President of Council Marjorie Harlow called Council to order on
August 17, 2011 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, Emerson, Galster, Hawkins, Squires, Vanover and Harlow.
The minutes of August 3, 2011 were approved with six affirmative votes. Mr. Vanover abstained.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
Civil Service Commission - Mr. Thamann stated they are in the recruitment process for Public Works Inspector as Tim Green is retiring at the end of the year.
Rules and Laws - no report
Finance Committee Mr. Diehl reported the committee discussed the revised new hours for the Community Center, new equipment for the Public Works Department and the design and engineering for the Century Circle road construction project.
Planning Commission - Mr. Galster said they had a Conditional Use Permit at 305 Cameron Road for an autism school. 305 Cameron Road is presently a church location. The Cincinnati Autism Center was interested in occupying that building. The reason for the conditional use is that churches are permitted in almost every district; however, this is more like a school because they do offer schooling from kindergarten up through twelth grade. They also have music programs and other specialty programs for autism children. Barbara, Mr. Galster made mention of the noise issue potentially surrounding this project and reference it to the issue we experienced a few doors down in a previous year. Add that language into the minutes. There were residents in the audience. We heard a pretty passionate speech from the founder of the Cincinnati Autism Center. I think everyone was moved by that. In general, everyone is in favor of the Cincinnati Autism Center moving to that location; however, there is an outdoor playground area and given some track history on it was continued to discuss the outdoor play areas around the Cameron Road/Naylor Court area, we wanted to make sure we had it tied down. There was a little back and forth. Were really waiting to get some word-smithing completed so we can move forward with that in a more positive light. There was a motion to continue the public hearing in process by a 5-0 vote and we anticipate them back at the September meeting.. A modification to the preliminary PUD plan for an outdoor advertising device at 11752 Commons Drive was approved 5-0 and submitted to Council for their consideration of the modification.
Board of Zoning Appeals Mr. Hawkins stated there was a variance requested from the owner of 12134 Kenn Road to erect a 432 square foot utility building, said variance requested from Section 153.492, Subsection B(3) indicating that detached accessory buildings other than garages shall not exceed 2 percent of the lot area or 12 percent of the area of the dwelling unit whichever is less in this situation. The resident had a limit of 238.08 square feet and that variance was granted 6-1. Also note that there were several residents present at that meeting. Hawkins stated a utility building for 432 square feet was approved 6-1 at 12134 Kenn Road. Im sure there were additional information as well as questions on this issue. Why is that information not included?
Mrs. Harlow asked could you tell me what the requested square footage was?
Mr. Hawkins replied 432 square feet.
Mrs. Harlow asked this is on an oversize lot?
Mr. Hawkins replied just under two acres. Its a Cape Cod house so the house is particularly small in comparison to the lot size.
Mayor Webster said theres no chicken coop involved there, is there?
Mr. Hawkins replied there is no chicken coop involved here. This applicant was the applicant who had come to the meeting previously and was requesting two variances, one for chickens and the other for this structure. At that time both of those were denied. The structure was denied 3-3 and brought back and approved 6-1.
Mr. Squires said the lot size is 1.92 acres. Its not like we havent done something like this before. We have but it appears on the surface it is an extremely large structure but the lot size is very large. There were numerous people here who spoke in favor of that. There were one or two who spoke in opposition as well but with the landscaping around the structure that was added into it and the maximum height of 13 feet that was added to it, we felt on the Board it was a go.
Board of Health - no report
O-K-I - no report
Mayors Report Mayor Webster said we will cut the ribbon for the A List Lounge on Monday and will cut the ribbon for Giant Battery on Saturday. We had a successful community yard sale this past week.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director Mrs. McNear said we have been trying to eliminate paper whenever possible and have sent the financial packet via e-mail. We have had some people have issues opening the document. If you are having difficulty with that let me know. I asked Marty to do two PDF packages since it is thirty-four pages long.
Administrators Report Mr. Parham reported the Cop on Top program was very successful. It is my understanding that they may have raised approximately $5,000 this year. We have asked Police Chief Mike Mathis and our Community Service Officer Joseph Ture to come before City Council and make a presentation to recognize those that both participated in the program and those who may have served as sponsors. In addition, the department is planning to begin a Citizens Police Academy. Weve had sixty-four likes on our Facebook page. The page is up and functioning. We have incorporated photographs and will be announcing other activities. We want to touch on the two ballot issues and make sure residents are aware of the aggregation process. The newsletter had an article on the front page about the two ballot issues, as well.
