President of Council Marjorie Harlow called Council to order on
October 19, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance. Mr. Vanover gave the invocation.
Mr. Vanover asked for a moment of silence for Melissa Hoffman, deceased wife of Assistant Fire Chief Mike Hoffman.
Mr. Vanover took roll call. Present were Council members Diehl, Emerson, Galster, Hawkins, Squires, Vanover and Harlow.
The minutes of October 5, 2011 were approved with seven affirmative votes.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
Civil Service Commission - no report
Rules and Laws no report
Finance Committee Mr. Diehl gave a recap of the Citys financial standing through the end of September. We have collected $12.5 million, which is 82 percent of what we anticipated. Our expenditures were just under $11 million which is 68 percent of the total budgeted at $16.7. Were a little ahead on projections for income and were below projections for expenses year to date.
Planning Commission - Mr. Galster stated there was a request for a variance to the Tree Preservation Ordinance by Cassinelli Square Property at 333 East Kemper Road. The applicant had taken out trees in front of the old Party City location and according to the Tree Preservation Ordinance, they are required to replace those at 100 percent caliper inches plus pay a fine. This was tabled at the request of the applicant. Nationwide Insurance at 11497 Springfield Pike has a monument sign out front that is a little tough to read. The applicant wanted to put up two 4 x 8 signs on each side of the building. Given the fact that it is in the corridor, that wasnt permitted. We had discussion about modifications to their monument signs to give them visibility and the request was withdrawn by a 7-0 vote. Cincinnati Mattress at 11750 Commons Drive requested minor improvements. This would be a co-tenant inside Front Room Furniture. A beam sticks out from that building and there was discussion about having it removed. Ultimately, it was allowed for them to keep it in hopes that a sign for any additional tenant would be mounted on that beam. They are going to erect a temporary banner on that beam at the size they want and come back to Planning for approval for a full sign so this was tabled.
Board of Zoning Appeals Mr. Hawkins said the owner at 538 Smiley applied for a variance to allow them to park a recreational vehicle on their driveway. A neighbor was present in favor of granting the variance and it passed 7-0. The resident at 534 Smiley requested a variance for an addition to the front of the residence. This was granted with a 25 setback. The owner of 260 Northland Boulevard requested a variance to allow them to install additional flag poles for international flags on their property. That was denied 7-0.
Board of Health Mr. Squires reported the board had the first reading of the 2012 food license fees. The annual Health Fair was held and 220 flu vaccines were given. A resident was bitten on the hand by a bat. The nurse does blood pressure readings at the Community Center and she has alerted a number of citizens about high readings.
O-K-I - no report
Mayors Report Mayor Webster stated there were two outstanding community events in the past ten days. On October 8 the Fire Department held an open house. It was one of the most well-attended ones they had and the cost for supplies and education material was $759.83. Food and water as well as material to build fire simulators were donated by local businesses. Yesterday we had our seventh annual Business Expo. The past several years we have been combining that with the Health Fair and that has worked out very well. The Business Expo reports its one of the best theyve ever had. Last year Mr. Tulloch initiated a chili cook off. I think the businesses who participated felt they got their moneys worth. Besides flu shots at the Health Fair, the Lions Club did glucose screenings, and blood pressure checks were also available. Today we had our monthly SOS meeting and a good deal of time was spent talking about the Christmas program. We are looking for donor families so if youd like to adopt a family this Christmas season please call 346-5725. If you are a family in need, call that same number.
Mayor Webster said Issues 59 and 60 are the gas and electric aggregates that are on the ballot. We think these are very important to the general public. Last year the City joined eight other municipalities to get bids for alternate suppliers from Duke. We have saved about 40 percent on our electric bill over the last year. Im not suggesting that residents will save that much but I do think it will be a substantial savings with your gas and electric bill if these issues pass. We need the residents to vote yes on issues 59 and 60. The City makes nothing on this. This is strictly to benefit the residents of the City. If you dont want to save money you can opt out of the program. If you have an alternate supplier now, once your contract expires you can join this group or you can stay where you are.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director - no report
Administrators Report Mr. Parham said about a year ago we were trying to organize a CodeRed announcement for the residents in order to encourage more residents to sign up with our CodeRed program. You can sign up using your home number, your cell number or even your e-mail address. You can also receive text messages. If we send out a text message or e-mail there is no charge to the City. However, anytime we need to send a voice message, a charge will be assessed to the City for those calls. We have not had to use it for any emergency but we have used it on a few occasions. We are gong to have a CodeRed announcement scheduled for Wednesday, October 26 at 12 noon. Our preference was to send the call out by the time residents would be at home. Unfortunately at 12 noon, not many of us will be at our residences; however, we have been limited by the folks from Code Red to send the message out no later than 5:00 PM. Because CodeRed is not going to charge us for this call, we have agreed to their time frame. This is also an opportunity for them to test the system as well as to help them recruit more persons to sign up on the system.
