be because they have not come out yet to energize the new lines. I would have to call them to get an update as to when they will come out and energize the lines.
Mrs. McNear said tell them all the yards look horrible. It’s unacceptable.
Mayor Webster said they are in the process of switching over to the new service. We had a short outage also and I noticed the crews were switching over to the new service. Part of the subdivision is probably running on the new service and it is probably a matter of days before the whole subdivision is.
Mr. Squires said I see that MSD is about done with the work on Kemper Road. Will they repair Kemper Road?
Mr. Osborn responded that they have done some minor repairs in the Olde Gate Subdivision but not on Kemper Road. They need a full size grinder to get that done.
Mr. Vanover said Mr. Shvegzda was telling me Tuesday that the Chesterdale water main supply line to Butler County is back on the table.
Mr. Osborn stated that Don Shvegzda, Dave Butsch and I are meeting with representatives of CWW and Sharonville next week. The first phase is the part being discussed for construction as soon as possible. That will run along Chesterdale from Crescentville to Kemper and will tie in at Kemper. They want to have this work done by July 2005. The City has some real concerns about the work in terms of traffic maintenance and restoration. Our position is going to be that when they make a repair or restoration, they have to do it lane to lane. We will tell them they will have to repair from lane line to lane line so it’s transparent to the public. On a major project like this we are going to require that they post a bond to insure restoration. They have to be able to provide a minimum of two million gallons of water a day. They have a maximum cap of twenty million gallons a day. The segment from Kemper to Chesterdale may be able to accommodate the initial demand that they have. We want to find out how soon they will move on to the next phase. The segment they are building will also run into Butler County.
Mayor Webster said we are going to incur all the inconvenience and we get no benefit. This will enable Cincinnati Water Works to sell water to Butler County.
Mr. Danbury said I received a call from Mrs. Reckner on Cloverdale and she is very upset. She was so excited that we repaved the front. Across the street they are putting in a new house and they had to tap in right in front of her house for a new gas line. I said there was nothing we could do but I know BZA is being inundated with requests for lots in that area to be redeveloped. I would encourage us to work with those people and try to get it done before we repave. If they want gas lines I hope they can do it while the old street is in there.
Mr. Knox said our bond counsel, Mr. Quinn was contacted by the owners of Pictoria Island, who would like to move forward with the $10 million TIF issue, which they would like to have complete by the end of June. Therefore we will be bringing in the necessary paperwork before the end of June for Council to approve that. None of this money will come from any fund in the City. All of it will be paid for by the people at Pictoria Island through the Tax Increment Financing, which comes from their tax payments.
Mr. Parham reported in March we originally had an ordinance on the agenda for the City’s information system. We withdrew that from the agenda and started a process for a request for proposals. On May 7th we received proposals from six vendors. The lowest amount was for $35,000. There were three others around $37,000 and the other two were at $40,000 or higher. We have made a number of contacts with the references of a number of those organizations. We’ve had some conversations with our existing vendor, Next Step Networking. Although they are not the low presenter at this point, they are offering to continue their services at a $40,000 annual fee. I recommend that we look at continuing on with Nextstep. For the $5,000 difference, the inconvenience of trying to start up with a new vendor, getting them into that comfort zone would not be worth it. The employees are satisfied with the current vendor. We receive outstanding services from them. They are there when we need them. They have been with us for a long time. I would like to request legislation at the next meeting.
Mayor Webster said I support this recommendation. Derrick and Debbie Dunfee have put a lot of work into this. The numbers we got on these proposals were all predicated on us upgrading some computers and software that we were planning to do anyway. If we were to back away from that we would incur some additional charges.
Mayor Webster said I wanted to elaborate on the Tax Increment Financing (TIF). Usually a municipality issues the bonds. The increased property taxes go to retire the indebtedness. That’s usually all the arrangements you have. However, in this case, we have insisted that the only way we would consider issuing these bonds is to have a letter of credit securing this arrangement. We not only have the increased tax revenue coming in to retire the indebtedness, but we could also go against this letter of credit. They have had a tough time trying to acquire a letter of credit for $10 million for thirty years. So they are going to pledge $10 million worth of securities.
Mr. Osborn said I also strongly endorse Mr. Parham’s recommendation. When we wrote the specifications we did say that we were going to replace the fifteen units currently running Windows 95 in the current year and Windows 98 in the subsequent year. So the vendors knew they had that upgrade in front of them. To the credit of our current vendor, when he made his initial proposal that took such a big jump, he also told us if we reconfigured we could enjoy as much as a 40% reduction in that fee. I would also like to add my thanks to Derrick and Debbie Dunfee for their hard work.
Mr. Knox said I support the Next Step Networking initiative. I see them working on a daily basis. They go the distance and are very effective. As for the TIF, it is very unique for someone to back a bond with every dollar. I should mention as they retire some of the debt they will retire some of their $10 million. There is a possibility that at some point they can get a letter from a bank to back it.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Board of Zoning Appeals - June 15
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
Mr. Danbury made a motion that Council go into executive session as a meeting of the whole to discuss real estate matters and possible litigation. Mr. Vanover seconded. The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
Council went into executive session at 7:53 p.m.
Council reconvened at 8:13 p.m.
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Ordinance 21-2004 - June 2
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Next Step Networking - June 2
East Kemper Road Phase III - June 2
Resolutions for Marcia and Bob Sherry - June 2
MVRMA - June 16
TIF - June 16
Tax Budget - June 16
Council adjourned at 8:17 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Kathy McNear, President of Council