President of Council Randy Danbury called Council to order on December 2, 1998, at 7:00 p.m.
The governmental body and those in attendance recited the pledge of allegiance.
Mr. Knox took roll call. Present were Council members Galster, Manis, McNear, Pollitt (late), Vanover, Wilson and Danbury.
The minutes of November 18, 1998 will be considered at the next Council meeting.
Letter to Mr. Vincent J. Lombardi, Chairman, Ohio Housing Finance Agency
First, let me say that we were shocked when we received the letter signed by Mr. Danbury, President of Springdale City Council. We have taken a few extra days to gather some facts in order to properly address this situation. It appears that there has been a major breakdown in communications between our on-site employees, our management company, and the Springdale Police Department. On at least one occasion the police chief visited the property and talked to a leasing agent, who is no longer an employee. This conversation was not properly referred to her superiors. In addition with a change of the on-site manager of the property in July, the manager began having monthly meetings with an officer of the police department, but the severity of the problem seems not to have been emphasized, and was not forwarded to executives of the management company. A Regional Manager from National Realty Management met with Chief Laage of the Springdale Police Department this week and we believe that a channel of communications has been established.
We currently have in place a background check on all residents which includes income qualification standards, credit review, previous landlord reference and employment verification. Effective July 1998, a police report was also instituted as a requirement. In addition, we have a policy that a felony conviction in the past seven years will disqualify an applicant and any current charges or indictments will disqualify an applicant until said charges are removed from the record.
On November 11, we have schedule a meeting to re-institute a neighborhood watch program and Chief Laage has agreed to attend this meeting. Chief Laage has also agreed to revisit our prior request for a police substation on the property. Our prior request was denied, but based upon the results of the recent meeting, the request will be reviewed. We are also considering the possibility of employing private security and/or off-duty police officers. This decision will be finalized in the next few weeks. We have recently provided some additional lighting on site and we are instituting a parking sticker requirement for the vehicles of all residents.
Our company has been in the assisted-housing business for over 20 years. We still own and manage Section 8 properties developed in the mid-to-late 1970s. Over the past four years we have developed over 8,000 housing units under the Section 42 Program in various states, and we have a long-term interest in all of the properties that we develop. We will not tolerate conditions that could cause injury to our residents or damage to their property, and we will act decisively to correct this situation. We have eight Section 42 projects in Ohio, which have been developed over the last five years. These properties have all been reviewed by the OHFA compliance staff and there has never been an issue of health or safety with any of these properties.
Please do not hesitate to call me if you have any questions or comments. Sincerely, Robert E. Schuler
Letter to Mr. Danbury
Thank you for taking the time to provide us information regarding the safety issues at the Hunters Glen site. The Ohio Housing Finance Agency is sensitive to the concerns of local governments affected by affordable housing projects funded by the agency.
I apologize for not responding to your letter earlier. I wanted to give the W. O. Brisben Companies, Inc. an opportunity to respond to your issues. Attached is their response. I was very encourage by the steps they are taking to address your concerns including increasing the communication between management and the police department, adding a police report check to the applicant screening process, and developing a neighborhood watch program. If these and other strategies outlined in their letter are properly implemented, many of the problems may be minimized or eliminated.
Refunding the tax-exempt bonds for this project was a low risk and high benefit proposal presented to the agency. The ownerís fees did not increase and the amount of bonds refunded was less than the original issuance. By refunding the bonds, the owner will switch to a lower fixed interest rate. The lower mortgage payments will permit the owner to take out a second loan covering cost overruns and perhaps to hire security with the additional savings if necessary. The W. O. Brisben Companies, Inc. has significant financial incentives through the bond and tax credit requirements to ensure that the property remains fully leased-up. Providing a safe environment is one way the owner can increase the projectís occupancy level.
The agencyís bond compliance monitoring staff conducts annual on-site visits of all bond projects. Staff members are currently scheduled to visit Hunters Glen in December. I have forwarded information to them and they are aware of the projectís situation. Normally reviewing crime statistics is not part of their review, but the agency does mandate that owners provide affordable, safe, decent, and sanitary housing.
Again, I thank you for your letter. It appears that the W. O. Brisben Companies, Inc. has developed an adequate plan to meet your concerns. Feel free to contact me or agency staff if you have any additional concerns or if the owner does not follow through with his plans. We will try to assist you in any way possible. Sincerely, Vincent J. Lombardi, Director of Housing and Community Programs
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
Ms. Sally Oursler, 12159 Chesterdale Road and Mr. Timothy M. Weaver, 12090 Chesterdale Road addressed Council about the road in front of their houses. Mr. Weaver said I would like to thank Lt. Mike Mathis who has been very helpful giving me data I have requested for this eveningís presentation and also he has been helpful in concerns I have expressed in the past about the neighborhood. In August of this year I noticed a traffic counter box on Chesterdale Road. The counter box is placed between Crescentville and Castro-Circlefield. In a 24-hour period 10,500 cars traveled this stretch of Chesterdale Road. In 1988 6,200 cars traveled Chesterdale Road on a daily basis and in 1996 it was 8,300. This is a 69% increase since 1988 and a 27% increase since 1996. Year to date the road has had approximately 4 million cars travel on it and 123 citations written between both the Sharonville and Springdale Police Departments. Are these acceptable numbers for a road with that kind of volume? I know Chesterdale Road is not unique in Springdale or Sharonville but on a daily basis we have to deal with backing out of our driveways, crossing the street to drop mail in a mailbox, crossing the street to get a paper, crossing the street to talk to a neighbor, and children crossing the street going to school. I am willing to work with Council, the Police Department or any other City department on the traffic problems of this area. I invite all members of Council and City officials to my home to experience my concerns for yourselves.
