Council was called to order on April 2, 1997 at 7:00 p.m. by President of Council Randy Danbury.
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by the governmental body and those in attendance.
Roll call was taken by Mr. Knox. Present were Council members Boice, Galster, Manis, McNear, Vanover, Wilson and Danbury.
The minutes of March 19, 1997 were not available.
"Letter from Ohio Low-Level Radioactive Waste Facility Development Authority addressed to Mayor Webster: A copy of Resolution R3-1997 adopted by the Council of the City of Springdale on February 5, 1997 has been received by Governor George V. Voinovich. The resolution has been forwarded to our office for inclusion in the Public Document Repository of the Ohio Low-Level Radioactive Waste Facility Development Authority.
Ohio joined the Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact in 1984 and was selected as first alternate host state in 1987 based upon the amount of waste produced by Ohio generators. In 1991, when Michigan was expelled from the Compact for failing to fulfill its responsibility, Ohio became host for the first regional facility. Substitute Senate Bill 19, enacted in 1995, established a process for development and licensing of the facility, provided a set of siting and design criteria, and strengthened the agreement between the six states in the Compact. Among the most important provisions is a requirement that the generators of low-level radioactive waste remain responsible for all costs associated with the facility.
There are nearly 60 generators of low-level radioactive waste throughout Ohio. Radioactive materials are used in a broad range of activities, including the generation of electricity; medical research, diagnosis, and treatment; academic instruction; and the production of consumer items. These facilities are not, however, located or designed for long term, on-site waste management. The responsible approach to low-level radioactive waste disposal is to site, design, and operate one permanent facility capable of safely isolating the waste for the required period of time. Membership in the Midwest Compact will allow Ohio to limit the amount of waste to be disposed of in the state and the length of time that an Ohio facility will operate.
The Authority office has information on issues related to the management of low-level radioactive waste, as well as on the development of a disposal facility in Ohio. If you or your constituents have further questions, please feel free to call me. Sincerely, Stephen James, Director, Administration and Government Relations"
"Letter to City of Springdale: On last Wednesday evening March 26, 1997, the Princeton High School Basketball Booster's Club held its first Awards Banquet honoring the High School Basketball Teams, and the individuals who supported these teams. The Banquet was held at the Sharonville Convention Center in Sharonville, Ohio.
One of the highlights of the evening was a Proclamation read by Mayor Doyle H. Webster and signed by all the mayors from the Cities and Villages that comprise the Princeton City School District.
The Mayors in attendance also presented an original copy of the Proclamation to the twelve (12) graduating Seniors who were either players on the Varsity Team, Cheerleaders, Team Managers or statisticians. Of the twelve (12) students so honored, six (6) were Springdale Residents.
I wish to thank the following individuals for their financial support of our function; Randy Danbury, Peggy Manis, Derrick Parham, Cecil Osborn, Tom Vanover, Doyle Webster and Robert Wilson.
The Princeton High School Basketball Booster's Club sincerely appreciates your participation in this worthy effort. Kindest Regards, Robert E. Wilson, Jr., Member"
Mrs. Boice said I would like to address the letter from the Ohio Low-Level Radioactive Waste Facility Development Authority. They are basically telling us that they got our resolution but they are still going to import all these toxic things from six other states and they really don't care if we object or not. Am I reading that correctly or can somebody else give me a better interpretation?
Mr. Galster said I was reading their brochure that came with the letter and they were comparing an Ohio only waste facility versus a regional waste facility that covers six states. In that comparison under the Ohio only they will have one large Ohio only facility if we just do it in Ohio and don't cooperate with the other states; but under the regional waste facility they say they will have one small midwest compact facility. I don't understand how one state can have a real large facility but when we put all six together we are going to have a little compact one.
Mrs. Boice said I guess my concern is that we have sent in our objections and I know every state has its waste problems. I just believe every state has to take care of its own problem. Why should we be taking care of six other states? I find this letter empty and non concerned. I find it ridiculous that the reply showed no concern that maybe they could do something else; that there was another way out. It was another one of these thank you, we appreciate hearing from you but we really don't give a hoot and holler what you said. I think in cases like this you need to look at the people who sign these letters because these are the people who sooner or later are going to pop up running for office some place. I think that's the time you remember them.
Mayor Webster said I apologize for being late. I was preoccupied with getting these resolutions signed. I would like to follow up on Mr. Wilson's letter that Mr. Knox read. I would like to commend Mr. Wilson for putting on a great basketball banquet. Mr. Wilson and a group of citizens have banded together and formed a Princeton basketball boosters association and they had a very nice banquet. It was a long evening but a very enjoyable one. I'd like to read this proclamation that I and the other five mayors in the Princeton School District issued.
CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO
Office of the MAYOR
WHEREAS, the Princeton High School Basketball Teams have recorded an outstanding finishing season for the school year 1996-1997; and
WHEREAS, the Varsity Team ended its season with thirteen (13) wins and seven (7) losses; competed and won their District Championship; and
WHEREAS, The Varsity Team went on to win in the "Sweet Sixteen" Tournament and then be a runner-up in the Regional Tournament; and
WHEREAS, the Junior Varsity, Sophomore, and Freshman Teams have established themselves as contenders for future championships; and
WHEREAS, Head Coach Paul Andrews, Assistant Head Coach Michael Wilson and their staff have displayed exemplary coaching skills in preparing their students as scholars and athletes for college and future endeavors;
NOW THEREFORE, I, DOYLE H. WEBSTER, Mayor of the City of Springdale, OH,
DONALD P. APKING, Mayor of the Village of Evendale, OH,
ALEXANDER BROCKMEIER, Mayor of the Village of Glendale, OH,
HAROLD O. STEWART, Mayor of the Village of Lincoln Heights, OH,
VIRGIL LOVITT II, Mayor of the City of Sharonville, OH,
SUSAN UPTON FARLEY, Mayor of the Village of Woodlawn, OH
do hereby proclaim March 26, 1997 as
Princeton High School Basketball Day
in the City of Springdale, Village of Evendale, Village of Glendale, Village of Lincoln Heights, City of Sharonville, and Village of Woodlawn in recognition of an outstanding season.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the City of Springdale to be affixed this twentieth day of March in the year of Our Lord, Nineteen Hundred Ninety- Seven.
Donald P. Apking, Mayor, Evendale Doyle H. Webster, Mayor, Springdale
Alexander Brockmeier, Mayor, Glendale Harold O. Stewart, Mayor, Lincoln Heights
Virgil Lovitt II, Mayor, Sharonville Susan Upton Farley, Mayor, Woodlawn
The Springdale students were Angela Battle, Jewel Cotton, Cynthia Garcia Gonzales, Tanisha Howard, Joe Neinaber and Survi Shah.
