President of Council Marjorie Harlow called Council to order on
November 16, 2011 , at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance. Mrs. McNear gave the invocation. Mr. Vanover asked for a moment of silence for Fireman Joe Lehns wife who/ passed away.
Mrs. McNear took roll call. Present were Council members Diehl, Emerson, Galster, Hawkins, Squires, Vanover and Harlow.
The minutes of November 2, 2011 were approved with seven affirmative votes.
COMMITTEE AND OFFICIAL REPORTS
Civil Service Commission - Mr. Thamann said the test date for the firefighters examination will be December 3rd and the test date for patrol officer will be in early January.
Mayor Webster said we will be down five firefighters as we got two more resignations this week. Thats why we need to put this on the fast track.
Rules and Laws - no report
Finance Committee - no report
Planning Commission - Mr. Galster said they met November 8 and the report will be at an upcoming meeting.
Board of Zoning Appeals Mr. Hawkins reported the owner at 501 Lafayette applied for a variance to allow him to expand the garage 10 feet by 24 feet. That was granted 5-2.
Board of Health Mr. Squires said the City was awarded a Gold Award as a Healthy Community for promoting good health. Springdale was one of nine Ohio communities given an award. The total flu vaccinations given to date by the Health Department are 138. Nurse Jean will start another Diabetes Disease Management Workshop in January 2012.
O-K-I Mrs. McNear said they are waiting on confirmation on how much money will be received from the federal government for projects for the upcoming year.
Mayors Report Mayor Webster said Springdale Offering Support met today and they are in desperate need of sponsor families. If anyone would like to sponsor a family or child please give us a call or you can make a cash donation. The line to call would be 346-5725. We are not doing Food for Fines at the Police Department but we are collecting canned goods for the needy. Those can be dropped off at the Police Department or here at the Municipal Building. Those will be distributed as part of our Christmas program.
Mayor Webster said Id like to thank the almost seventy percent of the people who approved the gas and electric aggregates. Hopefully we can all save some money. Were hoping to have this in place by next spring. The thirty percent who didnt vote for it can still sign up and save money. Id like to announce that December 1 will be the swearing in of elected officials. Judge Melba Marsh will do the honors. Dinner will be at Pappadeaux after the meeting.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director Mrs. McNear said since we are heading to the end of the year I want to give you an update on earnings. We have a budget of $11.3 million. As of the second week of November we are at $12,098,000. Thats $792,000 over our anticipated revenues which are better than expected. There will be a more detailed report when the quarter is over.
Administrators Report Mr. Parham stated as the Mayor said, the aggregate programs did pass. The next process is to schedule two public hearings to present our operational plan to the general public. Once we put the program in place, if you are a current subscriber of Duke Energy, then you will automatically be included in the City of Springdales process. If you have taken yourself away from Duke Energy, you will not automatically be included because you have made your choice to realized better savings. The City will receive a list of those residents who are in the program at some point from Duke Energy. In the interim, we have to put together a plan to describe to the residents that they are automatically in the program as well as to outline to them that they have the ability to opt out of the program. The plan is to provide the procedures on how to opt out. We are going out with Eagle Energy, our consultant, and try to find the best possible rate that we can for the residents. The City is already involved in the program with Direct Energy. Direct Energy only provides energy for commercial, not residential. The plan will put forth what your options are and what your opportunities are. If you find there is a better plan that serves you, Id advise you to engage in that program, but we are going to try the best we can to find the lowest possible rate in the market for the residents.
Mr. Vanover said we are enrolled in the Duke plan and we got letters today. We have until the fifteenth to opt out.
Mayor Webster said I also got a letter today and if you do nothing you automatically get renewed with Duke Retail. By the fifteenth you have to tell Duke Retail that you do not want to continue. If you dont, you automatically renew which was a shock to me.
Mrs. Harlow said I read the fine print. It stated if you did renew and then you wanted to change your provider while you were locked into their contract, there were penalties involved.
Mayor Webster said if you get that letter from Duke, dont throw it away. If you want to be part of the Citys program you need to notify Duke that you want out of the Duke Retail program. What happens to us, Mr. Parham? How do we get into this program?
Mr. Parham replied thats pretty interesting because I was contacted a month ago by a resident who indicated he wanted to know what he should do about his energy choices. He indicated he had received notification from Duke Retail that they had offered him the opportunity to renew for an additional twelve months. Ive always understood that the only one of those three alternative suppliers that provided a penalty if you left their program in advance was Duke Retail. My understanding was the Duke Energy rates will expire December 31 and I dont think any of the alternatives went past December 31, 2011 so you automatically fall back into Duke Energys program unless you take some action to enter into a new agreement with Duke Retail. Now they are saying if you do nothing you stay with them. The earlier correspondence they sent out was giving you a chance to renew with them for another twelve months but there are always penalties if you exit their program prior to your contract expiration.
