President of Council Marjorie Harlow called Council to order on September 21, 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 September 7, 2011 were approved with seven affirmative votes with one correction. On page 9005 skis should be skills.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
Civil Service Commission - no report
Rules and Laws - no report
Finance Committee Mr. Diehl said they met September 7, 2011 to discuss the ambulance service.
Planning Commission - Mr. Galster stated they had a review of the front awning at Play It Again Sports, 11749 Princeton Road. It was originally approved with the request that they put two awnings up to make sure it was balanced with the understanding that if it looked okay with one awning, the obligation to put up the second awning would be relieved. They were relieved of that obligation 7-0. A conditional use permit for the Cincinnati Autism Center at 305 Cameron Road had been tabled to do some wordsmithing on control of volume on the playground. The applicant was amenable to the conditions and that was approved 7-0.
Board of Zoning Appeals Mr. Hawkins reported the owners at 503 Smiley Avenue applied for a variance to allow them to park a recreational vehicle on their driveway. That was continued as there may not be a need for a variance and the Building Department is going to look into that further. The elimination of a garage at 978 Ledro Street was approved 7-0. The garage was cut in half and part of the garage was made into living space. The applicant must maintain 140 s.f. garage with an operable door. BZA was given notice that a prior applicant who came before the board for an appeal of an administrative decision has appealed to Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. The applicant was originally doing cabinetry work and he switched to doing auto mechanic work in an area zoned General Industrial.
Board of Health Mr. Squires said the Health Department participated in Safety Day on August 20 and handed out pill dispensers and medical history report forms. The board discussed the food license fees for the coming year. The annual health fair will be held October 18 at the Community Center. The nurses Healthy U Chronic Disease Self Management program will begin September 22.
O-K-I - no report
Mayors Report Mayor Webster reported Humana Insurance is moving their Right Source Mail Order and Specialty Pharmacy Operation to Springdale. It should bring 200 jobs right away, 650 by the end of 2012 and 1200 by the end of 2013. These are not minimum wage jobs. These are pharmacists and very skilled folks so the wages will be very good. There are no incentives involved so there is no expense on the part of the City. Congratulations to Jeff Tulloch for a job well done. There will be a ribbon cutting at Dos Amigos tomorrow.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director Mrs. McNear said there will be a couple of issues on the ballot this year, natural gas aggregation and electric aggregation. Also, I received notification from Ohio Public Works for project approval for the Century Circle North pavement reconstruction. That is a grant of $374,500 and the local share is $160,500.
Administrators Report Mr. Parham said at the last meeting we asked you to make a motion giving us the authority to contact OPWC and let them know we plan to move forward with the Century Circle project and accept the funding of $374,500. Certainly thereafter I received the communication Mrs. McNear spoke about and they are asking that we sign the agreement and forward that back to them within forty-five days so I request legislation at the next meeting authorizing us to enter into the agreement to accept the $374,500.
Mr. Parham said in the Pending Legislation report there are two items we talked about at the September 7th meeting. One is the purchase of the new ambulance. A brand new ambulance for 2013 was estimated at $175,000. We have gone to the State bid list. We would request legislation at the next meeting authorizing us to purchase the new ambulance from P L Custom Body and Equipment Company. Their base bid is $126,086. There are a number of options included as part of their bid. I spoke to you at the last meeting about Wheeled Coach. We currently have two Wheeled Coach vehicles in our possession right now, a 2006 and a 2001. Wheeled Coach simply had a base bid number but they did not have the other options. P L Custom Body had not only the base bid, but also the other options so we knew what our total costs would be. There were about $14,488 additional options that were part of the State bid process. Three hundred eighty-seven dollars of items would be deducted because they were non-performed. Some of them come with the base bid but because we were provided an option to replace them, we reduced that number. We currently have a Ford fleet identification number so we will also receive a $5400 credit. The total cost for the new unit absent the graphics would be $134,787. The cost of the graphics is $2,620. The second item speaks to the financing of that new unit. We have contacted a number of financial institutions. Fifth Third is the one that provided us with the best proposal and a 1.77 percent interest rate. We have to be aware that 1.77 percent is what would have been effective September 8th. We hope to have the two pieces of legislation at the October 5th meeting with the closing on October 6th. In talking with the Fifth Third representative he doesnt think the rate will change by the time we have the legislation before you. The financing will be for a three-year term. We would make one annual payment each year. That would be concluded by 2014 with the first payment in 2012. The turnaround time for the ambulance is 120-150 days with P L Customs, not forty-five days as Wheeled Coach had said. Our payments would not affect the 2011 budget.
Mayor Webster said that interest rate is locked in so we dont have to worry about it bouncing around in subsequent years.