Mr. Wilson said I talked with Mayor Webster earlier today and the decision was made to read the proclamation. I didn't know he was going to put his light on and do but we were in sync.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
RESOLUTION R7-1997 "COMMENDING SGT. GUST TEAGUE AND C. J. NICHOLS AND THE MEMBERS OF THE SPRINGDALE POLICE EXPLORERS POST 911"
Ms. Manis made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded.
Mr. Danbury said I think it's great what everyone has done. A lot of people aren't aware of what the explorers are. It's an extension of the boy scouts and girl scouts. I think it's a very good gesture that you are doing. If everybody just helped a little. I know you weren't looking to stand up before us but I think people are noticing the work you are doing. I would also like to commend Officer Teague because you put a lot of time and effort into this. You have been in charge of this since day one. It's off hours and I know there are other things you would like to do but believe me, what you are doing is really good work. I think the men and women you are working with right now will definitely be better people.
Mr. Vanover said I would echo that. It seems it takes a crisis for us to regain our human qualities in the caring side of us. It's good to see that there are some young individuals who have maintained that. Too often we stereotype and lump them all in one category and they just prove us wrong. My hat's off to you and I know Mr. Teague is a dynamo. He's an example of how lucky we are with our entire police force. All those guys just go and go and give and give. It's refreshing and I'm thankful that they do. It makes our city that much nicer to call home.
Mr. Wilson said it's just another great effort by Springdale and its citizens. I commend you and from one First Sergeant to another, "Bravo Zulu".
Mrs. Boice said as you look out in the audience and see these fine young people, some of their parents are here tonight. That's always the important connection. You young people are doing the things you are doing because that's the way you have been raised. You have parents who have supported you every inch of the way and you have people like Rusty Teague who are there to work with you. You represent what are some of the finest things about Springdale. These are our best moments up here. Congratulations to all of you, most of all congratulations to the wonderful parents, and most importantly, thank you Rusty. You do a good job.
Mayor Webster said it was really a great effort. I am very proud of the Explorers, not just for this effort, but they are always Johnny on the spot to do whatever they can to help our Police Department, especially noticeable during the festival every year and any other big events we have where they can lend support. They're always there. It really was very gratifying to go to the Fire Department and see the outpouring of support that this community gave to the flood victims. You men and women certainly contributed a great deal to that. I'm very proud of you folks and also all the citizens, the way they turned out en mass to support those poor people.
Ms. Manis said everybody who saw the TV pictures about the flood were concerned and wanted to do something but it's different to get out there and actually do it, going door to door collecting stuff from people. I want to thank you doing that, making us look good and making the whole city look good.
Mr. Galster said we see the faces of the City but this gives us an opportunity to see the heart.
Resolution R7-1997 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
The commendation was given to Sgt. Gust Teague, C. J. Nichols and the following members of Police Explorers Post 911 for outstanding and distinguished service: Brad Miracle, Mike Laage, Marilee Politt, Natalie Jackson and David Karousky.
ORDINANCE NO. 24-1997 "AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF $10,000 UNDER AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO AND THE GREATER CINCINNATI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PERTAINING TO THE "BLUE CHIP CAMPAIGN "1994-1998"
Mrs. McNear made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Ordinance 24-1997 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 25-1997 "AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH TEC CONSULTANTS FOR PROFESSIONAL SERVICES FOR THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE CITY'S CLOSED LOOP SIGNAL SYSTEM AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Galster made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Mr. Galster asked could we incorporate flashing yellow lights into our loop system without it totally screwing up the regular sequences?
Mr. Osborn replied we have had several different intersections over the past three or four months placed on flash during off hours, such as on S. R. 747 in the vicinity of Tri-County Mall. If you know of other intersections where we're not doing that and you'd like us to consider, we can certainly do that.
Mr. Galster responded Kemper and Lawnview. I think we have had a lot of people try to come out of Lawnview at 11:00 or 12:00 at night and you can sit there and wait a long time for that light to turn green. Also eastbound on Kemper Road in general. I know you can't do them all or everyone will run into each other but the in-between lights.
Mr. Osborn stated we'll look at some of the side streets like Kemper and Lawnview.
Mr. Galster asked if Wagner Smith are the people doing our maintenance now. Are they doing more now or will they be doing less?
Mr. Osborn replied they would be doing about the same level of maintenance. However, we are putting it on a flat rate per signal, per month. The actual average over the past three of four years has been just over $29,000 for this type of maintenance and on a cost per unit basis flat rate it will run $27,410 a year. We feel we are getting a little bit of a cost break based on past history by going to this type of service. I don't consider it an enhancement over what we are doing now but it allows us to stabilize for budget purposes what we can project as future cost. Where we take the increase in cost is on the operations side. We have not had any operations oversight for the signal system. Chief Freland would be the first to admit that the complexity of the system is technically beyond the level to which we have trained a few of our people to be troubleshooters. They are competent enough to do a few things on the system but in terms of the overall system and its inter-relation between different intersections and the counting loops and how that translates into modifying the timing of the system, etc., all the programming is really beyond the level of training we have been able to give our personnel or the time they have to put into that type of work. We don't have a traffic signal technician working for the City. We believe this cost will allow us to bring that type of service on board without adding any personnel and by using the company that designed the system for us to provide that service. We project that at a cost of $2400 a month or $28,800 a year. So far, since we have had the closed loop system in place we have been using them on a troubleshooting basis. When something goes wrong or we don't like the way a signal is operating we call them in. Over the last two years we have been averaging between $3,000 and $4,000 in troubleshooting calls. That's really an artificial number because a lot has been absorbed under the original warranty period for the system. As we get outside that warranty period for a long period of time we would see a higher cost there. Certainly we're going to see a higher level of operation out of the system if we are proactive rather than just being reactive and just responding to situations that develop from time to time.
Mr. Galster said we spent the money on the system. We've incorporated the system throughout the City and the only complaint has been that it hasn't worked right. It's been an improvement but there is room for additional improvement.
Mr. Osborn replied if you look at our traffic system under the volume it deals with and compare it to other parts of town very close to us, you can see a vast difference in how we handle that traffic. We are handling far more traffic on S. R. 747 now than we did when we used to have traffic jams over there. We're still going to have traffic jams but it takes a lot more traffic to raise it to that type of situation.
Mayor Webster said we looked into the flashing yellow lights a year ago and came up with a list of potentials. I think we implemented four or five of those on a trial basis just to see if it would cause any accidents. To my knowledge we have not had any accidents. We need to get that list out and convert some of those others to flashing yellow. However, I don't think we start as early as 11:00 p.m. I think it's 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Mr. Danbury said my neighbor goes to work at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. along Kemper Road and he is hit by every light, and there's nobody there.
Ms. Manis said these are the people who come out if we have a problem if the signals go out. Are they located in Springdale?