Mr. Parham reminded Council that earlier in the year, the City adopted an agreement with the Hamilton County Commissioners to participate in the next round of the Community Development Block Grant program for the period of 2012 - 2014. We are getting close to the time to begin considering projects for the program. We will need to have information back to the County by early November; therefore, we have to identify what projects we want to apply for prior to that date. For the three year period of 2009-2011, we had the Home Improvement Program. The first two years we received $20,000, this year $30,000. We were also successful in receiving funding for the Chamberlain Park renovation project for an additional $30,300. Under the Home Improvement Program, in 2009 we assisted 23 homeowners and distributed $19,964. The actual improvements were in the amount of $35,064. In 2010 we assisted 24 homeowners, we expended the entire $20,000 and the improvements totaled $42,875. For 2011 we have had 32 applications with $29,721 allocated and $80,558 estimated in improvements. The residents were able to take advantage of this program and have a number of reroofs, painting jobs, windows, entry doors, siding, etc. which not only improved their properties but the neighborhood overall. I think that program will be pretty high on the list of opportunities for the next round.
Mr. Parham stated the City has been notified that CSX will begin to reconstruct the railroad crossing on Crescentville Road. They are scheduled to begin the project in the first two weeks of September with the road expected to be closed for two weeks. There will be a detour probably from Tricon Road to Progress Place to move traffic from Crescentville to points east and vice versa.
Law Directors Report - no report
Engineers Report - no report
Mrs. McNear reminded residents there was a postcard mailed out about the Hazardous Waste Drop Off Program. Between July 30 and December 3, 2011. There are two locations: 4600 Spring Grove Avenue and 10163 Cincinnati-Dayton Road.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
CONNIE PILLICH, Ohio House of Representatives Update
Ms. Pillich gave an update on the Ohio House of Representatives. In the 2009 budget we cut several billion dollars. This year Governor Kaisichs budget was an increase of $5.3 billion. This budget really hits local governments in a very severe way. The budget cuts the local government fund by fifty percent. It accelerates the phase out of the tangible personal property tax and it eliminated Ohios estate tax. These will hit you hard. I tried to fight these things. The losses to schools is extremely severe, over 16.5 percent at Princeton. We anticipate the number of vouchers for private schools will quadruple. There were no job creation mechanisms in the budget. We had some success with employment in the past eleven months and our State revenues went up. Now were starting to see a reverse of that. Mrs. Pillich gave information on other issues such as a bill to allow drilling in state parks and said she will be at the Forest Park Starbucks on August 22 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. to meet with constituents.
Mayor Webster said Ive voiced my displeasure before about the increase in the State budget. I had heard it was 4.5 percent, now youre saying its 5.3 percent. How the Administration can recommend a budget and increase spending, and then do what theyve done to our schools and local governments.
Ms. Pillich replied it is a 10 percent raise. Members of the Finance Committee asked for a flow chart of how the money is moving to make it so much larger. Were still waiting for that from the Budget Czar. For fifteen months we were told we would be facing an $8 billion deficit. We did have a $5 billion deficit. Every revenue source was up for eleven months for the fiscal year. We had $1.9 billion in one-time money by raiding the unclaimed fund and refinancing bonds, $2.2 billion that had been promised to schools, governments and libraries, $1.3 billion in new fees and $5.5 billion in federal grants, including half-billion from the federal health care bill. I did not support this budget because I like you, really believe we need to focus on our schools, and cutting seventy teachers out of a school district like Princeton was heart breaking. They are doing an excellent job.
Mayor Webster said Id like your opinion on the Local Government Fund. It was encouraging that they didnt do away with it. The fifty percent only takes place in the second year of the budget. The first year its around fifteen percent. Do you think there is a possibility that that will get turned around in future years and that fund will get increased?
Ms. Pillich responded it is hard to say what will happen in future years. A lot of my colleagues and I are not in support of cutting it because I know what important services you provide, with the roads, public lands, parks, etc. We know that that has hurt you very badly. It was a fierce battle but there werent enough people who supported that. Ive not heard of any effort to change that in this General Assembly.
Mayor Webster said the State is so hard up for money that they have to make all these Draconian cuts, then they eliminate a revenue source in the inheritance tax as if that will keep people from moving out of the state. All you have to do is look out your window in the middle of January, and you see why people move someplace warm.
Ms. Pillich said I did receive your correspondence and I did try to fight to keep that in. Some of the proponents of that, I believe, did not look at how severe the cuts were. I called every community in my district to find out what their inheritance tax had been over the last ten to twenty years. With the exception of Evendale, I think it was a significant portion.
Mr. Squires said Springdale is going to be hurt by this but we are stronger than a lot of municipalities in this state. The Local Government Fund is more than half the budget in a lot of communities. Do you see municipalities having to merge?
Ms. Pillich replied regional cooperation has been happening in parts of the state on their own. I cant read the Governors mind and why he wanted to cut everything so severely for local governments, but I do believe he would like to see merging of governments, merging of services, purchasing. I think a lot of communities are starting to do that anyway but I dont believe anyone out here wants a uniform government to occupy the whole county of Hamilton. We like the services that a small city like Springdale can provide. I have to think that a lot of these cuts were not seriously thought through.
