Council was called to order on May 1, 1996 at 7:30 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 April 17, 1996 were not available.
COMMUNICATIONS - none
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE - none
Mr. Danbury said Mr. Osborn is not in attendance tonight because he is in a meeting with the Princeton Board of Education. Mayor Webster said it is a new strategic planning process they've started there. They've selected various people to participate on that panel and we're very pleased that Mr. Osborn is one of those. Any questions on the ordinances can be directed to Mr. Parham.
ORDINANCE NO. 32-1996 "REJECTING ALL BIDS REGARDING THE PURCHASE OF A TYPE I CLASS I MODULAR AMBULANCE AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mrs. McNear seconded.
Ordinance No. 32-1996 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
ORDINANCE NO. 33-1996 "REPEALING ORDINANCE NO. 29-1996 AND AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH U. S. BENEFITS, INC., TO PROVIDE FOR STOP-LOSS INSURANCE AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Wilson seconded.
Mr. Parham stated at the last meeting we brought legislation to you and asked that you pass legislation for entering into an agreement with Underwriters and Management Inc. for stop-loss coverage. Unfortunately, I was not present at that meeting as I was away at a conference. During the time I was away U. S. Benefits, the group we are asking you to enter into an agreement with this evening, provided us with an additional quotation that not only matched the quotation by Underwriters and Management, but because of the aggregate number it actually decreased and came in about $300-$400 lower. I must say that both bids were rather outstanding. I put a memo out to Council, the Mayor, and Mr. Osborn on April 25 that outlined the savings we were receiving from the bids this year, roughly some 26% decrease in our stop-loss coverage. If you look at the legislation, the last words Mr. Knox read, "without interruption" are probably the most important and the reason we are asking for the repeal of Ordinance 29-1996 and the approval of Ordinance 33-1996. When we sign a contract with Underwriters and Management it typically takes about a month to a month and a half before they fully accept that. We've made an indication that we're willing to join them. However, that does leave a window of opportunity open if any large claims come in, and it would have to be something very severe because the specific limit is $25,000. If we continue with U. S. Benefits that window disappears and coverage will just continue. With that I would like to recommend that Council approve Ordinance 33-1996.
Mrs. Boice asked how many days for the window and Mr. Parham replied it's probably a month and a half. Today is the renewal date for our insurance coverage. We have yet to put an application in with Underwriters. That typically takes about 1 1/2 months. So for 1 1/2 months we pretty much are without stop-loss coverage.
Ordinance 33-1996 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
Mayor Webster said I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Mr. Parham for his efforts in this endeavor. As the report shows we're looking at $19,000 to $20,000 worth of savings. Other costs continue to go up but by this action Mr. Parham has shown his never-ending pursuit to try to control those health costs for the City and I publicly commend him for this effort. The easiest thing to have done was just the same old same old. Instead he made our third party administrator go out and bid again. As a result our current carrier came in at $19,300 less than we paid last year.
ORDINANCE NO. 34-1996 "ACCEPTING A BID AND AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND CLERK OF COUNCIL/FINANCE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH RUS OF LEBANON, INC. FOR THE RENTAL OF UNIFORMS, MATS, SHOP TOWELS AND DUST MOPS AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY"
Mr. Vanover made a motion to adopt and Mr. Galster seconded.
Mayor Webster said this is a new vendor. We all were skeptical when we saw the bids so Street Maintenance did check these people out and they are providing uniforms to other municipalities and they are legitimate. I understand the owner of the company lives in Springdale.
Ordinance 34-1996 passed with 7 affirmative votes.
Mrs. Boice said there is not a week that goes by that I don't get a call either referred by the administration or from the general public or outside of Springdale regarding the history. We've been sitting on that a long time. As you know, it finished up in 1987. If we are to proceed we are facing almost ten years of updating. It is not going to be a cheap expenditure. I think the approach would be a little bit different. Rather than going with paperback I think we would go with hardback copies probably charging an amount that would cover the expenses. I would like for you to kick this around in your minds for the next two weeks as to whether you feel we should pursue this. It has lain dormant for almost ten years. It is certainly not going to be cheap but throughout the City we do spend money on other items that would not be as long lasting as the history would. I will bring it up again at the meeting on May 15.