Mr. Osborn replied TEC is located in Springdale. The maintenance crews who respond to this are not out of Springdale. They will be out of surrounding jurisdictions. The company that provides the operational oversight is here in Springdale. One feature I don't think we have really discussed much at Council level is the video camera we installed at S. R. 747 and Kemper. It's on the northwest corner on a pole. That camera can look up each leg of the intersection about 1500 feet. It then broadcasts by radio frequency the image to TEC's office over on Northland and they can look at real time situations, both on S. R. 747 and Kemper and verify the information they are getting off the computer at that very key hub. That is something we just instituted this year and we think that its going to be a real advantage as well. Once we get this all underway maybe we can arrange for some tours at TEC's office to see how it works.
Ms. Manis said the comments you made before about us handling the traffic, after the last meeting when we were talking about the traffic with Dave & Buster's, someone had talked to me and said that they didn't think our traffic problem was nearly as bad as it was a couple of years ago. They remember sitting at Christmas and not moving an inch for minutes and minutes. It has improved and I think this is one of the reasons.
Ordinance 25-1997 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE 26-1997 "AMENDING ORDINANCE NO. 94-1996 TO PROVIDE FOR PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION CHANGES AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mrs. McNear made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Mr. Osborn said I had requested an emergency clause on this ordinance and 27 so that it would go into effect on its second reading should Council desire to do two readings. If Council feels comfortable with it and wants to adopt it tonight we can do that. I didn't want to make you feel like we were rushing this at you but I did want it to go into effect as early as possible after a second reading. It's Council's option, however you would like to proceed on it.
Mr. Danbury said I agree with both ordinances so I have no problem voting on them tonight.
Ordinance 26-1997 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 27-1997 "AMENDING THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO, TO AMEND SECTIONS 35.01 POLICE DEPARTMENT COMPLEMENT; 38.13 RECREATION ADMINISTRATIVE SECRETARY; 38.26 COMPLEMENT AND CLASSIFICATION OF THE PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT; AND TO ADD NEW SECTIONS 37.08 ADMINISTRATIVE SECRETARY TO THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT; 38.08 SENIOR ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT; 38.09 ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT; 38.34 ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT IN THE BUILDING DEPARTMENT; AND 38.25 ADMINISTRATIVE SECRETARY IN THE BUILDING DEPARTMENT AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mrs. McNear seconded.
Ms. Manis said the attachment is hard to read; what's in and what's out under Street Maintenance. Are we taking out all of the classifications and there will be no more temporary workers at all or can they be brought in at any time as we see fit?
Mr. Osborn said we are eliminating the language underneath the listing of classifications A-E. We're striking all the language below that previously tried to describe the position. We felt that was too restrictive and that the job descriptions have changed considerably. I am going to be bringing in another recommendation at the next Council meeting in terms of the temporary workers. I sent Mr. Schneider a far more complex document than this. When I sat down to insert these classifications into the chapters where they belong, it was clear that a major re-write had to be done because there were positions that were eliminated in the 70s still in there. There are positions we have added since then that do not appear in the chapters. I went through and did a major re-write, sent it on to Mr. Schneider. So that we would have a proper review time he asked me if we could separate the ones out related to this ordinance. I did that and in the process of doing that I know there is another paragraph that will appear under 38.26 that deals exclusively with temporary and seasonal employees. I'm sure that will be coming back to you in the next ordinance.
Ordinance 27-1997 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 28-1997 "ACCEPTING A BID AND AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH RAY PRUS & SONS FOR THE 1997 CONCRETE REPAIR PROGRAM AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mrs. Boice made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded.
Mr. Danbury said we have a lot of things on the agenda tonight dealing with construction and I was just wondering if the Administration could briefly explain the concrete repair program.
Mr. Osborn said we have three ordinances that will be considered by Council tonight. This one on the concrete program; another on crack sealing and another on resurfacing. Those three ordinances combined will cause the expenditure of $820,065 for roadway improvements in the City. The resurfacing, crack sealing and concrete repair work will be City-wide.
Ms. Manis asked on the concrete, do the City wide repairs include the aprons. Mr. Osborn replied no.
Ordinance 28-1997 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 29-1997 "ACCEPTING A BID AND AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH TERRY CONSTRUCTION, INC. FOR THE 1997 CRACK SEAL PROGRAM AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded.
Mr. Galster asked if there was only one bid received on this project.
Mr. Osborn stated that is correct. We suggest going forward because the Engineer's estimate on the project was $74,500. We felt that the work on a cost per unit basis was well within what we have seen on similar contracts so we would recommend accepting the bid.
Mr. Galster asked if we had dealt with Terry Construction in the past.
Mr. Shvegzda replied yes, on at least two other occasions.
Mr. Danbury asked if this is something in the future or even right now, that our own maintenance crews can do or is this something that is a little more specialized?
Mr. Osborn responded we do a little bit on a limited basis but we don't have the manpower to cover the areas they are going to be covering. It's a very good preventative measure to make your wearing surface last longer. As you know, we try to keep our wearing surfaces sealed so they will wear longer before we have to overlay again. Given the amount of manpower we have available to us we couldn't cover the ground that these folks are going to cover. So yes, we used to do this exclusively but seeing the benefit from it, knowing the availability we had in manpower we have elected to contract it out and this particular year we have increased the size of the crack sealing project to include the entire Northland Boulevard because it does require it.
Ordinance 29-1997 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 30-1997 "ACCEPTING A BID AND AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH BARRETT PAVING MATERIALS, INC. FOR THE 1997 STREET RESURFACING PROGRAM AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded.
Mr. Wilson said we all received a memo from Mr. Osborn bringing up the point of a discrepancy of $2,000. Is it the base bid or alternate 1, 2 or 3 because if you add these up it does come up to $443,000.
Mr. Shvegzda said it was in the unit prices for the base bid. There was an error in the multiplication.
Mr. Danbury asked when would we be doing the actual work for ordinances 28-30?
Mr. Shvegzda said at this point we will schedule a pre-construction meeting and within a week or so from that date the work should begin.
Ordinance 30-1997 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 31-1997 "ACCEPTING A BID AND AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH RIGLING ELECTRIC FOR THE SPRINGDALE RECREATION CENTER BASEBALL FIELD LIGHTING RENOVATION AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded.
Mr. Wilson said as chairman of Capital Improvements I got a letter from Mr. Shuler talking about this very bid. I'll read just one paragraph and then I'll address it. "On March 26, 1997 bids were opened for the Recreation Center baseball field lighting renovation project. One bid was received from Rigling Electric for $45,373. The Engineer's estimate for this work was $39,500." I talked with Mr. Shvegzda today because I was concerned because our engineers stated $39,500 and this bid is coming out at $45,373. My initial reaction was because it was the only bid we were almost forced to take it because of our time constraints. Mr. Shvegzda told me a couple of things. The engineering company, Rigling Electric, had a concern about the restoration cost of the field; that is digging up the field and having to lay it down; uncertainty that the completion date could be met without a lot of overtime; and weather concerns. We did obtain some good references. They are factoring in if it rains and they have to work overtime, or if they have to tear up the field and repair it, they put in their overtime and costs for that. I felt a little uncomfortable about it because I felt that's the cost of doing business. But we're looking at it from a safety standpoint. If we don't meet the completion date and the electricity goes out and we have a tournament, or more importantly, there are kids playing out there, we have to deal with their safety. Reluctantly I'm going to vote for this. Bear in mind we're paying more because the electric company feels they are going to need more time in terms of overtime to do the work. I just wanted to bring that to everyone's attention. I got this information. There was a big discrepancy of over $6,000 and the reason is we have to think about the safety of our children and adults who are playing on that field and we have to look at the revenue loss if there is no lighting and we have a tournament going on.
