February 9, 2009



The council meeting was called to order by Vice-Mayor, Michael O’Callaghan on Monday, February 9, 2009, at 7:30 p.m.


          Attendance was taken and the following council members were present:  Mr. Bruns, Mrs. Kyle, Mr. O’Callaghan, Mr. Blackwell, and Mrs. Perkins.


          Other city staff members present were John P. Applegate, City Manager, Denise Winemiller, Clerk of Council, and Joe Moore, Law Director.


          Mr. O’Callaghan called for a moment of silence.


          Mr. O’Callaghan said at this time they had not heard from Mayor Goudy or Mrs. Terry.  There was no motion to excuse their absences so they were not excused. (see note at end of council minutes)


          1.       Mr. O’Callaghan asked if there were any additions or corrections to the council minutes from the January 26, 2009 meeting.


          Mr. Bruns moved that the minutes be accepted as prepared.  Mr. Blackwell seconded the motion.  Mrs. Perkins abstained and the other council members voted for the motion.  The minutes were accepted as prepared.


2.       Mr. O’Callaghan checked if there were any comments or questions from the audience and there were no comments.




Mr. Applegate said this deals with the purchase of a fire truck and putting the issue out for bids.  They are hoping for two to three percent interest rate on the notes.  Since this is the first reading for this issuance, the charter requires that the city have three readings.   Mr. Applegate said that the staff recommends that the council approve the first reading of Ordinance 1466.


Mr. Bruns moved that they have the first reading of Ordinance 1466.  Mr. O’Callaghan seconded the motion.  All concurred and Ordinance 1466 was passed to the second reading. 


Mr. Bruns mentioned that issue has been in the budget and that the city had planned on doing this.  Mr. Applegate added that this was the last of the items promised by council and the city when they passed the fire levy.


4.       Open Agenda


Mr. O’Callaghan thought that the city did a good job of plowing the city streets from curb to curb in the recent bad weather.  Mr. Applegate said that the crews had done a great job.  Mr. O’Callaghan agreed and said they appreciate that.


Mr. O’Callaghan also commented that Police Officer Kevin Kern received the Helping Hand award.  Mr. O’Callaghan congratulated him for that and said he knows he does a great job with the school kids.  He asked that his congratulations be forwarded to Officer Kern. 


Mrs. Kyle welcomed Mrs. Winemiller back and said that Mr. Applegate had done a good job in her place at the last meeting.


Mr. Applegate said he wanted to discuss something with the council and he had hoped that all the council members would be present for the discussion.  He said they had set the dates for this year’s Toll Road Festival.  Mr. Applegate said that last year the city only cleared a couple of thousand dollars on the festival. Mr. Applegate said with the economy and today’s state of affairs, and considering all of the staff’s time to set up the festival, he was wondering if they should continue with the festival.  Union has been doing the festival for twenty-five years, and he asked if they should they discontinue the festival, or skip it for a year or what the council’s thoughts were on this.  Mr. Applegate added that the success of the festival is dependant on good weather. 

Mr. Bruns said they have always hoped for good weather and sometimes vendors pull out at the last minute and they have trouble getting people to come and provide what the city needs.  He commented that last year, they were within one day of being wiped out by the storm which came in on Sunday.  Mr. Bruns felt this was a necessary discussion to have with the council. 


          Mr. Applegate said the maintenance crews worked for one week before the festival and one week after, working on the festival takes the crews away from street projects, etc. 

          He said with the job situation and the economy the way it is, he wasn’t sure if the money would be there to spend.  He said the city has to order all these things ahead of time and there is no guarantee of a successful festival.  He said he wondered how everyone feels about this.


          Mrs. Perkins said if they only cleared two thousand dollars, and once the employee salaries are factored in and the risk, financially it does not make much sense to have a festival.

          Mrs. Perkins asked if the city was doing this as a moneymaker or as a community event to bring the community together.  She said maybe it was time to look for something else to replace the festival.  She suggested that they invite comments from the public.