Mayor Webster said I have the letter in my office.
Mrs. Emerson said Mr. Parham, I just wanted to ask you to clarify once again that Springdale is not receiving any money on this. I had residents approach me thinking we were making money on this and that is not true, correct?
Mr. Parham responded no the City is not receiving anything. About June 2010, the City entered into a cooperative with a group of eight other communities. As part of that program the broker, Good Energy, went out to the market and found Direct Energy. Because of Direct Energy the City facilities were able to save about forty percent. Our buildings are already taken care of. This is an opportunity for the residents as well as small businesses. There is a definition of what constitutes a small business. I recommend everyone go to Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) and determine whether you qualify as a small business or not. This is simply putting the program in place so that we can find an opportunity to assist the residents with lowering their rates.
Mayor Webster said there is no fine print on my letter. It says Thank you for being a Duke Energy Retail customer. The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the initial term of your contract is ending. In January your account will automatically renew for twelve months at the new rate of 6.85 cents per kilowatt hour. No other terms of your contract will change. If you wish to terminate your electric supply from Duke Energy Retail please call 800 . . . You have until December 15, 2011 to provide notification that you wish to cancel.
Mrs. Harlow stated I tried for two days last week to call that number and I could not get through, and thats a concern.
Mr. Parham said our next two meetings are December 7 and December 21 so it will probably be March or April 2012 before we can have the program in place. I was trying to think of a way to expedite the process. The law does not require that the public hearings are held before the legislative body; however, in reviewing the Citys legislation it says Council will hold a public hearing. I talked with Mr. Forbes to see whether or not Council has the ability to allow the Administration and consultant to host the hearings. Then perhaps we could schedule them earlier and speed the process up. If not, we can clearly go to December 7 and 21.
Mrs. Harlow asked if we did speed the process up, would we have a meeting outside of Council and then the second public hearing at a Council meeting?
Mr. Parham replied no, you set a date that you can move them along.
Mrs. Harlow asked why couldnt you do one as a residential public hearing and then do the other one in conjunction with a regular Council meeting?
Mr. Parham replied if you do one on the 7th, then two weeks later you will be at December 21. To get the other one before then, the consultant is back in town on Monday so getting notice out to the residents with the date will be almost at the 7th.
Mrs. Harlow asked what date did you want to schedule the hearing?
Mr. Parham responded I did not put a date down. I just talked to Mr. Forbes a second ago. We could possibly try to schedule for November 30. Thats two weeks from today or we could try to schedule it a couple of days before that. It looks like we would be buying ourselves a week or so.
Mrs. Harlow stated it does help people with their utility bills so Id like to get that working for our residents as soon as we could.
Mayor Webster said I propose that we do it on Council nights. Those are already in place. People know about the meetings. We can announce it beforehand. The press gets a press packet of whats on the agenda. I think we are going to go through a lot of thrashing trying to get people notified. Then somebody wont get notified of a special public hearing and I just dont think we are going to save that much. What are we going to get, a month earlier?
Council agreed to do it at the regular Council meetings.
Mr. Parham said we will take care of the advertising. Unlike the public hearings for zoning changes, this doesnt require thirty days notice.
Mr. Parham said this year for the first time, the City permitted employees to carry over ten days of their vacation accrued from the previous year as part of our 2010 cost containment measures. The purpose of that is prior to 2010, in an effort to try to reduce our expenses, we allowed employees to receive up to ten days of compensation for vacation days. We decided in order to cut expenses, employees had to use those days. So in 2010, we allowed the employees to carry those days over into 2011, but they had to use them prior to the end of March. Adding those ten days on along with the amount of years of service that employees have, it cramps some of the employees opportunities when trying to squeeze those days into their schedule. Also with the reduction of staff in some departments, allowing individuals off became a challenge. Employees were able to get some of their vacation bank down but not all, so we are proposing to allow them to carry days over one more time. This time we are proposing five days, not the ten days. There is one employee who is scheduled to receive a full week of vacation in the month of December and already has time on the books. That will make it very difficult for her to be able to use her earned time.
Mr. Parham said the other proposal for legislation is a volunteer furlough program of up to fifteen days. In 2011, to date we have had approximately 220 hours of furlough time used by ten employees. Some have asked if we are going to have it available next year. They would like to take advantage of the program. In 2010, we only had 158 hours but we did have the mandatory furlough days that year. In 2009, there were 660 hours of furlough time taken. About fifteen employs took advantage of those opportunities. If Council is in agreement, we would like to have an additional year of voluntary furlough time for employees.