Ms. Manis stated at the last meeting my student announced we would have the exotic animal ordinance. We are adding a new section of code that has to be looked at by the Police Chief, Administration and Board of Health. Hopefully that will be next week. If anyone wants to see a draft you can have a copy.
Mayor Webster gave an update of the Community Pride program and the residential debris pick-up. Through last Wednesday we had 24 requests for City trucks. Last weekend we had five trucks out. We arbitrarily put a limit of five. We could put a dozen trucks out there but there is an extraordinary amount of lost labor time Monday morning in picking up the trucks, taking them to Rumpke, cleaning them and getting them back on the road. We're asking people to call ahead to get them scheduled. Approximately 250 single family residents have been inspected to date with 40 referrals or complaints and 25 violation letters sent out. It's moving full speed ahead.
Mr. Danbury said I used one of the trucks and I can tell you I had about a dozen people walking by and looking at it. I think it's a good service the City is providing. As for the inspections, if people will realize we're not here to be the bad guys. We're here to help out the citizens clean up the yard, debris, etc.
Ms. Manis thanked Kathy McNear for last week's Student Government Night. It was really enjoyable and I thought they were a real good group of kids.
Mayor Webster introduced Officer Fred Romano who is here to talk to us about the Police Department's 5K run.
Officer Romano said on May 18 and 19 we have a law enforcement expo at the mall. This year we're going to have a 5K run/walk on Sunday and the proceeds are going to benefit COPS, Concerns of Police Survivors, a non profit organization to assist families of law enforcement officers who are killed in the line of duty. They have counseling, day camps, and things to help the family cope. The run will start at Tri County Mall. It runs behind Burlington Coat Factory past the Hampshire House to Northland Boulevard to Boggs Lane and back through McGillard and Tri County Parkway and back to the mall. Hopefully we will have a couple hundred runners. Tri County Mall is sponsoring this with us. The Police Department will provide manpower for the race route. There are over twenty agencies who will be at the expo. The race is 3.1 miles and if you can't run it you can walk it. There will be T-shirts and trophies and the mall is putting together a package. It starts at 9:00 a.m.
Mr. Galster asked about registration. Mr. Romano said if you pre-register it is $12 and you get a T-shirt. If you register that day it is $15. Without the T-shirt registration is $9. Registration forms can be picked up at the sporting goods stores in the mall, the main information center, Community Center and the YMCAs or from the Springdale Police Department.
Mayor Webster said I passed these refrigeration magnets out. On the magnet is our chipper schedule which is as follows:
SR 4 & areas west starting 1st Monday of the month.
Areas east of SR 4 starting 3rd Monday of the month.
Place brush at curb by 7:30 a.m. on Monday route.
Stack brush with all cut ends in same direction.
If anyone wants the chips we'll be happy to drop you off a load of chips. Just call 771-6835. We run the chipper year round but now is the season where everyone is really trimming their trees, etc. Last week I got a call from a very good friend of mine saying he had trimmed his tree over the weekend and had the brush out curbside. He said he called the Maintenance Department and they told him it would be May 20 before they get it picked up. He asked if I could do something about this. I was polite but I said no, you live on the east side of Rt. 4 and that schedule is May 20. You will have to leave it out there. I'm relaying this conversation to you so you know if we say no to the Mayor's friends, we're also going to say no to the Council people's friends. If you get a call from a friend please tell them we can't have all that down time. That's not to say if we have some catastrophic event or major storm go through the City that we won't have to deviate from that. But we'd very much like to hold to that schedule. That's why we want to put these magnets out. Then everyone can stick them on the refrigerator and they will know when the chipper's coming. Don't cut your tree down three weeks ahead of time if you don't want the brush laying there.