Mr. Thamann stated Parks and Recreation will have their Halloween carnival on October 29 from 1 to 3 p.m. Its free for all of our residents and Community Center members from ages 2 through the fourth grade. They will have various activities.
Halloween will be celebrated on October 31, 6-8 p.m.
Law Directors Report - no report
Engineers Report Mr. Shvegzda said there is legislation to award the Beaver Run Phase II project on the agenda tonight.
Mr. Vanover said Sunday sales for Costco in District 4, Precinct E will be on the ballot. I thought that passed a couple of years ago but evidently not.
Mayor Webster asked does that have to be decided on for every store or if the people in Precinct E vote for Sunday sales does that apply to every store in the district?
Mr. Schneider replied Im not sure but you have to have it approved by the voters in that district.
Mr. Galster said Wal-Mart was approved by a separate ballot issue.
Mayor Webster said I thought the State did away with the blue law years ago.
Mrs. Harlow stated we get the liquor license transfer requests. Why does a retailer have to go to ballot?
No one knew the answer.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE
Steve Moore, Evendale, thanked Mayor Webster and those who attended the groundbreaking last week. Mr. Moore said I am here to represent myself and the other two board members who are also up for re-election and ask your support. Last year, for the first time ever, the district as a whole received a rating of Excellence. Four of our elementary schools, including Springdale Elementary, that received an Excellence with Achievement. The high school and middle school also received Excellence. Lincoln Heights has gone from Academic Watch to Continuous Improvement up to Effective. The economic environment has been challenging for us. We are proud of the progress but are sad at the number of employees we have had to cut over the last two years. We reduced our cost per student, our pay and benefits have been frozen for the next three years and we negotiated a half million dollar reduction in health care benefits. I ask you to support me and my fellow members Sandy Leach, a Springdale resident and Bob Maine.
PUBLIC HEARING COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT
Mrs. Harlow opened the public hearing.
Mr. Parham said the discussion for tonights Public Hearing is to identify the recommended projects for the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) covering the years 2012 through 2014. Under the current three-year funding program, the City received $100,300 for our CDBG programs and projects. We received $20,000 in years 2009 and 2010 for the Home Improvement Project. We received an additional $30,000 in 2011. We also received funding in the amount of $30,300 this year for the Chamberlain Park Playground Upgrade project. During a conversation earlier today with the Hamilton County Community Development Department, they have estimated at this point that the City will be eligible for between $50,000 and $55,000 over the entire three-year period. A great deal for this reduction is based on projections of a fifteen percent reduction in funding from the Federal Government for 2012. They have no idea whats going to happen in 2013 and 2014. If the funding comes in at less than fifteen percent, that would make us eligible for additional dollars. We have identified a number of projects during our discussion at the last meeting, one being the continuation of the home improvement program. We talked about $20,000 funding each year for that program. Another project we discussed was the resurfacing of the outdoor basketball and tennis courts at the Community Center. The estimated cost of that project would be $21,000. The third item is to replace the tennis court fencing at the Community Center for $22,000. To resurface the Ross Park basketball court and add court markings to that project, would cost $11,500 and to repair and seal coat the walking path around the Community Center it is estimated to cost $21,000. Those are five projects that we internally have been able to identify. Im sure there are a number of others. There are some that staff and I have had discussions on that were far greater than $50,000 to $55,000. That would have taken the entire amount we have talked about for the three year period. Nothing prohibits us, if Council so chooses, from shooting for it all in one year. Then maybe, hopefully, the additional dollars will come in from the Federal Government. We could always spread the funding request over multiple years, as previously discussed.
Hearing no comments from the audience about these projects or any other possible projects, Mrs. Harlow closed the public hearing.
Mr. Galster asked are the projects in order as you gave them?
Mr. Parham replied I would probably suggest that the tennis court fencing be done under some other funding.
Mr. Galster said so wed have the Home Improvement Program funded at $20,000 for three years as number one, the resurfacing of the tennis and basketball courts as number two.
Mr. Parham said at this point I am submitting the projects to you in hope that you will have a preference on which projects you would like to see take place. If Council wants Administration to come up with the priority list, I can always do that but the hope was to get feedback from you. I did receive an e-mail from Mr. Diehl on a preferred project and I believe it was the tennis and basketball courts.
Mr. Galster said at the last meeting I believe I said the Home Improvement Project was my number one project. Resurfacing was number two and I thought it was important to break the fencing out of that.
Mr. Hawkins agreed that from his perspective the Home Improvement program would be number one and the resurfacing of the courts second.
Mr. Diehl asked Mr. Parham to elaborate on what needs to be done with the walking path.
Mr. Parham responded Mr. Karle felt, based on the longevity of the walking path around the Community Center and the condition of that path, it would be prudent for us to add a new seal coat to the path and make any repairs as needed.
Mr. Vanover stated he also thought the Home Improvement Project and then the resurfacing of the courts were his priority.