Ms. Manis asked what are you asking for? Do you want more citations? Do you want the street blocked off? You can thank your neighbors to the Butler County side for a ton of that traffic.
Mr. Weaver said I donít know what can legally be done. I donít know if we can step up enforcement. There have been ideas of blocking the street off, speed bumps, rumble strips. Nobody in my neighborhood to my knowledge has come and addressed Council on these concerns.
Ms. Manis replied we have had people here about the trucks.
Mr. Weaver responded trucks continue to use that road on a daily basis. We have a no thru truck sign on either end of the road but no weight limits posted. What is a truck Ė only a semi, the oil truck that passes my house every day, UPS trucks? I donít know.
Ms. Manis said I live on Audie. Between Crescentville and Castro there canít be that many speeders.
Mr. Weaver answered between those streets people get up to 50 mph. Also, my neighbor refuses to trim his trees. If a minivan or SUV parks in front of the stop sign you canít see it. On Sunday mornings when I am outside I see at least one car run that stop sign.
Ms. Oursler said 40-50% of the cars are over the speed limit. I feel like Sharonville doesnít listen to Springdale residents and Tim probably feels that Springdale doesnít want to work with Sharonville residents. We are a whole neighborhood whether you live in Sharonville or Springdale. Our kids go to school together and play together. Just because he lives in Sharonville doesnít mean heís not my neighbor. I think you guys need to remember that and work with Sharonville on making us an entire neighborhood.
Ms. Pollitt said thank you for coming. You did a good job on your report and I would like to have a copy it. I challenge Council and Administration to take a look at it and see if there isnít something we can do.
Mr. Danbury said I think once Allen Road is complete you will see a lot of traffic going off. I empathize with you. I lived on Cloverdale Avenue. Your situation is not unique to Springdale. The residents of Kemper Road, Kenn Road and Glensprings can say the same thing. Iím sure Council could look into it. It would be the Mayor and Administration who would look into putting someone out there to catch speeders but legally, I donít think there is anything we can do to prohibit traffic from going across the road.
Mr. Weaver said I challenge both cities to do another traffic study after the Allen Road project is finished. Another thing that pre-empted this is the 747 overpass. If they close that road down your police department and the Sharonville Police Department will get a call from me every day saying theyíre running stop signs, weíve got speeders.
Mrs. McNear said I donít think you would find a person in Springdale who wouldnít say our number one problem is traffic. I also sympathize with you because I lived on the hill on Kenn Road for seven years. I donít want you to think we donít care. We love it when people come up here even if itís with a problem because we canít even begin to solve a problem if we donít know about it.
Mayor Webster said S. R. 747 is not going to be closed. They will have to maintain traffic out there. Iím sure a lot of the overflow is going to go to your area. We have to take the bad with the good. We have waited ten years for that improvement and itís in sight now. Hopefully, within the next three years we will see that. Thatís got to help the situation. Weíre very aware that traffic is the number one concern reported to us by our citizens. We spend a good part of the City budget on traffic. It seems like even before the concrete dries on some of our streets weíre out there with a jack hammer busting up the new concrete to expand the road. I know Sharonville also spends a lot of money trying to move traffic through the area. Try as we might, we canít eliminate the number of cars and we canít dictate where the cars go unless they are trucks over the weight limit. How many citations were by Springdale?
Mr. Weaver replied 82 were Springdale and 41 Sharonville.
Mayor Webster said I know we spend a lot of time there. I would like to suggest that we have somebody from the Police Department and possibly the Traffic Engineer sit down with these two residents and hear what you have to say. Iím not going to make any promises but weíll see if there is any validity to what you have to say and if we can do anything.
ORDINANCE NO. 69-1998 "APPROPRIATION OF PROPERTY, AUTHORIZING THE LAW DIRECTOR TO FILE A PETITION FOR APPROPRIATION NECESSARY FOR THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE URBAN RENEWAL PLAN, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mrs. McNear made a motion to adopt and Mr. Vanover seconded. Ordinance 69-1998 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION NO. 14-1998 "REQUESTING THE DIRECTOR OF TRANSPORTATION TO REVIEW THE ENGINEERING AND TRAFFIC INVESTIGATION AND DETERMINE AND DECLARE A SAFE AND REASONABLE SPEED LIMIT ON STATE ROUTE 4 BETWEEN GLENSPRINGS DRIVE AND LAWNVIEW AVENUE IN THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mrs. McNear seconded.