Ms. Manis said I think we have to get it done. They are well overdue.
Mayor Webster said it is a big discrepancy of 14%. If you go back over most of the Engineer's estimates, they are usually close or under. They usually estimate a little higher than what the projects come in. This is one of the few times where they did underestimate by 14%. Mr. Wilson, you made some interesting comments about them tearing up the fields. I understand that part of the game plan is that they are going to get all the underground work done and run it up to the junction box eight feet up on the pole. They are going to stop there and wait until July or August, bring in the cherry pickers, ladders, etc. to finish the job. This will be done in two phases to try to minimize the damage to the fields.
Ordinance 31-1997 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 32-1997 "CONSENTING TO THE EXECUTION OF AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF HAMILTON COUNTY, OHIO AND AL NEYER, INC., AND GTE MOBILNET INCORPORATED PROVIDING FOR THE ADOPTION OF A PROJECT WHICH WILL LOCATE A BUSINESS IN THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE AND CREATE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN AN ENTERPRISE ZONE OF HAMILTON COUNTY"
Ms. Manis made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded.
Mrs. McNear said I will be abstaining on the vote because my company will be a competitor of GTE Mobilnet.
Mr. Danbury said previously I have abstained because I thought my company might be getting into this, and they are not getting into this at this time so I will be voting.
Ordinance 32-1997 passed with 6 affirmative votes. Mrs. McNear abstained.
RESOLUTION R8-1997 "DECLARING THE NECESSITY OF IMPROVING THE DRIVEWAY APRONS IN THE PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY"
Mr. Wilson made a motion to adopt and Ms. Manis seconded.
Mr. Galster said I have a problem with the numbers. I understand the necessity but if we fix all the aprons that are at 1" or worse it was 359. If we went to 1 1/1" it was 194. I thought about it a lot. I would like to propose a compromise. If we did all the aprons this year that are 1 1/2", provide notice to everyone who is at 1" and told them if they don't fix this by next year, then next year we'll come back and get the rest of the people who fall between 1" and 1 1/2" unless we were replacing the curbing on their road. Then it would be necessitated that they would have to do their apron this year. I think that helps spread it out. It gives the homeowners a few more opportunities to get it done on their own as opposed to the next two months or having the assessment made. I thought we were talking about doing it over two years. This is a single annual installment that is going to be assessed and I have a problem with that. We can make the 1" our standard and then whenever we are doing street repairs or major curb replacement on a street we can check the driveways at that point to see if there are additional repairs that need to be made on aprons and have it be an on-going thing or wait five years before we do it again. I just think there are a lot of homeowners that in the next two months have to come up with $500 to $1,000 before they get an assessment against their property. I don't know if anyone else has dealt with buying or selling property with an assessment against it but they don't always come off and they're not always clean and can create a lot of hang-ups at the time of buying/selling of the home. I would like to see that minimized and I think that if we compromise and gradually get it in I would be much more in favor of it.
Mr. Danbury said I agree with the 1 1/2". We threw the two year time frame out before and I think that would take care of the problems you have with it. A lot of people weren't prepared to have this done right now. I think if instead of just going to 1" we give them two years on the assessment, would that alleviate your concerns.
Mr. Galster said if our letter said they would have to replace them by next year, we can try to persuade them to get it done now. I know some people are going to have the work done on their own but if we look at the number of people who are going to be assessed it's 40% of 400 people. I think two months to come up with $500 to $1,000 is just too short. Even if we spread the payments out over two years that doesn't get rid of the problem of the property being assessed. It's like a tax lien and I think we should minimize it as much as we can.
Mr. Danbury said I agree with what you are saying about spreading it out over two years; but whether you do it this year or next you will still be assessed.
Mr. Galster responded but you would have fourteen months to prepare for it.
Mr. Vanover said I have a problem with the single annual installment. As much as we discussed breaking some of the projects up into smaller bids you lose the advantage of quantity. Contractors can get the big buy and they won't bid these little piecemeals. The work is going to have to be done because you are jeopardizing the life of the curbs behind those aprons. I understand the money coming out of the budget but unfortunately, that's one of those uncertainties.
Mr. Galster said in response to the ability to get a good price. We do a lot of business with the people in the concrete and repair business. I don't see us losing the ability to get a good price whether we are doing 200 aprons this year and 200 next year or 400 this year. I can't see that our price per square foot is going to drastically change or that we'll lose our competitive edge or the ability to get a good price. I assume that the contractor who is doing our concrete in general, or whoever is doing the sidewalk work is going to look at these driveway aprons as an add-on to his contract. I just don't think with the volume we are talking about that we are losing the competitive edge.
Mr. Wilson said I thought at the last meeting we had talked about unit cost and pretty much agreed that it would be in our best interest to do it all at one time. Some of the comments have already been addressed such as allowing our residents a longer period of time as opposed to one annual payment. They can still elect to do it themselves. Mrs. Boice and I were looking at the numbers and our two districts comprise a very large percentage of this repair work. I'm sure she has received phone calls asking when is this going to be taken care of. I have received quite a number of calls from residents. I think we could send a letter to the residents giving them the option of doing it this year or next year. I am not in favor of an annual lump sum but in letting the resident choose whether they want to do it this year or next year with the idea that if they wait a year it may cost them more. I think you'll find most of the residents will want it done but maybe we'll have to cut back and just do the ones that want it this year.
Mayor Webster said we've never talked about a single annual installment. I think that's just an error on the part of the solicitor's office. We've always talked four semi-annual payments. I was shocked to see that in the resolution. Secondly, as far as people having the money in two or three months, I know the resolution says June 16. In reality if the people have the City do it they really can make that payment to the City until the time we assess it and send it down to the Auditor's office which is in September and there is probably another thirty days that they can make payment to the County Auditor's office and not get that assessed. So in reality you are probably looking at six months to come up with the money. If they can't do that in six months then they would get four semi-annual installments to pay that. Council could take care of the single annual installment with a motion to change the resolution. We would still encourage Council to do the whole thing. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into inventorying these driveways. We haven't done this for eight years and I would like to see us have to do it only once every eight to ten years rather than going back and doing it more frequently. A lot of the work is going to be the guys going door to door in the middle of January measuring driveways. You'll be asking them to do it again next year. We've done a good job of canvassing the City and inventorying what the situation is. It's Council's decision. We can go 1" or 1 1/2" and I recommend we go with the 1" and all 359 driveways.