Mayor Webster continued I got a call from a lady who wanted to know if the City could close down the entry ramp from St. Rt. 4 to I-275 because of the construction there. It is an extremely dangerous merging situation. I try to stay off that if at all possible and would urge everyone to stay off if you can. I pointed this out to the Engineer's office but Don Shvegzda has been in contact with the state. We've asked them to provide an additional message board to recommend traffic use the far two lanes of I-275. Also we have asked them to remove a segment of the portable concrete barriers to the west of the ramp merge point to provide bottom site distance for merging traffic. Before when you looked back you couldn't see a thing. So they have done that and it is an improvement. The third thing we've asked them to do is allow the contractor to use additives to the concrete so that the concrete will be able to be opened to traffic sooner and hopefully minimize the duration of the project in the temporary ramp merge condition. Please everyone, be extremely careful. We don't want to lose any residents and it will be a nice improvement once it's done.
Mr. Danbury said Mayor, when you mentioned brush pick-up, I guess the best analogy is if your garbage day is on Wednesday you don't put it out on Friday. We have schedules.
Mr. Parham said Mr. Osborn asked that I bring a bit of information to you concerning the speed limit changes that will go into affect. Some time ago House Bill 565 was passed and would increase the speed limit on I-275 as well as the other interstates throughout Ohio to 65 mph. Mr. Osborn and Chief Freland met with representatives of the Ohio Department of Transportation to voice their concerns. The original plan by ODOT was to change the speed limit on I-275 from St. Rt. 4 heading east to 60 mph from the current 55 mph and westbound from St. Rt. 4 to 65 mph. After meeting with the Chief and Mr. Osborn, ODOT has agreed to change those speed limits, maintaining St. Rt. 4 east at 60 mph, and decreasing by 5 mph Rt. 4 west taking it from Rt. 4 to the Hall-Winton Road destination at 60 mph and picking it up to 65 mph there. Part of the reason we felt comfortable agreeing to that (however, our preference would be to leave it at 55 mph.) the road was originally designed for 60 mph.) Mr. Osborn indicated that prior to 1974 when the oil embargo hit, the speed limit there was 60 mph. We ask that Council entertain a resolution at the next Council meeting on May 15 to change the journalization from 65 mph to 60 mph which effectively means within a certain time written into the bill, all interstates are going to change to 65 mph. However, if we do not adopt this piece of legislation, then I-275 will also change to 65 mph as opposed to 60 mph.
Mr. Danbury said the figures you are mentioning going westbound from Sharonville, where would that change from 65 to 60 mph.
Mayor Webster said Mr. Osborn and I talked about that today. We're not sure how far east this is going. We feel relatively safe that it's going past Rt. 42. Mr. Shuler said it would go to Montgomery Road.
Mr. Danbury said some people will be going 65 mph on I-75 and it's going to be an enforcement/PR problem. People need ample notice that it is now a 60 mph zone. You are coming off the I-75 ramp going 65 mph and continue to go 65 mph.
Mayor Webster said one of the arguments the state has used to try to get us to go along with 65 mph throughout the state is that they would rather not see any deviation from that.
Mr. Danbury said I believe I-275 in this section right here is one of the busiest in the state. This includes I-75 going south over the bridge. We have a lot of traffic. I like the 65 mph speed limit but I'd be in favor of 55 mph.
Mr. Parham continued on April 18 at 11:00 a.m. we held bid openings for the Century Boulevard reconstruction Phase II. The low bidder was Barrett Paving in the amount of $206,587.20 with a completion time frame of 120 days. We'd like to ask for legislation at the May 15 Council meeting. It's that time of the year again when we come to you to for authorization to join the Miami Valley Risk Management Association Worker's Compensation Group Rating Program and we'd also ask for legislation at the May 15 meeting.
Mr. Danbury said I have received numerous calls on a situation and would like to ask Council to consider this. It's mostly geared towards the two members of Planning Commission and might affect BZA as well. See if we can look into the property code maintenance regarding size of permanent structures, size of decks and patios in backyards. Evidently we have a person who has made it evident they do not like grass and are in the process of enlarging their patio in such a way that it is basically eliminating all the backyard. I understand they have a wish to do that but this is a residential area. If you move into a neighborhood that has grass it's not wise to just blacktop the entire backyard. I want to see what we can do to expand that on the books to see if we can prohibit people from putting up permanent structures. My thought process is if you don't like grass you should move to a townhouse or condo. I feel as though in the long run this is going to hurt property values because the value of your house is not going to be as attractive when real estate agents look at the purchase price of one house.