Mr. Osborn said about two years ago we started to review all of the speed limits within the City to make sure they are consistent with statutory standards as derived by the Ohio Department of Transportation or that they were properly journalized again under a variance that is allowed by the Ohio Department of Transportation under state law. In the process of reviewing these speed limits we found several that were posted at what we thought was an appropriate speed limit and in fact, was consistent with prima fascia but years ago, prior to Springdale becoming a city they had been journalized by the Hamilton County Engineerís Office at a different speed rate. We had those returned to their prima fascia speed limit. The two segments in the resolutions are posted at 40 or 35 mph depending on the location. The section to the north we want to extend down to Glensprings Drive and on the south end we have a prima fascia speed limit of 50 mph and we want to make that 40 mph which we think is more consistent with proper engineering. There have been studies prepared for both of these areas and they will make the speed limit on Springfield Pike 40 mph as you come out of Butler County. At Glensprings Drive it would convert to 35 mph. At Cameron Drive it would go back to 40 mph and be 40 mph past there in Woodlawn. The speed zones were too short and we have tried to consolidate and rectify inappropriately posted speed limits on Springfield Pike that had a statutory limit higher than what we had posted and making our speed limits legal.
Mr. Shvegzda said Mr. Osborn summed up the situation pretty well. The speed zone studies were done for the segment between Kemper and Northland and that indicated a speed of 35 mph was the primary speed actually being traveled in that area. The area between Northland and Sharon Road indicated that the 80 percentile speed was about 40 mph. We have had preliminary meetings with ODOT to try and look at these areas and come up with a consistent transition of speed through there that they have agreed to upon enactment of the resolution. They would immediately journalize these speeds and record them.
Mr. Wilson said my concern is 40 mph at any point here.
Mr. Osborn replied the statutory speed limit is 50 mph. ODOT wanted to make it 45 mph. We negotiated it down to 40 mph. I guess we can go back and argue with them but I think theyíre going to win. They could use their authority and make it 45 mph.
Mr. Wilson replied so itís already been agreed upon then.
Mr. Osborn said this is the best we could come up with given the prima fascia is 50 mph. They wanted to make it 45 mph. We have argued that our speed zone studies show it should be 40 mph. I donít think thereís anyway weíll get to 35 mph.
Mr. Wilson said to get up to 40 mph between traffic lights without having to stop is almost impossible. Look at the accident frequency on Crescentville. My point is we should at least talk to them again.
Mr. Osborn replied we have been talking with them for two years. We can have our traffic engineers in and go through this. There is specific criteria to get journalization. We have had to run radar out there and track the 80th percentile speed. Weíve had to look at the number of auto accidents, curb cuts along the highway, etc. Based on the configuration of the street, ODOT is saying the speed limit ought to be 50 mph. We are saying based on accident history and travel speed, a more realistic speed limit is 40 mph. They wanted 45 mph and we eventually got them to 40 mph. A few years ago we used to have 45 to 40 to 35 to 25 to 35 to 40 mph in that same stretch. Thatís virtually unenforceable. Itís not fair to the operator of the vehicle to try to have them comply with that quick of a change in speed in limit so we tried to make it more consistent.
Mayor Webster said Mr. Wilson, it hasnít already been decided. This is the final authority on it. if it is Councilís desire not to adopt this then we are back to the mercy of the state. We had all of these different speed zones that were totally unenforceable. We have worked on this for two years. We have one block that gets increased by 5 mph and itís a block that you canít take advantage of it anyway.
Mr. Wilson responded I appreciate the effort here. My point is the number of streets in this strip here. I feel that 35 mph is adequate. If this is the best we can do, then we deal with the best we can do.
Mrs. McNear stated along this strip of road we have the number one and number two accident rate intersections in the City. Obviously we all want to have the speed limit lower than it is. I wonder if it couldnít be a timing issue for our lights. Two Sundays ago I was driving north on Rt. 4 and there was an accident at both locations. People run the lights. Thatís why there are so many accidents in those intersections. As people are waiting in the stacking lanes they are doing U-turns on Rt. 4.
Mr. Osborn replied there are only so many seconds in a cycle. If you go beyond 120 seconds on a signal people will not wait. People are cheating into the next personís cycle time every time they run that red light. We are consistently trying to enforce that. We were at Springfield Pike and Crescentville Road citing people yesterday. One officer sits at the intersection and there are 2 or 3 chaser cars. We were citing cars as quickly as we could stop them. The same thing happens at S.R. 747 and Kemper, every major intersection. Drivers are not as obedient as they have been. They donít have the patience to wait for the signal because they are in traffic. In other states they videotape intersections and cite by mail. Thatís not legal in Ohio right now. I have asked the Chief to see what it would take to bring something like that about.
Mr. Danbury said in other areas I have seen a portable sign that says what the speed limit is and then shows your speed. Have we ever investigated that?
Mr. Osborn replied that is in the budget.
Mr. Galster asked does the speed limit change at Cameron Road now?
Mr. Osborn replied they wanted to bring the 40 mph down to Northland. We held out for 35 mph up to Cameron because of the vertical and horizontal curves in the road and the fact that you are narrowing lanes there.
Ms. Manis asked are there certain limits and laws for school zones and crosswalks? Can you put a crosswalk in the middle of the street and drop the speed limit?
Mr. Osborn replied we would have to talk to the Police Department and traffic people on what the limits are. There are statutory limits on how long the speed zone can be for a school zone.