Law Directors Report - no report
Engineers Report Mr. Shvegzda said the Beaver Run Creek Riparian Restoration project is out to bid and will be opened September 29th. The project design is underway for Century Circle North and it will be under construction in the spring of next year. It is now anticipated that construction on the signal system upgrade will start in November with a contract completion date of May 1, 2012.
COMMUNICATIONS - none
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
PRESENTATION - Duke Energy Smart Grid Program
Mr. Parham said the City of Springdale is scheduled to undergo a change out in our electrical meters in October. We asked representatives from Duke Energy come out and make a presentation on what to expect. With us this evening are Marvin Blade and Mark Arnold from Duke Energy.
Marvin Blade said Duke Energy is part of the national grid of electricity for electric providers. It is a network where power plants put power on the national grid. We are modernizing our system and taking out the analog meters and signals and converting them to digital. It involves the distribution and transmission lines as well. We are here to talk about the deployment in the city of Springdale. We will be touching every gas and electric meter on every residents premise. A system that has been in existence for 100 years needs some upgrading along the way. The smart grid and grid modernization will allow us to respond quicker to outages. The smart grid will have features in it that will automatically be able to shift the circuit to another circuit to pick up the load more quickly and eventually even tell us where your power is out so you wont have to call us. Obviously those meters at a home are cash registers for the company so we send men and women out to read those meters every month. For a landlord we have to come out every time someone goes or comes. A smart grid will automatically submit the meter reading to us electronically. Some of the benefits will included reduced cost and improved reliability. Also there are products and services that will eventually come out to consumers. There will be several optional programs where a consumer may be able to control the thermostat with your blackberry or cell phone. The smart grid will allow two way communication. So far here in Ohio we have installed 278,320 electric meters and 195,618 gas meters. The electric meter comes out and we put in a new meter. We add a module to the gas meter. We are systematically going community by community, circuit by circuit changing out the meters.
Mark Arnold said right now we are in year three of a six year deployment. We are actually focusing on the 200 amp residential meters. The engineering was completed in May, tree trimming in July and the communication nodes were installed this month. We installed 381 pole mounted communication nodes and 198 surface mounted nodes. There are 3811 electric meters and 2500 gas meters in Springdale. The meter installation will be done between October 17 and December 31. Typically we hit 75-85 percent of the meters within seventy-five days. We have roughly eight percent indoor meters. Those will require a customer appointment. Were very flexible on appointments. We are allowed to disconnect the customers electric service in order to gain access. About one-half of one percent actually go through the disconnect process. Contract Callers Inc. is our vendor that will be working the Springdale area. A month or two after the new meter is installed, the resident will receive a certification letter. At that point the meter reader will no longer be walking by.
Mr. Diehl asked what is the time spent at a house?
Mr. Arnold replied fifteen minutes is typical. The outage is about 30 seconds.
Mr. Squires said I had a first strike surge protector installed recently. Is that taken care of with the new meter?
Mr. Arnold replied that will stay with the meter. There is no strike stop in the digital meter. The protector you had installed will stay in the meter base.
Mr. Vanover said I am an electrician and did a service change in Hamilton and had a hard time closing the lid.
Mr. Arnold replied we have not run into that issue.
Mrs. Harlow asked what is your accuracy rate in transmitting the usage as opposed to having it read by personnel?
Mr. Arnold responded the accuracy rate is 100 percent. During the certification process we get one to two reads and compare the walk by to the read in the system. Prior to installation, Duke tests ten percent of every meter shipment in our test lab, far exceeding the Public Utilities Commission requirement. The PUCO also requires meters to fall within a two percent tolerance range and we are within a 1-1 ½ range. The electric meter on some houses have been out there for some time and they tend to slow down over time so there is a possibility that they are running outside the two percent but the new meter will be within tolerance.
Mrs. Harlow said we should be able to look at our detail bill and see our usage from month to month and compare it year to year. Is there a concern for any of our residents who might be on medical equipment that we should be aware of?
Mr. Arnold said we have a list of everyone who is a medical customer. We make extra effort and if we do not hear back we will go ahead and change the meter. Those on the medical list do not go through the disconnect process.
Mrs. Harlow asked what about the battery on the gas meter. How do we know when it dies?
Mr. Arnold replied the batteries are twenty-year batteries and we have a change out process.
Mrs. Emerson asked who is responsible for meter repairs if something goes wrong with it.
Mr. Arnold answered if our vendor comes out to work on the premise and does not leave the premises in the same condition, the vendor is responsible for making the repairs. The only issue we come across is what we call sunken undergrounds. Over time the surfaces settle and it will actually short out the inside of the meter base. Our technicians are trained to look for that. If they mis-identify that and attempt to change the meter and a flash occurs, the vendor is responsible to make the repairs. If they identify it as a sunken underground, we notify the customer to make the repair.