Ms. Manis said I agree with Mr. Galster on a lot of points. It's just not a fun thing to have to do anyway. I don't think we ever did agree on the four payments over two years. It was just thrown out that we can do it however Council thinks and I don't think it was ever finalized. I think we just assumed that. We say we want to do it every eight years and save some manpower. I actually think if we did it more often it would be less of a headache for everyone. Do it every four years or every time you're doing the street just take care of it. It keeps the costs down overall. I know it takes a lot of work to go through all this assessment but it's part of the job. I know that based on a bid we got from a contractor in the audience we can do it for about $100 less than the City is going to do it. I encourage everyone to get your own estimates and save $100 and just get it done.
Mrs. Boice said it's a bullet we have to bite. Mr. Wilson is absolutely right. As I look at the figures the heart of Springdale is going to have to have the most driveways repaired. This is part of owning a home. These things have to be done. If we would delay on some of these I wonder how that would affect our curb work. From past experience I know the people in District 3 are as about as reasonable people as you are going to work with. Sure, they are not going to be happy with having to replace these aprons but it's part of owning a home. I would like to see us proceed. We have done the legwork on it. I think we need to settle on the number of installments and give that allowance to our homeowners. Also Mr. Osborn, if we would not go with all these, will it affect our curb program? Will we have to go back out and recheck everything?
Mr. Osborn replied I think you can do a combination. As the Mayor indicated, our recommendation is to do all of them. I think if you were going to be replacing curb in the area of aprons that are on our list but are not up to 1 1/2" yet, we could cause those to be done at the same time. We could make an exception in those cases and bring it down to an inch. Sitting here I couldn't tell you how many aprons below 1 1/2" will be replaced while we are also replacing curb. We have that information. It's incredible how much you can do with a computer and a very competent inspector. I can give you a lot of data on this.
Mrs. Boice said we have some varying views here. I would think before we go any farther with this resolution we first need to decide if we are proceeding with the 359. If we're not the question is a bit moot. Then we have to do something else. If we are I think we need to decide what the payment plan is and what the numbers are going to be.
Mrs. McNear made a motion to extend the installments to four payments over two years and Mr. Wilson seconded. The amendment passed 7-0.
Mrs. Boice made a motion that we proceed with the 359 addresses. Mr. Wilson seconded. The amendment passed 5-2. Mr. Galster and Ms. Manis voted no.
Resolution R8-1997 passed with 6 affirmative votes. Mr. Galster voted no.
Mr. Danbury said we will have to establish an equalization board for the driveway apron project.
Mr. Osborn stated we don't have to until after we receive appeals. The residents have 21 days after they receive their notices to file an appeal. You may want to think about people but we don't have to adopt it this evening.
Mr. Schneider said an Equalization Assessment Board hears any objections to the assessment and the way it is allocated. The Board determines if there should be a reallocation. If someone should not be assessed for some reason then it goes back to the other people. The purpose of the board is to hear any grievances. If there are no objections filed and that may happen, then there's no reason to appoint the board at all. We will just defer until we have an objection filed; then we will appoint the board. As Mr. Osborn pointed out, you might want to consider who you would want on this board.
Mr. Danbury asked if the board is appealable.
Mr. Schneider replied it is the final word administratively. They can certainly take it to court if they choose. I suggest if anybody has anyone in mind that they turn it in to the President of Council. In response to Ms. Manis' question Mr. Schneider said anyone involved should not be on the board. The purpose of the Equalization Board is to independently hear the objections and make a decision as a judicial body as to what is fair and just under the circumstances.
Ms. Manis asked if we should consider a Planning Commission member.
Mr. Schneider replied we cannot serve on multiple boards and this would be a board of the City so I would suggest it be someone completely independent of any other position in the City.
Mrs. Boice said I really cut my teeth in the City in 1969 on an Equalization Board. I can remember when I was contacted. It turned out to be the property the Rec Center was built on. There was a discussion as to whether the City had been fair in its payment to Mr. Comer. There were three citizens on that board. We have to have somebody coming in with no pre-disposed decisions. There are some highly qualified people on the list of people who applied for other boards. We want to keep the board as independent as possible which is going to be difficult to do.
Mayor Webster said I looked back at the list of names for the assessment board the last time we did this. Jody Royal, who no longer lives in the City and Bob Kirlin served on the board before. You may want to consider Mr. Kirlin again but he is my appointment on the Building Appeals Board. You may want to scratch him for that reason. I cannot remember who the third member was but he no longer lives in the City.
Mrs. Boice said with all due respect, Mayor Webster, due to the fact that Mr. Kirlin is an appointee of yours I don't think that would be wise.
Ms. Manis asked who exhibited the list on Exhibit A and why do all the cities say Cincinnati? Don't we always talk about that?
Mr. Osborn replied our Public Works Department did and that was pointed out to them.
Mr. Danbury said talk about it and think about and remember, these people have to be strong. They may have to be telling their neighbor, sorry, you have to pay. It's not a fun thing.
Mr. Galster stated Planning Commission met on March 27 on Dave & Buster's and that was granted final plan approval by a vote of 6-0-1.
Mr. Osborn said on the apron bids the notices will go out within the next week or two but the list is public information now that it has been adopted. We have been contacted by vendors who want to begin soliciting residents. I want you and the public to be aware that we'll get these notices out as quickly as possible but it's possible that residents will be contacted by vendors who have the list and may be approaching them even before they get their notices. We can't help that. We regret that that is probably how some folks are going to find out about this but there is very little we can do about it.
The faux pas on the resolution is equally mine in terms of the four semi-annual payments. I knew that and I reviewed the ordinance that was prepared by the Law Director and I missed it as well. I can share the blame for that one.
I have a schematic for the community information sign we have been talking about for the corner of Lawnview and Springfield Pike. We had budgeted $35,000 for this program last year but with time and everything else we just didn't get to it although we had begun the design work. The project is staked out in the field right now and we are in the process of contacting vendors for costs, electrical service and sign company. We have already acquired the box sign itself. The first drawing you see is a depiction of how the sign will be built into a stone wall. The new wall will pick up and overlap with the existing wall and serpentine around the corner. As it gets to the Lawnview Avenue side it will split into three terraces. The sign itself will be eleven feet wide and six feet high. I'll pass around a drawing that shows a drawing of the sign and an attachment that shows the material it will be covered in. The sign will be internally illuminated. It will have five lines of moveable six inch letters. It will say across the top "City of Springdale Community Events". The sign will be accessed from the front and we will backfill against the wall so that the wall and the sign are primarily embedded into the embankment. The sign will stick up from the embankment about a foot. We wanted to run it by you this evening so you can see where it's going. If there are any thoughts that Council might have about the direction we are taking with this we are available for input. I wanted you to see the scale and quality we are trying to design into the project and solicit any comments Council might have.