Resolution 14-1998 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
RESOLUTION NO. 13-1998 "REQUESTING THE DIRECTOR TRANSPORTATION TO REVIEW THE ENGINEERING AND TRAFFIC INVESTIGATION AND DETERMINE AND DECLARE A SAFE AND REASONABLE SPEED LIMIT ON STATE ROUTE 4 BETWEEN SHARON ROAD AND NORTHLAND BOULEVARD IN THE CITY OF SPRINGDALE, OHIO"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Ms. Pollitt seconded.
Mr. Galster asked why donít we have a resolution between Northland and Lawnview or has that already been done?
Mr. Shvegzda replied they indicated that because of the physical conditions the 35 mph speed limit was acceptable.
Mr. Danbury asked do we believe that if that area is ever developed where there are more businesses and more driveway entrances, do you think we would have a case re-petitioning the state to drop it down to 35 mph.?
Mr. Shvegzda replied if the physical conditions significantly changed, that would be an option. One of the criteria is the number of buildings.
Resolution 13-1998 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
BUDGET WORK SESSION
Mr. Osborn said I would like to thank the Finance Committee. We have spent a lot of time going through the budget with them and since then I have had conversations with Mr. Wilson answering additional questions. I suggest we go through the cover letter as a summary.
There are three primary issues. The first is the addition of three full-time personnel; the second is the aggressive capital budget we are proposing and the third is the short term financing of $4.5 million to balance the 1999 budget. We anticipate 1998 expenditures will come in under appropriations by 2%. Looking forward to 1999 net of transfers, we see a growth in the general fund of 7.2% with the general fund growing from $9.8 million to $10.5 million. If we factor in the transfers we see our actual 1998 general fund expenditures exceeding the original budget figures by 8.95% going from $12,845,000 to $13,994,000; and in 1999 we will see those numbers increase by another 5.4% to $14,748,000. Table 1 presents a summary of the expense figures Iíve just outlined for you in the general fund. The capital budget for 1998 is 28.5% over the original appropriations for 1998. In 1999 we anticipate an even greater increase of 108%. Both of these factors can be attributed to the introduction of the Community Center project into the 1998 budget. That is a multi year project with its peak year being next year.
In 1998 we expect to see revenues for the general fund increase 13.4% over actual 1997. We have continued to use the more conservative projections we have used in the past so while our revenues are projected to come in at just under $12.8 million, we are projecting revenues for 1999 at just under $12.6 million. Thatís actually less than we expect to receive in 1998. Two limiting factors that prevent us from being bolder include the fact that the earnings tax will probably generate revenues with a growth factor close to 16% for 1998. We are only budgeting that growth at 5% for 1999. Similarly the estate tax had a significant windfall this year with revenues in excess of $700,000. We are budgeting that number at $300,000. Those two factors can tell you why the projections have resulted in a number lower than our actual expected 1998 revenues. Even considering a rather flat revenue projection we are able to sustain the levels of expenditures proposed because of three factors. We have a very strong beginning balance coming into 1998 of $3.7 million in the general fund. We have had an outstanding revenue performance. We had budgeted $11.4 million and we are going to see $12.8 million. Weíre coming in almost $1.5 million ahead in revenues for the general fund in 1998. The third factor that allows us to meet our projected expenses is the proceeds from a $4.5 million note. If our revenues do perform better than expected, then we can reduce the amount of money we have to borrow to make our budget in 1999. The figure set now for that debt is $4.5 million.
The first position we are proposing to add in 1999 is in the Police Department. Last Council meeting we had the opportunity to see a presentation by DART. We would like to bring that program into our Police Department. As Chief Laage indicated, we are a very busy department and have not had the resources or manpower to put any significant time into drug enforcement activities. It takes a lot of man hours to generate arrests and we wouldnít be able to do it on our own to an effective degree. We are proposing to add an additional person to our Police Department and assign that additional person to the Drug Abuse Reduction Task Force.
We are asking for an additional person in the Parks and Recreation maintenance force. That department has four maintenance personnel. It has been the same number for almost twenty years. During that time we have added a number of facilities that require additional grounds keeping services. The amount of landscaping has continued to increase in volume. At the same time we have continued to add activities at the Community Center that require the support of the Parks personnel. They cannot keep up with the demands we put upon them until we bring on our seasonal people in June who are with us until September. We have a real struggle on our hands trying to keep the grass cut just at the Community Center during the critical periods of baseball and spring soccer, let alone the outlying parks. As the Mayor pointed out to Finance Committee, this is not a recent request. The Parks Department has requested this for the past two years and because of other budgetary considerations we have not brought it forth as a recommendation but we feel we cannot postpone it any longer.