Mr. Squires said we all feel like the best government is the government closest to you. I fear that some of these communities are going to lose their identity.
Mr. Diehl said I have a strong feeling that we need a better way to fund schools. Is there any talk in Columbus of doing that?
Ms. Pillich replied in 1994 the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that our system of funding schools was unconstitutional because it relied too much on the local community. In some areas, particularly the Appalachian areas, they couldnt raise the money they needed to pay teachers and have decent class sizes and purchase the technology they needed. In 2009 we passed some pretty large education reforms with a ten year plan to fund them. That was supposed to improve teacher training, reduce classroom size, reduce time in the classroom and revised our funding formula so that the States share would go from forty-eight percent to fifty-eight percent. That plan did pass constitutional muster. That has been repealed by the current general assembly. The Governor has recently started talking about school funding. Governor Strickland spent about two years researching this and trying to find out the best thing to do.
Mr. Diehl stated you indicated there is a ten percent increase in the budget. Could you tell what those increases were?
Ms. Pillich responded there were $100 million in tax cuts, $500 million in new funding to Jobs Ohio. More money is going to charter schools. State prisons will be up for sale. Unfortunately, the legislation did not call for an appraisal. We want to make sure that anyone who runs a private prison takes all the prisoners and not just their choice. We are losing the liquor distribution profits to fund Jobs Ohio. There were cuts to senior services, mental health services for the indigent, childrens protective services.
Mr. Parham said it is my understanding that the Governors office and Tax Commissioner are looking at a centralized municipal tax collection process where the State would collect our income tax and earnings tax for us and then distribute it back to the jurisdictions. There was a presentation by the Tax Commissioner, Mr. Testa, on Ohio municipal income tax and an overview of the Kasich administration to institute a State operated program for the central collection of the Ohio municipal income tax. Are you aware of this being considered? We would not be in favor of this. We were promised before that a number of items would phase out over time but those have been escalated so were not going to get those dollars, but then to reach into our pockets and take the municipal income tax to Columbus, and then, at some point in time, send us our revenue.
Ms. Pillich stated this is not the first time this has been talked about in Columbus. I suspect it will not be the last. The Governor has already started to close local tax collection and tax payer assistance centers. He is looking at closing the Bureau of Motor Vehicle centers. Im sure its a matter of budget cutting but unfortunately, when you cut things like that, then you start to have a larger bureaucracy which becomes increasing impenetrable to the average citizen and the lines are longer. If them taking away now your Local Government Fund, your tangible personal property tax reimbursements, estate tax and now your municipal income tax, I think is very frightening. If theyve already taken those other things away from you, whats keeping them from taking your income taxes away?
Mr. Vanover said I differ a little bit with our Mayor. I think a lot of the flight is warm climate but also state income tax. Florida and Texas dont have income tax. I agree the best government is a small government. Were better at controlling what we need here than at the state level. I am a proponent of a flat tax. I think we could save a ton of money if we could all do a one page tax return and do away with the IRS. The prison system is a failed system. We are not reforming people. We are housing people. Ive been critical of the school districts running fat and inefficient. We run as tight a ship and as efficient as youll see. There are a lot of inefficiencies. Unemployment payment is all on done online now. Where are the controls for fraud? Waste at any level is intolerable and it only costs all of us. Id love to hear your thoughts on income tax reform here at the state level.
Ms. Pillich responded the sentencing reform legislation was designed to help us cut down on our prison overcrowding. As for tax reform, the Governor just announced that he wants to appoint an ad hoc committee to review our tax structure in the state. Right now our income tax rates put us in the middle third among the states. I dont know how our sales tax and property tax rates compare.
Mrs. Harlow said I would like to know your views on charter schools.
Mrs. Pillich stated I think we have a few that do an excellent job. Unfortunately, eighty-five percent of them fail and are not monitored closely enough.
Mrs. Harlow asked what can we do to get that changed. I do not want my tax dollars utilized and the youth jeopardized by a charter school that is not meeting the needs of the students.
Ms. Pillich said your state representative does not support failing charter schools. Unfortunately, the Administration and the group in charge of the legislature this year strongly support it. You see reports on abysmal failures. There is one e-school that is doing worse than Cleveland Public Schools. They are getting $2.3 million to run this failing charter school that has been on academic watch for eight years in a row when the state limit is five.
Mrs. Harlow asked how does that happen?
Mrs. Pillich replied that happens because legislation is drafted to ignore these and not hold them accountable. There are a number of people in Columbus in both parties that are not happy with this. Unfortunately, leadership doesnt really look at this as a priority.