Mayor Webster said I would echo that. Speaking of the outdoor walking track, there have been lots of repairs. Every year they repair potholes on the track. I think thats pretty important. I dont know how many people use the tennis courts and Im not quarreling with that being number two but I think we should try somewhere along the way to do a seal coat on that walking track to try to cut down on the maintenance they have to do on that. That is used quite a bit and it is used year round.
Mrs. Harlow said it would make sense for us to seal it.
Mayor Webster said we can list it on here and if we dont get the money, we need to look at some other source.
Mrs. Emerson said I also agree with the Home Improvement project as number one but I had the same comment Mrs. Harlow had about resurfacing or sealing the walking trail. We use that year round and I dont know how much we use the tennis courts.
Mrs. Harlow asked Mr. Parham, are you looking for a resolution from Council to move the application forward?
Mr. Parham stated a couple of things are required. One is that we must submit a copy of the minutes from both public hearings along with our priority list. What I hear indicated is that you want to proceed with number one, very clearly the Home Improvement Program over three years at $20,000 each. A majority of you have indicated that youd like to look at the tennis courts, perhaps then maybe we can include the walking trail as the third priority. I think a motion of Council would be appropriate to put it in the record in case there is something we need as we begin to submit this to the County.
Mr. Vanover said I move that we have a vote of confidence from Council naming the top three preferred projects under the submittal of our application for the Community Block Grant program to be as follows: First priority is the Home Improvement project at $20,000 each year; second priority is the resurfacing of the outdoor tennis and basketball courts at the Community Center in the amount of $21,000; and third, the resurfacing and seal coat of the outdoor walking track around the Community Center in the amount of $21,000. Mr. Galster seconded.
Mr. Galster said the tennis and basketball courts need to be resurfaced. The walking path just needs a sealer. Is that correct?
Mr. Parham stated I believe that Mr. Karles indication is to repair and put a seal coat on it. I understand that there may be a number of potholes out there that need to be repaired.
Mr. Galster said for $21,000 we are not going to resurface that whole thing.
Mr. Shvegzda said we will patch any significant cracks and seal coat the whole thing to provide additional life.
Mr. Parham said Ill read the comment from Mr. Karle that he submitted to me several weeks ago: fifty-six square yards of the outdoor walking path at the Community Center are in need of repair. These repairs of cracks and uneven areas are necessary to maintain a safe surface for pedestrian traffic and to prolong the life of this highly used and important asset of the recreation complex. The entire surface of the walking path should also be seal coated including the path adjacent to the tot lot and the vehicle entrance to the pool compound.
Mrs. Harlow stated I do notice, living right next to the park, that generally at least once a night, maybe more, we have a patrol car drive through the park. That is probably adding to the wear and tear to the surface as well. I know they have the little gators they use on the fields but they arent nearly as heavy as a patrol car.
The motion passed with seven affirmative votes.
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
ORDINANCE NO. 43-2011
ACCEPTING A BID AND AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH EVANS LANDSCAPING, IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $277,417.50, RELATED TO THE CHAMBERLAIN PARK BEAVER RUN PHASE II RESTORATION PROJECT, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY
Mr. Squires made a motion to adopt and Mrs. Emerson seconded.
Mr. Parham reported, as we had mentioned at the previous meeting, Evans Landscaping was the lowest bidder for this project. One of the challenges they have is that of $36 million in the business they generate; only $2 million is in landscaping but because the owner started the business in landscaping, they refuse to change their name from landscapers. At the same time, they dont really get away from it. They do perform these types of projects as well as other demolition type projects.
As a part of our application, we identified the design engineering to account for a portion of the Citys twenty percent matching cost. Unfortunately, because that work had been completed prior to March 1, 2011, we are unable to use the total design engineering amount. There was some work performed by the engineers that was post March 1, 2011. We can use those dollars towards our twenty percent match. Also, we may be able to capture other work that has been performed by the Public Works Department as well as any meetings or so that Mr. Thamann or I may have participated in for this project. We are trying to identify those costs in an effort to reduce our out-of-pocket number. The Citys twenty percent share, based on the results of the bid would be $55,484. We had previously anticipated paying $40,000 for our share of the construction costs. Therefore, if we can identify at least $14,000+, well still be at that $40,000 but our goal and hope is that there will be identified costs associated with this project that will be greater than the $14,000.
Ordinance 43-2011 passed with seven affirmative votes.
Mr. Parham said as part of the grant for the Beaver Run project we are required to have a public meeting. We are in the process, in conjunction with the contractor, of establishing that meeting for November 1, 2011. Following that meeting we will hold the pre-construction meeting. The purpose of the public meeting is to allow the general public to have a sense and view of what the project entails. As soon as we finalize that we will notify the residents in the adjacent area. We are trying to identify a location to hold the meeting on that day.
NEW BUSINESS - none
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Planning Commission - Nov 8
Board of Health - Nov 10
Board of Zoning Appeals - Nov 15
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT - none
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED - none
Council adjourned at 7:58 p.m.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Marjorie Harlow, President of Council