The final position we would like to add is in the Administrative office. You may recall that in 1997 we reclassified the two clerical positions in the Administrative office to more technical classifications. We did that because of the recognition of the higher degree of work that they are required to perform. These individuals serve as the LAN systems administrator, the Ohio Records Law Compliance Officer, our prevailing wage coordinator, web site administrator and our Year 2000 census coordinator. They also do specific research projects for us on issues such as telecommunications, Y2K compliance and other types of issues that come up from time to time. While weíve asked them to do these projects of greater complexity that require more time, we have not taken away from them some of the more routine clerical duties that demand direct atttention. Specifically, they serve as the principal switchboard operators and they handle the walk-in trade over the counter at the Administrative office. When we are going through an application process we may receive 200-800 people in a 2-3 week period to apply for a job. These people have to help the people fill out the forms, hand out the clipboards, get the information back, compile the list and send out notice when tests are going to be held, etc. This activity is very time consuming and if a person is obligated to answer the switchboard for the City and handle this counter trade, it is a little difficult for them to focus on projects such as LAN administration. In fact, we have to send our administrative assistant out to other departments to work on the LAN and that leaves us with the senior administrative assistant to handle these things and of course, she can do very little else while weíre down to one person. We are proposing to add another administrative slot. This position would take on the primary role of handling the main switchboard and handling the counter trade. He/she would also serve as the operator for the Tax Department and Fire Department. The Fire Department has no clerical personnel. The telephone is answered by whomever is handy. There needs to be a more consistent process for taking calls for the Fire Department and we think this is the solution as opposed to adding a clerical in that department. At the same time, we recognize that there are clerical functions in the Fire Department that presently have to be performed by senior personnel, such as processing payroll. We see this clerical as the place where we can take some of that load off the chief and assistant chief. The problem we are facing is not going to improve. It is going to continue to grow in terms of what we demand of these individuals as well as the interruptions they can experience. I think the only way we can get the value out of them is to give them the time and opportunity to perform the functions we are asking them to perform.
I would say our first priority is the police office; the second is the clerical person and the third is the Parks and Recreation employee.
This is the probably the largest single capital budget weíve ever put together. As an indicator, the transfers in 1999 will make up 25% of the entire general fund budget. We will also be borrowing $4.5 million to be able to address the needs of the capital program. The items in the budget can be broken down into equipment, public facilities, highway infrastructure, urban redevelopment and improvements. We are proposing to replace an 85 foot aerial purchased in 1972 with a 100 foot aerial. The cost is $650,000. There have been occasions when the 85 foot aerial was not of sufficient height and in addition, if you have six buildings in your community over four stories, in order to get the maximum score under ISO you have to have a 100 foot ladder.
The public facilities include the second phase of the HVAC renovation at the police station for $275,000. The Community Center expansion is just under $4.7 million for 1999. The Community Center ball field lighting improvements are $75,000 and the fiber optics link from the Maintenance Facility to the City building. The police headquarters and the Fire Department are currently linked by fiber optic to the City building. There is a fiber optic for the Community Center run as far as the Police Department and that cable is waiting to be expanded to the Community Center when it is expanded. Right now we are paying $5200 a year for a lease line from Cincinnati Bell. We believe we will see a total payback of this investment in six years based upon the rates we are paying for the lease line.
We are budgeting $407,200 for the West Kemper Road storm sewer phase II construction; $400,000 for the East Kemper Road lane addition right-of-way; $252,650 for the same project for the start of construction. This is a $1.1 million construction project. The East Crescentville road improvements engineering is a joint project with Sharonville and Butler County which will try to protect the residential integrity of our side of the road while recognizing that Butler County has commercial development on their side. It calls for the construction of a twenty-four foot wide service road on our side of the road, fifteen foot wide landscape berm and five lanes of Crescentville Road. We will not accept any expansion of the road on our side of the street. This is an engineering plan but we do anticipate apply for funding in 1999 for either 2000 or 2001. We would like to go forward with engineering for bike lane construction on West Kemper Road. There are funding mechanisms becoming available under the new federal highway funding program. We are looking at $142,000 for the Century Boulevard extension program that we passed one piece of legislation on at the last Council meeting.
Under urban development we have $500,000 set aside for property consolidation. We have a miscellaneous amount of $100,000 set aside for undefined improvements that can either go to new projects or to supplement costs associated with projects listed above. The total cost of the capital budget is just under $8.8 million.
All of the department directors were very instrumental in preparing this budget. In addition I would also like to thank Derrick Parham, Rhonda Burton and Martha Brillhart. They also contributed a significant effort in preparing this document.
Mr. Wilson said on the short term financing we are looking at $4.5 million but that is a projection of need. We wonít really know what that amount is until we actually apply for it.
Mr. Danbury said on the additional person for the Administration you say you need someone to take over the duties that Mrs. Dunfee is doing right now. Could this person help in the Tax Department?
Mr. Osborn replied part of the duties would be answering the telephone, screening in-coming calls to the Tax Department. He/she would be trained in rudimentary issues related to answering questions but the primary purpose would be to route the call to the right party. That is presently performed by the administrative secretary in the Tax Department and we can take this burden off of her desk and allow her to do more of the internal work associated with the Tax Department so this will have a direct benefit for the Tax Department.
Mr. Vanover asked is the addition in the Parks Department going to give us a cushion or are we just catching up?
Mr. Osborn replied we are just catching up. This is not going to give us any cushion.
Do we still have the slot open for the information systems person?
Mr. Osborn replied no, we did away with that position. We eliminated about five classifications from the Cityís organization table and that was one of them. The LAN systems administrator is not an overall systems administrator. We still have a consultant. The LAN system administrator is our interface with that consultant. Before we had one person full-time in the organization devoted to nothing but data processing services. We are not suggesting that here. We will have a consultant that provides that support for us. We have an information systems committee and each department has someone appointed to that committee. That individual is either in the process of being trained up or has been trained up so that they can handle basic problems within their organization. If they are stumped then they call the systems administrator. If the systems administrator canít fix it in an hour or so, then sheíll call the consultant in. She serves as the gate keeping for getting to the consultant. While she has that function I would not want to at this point classify her the same as the position we had a few years back.