Mr. Parham said Mrs. Harlow asked if I would give an update on the Smart Grid Meter Replacement Program with Duke Energy. Duke has indicated that they have completed the tree trimming portion of the project throughout the City. In addition, ninety-nine percent or 578 of the 579 nodes have been installed in Springdale. They were originally planning to begin with the meter installation during the first week of November. However, they have been set back because of assisting the Northeast in dealing with Hurricane Irene as well as their large snowstorm of a few weeks ago. They have pushed their schedule back and will probably begin the first week of January. Finally, Duke has indicated that they have not sent out any postcards or other communications to residents to notify them that they will be coming through. As they get closer to their date to begin the meter replacements, they have indicated that they will get back with me to keep me up to speed.
Mr. Thamann said the collective bargaining agreement between the City and our patrol officers allows for a wage re-opener for 2012. The officers have notified the City that they want to negotiate a wage opener for 2012 and the Administration has met with the patrol officers to try to come to some agreement. After we met with them, the union has requested an extension for the fact finding report to be signed, which I understand in the past has taken Council action by a floor vote. This extension will allow additional time to negotiate beyond December and would also include language that if a conciliator makes an award to the union, it could include language that a wage increase could be retroactive to January 1. The Administrations recommendation is that Council considers the extension and enters into an agreement. In talking with Mr. Parham, I understand this has been done in the past but no legislation has been required.
Mrs. Harlow asked Council to vote for an extension of the police unions contract to go into 2012 by voice vote.
Mr. Diehl asked what happens if we vote no?
Mr. Thamann replied if Council votes no, the union is in a position where they will initiate the fact finding. It will take place before the end of November. They have to have fact finding this year.
Mayor Webster stated a yes vote would give us the ability to negotiate and head off any fact finding or arbitration. Either way they will probably try to negotiate a raise effective January 1. If they dont get it through negotiations they will probably try to get it through arbitration and fact finding.
Mr. Thamann stated this agreement has no impact on the 2011 wages whatsoever.
By a 7 0 vote, Council agreed to allow the extension.
Law Directors Report - no report
Engineers Report Mr. Shvegzda reported that the pre-construction meeting for the Beaver Run Creek Riparian Restoration project had been held on November 11. It is anticipated that construction will begin towards the end of this month.
In addition, we are currently working with the Police Department and the Vineyard in regards to formalizing a maintenance of traffic plan for the construction project scheduled for Century Circle.
Mrs. McNear read a letter from Reverend Brian McManis, 8195 Becket Road, West Chester 45069 who is with the Tri-County Baptist Church. He sent the letter to Council members. The Church is celebrating their 50th anniversary on November 20 and they have asked that the elected officials be part of their ceremony as honored guests. If you need additional information and did not receive this at your office, Ill be happy to provide a copy. The event will be November 20 at 8 a.m. in the main sanctuary.
Mrs. McNear read a letter from Daniel Mastrullo, 518 Lafayette Avenue, Honorable Doyle H. Webster, I had to take the time and share my appreciation for the Veterans Day Ceremony at our beautiful Springdale Veterans Memorial. We must never forget the memory of all who proudly served and protected our country. I trust Springdale will never forget. I also salute the City of Springdale for the maintenance to keep our memorial one of the best. Sincerely yours
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
ORDINANCE NO. 44 -2011
AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH DONALD W. WHITE TO SERVE AS MAYORS COURT MAGISTRATE FOR THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Mayor Webster said all three of these ordinances deal with Mayors Court. They are for the magistrate, public defender and prosecutor. All three have agreed to continue at the current rate of compensation. Its a very professional, well run court. I recommend approval of all three ordinances.
Ordinance 44-2011 passed with seven affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 45-2011
AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH JONATHAN SMITH FOR PUBLIC DEFENDER SERVICES FOR THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Squires seconded.
Ordinance 45-2011 passed with seven affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 46-2011
AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH MARK E. PIEPMEIER FOR PROSECUTING SERVICES FOR THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mrs. Emerson seconded.
Ordinance 46-2011 passed with seven affirmative votes.
OLD BUSINESS - none
NEW BUSINESS - none
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Turkey Shoot and Turkey Bowl at the Community Center - Nov 19
Tree Lighting ceremony - Nov 27
Board of Health - Dec 8
Board of Zoning Appeals - Dec 20
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Adopting final appropriation and transfer ordinance - Dec 21
Temporary appropriation - Dec 21
Budget presentation - Dec 21
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
Vacation days carry over - Dec 7
Furlough days for 2012 - Dec 7
Public hearing for gas and electric aggregates - Dec 7
Council adjourned at 7:46 p.m.
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Marjorie Harlow, President of Council