Mr. Galster said this corner is a real attractive corner with all the green space and mature trees. I thought having a little water feature there might look nice. We make our industrial and our business people finish off their buildings, put fountains in retention ponds, etc. This is a great area.
Mr. Osborn said we can certainly do that. To tell the truth I was a little nervous with the amount of money I was already spending on this but if Council wants us to be a little more creative we can step back and take a look at that. The only thing we are committed to so far is the actual box sign itself and we acquired that last year because we knew exactly what type of letter system we wanted to use. We are prepared to go forward with this sign. I don't have any idea what something like you are talking about would cost but we can do whatever you would like to do.
Mr. Danbury asked what the cost is now. Mr. Osborn replied it is $35,000 and that is with us doing a lot of the work. We are doing most of the landscaping ourselves. We're buying the plants and using our own labor to do much of the landscaping.
Ms. Manis said I was against this from day one because of the money but I will say it looks very nice. When I think of any water there I just see suds, a magnet for trouble.
Mrs. Boice said I would have to know what this waterfall costs.
Mr. Danbury said I think it will be very attractive just like this.
Mr. Knox said on the second page it says S. R. 4 and Cloverdale. That should say Lawnview.
Mayor Webster said as a follow up to Mr. Galster's suggestion, I'm not sure it's big enough for water, etc., but we might want to have Ann McBride come in and go over the Springfield Pike Critical Area Report and there may be some comments from her or in the report that you might want to see incorporated in this intersection. In light of what Mr. Galster said, the timing of the report being issued and the presentation of it, since we've waited this long, maybe we need to wait another thirty days and see how we all feel about going forward with this after we've had a chance to review this revision to the Route 4 Corridor Study.
Mrs. McNear said this looks very beautiful and I think to have a waterfall, pond, or fountain, etc., would be very attractive but I am concerned about the wildlife. We all love to watch that but so many animals are being displaced as we continue to grow as a city that I'd be concerned that we would be drawing more animals. We've already had two or three deer at Avon, and the Canadian geese causing problems all over the Cincinnati area where they have to put plastic dead-looking Canadian geese in ponds. It doesn't look very attractive and I don't think we want to bring that to the City or cause any deer to cause accidents or be killed because we have water at that site.
Mr. Osborn stated I certainly concur with the Mayor that we have delayed this project already. A few months ago Ms. Manis asked me what are the other priorities along the corridor. I thought I know what they are but maybe what I know is not what a planner would think so I asked the planner to do a very quick, concise study evaluating our corridor, our corridor's plan that we have in place, what we have accomplished, what we have yet to do, what should our priorities be. She has made that report and I have just reviewed it and sent comments back to her yesterday. We should get that back next week. She would be available for a presentation to you at your next Council meeting. I would like to have Mrs. McBride come in and make a presentation to you. This is an opportunity for us to blue sky and daydream a little bit. That property would be a really nice location for a carillon or some major architectural feature like that. Stealing an idea from churches, the cellular tower companies will participate in a structure like that if they can use it to hide a tower structure for themselves. Maybe we want to look at a bigger picture for that corner. I don't think that means we have to delay the sign but maybe we can incorporate the sign into a bigger plan for that corner. I think it would be nice to examine what options we have and make sure when we do the sign this year that we don't cut ourselves off from doing something else. I certainly don't mind putting a hold on the project until we have heard Mrs. McBride's presentation.
Mrs. McNear said we received a service request from the last newsletter. A person had asked for a reminder article in our newsletter regarding the pooper scooper law. I'd like to ask people to please be courteous and care for your pet and make sure you don't leave anything for your neighbors to take care of. Is there a fine if you are cited for failure to clean up? Do you know how much it is?
Mr. Osborn replied there is a fine but I don't know what it is.
Mr. Osborn said if you recall from the last meeting we were at odds with Rumpke over the issue of how we were going to restructure around the issue of yard waste and since that time Mr. Parham has had several negotiating sessions with them and we believe he has come up with an offer from them that we would recommend. I don't want to steal any of the glory from Mr. Parham who carried the flag on this one. so I will turn it over to him.
Mr. Parham said as you recall when we first started off we contacted Rumpke about making the change. They indicated they wanted to charge us an additional 80 cents per unit (a unit is a household) per month. After further conversations with them their proposal was to charge us 55 cents. Their logic at the time was that they were currently getting roughly $20,000 from us for the sticker system. I had the Finance Department pull the numbers on what we've actually paid to Rumpke and it is $15,000 annually. The program started in 1995. Through conversations with Marilyn Cassisselli, the government rep for Rumpke, we've come to what we think is a very workable agreement. At the last meeting I indicated to you that we do currently have a contract that is in effect until December 1999. However, there is a clause that says the City or the contractor can provide written notice and pull out in ninety days. The agreement Ms. Cassisselli and I have reached is that the City over an eleven month period of 1997 will pay an additional 40 cents per unit. In 1998 for a twelve month period we will pay an additional 15 cents. Right now we are paying $5.95 per unit monthly. For an eleven month period for 1997 we will pay $6.35. If you include the payment for January at $5.95 per unit that factors out to $236,647.60. If we should remain with the contract as is, it would be $222,910.80 and then we would add another $15,000 onto that for the purchase of the stickers for a total of $237,910.80. In 1998 the rate would jump by an additional 15 cents up to $6.50 and we would then pay $243,516 for the total collection of regular waste and yard waste. We would do away with the current sticker program and Rumpke would reimburse us for whatever stickers we currently have on hand. At last count we had 5,000 but I know we have given some away since then. I anticipate the program going into effect on Thursday, May 1, giving us a nice lead time to begin informing our residents. Part of the hang up last time was whether we were going to go one year or two years. We were able to get two years out of them. We will not do away with the contract. The contract will remain in effect and we will add an addendum to the contract outlining that we're going to do away with the yard waste program as it currently exists and we'll implement the new rates into the contract. We ask for legislation at your next Council meeting.
Mr. Danbury said you said we were paying $15,000 in stickers. Then you said for the next eleven months there will be a 40 cents per unit increase. Is that basically just a wash right there?
Mr. Parham replied yes. However, the 40 cents is actually a little less than the $15,000. For eleven months it's $13,000. We have not purchased any stickers in 1997.
Mrs. McNear asked about 1999.
Mr. Parham replied I've asked Rumpke to give me some indication as to what our experience has been. They have quoted me numbers but they haven't shown me anything. We have agreed we would watch the program from 1997 and 1998 to see whether their fears are being met. I've told them also that if we are not increasing I want a rebate.
Mr. Knox said for the benefit of the people who are going to be putting things out between now and May 1, should we attach the yard waste stickers?
Mr. Parham responded until May you should continue to do the program as is. If you place a brown paper bag out or some other vessel you must still attach the yard waste sticker until May 1.
Mr. Osborn said if there are any residents who have stopped by and picked up 15 or 20 stickers and they are just sitting in a drawer at home, if they could find their way back to us we will be in the position of being able to redeem them at face value.