Mayor Webster asked do you want us to go through this page by page like we did in Finance Committee? Mr. Wilson replied I would make an assumption that everyone on Council has reviewed this. Weíve gone through the questions and answers. I donít think we have to go page by page.
Mr. Osborn said we are making capital purchases in the Police Department. Our Y2K compliance with the court system is budgeted in here at $4,000.
Ms. Manis asked on the CLEAR levy it dropped significantly. Do you anticipate it passing.
Mr. Osborn said I failed to add to that footnote that that levy was put up again independent of the more complex issue of reconstructing the entire communication system and that levy did pass. That expense you see of $3200 in 1999 is our lease price for the MDTs in the police cruisers.
Mr. Vanover said I think the juvenile officer concentration on truancy will be a big benefit.
Mr. Osborn said the Police Department is trying to address some non-criminal ways of addressing juvenile issues.
Mayor Webster said the CLEAR item is the one where I read their letter regarding their plea for help on that. I know you made the observation that they promised us things before and hadnít lived up to their obligations. In all fairness, this is one time where they have.
Mayor Webster said we have $18,000 requested for a thermal imaging camera where a fireman can go into a burning building and through this device can find a body and hopefully get it out before it burns up or suffocates.
Mr. Vanover asked whatís the life expectancy on the air bottles?
Mr. Osborn replied I donít know. We are on an annual replacement of those. The respirators we try to repair on-site. We do a lot of that work ourselves.
Mr. Vanover asked do we currently maintain construction drawings of the buildings?
Mr. Osborn replied yes we do. We are developing the ability to have a CAD based information system. The Fire Department has been using the creation of a pre-plan for a building that can be transported by a lap top to the fire ground. This would just be a continuation.
Ms. Manis asked is there a reason why we are only getting the second head set for the fire vehicles now instead of all of them?
Mr. Osborn responded weíre just phasing them in a truck at a time. Weíre putting the diesel smoke exhauster on one truck at a time also. Thatís a $9,000 item. Itís just a matter of phasing them in.
Ms. Manis stated for $3,000 the benefits they said they got from the headphones seemed like a real good investment.
Mr. Danbury said I wouldnít have a problem with getting those.
Mayor Webster said rather than going through the logistics of changing the budget letís see what we can do about getting all three sets next year.
Mrs. McNear said under Parks and Recreation Ė Special Events Ė in the 1998 budget we had $40,000 budgeted. The estimated expenditures were $43,300. I just wondered why we are proposing $40,000 for 1999.
Mr. Osborn replied in 1997 it came in at $39,900. It could be at $45,000 this year. We just use the $40,000 figure for the budget.
Mr. Vanover asked are you going to repair the pedestrian bridge at Chamberlain Park?
Mayor Webster replied we donít know yet. We put the money in the budget so we would have it if we do repair it.
Mr. Osborn stated it would cost $25,000 to repair it and $10,000 to take it down. If itís not being used weíd prefer to take it down. We are waiting on feedback from the public.
Ms. Manis said the animal control decreased by $8,000. Mayor Webster asked Mr. Knox to look at the number. We see those bills at every board of health meeting and I donít think they are down that much.
Mr. Danbury said you are proposing another person for Parks and Recreation. I see we are replacing a 1982 pick-up. Are we just going to double up on some of the trucks?
Mr. Osborn replied we will have adequate equipment. We need another body to get on those machines and keep cutting grass.
Ms. Manis asked about the custodian. Mr. Osborn replied for a while in 1997 we had 1Ĺ people at the Community Center and Ĺ here. We had a person off with a medical disability. We moved the Ĺ up here.
Mr. Danbury said we had budgeted $10,000 for park patrol and expenditures for this year were only $2,100.
Mayor Webster replied before midway into the season we hired one of our park patrol officers as a full-time police officer and did not replace that person for the rest of the summer. For budgetary purposes we assume we will have two people for the entire year.
Mayor Webster said the labor for the Street Maintenance Department is split between the general fund and two state funds.
Mr. Danbury asked why do we have a line for petty cash when there is nothing in there for budget or expenditures?
Mr. Osborn replied I think we created a petty cash line item for every department. We have not necessarily seen petty cash activity in every department.
Ms. Manis asked are the time clocks functioning everywhere? Are they saving us money?
Mr. Osborn said we ran a trial group for about three months. We have been on the time clocks exclusively for about 4-6 weeks. Every department seems to be doing well with the exception of the Fire Department. I think thatís a matter of the complexity of their payroll. They have a work schedule of 24/48. They have a different threshold before they get into overtime. There are a lot of issues there that we still have to resolve. Another problem is our Finance Officer is out on maternity leave just when we are instituting these clocks. I donít want to pretend that we havenít had some adjustments to do to get this in place but we still think it will be an extremely valuable tool. One of the primary things it provides us is consistency and accuracy in how we calculate hours worked. Right now it depends on individual interpretation. This way the interpretation will be consistent. There are so many little nuances that come up unexpectedly and you have to think through how youíre going to interpret that policy and you have to build that interpretation into the machine. We are about 75% to success. The police are using it and the person down there responsible for payroll, Joy Adams, is very happy with it.
