President of Council Kathy McNear called Council to order on May 21, 2003, at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance. Mr. Vanover gave the invocation.
Mr. Vanover took roll call. Present were Council members Galster, Pollitt, Squires, Vanover, Wilson and McNear. Mr. Danbury arrived at 7:08 p.m.
The minutes of May 7, 2003 were approved with six affirmative votes.
RECOGNITION OF CHIEF ROBERT POSEGA ON HIS RETIREMENT
Mr. Osborn said Bob officially retired from the City last fall. Unfortunately when we had the employee celebration and the resolution was before Council in anticipation of the employee celebration, Bob was already committed out of town. I did make a copy of the tape of the meeting and sent it on to him. Bob said heíd really like to come by and say a few words to Council. Mr. Osborn presented Bob with a leather duffel bag with his initials on it and his twenty-year service pin.
Chief Posega said I missed the last meeting and I appreciate all your comments. Iíve never been here before that I didnít ask for something for the Fire Department. You all and all those who preceded you never turned me down for anything we requested. We started our program changing from paid volunteers in 1986 and it has grown tremendously since then. We hire only the most capable people, teach them what we want them to do, give them the tools and get out of the way. You see what theyíve done for this City. Iím proud of every one of them. They have all done a super job. Retirement is the best thing Iíve ever seen. Itís so great at night to lay your head on a pillow and know that a pager is not going to go off. I want to thank all of you and all who preceded you and especially Cecil. Cecil came up to Pennsylvania, where Iím originally from and we had an interview. He is the reason I am here and I really enjoyed working for him, just as I hope these gentlemen here enjoyed working for me.
Mayor Webster said I was sincere with my comments when we passed the resolution and I am sincere tonight. Even though you werenít the very first full-time paid chief, as far as I am concerned you are the first legitimate full-time chief who took the bull by the horns and organized the department. You led the department from a volunteer department to a full-time paid one. This is a wonderful bunch of people we have in our Fire Department but it does start at the top of any organization. Had we not had the leadership you provided, these people wouldnít have had the opportunity to achieve what they have and the City wouldnít have as fine a Fire Department as we have today. On behalf of all the prior mayors and Council people, thank you and enjoy your retirement.
Mr. Osborn said I donít have enough words to express how important our relationship has been over the past twenty plus years. Chief Shroyer is absent this evening only because his son is receiving an award at the awards banquet at Princeton High School. I know he also appreciates everything youíve done for this department. The first meeting I had with you I remember coming away with a very positive impression of your enthusiasm and drive that you demonstrated in your vision. It was not a mistake to bring you here. We were at a situation where we had to separate a former chief after a short tenure and we were at a critical point. We couldnít make our A runs. Without your direction we would never have gotten to where we are. In a crisis I could turn to you and you would be there without any hesitation or reservation and do the job. Bob, I truly respect you and have a great deal of appreciation for the twenty years you have worked with us in Springdale. I wish you the best in your retirement.
Mr. Vanover, Ms. Pollitt, Mr. Galster, Mr. Danbury, Mr. Squires, Mr. Wilson and Mrs. McNear all expressed their appreciation for Chief Posega.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
Civil Service Commission - no report
Rules and Laws - no report
Public Relations - no report
Public Health, Safety & Welfare - no report
Public Works - Mr. Wilson reported the SR 4 Cameron Road to Glensprings ODOT resurfacing project will be started in mid June.
Public Utilities - no report
Capital Improvements Ė Mr. Danbury stated the streetscape program is basically complete. We are in discussion with CG&E to remove three additional street lights. The Grandin/Peach Road intersection will be on flash until ODOT does the resurfacing. The Old Commons Drive project on Kemper Road to Chesterdale is under construction. SR4/Sharon Road intersection should be completed in June. We are looking to re-bid the grade separation project in the fall. The Beaver Run Creek restoration is out for bid for a channel bank stabilization by Chamberlain Park.
Finance Committee - no report
Planning Commission Ė Mr. Galster said the public hearing for Dunkin Donuts was continued until the next meeting. An outdoor seating area for Graeterís was also continued. UPS asked for a banner extension which was approved 7-0. A building addition at Tri-State Sleep Disorder was approved 7-0. The next item was a zoning change and preliminary plan for Crossings at the Park at GEEAA Park from GB/OB and RMH-L to a PUD. Presently they have shown some retail space on the SR 747 frontage and senior housing. That was continued 7-0.