Mrs. Emerson asked what is the cost to our residents versus cost savings for our residents?
Mr. Blade responded the smart meters are covered in our rates that have been approved by the Public Utilities Commission. Its a graduating model so at the end of deployment it cant go any higher than $5.25 per month. That will be included in the rate base. It starts out at $2.00 and graduates up to $5.25.
Mr. Parham said you said the cost change is gradual. Is that something we are paying for or will we start paying for in the near future?
Mr. Blade stated the minimal cost started with the deployment. It will continue until the Commission says differently.
Mr. Parham asked will that be on a rider or somewhere else on the bill?
Mr. Blade said I believe it will be a rider.
Mr. Parham asked what time of day do your people plan to come through the neighborhood on the cold canvas.
Mr. Arnold replied it will be between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Mr. Galster asked for more information about the sunken underground pad.
Mr. Arnold said it is owned by owner of the house. The underground service from the meter base on the house to the transformer underground is owned by the customer.
Mr. Galster asked if the homeowner has a sunken underground issue, the customer is given twenty days to correct.
Mr. Arnold replied yes, there is a safety concern. There is an outage that is going to occur at some time. The cost to repair could be $500 or up.
Mr. Galster said so the homeowner would be expected to pay a $500 bill in that twenty day period in order to get back onto your schedule.
Mr. Arnold said at that point they are taken off the schedule. In order to complete the repair the customer will probably hire an electrician. Duke Energy has to come out and disconnect the electric. When they reconnect it they will switch the meter out.
Mrs. McNear asked about the success rate with the daytime hours.
Mr. Arnold replied we have a sixty percent success rate. Ninety-two percent of the meters in Springdale are outside so its not required for the customer to be home.
Mrs. Emerson said with all the benefits the company is realizing with less manpower, will that savings be passed on to the customer?
Mr. Blade said one of the benefits is through the products and services that are offered. There are times of use rates. Right now we have a pilot program in
Delhi and Terrace Park. Because of the smart reader, it allows the customer to wash dishes at night instead of during peak hours. There are several features that will allow the customer to save money but they are not in place yet because we dont have the full infrastructure in place. In addition to that, the Public Utilities Commission has to approve the rates. Right now we are working on pilot programs to see how feasible those rates are because we dont want rates that arent good for the average consumer. Once they are approved they come on the market for consumers. There is no rebate or dollars coming back due to direct cost savings of the smart grid project.
Mr. Vanover asked if the overheads would be treated the same as the underground.
Mr. Arnold replied we have them focused on looking at the meter base. They do a quick glance at the overhead but they are not going into detail on frayed service connectors. They are looking at immediate safety issues.
Mr. Vanover said with the outside meters being replaced it would probably be good for consumers, if they dont have a UPC or UPS on their computer systems, to shut those down and probably other electronic devices too as a safety precaution. When they kick the meter back in youre going to get a surge.
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
ORDINANCE NO. 36-2011 APROVING A MAJOR MODIFICATION TO THE PRELIMINARY DEVELOPMENT PLAN TO TRI-COUNTY COMMONS PUD
Mr. Tulloch, Economic Development Director, said it is unusual for a member of the City Administration to introduce a request by private business but we have been very involved with Lamar and the Bergman Group for up to five years in trying to get this electronic advertising device into the community. Id like to introduce Tom Fahey and Mike Strayer from Lamar Advertising; Steve Adler represents SKA through the Bergman Group; Mark Miller, owner of Woodcraft and Joe OGorman, owner of Full Throttle Go Kart. The ordinance before you is the result of five years of effort to get an electronic sign somewhere in the City somewhere along the beltway property. Unfortunately, trying to warrant the cost of about $1 million based on local advertising just really didnt work. About a year and half ago we met with marketing consultant Ken Smart, Lamar and Bergman and approached it as an electronic advertising device as defined by ODOT. The difference between a sign and electronic advertising device is the sign can only advertise businesses upon which the sign sits. An electronic advertising device as permitted by ODOT will allow for general advertising. That was the economic solution on how to pay for the devise. We wanted some benefit for the City and city businesses. One sixth of the time of usage both westbound and eastbound will be devoted to advertising by local businesses, to city events and programs and to promotion of the retail district. Lamar secured ODOT approval. We are requesting tonight a change to the PUD and then well go back to Planning Commission for the approval of the sign.
Tom Fahey, General Manager of Lamar Advertising, stated we have operated since 1902 in the tri-state area and have worked closely with many of the local communities. We have been a very good partner with communities that we operate in. We operate amber alerts, public service messages and we really get involved in communities that we operate in. We would be no less involved in Springdale if you provide us that opportunity.