Ms. Pollitt said we donít have anything budgeted for miscellaneous supplies, printing materials.
Mr. Osborn stated we used to have a supply line but since our work is so closely related with the general administration of the City if you look under the 779 section you will see that.
Mr. Osborn said we show an advance to the Northwest Business Center in the amount of $26,500 in 1998. That was originally put in the budget because of an error on the part of the County Auditorís Office in collecting service payments in lieu of taxes for this TIF. We brought that to the attention of the County Auditor and his personnel initially indicated that a mistake had been made and agreed that they would make a refund to us in 1999. Totally out of the blue I got a check in the mail for $49,694 which was the amount that they failed to properly direct service payments in 1998. So what Dusty Rhodes has done is take the money out of his budget, made us whole in 1998 and heíll collect that money from other jurisdictions in 1999. We will not have to make that advance to the TIF in 1998.
Mr. Wilson said in every department there is an increase in seminars. Mr. Wilson said Mr. Osborn said training is being re-emphasized in every department.
Mr. Osborn said on page 30 there is a formula error. The totals for 1998 should be $58,273 and the total for 1999 should be $15,180. That nets out to an $11,547 gain to us over the two years. I will distribute replacement pages.
Ms. Pollitt said on page 34 we have a decrease of $8,000 for pool insurance. Is that correct?
Mr. Parham said as part of our insurance program you are weighted over a four year period on your insurance losses. In 1993 we had a rather large claim. It fell out of our experience that we are being rated on. At the same time you look at how Springdale is doing, you look at how the other communities are doing. What is going to fall out in the last year and what is coming up in the new year. What came in for us was far less than what went out for some of the other communities so we improved on it.
Mr. Osborn stated this says pool insurance but itís not associated with our pool at the Community Center. Itís a pooling of all of our liability insurance. We are part of a comprehensive liability pool made up of sixteen other jurisdictions and we have seen a dramatic savings in insurance premiums over the seven year period we have been in MRVMA. We started out with a $2 million reserve in this fund in the mid 1980s. Since that time we have been able to use the interest of that fund to pay for our insurance costs for the City. We now have a balance in that fund of $1.7 million. Over the last 14 or 15 years the cost for the Cityís insurance has been about $30,000 in principal plus the interest earned off that money. The reserve was started to cover any gaps that we have exposed as uninsurable risks but to the present time we really donít have any. In the past we have come across tough markets where we have been unable to insure against specific types of losses and we use this reserve to protect the City.
Mr. Osborn said we have a number of funds that we have to create under state law to deal with source specific money. There are certain monies that we derive either under state law or through federal law that require us to account for it separate from our general operating expenses so we have to create these individual funds and we have to spend the monies for specific types of expenses. These include the residential recycling fund, the vehicle mobilization fund, parks and urban forestry, the Northwest Business Center TIFF, unclaimed monies, OBBS surcharge.
Mr. Osborn said the two big aberrations that exist between 1999 and 1998 can be found under the Municipal Income Tax line item. We expect to get $8.5 million this year. Weíre budgeted next year at $8.99 million. Itís only a 5% growth compared to the 15% growth weíve experienced year to date for 1998. The next item would be the estate tax. In 1997 we collected $547,000. We budgeted $200,000 this year and weíve collected $762,000. This is a roller coaster and totally unpredictable. We have set the number next year at $300,000.
Mr. Vanover said on the liquor tax we got a pretty substantial increase this year.
Mayor Webster said on the transient occupancy tax we have reflected an $80,000 reduction for 1999 because of the problems at the largest hotel in town that is shut down.
Ms. Manis asked if the money for paramedic services is the money from billing that we get back. Mr. Osborn replied yes.
Mr. Danbury asked Mayor, do you find since we instituted the magistrate to conduct Mayorís Court, has that affected our bottom line for court costs. If people have a traffic ticket they just pay it without contesting it.
Mayor Webster said I donít think that has changed it at all. We are hearing DUIs and DUSs and that generates some revenue there, more than enough to offset the cost of the magistrate.
Ms. Pollitt said you had budgeted $6,630 and estimated $50,785 in miscellaneous administration. Next year weíve budgeted $20,000. Can you tell me what the increase and fluctuation is there?
Mr. Osborn replied miscellaneous administration is probably a combination of a number of fees, refunds, etc.
Ms. Manis said when we sold those cars that went into the general fund. Have we auctioned any cars that we got from a drug bust?
Mr. Osborn replied there is another fund, Drug Law Enforcement.
Mr. Wilson said earlier we talked about transfers to the residential recycling fund and how that figure was different than the report of 20 November. Is that something that Mr. Parham was involved in?
Mr. Osborn said in between meetings we talked about the actual cost of the residential recycling fund. In the summary of costs we have it broken out into waste collection and recycling costs, etc. We had split those costs out. We have corrected the numbers from the November 20 report.
Ms. Manis said on the estimated numbers for 1998 those are pretty real numbers. The increase from 1997 was 13.5% and then we went back to 5% for 1999.
Mr. Osborn responded we actually saw a decline in the growth of the general fund. If you look at estimated 1998, we are at $12,794,000 and we are projecting 1999 at $12,592,000 so weíre actually $202,000 less than we expect to collect in 1998.
Mr. Danbury asked what is a debt service pay back?