Mrs. McNear said I know we have a Property Maintenance Code for homeowners. Do we have one also for businesses - driveways, parking lots? Can we do something to cause them to be fixed? I was in Cassinelli Square and as you pull in off Princeton Pike, when you come to the first stop sign the pot holes there are so large you could lose your car in them. People are trying to swerve out beyond them when they are making the right turn to go to HQ and I think there may be some accidents caused there. As you make the first right hand turn at Wimbledon's to go towards Outback, there is a section of the green area where the curb juts out so far that you cannot make a right turn if someone is at the stop sign. I noticed that Glensprings Drive is backing up because people are trying to turn in there.
Mr. Galster said Planning Commission had the Wimbledon's Plaza people in two months ago and they were trying to get additional parking spaces in that plaza because of Dairy Queen, etc. and we did work out an arrangement. We are going to lose two parking places right there and open and widen that out. I can't make that turn in a van. I have to wait for everybody else to come out of the plaza before I can turn in and turn right there. If they don't ever add the parking spaces I guess they can renege on widening that until we took further action but that is their intention.
Mrs. McNear stated my son works in that plaza now so I have occasion to be in there a lot more often than before and it doesn't matter what time of the day or night, there always seems to be a back up there. I would just like to publicly say we really need to take a hard look when people ask for variances when it comes to the width of lanes and parking spaces, etc. It just causes problems down the road. The foot or two may not seem like much of a problem but when you try to pull into places like the Walgreen's parking lot and Provident Bank, it's very difficult. The shrubbery gets torn up, the curbs get broken and there are accidents. If we held a hard line on that in BZA and Planning I think we'd be better off in the long run.
Mrs. Boice said this is an item I brought up a couple of years ago and perhaps my timing at that time was not very good. Mr. Wilson at that time, probably thought I was moving on a personal attack. It deals with elected officials on Charter Revision. I'm choosing to bring it up again because in looking over the files, Mr. Wilson's five year term is up in December. It was not my intent when I brought it up before to rock any boats with present members. I still have very strong feelings about an elected official serving on that board. I know years ago Mayor Webster, who was clerk-treasurer at the time, served on that board, did not have a vote on Council but I don't think it was right that he should have been on it then. I think with the glare of the ethics laws we are living under right now we should be more cautious. When we hold up that right hand and are sworn in part of the oath we take is that we swear to uphold the Charter of the City of Springdale. I think we are bound by that Charter as elected officials to do what that Charter tells us to do and I think for us, as elected officials, to be on that commission and have the opportunity to tweak it, I'm not saying it's wrong. I just don't think it looks good. Mr. Schneider, is this something that could be incorporated into Council rules of operation?
Mr. Schneider said Charter is controlling and we cannot be contrary to Charter. I'm trying to think what kind of rule we could adopt that would be not contrary to the Charter but consistent with the Rules of Council. I think it cause for a member of Council to serve.
Mrs. Boice replied there is nothing in the Charter that states a member of Council should be on that committee. That's why I was wondering if this could not simply be under Rules of Council.
Mr. Schneider said as long as the Rules of Council is not inconsistent with the Charter, Council has the right to set its own rules. I'm trying to think would an individual on Council have the right to challenge that on the basis of a constitutional denial of right of participation? I'd have to check the law on that and see if that would be a viable claim against Council. If that's the case we don't want to set up a law suit.
Mrs. Boice said I understand that. Mr. Wilson is on Planning, Mr. Galster is on Planning, Mrs. McNear and I are on Board of Zoning Appeals where we are implementing what the Charter has told us to do. As I said, ten years ago you didn't think about it as much but we are living under a light these days. When I look back to that swearing in to uphold the laws of the Charter, I just think it puts elected officials in a tough position for them to be involved in changing or tweaking that when they're going to have to abide by those rules. It's difficult enough when we have to deal with it here before it goes onto the ballot. That's why I was wondering if it could not be under Rules of Council.
Mr. Schneider said I would be glad to check and see what the law is.
Mrs. Boice said the reason I am bringing it up now is to give plenty of time. Mr. Wilson's term remains until December 1.
Mr. Danbury said the Charter Revision Committee is just an advisory board. If one person would represent a quorum and we could definitely change something, then I could see a point there. I see the advantages of having an elected official or someone from another board on there because they can tell what it's really like to be on that board. They know from personal experience. I don't see it as a big problem. It is a recommending board and they don't change anything. When we had a few things come to us this past election they came up with recommendations and then brought it before us. We said yes, we want the citizens to decide. Because they don't make a final decision I don't see it as a big issue.
Mrs. Boice stated yes, they are an advisory board but it has been my experience from serving on both Planning and Board of Zoning Appeals, when you are on one of these boards as an elected official your word is little more heavily weighted. That's just the way it is. You are expected to know more about the City and you should. At one time the Board of Zoning Appeals was a totally inexperienced board. Mrs. McNear and I had to go to the chairman and the vice-chairman and tell them quietly, "you cannot keep looking to us to keep making the motions and seconds and handling all the heavy discussion because being two elected officials it just looks too weighted." I think with any elected official anything they say does carry a little bit heavier weight. I agree it's only an advisory board. With the ethics limelight we live under today it's just something that has bothered me. If no one agrees thou shalt not hear from me on this subject again.
Mr. Galster said I do agree with Mrs. Boice. That board is a little different. If Council would take every recommendation that Charter gives us and allow it to go to the voting public that would be great. I think that's basically what Council should be doing. If we're not allowing that to happen because right or wrong Council has a perception of some undue influence then I think we should try to eliminate that. I'm sure that most of you heard of my idea of seating the Charter Revision by jury. There are a lot of different ways I think we could address it - like a pool and seating it like a jury trial. I don't think we need someone who is a great afficienado of the City. If that's the case let's go back and get the oldest member of the City we can find and call him the expert. But then we're not allowing ourselves to change with the times either. I'm not advocating my jury system at this point because all the bugs are not worked out but I do agree with you, Mrs. Boice. I do believe there is a perception.
Mr. Danbury said again, this is an advisory board and that is what I am looking at. You could say the same thing about BZA. What Mrs. Boice said is absolutely true whether we like it or not. Other members on boards will look at you differently because you are an elected official. This is an advisory board. Out of any boards and commissions this is the one that is least likely to be influenced. When you are talking about BZA or Tax Review Board that is final. What you say can't be appealed and I think those are very important. If we are going to do it the way you are talking about I think we should look at all the boards. I don't know if we should have as many people on BZA who are elected officials. This year it is you two; next year it may be somebody else.