Mike Strayer, Real Estate Manager for Lamar Advertising said this project started in earnest in 2007 and was scheduled to be on the mall property. We got a lot of details taken care of but we couldnt get approval from ODOT. The problem with that site is that it was too close to the entrance ramp. The sign is scheduled to go just west of Front Room Furnishings. We have worked closely with the Administration to come up with a good public/private partnership and really provide value to the City and bring economic vitality to the retail district. Hopefully when the device is installed there will be lots of opportunity for the retail district they wouldnt otherwise have.
Joe OGorman of Full Throttle and Mark Miller of Woodcraft both encouraged Council to pass this ordinance. Mr. OGorman stated their biggest challenge has been for people to find them and Mr. Miller stated advertising on TV is expensive. They both said they have used Lamar advertising on I-275 and I-75. Steve Adler also asked Council to pass the legislation.
Mayor Webster said it is so gratifying to hear these comments from our businesses. If you go up and down the interstate you see these message boards. Every place has them except Springdale. I apologize to the business community and everybody that it has taken us five years to get to this point. I think this is a real milestone for us. Id like to compliment Lamar and the Bergman Group. The Planning Commission has been very helpful also.
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Ordinance 36-2011 passed with seven affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 38-2011 AMENDING SECTION 155.0592 OF THE SPRINGDALE CODIFIED ORDINANCES REGARDING RUBBISH AND GARBAGE DISPOSAL
Mr. Parham said the exhibit I sent you after the September 7th meeting is different than the one you have tonight. The difference is that items 1 and 2 were combined into item 1. The focus is more on the number of permits you receive. They are for thirty day periods. If you should have to keep it for thirty-two days you are moving into your second permit. The intent is to give you three permits, each permit for a thirty day period. Item 1 says the Building Official has the ability to extend the permit under exceptional circumstances.
Mayor Webster say this is another thing that falls under the category of home improvements so we have no intention of charging a permit fee for this.
Mr. Galster said Im wondering if there might be a provision that once the roll off is full, that they have a certain timeframe that they have to get it emptied. Once that trash comes above the edges, how long can that be maintained. If they fill that dumpster in the first five days, can they still have twenty-five days to get rid of it?
Mr. Parham stated yes, under this language, I think so.
Mr. Galster said Ill have to think about that.
Mr. Vanover said anyone who rents one isnt going to let it sit too long because the meter is running.
Mayor Webster said I dont mean to be argumentative but assuming they are expensive why do people leave them for months and years on end?
Mr. Galster responded you have a drop off charge and a pick up charge. Youre not usually being charged per day.
Mrs. Harlow and Mr. Vanover said there is a charge per day.
Mr. Galster stated a lot of places dont charge per day.
Mr. Parham said sometimes an owner rents the roll off, then the house goes into foreclosure. They dont pay and the company doesnt pick up the dumpster without payment.
Mr. Parham said we have public hearings scheduled for October 5th and October 19th for the Community Development Block Grant program. I exchanged e-mails and had phone calls with representatives from the Hamilton County Department of Development trying to ascertain our threshold. I need more clarity but it seems to me that our threshold for projects in this upcoming process is $50,000 to $55,000. My question to them is this on an annual basis or for the three years. Its based upon what Springdale brings to the Community Development Block Grant program. We just completed this current three years where we received $100,000; $30,000 for Chamberlain Park, $30,000 for the Home Improvement Program this year plus $20,000 each of the past two years. That doesnt shake out right when we think back to all the other communities who dont want to participate because they dont want any low to moderate housing in their communities. We still encourage everyone to give us ideas.
Mrs. McNear said we have a request for a C1/C2 liquor license for Los Tres Amigos on Northland Boulevard. There were no objections.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Fire Department Open House - Oct 8
Planning Commission - Oct 11
Citizens Police Academy - Oct 13
Board of Zoning Appeals - Oct 18
Mayor Webster said we were talking about the electric charges with the meters. There is one way people can reduce their electric usage and hopefully their gas usage, by approving the electric and gas aggregation issues that will be on the ballot. This gives the City the ability to gather everybodys usage together and bid it on the open market. Duke would still provide the service, read the meters, send you the bills. Its strictly where we buy the product. Theres nothing for the resident to lose by allowing the residents this opportunity. If you dont want to participate you can always opt out and allow your neighbors to save money. What are the issue numbers?
Mrs. McNear replied the gas aggregation is 60 and electric is 59.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Ordinance 38 - Oct 5
Authorizing the purchase of an ambulance - Oct 5
Lease/Purchase agreement for ambulance - Oct 5
Beaver Run Phase II restoration project - Oct 19
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Accepting funding from OPWC - Oct 5
Council adjourned at 8:43 p.m.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Marjorie Harlow, President of Council