Mr. Galster said a while back everyone received the Goals and Objectives of collaboration within all the jurisdictions of Hamilton County from the Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission. Modifications have been made and that has been submitted to the County Commissioners.
Board of Zoning Appeals Ė Mr. Squires reported the Sleep Disorder Center asked for 11 more parking spaces. Tri-County Dodge is the former Performance Dodge and they have asked for an extension on a temporary banner to indicate their new ownership. The extension was granted.
Board of Health Ė Mayor Webster stated there were 15 applicants for the position of Health Commissioner and they are in the process of looking at those.
Veteranís Memorial Committee - no report
O-K-I - no report
Mayorís Report Ė Mayor Webster said that former Mayor Ray Johnson is gravely ill and is in the Hospice Center at Bethesda in Blue Ash.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director - no report
Administratorís Report Ė Mr. Osborn said Iíd like to distribute a copy of the 2004 Tax Budget. This is the initial working draft. Traditionally, we take the five-year budget numbers and plug them into the Tax Budget and submit them to the County. This year it is a little more difficult. The process has become a little more critical this year because of revenue shortfalls last year and under performance of revenues this year to date. We are submitting it tonight because the Charter requires that we submit it City Council by the first of June. In the document that has just been distributed, there will be substantial changes. Revenue figures will be revised downward. There will be dramatic reductions in the capital budget and reduction of expenditures in the general fund. Please donít be alarmed by some numbers that you see. Perhaps you should be alarmed but we are working towards a better outcome. This is probably the tightest budget we will ever have put together during my tenure with the City. We have to be prepared to look at fairly significant cutbacks at this point. I donít mean in services or personnel but anything that is elective or operating is fair game right now. There will be some policy issues that I will convey to Finance Committee and Council but generally we have to make a reasonably conservative estimate of our revenues and then downgrade our expenses to match those revenues. I anticipate that we will submit the proposed tax budget to City Council the week of June 9th and anticipate that the budget will be considered by Council on June 18th. That is controlled by our Charter and State Law. State Law requires that Council adopt the tax budget no later than July 15th of the year preceding the fiscal year involved. Our only Council meeting in July falls on the 16th. I also want to point out that our Charter requires that the budget be submitted to the County no later than July 20th.
Mr. Osborn continued this process has pointed out to me that our revenue surpluses in previous years had made it almost a casual exercise to do the tax budget because we had a budget surplus. We are not in that situation any longer so we have to take a harder look. I would like Council to consider a Charter change the next time those kinds of issues are before you. I would ask you to consider changing the date that the tax budget be submitted to Council from the first of June to the first of July. The Charter also indicates that the budget must be tendered to the County Budget Commission by July 20th. My recommendation would be to delete any reference to when it has to be to the County because State Law controls the date by which it has to be adopted and County Policy controls the date it has to be submitted to the Budget Commission. We donít have any control over that later date.
Mr. Danbury asked could we say a proposed Charter change to coincide with what the State mandates? If we say July 1, they may move it back to August.
Mr. Osborn replied certainly but I would think Council would want some kind of assurance. We have had a great relationship between Administration and Council. Sometimes we didnít but we always recognized that we worked together on this. I would think the Council would want some date that the budget has to be turned over to City Council.
Mayor Webster said we could work out the language with Charter Revision but instead of changing the date to July 20th, we say whatever the County mandates is the date it would have to be submitted to them. Then maybe thirty days prior to that it would have to be submitted to Council.
Mr. Osborn stated that would put us back in June. Maybe another way to do that is to key it to the date that it has to be adopted by State Law, maybe fifteen days prior to that.
Mr. Osborn said the next item involves property that we recently received through donation from Mr. Thiess, who owns Perkins. For some time we have had a project on our long term capital budget that would enclose that deep ditch between Perkins and Springfield Pike north of Glensprings. The donation has taken place, the closing has taken place. The ordinance as originally drafted would have accepted the property but not the right-of-way. We have requested that it be re-drafted as a dedication plat for right-of-way and that it be on the next Council agenda.