Mr. Osborn replied those would be the service payments that I just described to you that were inappropriately withheld by the County. Itís service payments in lieu of property taxes and the TIF.
Mr. Danbury asked would there be a line item when we engage the services of the people who owe us money?
Mr. Osborn replied that would be back in the general fund. Ms. Burton told us at a Finance Committee meeting that the tax collection service is easily paying for itself. We contracted with a service and we brought in another employee to serve as collections. Both of those have been generating good returns for us.
Ms. Manis said even with the constraints we have with the Community Center, I still think itís a very good budget. I donít see that a lot of things have been cut and the numbers are easily attainable.
Mr. Osborn responded our approach was not to reduce services, not to unnecessarily restrain a department from instituting a new program if we felt it was justified, but at the same time we want to be prudent in all of our expenses. Following Councilís direction we did not cut deeply into the operating side of the budget into services to try to shorten the time it would take to reduce the debt service.
Mayor Webster said we put a budget together. We have been very conservative on our revenues. Hopefully we have all the expenses that we know are going to come down the pike. We all know there will be some unexpected things come up. But hereís where we need to ring out $600,000. Hopefully it will come out of the revenues.
Mr. Danbury said I want to commend everybody. Thereís been a lot of work on this. We will have a resolution on this at the next meeting.
Mr. Osborn said we do not have to have a public hearing on this document. We will have an appropriation ordinance at the first meeting in 1999 and that will be this budget brought to you as an appropriation ordinance.
Mr. Galster said the committee wrapped up on the Springdale Zoning Code. That will probably go to Planning Commission at the January meeting. I donít anticipate that there would be more than one meeting for Planning Commission to act on it. Council members will have a copy in about three weeks and will have a month before it would actually come to Council.
Ms. Manis asked are we going to get a list of everything that is changed? You wonít try to sneak anything controversial in.
Mr. Galster replied we have asked for a summary document to come with this book. We wonít get into every little change. We will try to come up with the content changes. In residential zoning weíve changed some square footage requirements and setback requirements. The RV ordinance didnít change as was originally rumored.
Mrs. McNear said I have a copy of that book if anyone would like to borrow it.
ELECTION OF VICE-PRESIDENT
Mr. Vanover nominated Mrs. McNear and Mr. Galster seconded. Mrs. McNear was elected by acclamation.
Mr. Danbury said he received correspondence from Wayne Shuler. Itís a fee structure and asks for an increase for next year.
Mr. Wilson said I have an increase request for Mr. Schneider. Mr. Schneider would also like us to pay for part of a seminar that he goes to once a year.
Mr. Parham said we are currently involved in labor negotiations with the FOP. There are certain deadlines and requirements that have to be met. One of those is, prior to the conclusion of 1998, a fact finder has to be appointed and has to hold a hearing. If that fact finder is not appointed and does not hold the hearing to hear the concerns of both sides, if we move to a further step and a conciliator comes in, that individual cannot make any financial decisions for the year 1999. That would seem that that is in favor of the City. They may not be able to impose any financial obligation on the City in 1999 but the contract is for three years. Therefore, you would probably pay for it in the years 2000 and 2001. In our most recent meeting with the bargaining unit we have agreed to come before Council tonight to get your blessing to enter into this extension. We will simply eliminate that requirement for us to have the fact finder hearing in a very rushed time frame. They would have to do it by December 15. We would like to have a motion on the part of Council to approve us entering into the extension agreement.
Mr. Vanover made a motion to approve and Mr. Galster seconded. The motion passed with 7 affirmative votes.
Mr. Osborn said we will be bringing in a resolution for the purchase of police vehicles under the state purchase agreement. They are intended for purchase in 1999 but weíd like to get the legislation now. We want to keep the time frame as constricted as possible because we donít want to run beyond the production date for the police package vehicles. This would be for five police cruisers and an unmarked vehicle.
Mr. Osborn said I have a change order for the Street Maintenance facility. We are reaching a conclusion on that project and I would like to get that before Council as well. It will require a change order greater than $10,000.
We should also have the numbers in for the West Sharon Road project and weíd like to button that job up and pay it off so we donít have to encumber it and bring it in to 1999 as well.
Weíre trying to determine if the infra-red imager the Mayor mentioned for the Fire Department is a state purchase. If we canít buy it under state purchase then we will also have legislation for you on that with the intent of purchasing it in 1999. Otherwise, weíll be going through a specification writing process and in case we will have bids in early January and will probably coming to you with legislation at that time.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Planning Commission December 8, 7:00 p.m.
Board of Health December 10, 7:00 p.m.
Board of Zoning Appeals December 15, 7:00 p..m.
Christmas light judging December 10-12, 6-9 p.m.
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
UPDATE ON LEGISLATION STILL IN DEVELOPMENT
Contract for Barrett Paving December 16
Resolution accepting and approving the amended certificate
For the current yearís budget December 16
Final supplemental appropriations for 1998 budget December 16
RECAP OF LEGISLATIVE ITEMS REQUESTED
New contract for rates with CDS December 16
New rates for Wood and Lamping December 16
Resolution adopting 1999 budget December 16
Purchase of vehicles for Police Department December 16
Change of Street Maintenance Facility December 16
Council adjourned at 9:36 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Randy Danbury, President of Council