Mr. Wilson said with the checks and balances in place in the City I don't feel there is a problem. We could equate the same thing with Planning, BZA and Charter or any of the subcommittees an elected official serves on. I agree when elected officials say something other members of the committee will listen. That makes us more accountable. I feel that all of us who serve on boards and commissions do our homework, perhaps more than the average resident because we are thought of as experts whether it is our first day on that board or commission or like Mrs. Boice said, in my case five years. We discussed at our last Charter Revision meeting Mr. Galster's comments about election or appointment by lottery. No one agreed that that would work. There has to be someone on each of these commissions and boards who have some knowledge about what's going on. That's why you have a breakdown. Every year there is a new member on Charter. Every two years someone comes up for appointment. You do see a broad circle and it is the elected officials on these boards and committees who are the cement even though they can't be president or whatever. They are held accountable. We have to do our homework and if we do our homework I think we will do a good job. I don't see a problem. Maybe it's because I'm the only elected official on Charter but I didn't see a problem in the past when other elected officials were on. They did an outstanding job. I didn't see a conflict then and I don't see a conflict now. If we are prudent in our search and we appoint whom we consider as elected officials the right individuals for these boards and commissions, with the checks and balances currently in place I don't see a problem.
Mr. Vanover said speaking from experience, you are right, Mr. Danbury, it is an advisory board. However, Charter should probably be the most unrestricted board because the Charter is our guidelines, the operations. If changes are necessary they should have their hands tied the least of anybody. In my final year report we had reviewed every one of the committees and subcommittees at Council's request and I think as an elected official sitting in there you may not but you have the potential to skew the direction. Charter should be a proactive board, not a reactive one. We can go back to several instances where the City has been put in dire straits because zoning regulations weren't in place that should have been. We hadn't reviewed regulations. When that happens in Charter we're really in deep water. I don't recall an elected official ever serving on Charter prior to this so we are on new ground with this.
Mr. Wilson said at the time I was appointed I was not an elected official.
Mr. Vanover said that's verifiable and I understand the situation but in the litigious society we are in right now and ethics being held to the tone, we are elected officials. I hold myself up to the standards we pass on everybody else and I think any elected official should. I do see a potential conflict there and I think for an ethics situation or even conflict of interest we should make a decision one way or the other on it.
Mr. Danbury said the decision will be made by somebody when it's time to appoint the next person when Mr. Wilson's term is expired. If the majority of Council disagrees with this practice then they won't put Mr. Wilson on there.
Mr. Galster stated the person could be elected after the fact.
Ms. Manis said I don't think it matters what any of us up here think. I think it's unforgivable that anything Charter brings to us is not put on the ballot right of way. I think because Mrs. Boice brought it up and she has a concern, it should be put to a vote and addressed. I don't think what any of us says should matter. If she has a concern about it we should let the voters decide.
Mrs. McNear said I liken the Charter Committee to an audit type of function. A lot of times in my opinion the best person to audit a department or company is not a person who is very familiar with it but somebody who isn't so you can take a piece of legislation and say does this make sense. A lot of times we are so familiar with it we fill in the blanks as we go along and we know what it means. A lot of times someone who is not familiar can pick it apart better than someone who is familiar. I find that true in a lot of the accounting and audit functions I have done.
Mr. Wilson said there are five members on Charter with one person being appointed every year with fresh ideas. Judy Simpson came in with a whole page of stuff she wanted to discuss, things we had never thought of before. She brought it up and we discussed it. I think in the future when we have our next series of meetings you'll see a lot of things brought up by Ms. Simpson and whoever is appointed in December will have fresh ideas. Every year there is something new. Again, there are checks and balances. That's like saying there shouldn't be two Council people on Planning because that is one-third of the vote.
Mr. Danbury said I think Ms. Manis hit it on the head. Maybe someone wants to request Mr. Schneider to bring in legislation to bring this before the voters.
Mrs. Boice asked then you don't see it falling under Council Rules.
Mr. Danbury said I don't like making Council rules because I don't want to dictate to future Councils Randy Danbury's rules.
Mr. Wilson said perhaps at the next Charter Revision meeting I can bring up Mrs. Boice's concerns and give you feedback as to whether the committee feels they need to bring it before Council for your vote and then on to the voters.
Mrs. Boice said Mr. Wilson, I appreciate you doing that but if you will recall, I made a personal appearance at Charter Revision many months ago and never heard another thing after that.
Mr. Wilson responded we discussed it and voted it down but since that time there are two new members and they may not feel as the others did.
Mr. Galster said should there be another committee that looks at it other than Charter Revision since it is going to look at changing the Charter, not only with Mrs. Boice's idea but my jury idea slightly modified. It's something they might want to consider separate from Council, separate from Charter - an independent board. Let's try the jury selection one time and see what happens.
Ms. Manis said at least to get something to present. I think it should be presented and I don't think Charter is the one to do it since it's their job they would be legislating on. It's an advisory committee. I don't know why there couldn't be an advisory committee of Council to look at the position.
Mr. Danbury stated I think we are just expanding government a lot more and that's the one thing I hate. We have so many laws on the books today because somebody in the audience came before us and said we need to change this. Council has the prerogative of putting something before the voters without going through Charter. Charter is a recommending board and this is just a board that is looking at the Charter as it stands today and does it apply to today's business practices. Is this the best way to run the City?
Ms. Manis said Mrs. Boice, Mr. Galster and I could get together without being a committee to decide on wording and present it to Council.
Mr. Danbury replied you can do that. It doesn't have to be four people. It could be one person.
Mr. Schneider said as long as it's not a committee, a random selection to perform that duty. I don't think that would fall under the requirements of a majority of the committee being a public meeting declaration.
Mr. Danbury said I spoke with Mr. Osborn earlier and I asked him the status of the budget. He reminded me that we will not be doing a typical budget this year. We are going to do the budget we normally do in October. Mr. Osborn said we're going to do a tax budget on July 2.
Mr. Osborn said we are hoping to begin work on what is typically called a tax budget in the beginning of May. We will have it before the Finance Committee in mid June and then have it before City Council for a hearing on July 2. I already have the schedule worked out and I'll transmit it to you between now and the next meeting just to make sure everyone can work it out in terms of calendar. This tax budget is really more an exercise in projecting revenue and then justifying those projections before the County Budget Commission because that's what they sign off on, the amount of revenue we're projecting to spend and whether or not they feel that's a realistic estimate on our part in terms of our ability to raise that revenue. It's a very simple budget process. We won't have to involve a great deal of new input from department directors. We'll work off of five year budget numbers, etc. essentially to establish projected revenue numbers.
Mr. Danbury said the only reason I brought it up is that is a holiday weekend and I want to make sure everybody is in town and we have everybody if at all possible.
NEW BUSINESS - none
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Board of Zoning Appeals April 15, 7:00 p.m.
Planning Commission April 8, 7:00 p.m.
Board of Health April 10, 7:00 p.m.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Item 3 dealing with equal tax credit for counties and other jurisdictions - second meeting in May.
First reading for Item 10, Administrative chapters of the Code of Ordinances
Legislation for Rumpke.
Council adjourned at 9:25 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Randy Danbury, President of Council