Mrs. Harlow asked can you tell me who we can talk to about this because I dont want to see Princeton Schools be cut by 16.5 percent and have that money go to a failing school. If the public school cannot do the job, a charter school is going to have a very difficult time meeting the academic standards that ODE has set.
Ms. Pillich said you should contact me. My number in Columbus is 614-466-8120. You can e-mail me at District28@ohr.state.oh.us. You can also contact the Speaker of the House.
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
ORDINANCE NO. 31-2011 AUTHORIZING THE CITY OF SPRINGDALES PARTICIPATION IN THE OHIO MUNICIPAL LEAGUE 2012 WORKERS COMPENSATION GROUP RATING PROGRAM AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Mr. Thamann stated since 1993 the City had participated in a group rating program through Miami Valley Risk Management Association. They decided to dissolve that program for 2011 but we had the opportunity to join the Ohio Municipal Leagues group retro rating program. We have the opportunity to participate again next year in the Ohio Municipal Leagues program. This does give us the advantage of realizing some savings instead of filing with the Bureau as an individual employer.
Ordinance 31-2011 passed with seven affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 32-2011 AMENDING SECTIONS 153.903 AND 150.41 OF THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE CODIFIED ORDINANCES REGARDING MUNICIPAL LIENS FOR NONPAYMENT OF REVIEW AND INSPECTION FEES
First reading. Public Hearing September 7.
ORDINANCE NO. 33-2011 AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH CDS ASSOCIATES, INC., TO PROCEED WITH DESIGN SERVICES FOR THE CENTURY CIRCLE NORTH RECONSTRUCTION PROJECT AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY
Mr. Parham said this ordinance was to authorize CDS to put together the engineering and design work for the reconstruction of Century Circle Boulevard North. In the 2011 budget we budgeted $53,500. As you see, the estimated proposal is $42,900. We have been notified that a great deal of the funding is coming available through the Ohio Public Works Commission. When we are looking at construction engineering, we take a ballpark estimate of ten percent of the construction costs. The construction is $535,000. In this instance, we will probably experience some savings from the $53,500 that we originally anticipated paying. This is a job that the City will oversee. The question is how we will provide the inspection or construction engineering for the project. The challenge for us is that the current public works inspector is retiring December 31. If we are able to secure an individual who has the expertise and experience to perform the inspection, that cuts back tremendously on what we thought was going to be $53,500. If not, we may have to employ someone very similar as we did with the project on Northland Boulevard. We have applied for a grant of $374,000. Our cost if you take the $42,900 plus $160,000 plus whatever that construction engineering cost turns out to be will help us define our total cost for the project.
Mr. Galster said the scope of the work says complete removal of existing deteriorated concrete pavement and curb. Is this only the parts we think are bad or a removal of that whole street and starting from scratch?
Mr. Parham replied this is a complete removal of the entire street. At Northland, we had the concrete problem underneath with the joints. That caused our big problem there. Thats not the problem here. We are wiping out the entire road. When we talked about this during budget season we said the only way we could run into a similar problem is, if whats underneath was peanut butter. We have taken some core samples and have identified that there is some water there but dont believe we are going to have an issue with the project.
Mr. Galster said this is a relatively new street. Would water have caused the damage in the first place and is that addressed in the new construction?
Mr. Shvegzda stated I believe that roadway was constructed in the late 70s. One of the things we will be providing with this reconstructed roadway is a new under drain system underneath the north curb line. That will intercept the water so it wont deteriorate the sub grade of the roadway pavement composition.
Mayor Webster said we have done substantial core borings and there is no evidence that well have another situation like that.
Mr. Parham said the project is different. We are taking it all out. In the Northland project we had the joints still there and in some instances we had to perform full depth repairs and half depth repairs. Were not doing any of that.
Mr. Galster said so we are assuming there is peanut butter under there and this will take care of it.
Mr. Parham replied we are assuming it is not peanut butter.
Mr. Galster said this is going to take the concrete out but as far as making sure that the dirt base below that is solid, that we still dont know.
Mr. Parham stated I believe the cores gave us an indication that its not peanut butter.
Mr. Galster said I thought your reference to peanut butter was the crumbling concrete underneath the street.
Mr. Parham replied no. The reference to peanut butter is if there is bad soil beneath the concrete.
Ordinance 33-2011 passed with seven affirmative votes.
OLD BUSINESS - none
NEW BUSINESS - none
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Safety Day - Aug 20
Mammogram Van - Aug 30
Board of Health - Sep 15
Planning Commission - Sep 13
Board of Zoning Appeals - Sep 20
Farmers Market - thru Oct
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Ordinance 32 Public Hearing - Sep 7
TIF at Pictoria - future date
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Major modification to Tri County Commons PUD - Sep 7
(Public Hearing Sep 21)
Council adjourned at 8:38 p.m.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Marjorie Harlow, President of Council