Mr. Osborn reported that Beth Stiles started a program where we meet with some of the bigger employers in the City, have lunch with them and test how their businesses are doing and what we can do to keep them happy, etc. Recently we had lunch with Josh Sweeney of Sweeney Chevrolet. Mr. Sweeney indicated that they have acquired the Hardeeís property on Kemper Road and have plans to extend the BMW dealership on Boggs Lane and have their frontage on Kemper Road. Itís good to see a long time business still growing. We assured them that we would make every effort to make the process as easy as possible for them to expand their operation. Mr. Horton, the regional manager for Showcase, indicated that National Amusements is looking to add a café to the cinemas here in Springdale. This is another example of one of our businesses staying the course and even expanding during these rough times.
Law Directorís Report - no report
Engineerís Report - no report
COMMUNICATIONS - no report
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
ORDINANCE NO. 20-2003 "AUTHORIZING AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE AND THE GREATER CINCINNATI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PERTAINING TO "PARTNERSHIP FOR GREATER CINCINNATI 1999-2003""
Mr. Squires made a motion to adopt and Ms. Pollitt seconded.
Mr. Osborn said Iím sure you are all familiar with this money that we have pledged. Maybe during rough times is when you really need to advertise. The Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce is a very valuable partner to us. I would encourage Councilís favorable vote on this ordinance.
Ordinance 20-2003 passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Danbury said I have heard nothing but compliments on the streetscape.
Mr. Osborn said the baskets on the poles donít make much impact right now. Give us a few months and I think they will be spectacular.
Ms. Pollitt said I also had many comments from people. When you look south down SR 4 it is so clean looking.
Mrs. McNear said the street lights are so bright.
Mr. Osborn responded those are new signals that actually cost us less money to operate. They are LED lights. The pixels are concentrated in the center and a lens diffuses the light. They last much longer than the old bulbs and they are one-tenth the cost to operate. We will pay for those in about three years just on electrical savings. We are also looking at a program where we might be able to finance the total re-lamping of all the lights in the City based on savings.
Ms. Pollitt asked is there any possibility that we could do some grant writing and have those lights in the subdivisions?
Mr. Osborn replied thatís very expensive. We have one grant application out right now for the second phase of Springfield Pike and itís marginal that we will get that. Once we have the corridor established, perhaps we could locate those types of lights at corners at strategic locations spreading out from the downtown area. We are probably five years away from finishing Springfield Pike.
Mrs. McNear said last week our electricity was out for seven hours. Thatís the third time this month that the power has been out for an extended period of time. Several weeks ago it was out for eight hours. It went off and on four times in that time frame. The continuing problem seems to be that the underground cables are becoming damaged. From the freezing and thawing a rock may pierce the covering on the cables, so weíre consistently having power outages. All the neighbors were out this past Friday and it was not a pretty sight. I actually went up and harassed the guys who were putting the cables back together. They had my neighborís yard torn up. The cable repairman told me the cable is going bad. He said they have a life expectancy of fifteen years and they have been up there seventeen years now. I was wondering, Mr. Osborn, if you could report this to Public Works and put some pressure on CG&E.
Mayor Webster responded we have had Dave Butsch check with the utility company to get an update on the status of things. The information we got back is very preliminary. I was walking through the Mallard Lake apartment complex today and there must have been 35-40 people up there working. When I called the Gas and Electric Company back in March an engineer told me the problem stemmed from a transformer on Maple Circle Drive. He told me it would be 6-9 months before that was repaired. Iím only hoping that these other power failures have caused him to expedite that and the resolution is taking place today. This is probably a multi-phased project and Dave Butsch is working on it.
Mr. Osborn said the initial report Dave got back from Cinergy only dealt with this month to date. We asked him to get a longer history for the past year. On the 10th of this month there was an outage that threw a breaker at the power station but it automatically threw itself back again. On the 16th there was a major power outage. They replaced a bad cable and got service back in place, but then a jumper blew. They replaced the jumper so that particular problem has been fixed. We know from comments from the community that the history is greater than what has happened in the last three weeks. We are going to take a very aggressive position with Cinergy over the matter. Cinergy is very cooperative. They are giving us details on the outages. My concern is if they are replacing all the electrical services in the two complexes over there, there will be minimum times they have to cut in for the new services. If the situation is not handled correctly there could be other outages.
NEW BUSINESS - none
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS - none
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Donation for public right-of-way (Perkins) - June
Tax budget - June 18
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED - none
Council adjourned at 8:14 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Kathy McNear, President of Council