Mrs. Boice said I have had a number of calls and would like to discuss that briefly after the meeting.
Mayor Webster stated I support your efforts there. I personally went over and looked at the property in question. I certainly wouldn't want to live next door to it or even on the same street. I think it definitely devalues every home on that block. It's a residential neighborhood. People brought the property and if they didn't want to cut grass they shouldn't have moved there.
Mr. Danbury responded if we can come up with a density type thing for the backyard. Obviously things that have been in there for a while would be grandfathered. In this instance I think it's a permanent structure. If you build a deck you have to have so many side yard setbacks and I think this should be taken care of as well. I think it's something that has to be done.
Mr. Galster said there are side yard and rear yard setbacks on the books if you want to build a deck. I don't know what they are but will look into that and see if we can't define it. On some of the smaller lots and even on the larger lots if you are going 25 feet from the property line and you have a 200 foot long deck to get rid of your grass, even that can be quite extreme.
Mrs. Boice said even without a railing a concrete patio would apply.
Mr. Danbury said I drove out and everybody told me about it but I could not believe it. In essence it's a patio but it's approaching fence to fence concrete. There is a house in Forest Park where a man wanted to have astroturf and it looked really nice. I'm not saying people can't decorate their houses but I think you have to have common sense and I think it's hurting property values all around.
Mayor Webster said I was at the BZA meeting where this case was heard and these people appealed. I left with the impression there are not setback requirements for driveways. You can put your driveway right up to the property line.
Mrs. Boice stated we do have those exceptions where common sense does not come forth. This is a concrete world out there. I have kiddingly said I would like to pour my lawn in green concrete so I wouldn't have to mow anymore. We really need to look at this. We have people out here who just think they can pour concrete anyplace. Who wants it up to your property line? I'm talking about extending driveways back. The homes particularly in the Heritage Hill and Springdale Terrace areas do not have that much space between yards. When you talk about taking a driveway back you are talking about driving underneath people's bedroom windows. This has to be looked at. The person coming in wanting to do this says "I have my rights." Well, the neighbor has his rights also. We need to look at this very quickly.
Mr. Danbury said the intention is not to go after everybody. I think most people would agree with this. It's a shame we have to put something like this on the books. I think it's going to be prudent of Council and Planning Commission to put this on the books and try to get it squared away so we can fall back on something. This individual is also putting a turn-around in his front yard. He wants to have concrete yard. He doesn't want grass.
Ms. Manis said I want to thank Officer Rick Newman. Last Tuesday the Heritage Hill PTA had a skating party at Golden Skates. He is the DARE officer. The party was 6:30 to 8:30 p..m. and he was there with his kids skating, just the extra things our officers do because they want to and because they care about the kids.
Mr. Shuler said we have two other bid openings between now and the next Council meeting: the 1996 street repair program and Crossings of Springdale street resurfacing and the lane widening on Ray Norrish at Rt. 4. As long as those bids are in order we know the contractor and we are not concerned about any extended time to investigate the contractor. With Council's permission we would like to award those contracts at the next meeting so we can get that construction started as early as possible. We'll put the bid results in everyone's mailboxes so you will have the information sufficiently ahead of the meeting if you have any questions. As long as everything is consistent with the contract documents we would like to go ahead at the next meeting.
MEETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Board of Zoning Appeals May 21, 7:30 p.m.
Planning Commission May 14, 7:00 p.m.
We will address the property code maintenance if anybody wishes to attend.
Board of Health May 9, 7:00 p.m.
Parks and Recreations May 7
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE
Council adjourned at 8:10 p.m.
Edward F. Knox
Clerk of Council/Finance Director
Randy Danbury, President of Council