Mr. O’Callaghan thought that once they shut down the festival, it would be difficult to start it back up again. 

Mr. Bruns said they had already moved it because of Vandalia’s Octoberfest.  Mrs. Winemiller said they had moved the dates of the 2009 festival because of Vandalia’s festival but the weekend of September 18 and 19 would be in competition with the Preble County Pork Festival.  

Mr. Applegate said the festival was originally started up by a group of citizens who then backed out at the last moment and the city had to take over.  That is how the city got involved. 

They discussed how Vandalia’s festival is organized by the Sister City Group and Englewood’s Fine Arts Festival is organized by the Englewood Fine Arts Commission.  

Mr. Applegate said he is interested in what the citizens think.  He said that the city had been very lucky with the weather.  In 2008, the crews were just getting done with the clean up on Sunday when the windstorm hit.  If the storm had come the day before, during the festival, there could have been injuries.

Mr. O’Callaghan said the festival was never meant to be a moneymaker.  It was always meant to be a community event.  He added that the festival was never meant to be a money loser either.  He said he had always felt that if the festival started losing money, they should stop. 


Mr. Applegate said if the city truly added the cost for every minute that goes into putting on the festival there would not be a profit.  He added that there is a lot of time, effort and money that goes into the festival. 

Mr. O’Callaghan thought having community input would be great. 

Mrs. Perkins asked the latest date that they could make a decision about the festival.  Mr. Applegate said the letters to the vendors are ready to go out and they started discussing this.  Mr. Applegate and Mrs. Winemiller thought they could wait for a couple of weeks before making the decision.  The letters to be sent out were invitations to the arts and crafts vendors.  Mrs. Winemiller said she was concerned about donations from the businesses.  A lower number of businesses responded last year so Mrs. Winemiller said they put in some extra effort trying to get more money and they still came in at $500.00 less than the year before. 

Mr. O’Callaghan said that Mrs. Winemiller did a lot of the work.  Mrs. Winemiller said the secretaries also put in a lot of work.


Mr. Marsh from the audience said the Toll Road Festival decline is not unique to just the Toll Road Festival.  He said this is happening to all of the festivals both in attendance and the participants.  He said in the arts and crafts, things that were popular a few years ago are not popular now. 

He said the City of Union has a Bicentennial approaching in 2016 and it would not be too early to start planning that.  He mentioned that they could back off for a period of time on the Toll Road Festival and reinvigorate an activity for the Bicentennial celebration.

Another person asked that they be given more than two weeks to receive citizen input.  He said they could put this topic in the paper or on their web site. 

Mrs. Collins said if the city had been doing the festival for twenty-five years, people have had the opportunity to express their support.  She said she felt the economy had a lot to do with the success of the festival.   Mrs. Collins added that the festival had a good run and sometimes there comes a time to make a hard decision and that maybe the festival was not doing what it was designed to do. 

She said if people were interested in expressing their opinion, they could come to the council meetings. 

Mr. Applegate said they would hold off on sending invitations to the vendors. 

Mr. O’Callaghan said he could ask around to people that come to the festival and see what they think.

Mrs. Perkins asked if they could get a list of the volunteers from last year and call them. 


Mr. Applegate said he thought that the guys did one heck of a job with the snow plowing during the bad winter snow in January.  He said people could drive around everywhere in Union and no other city had every street, alley, and cul-de-sac as clean.  Mr. Applegate says it shows how well the city reacts.  He said the crews did a great job. 


Mr. Moore said there was a case that came out on public record law and he will be working on a memo concerning this. 


5.       Mr. Bruns moved that the council meeting be adjourned.  Mr. Blackwell seconded the motion.  All concurred and the motion was passed.  The February 9, 2009 City of Union council meeting was adjourned.



Respectfully submitted,



Denise A. Winemiller, Clerk of Council



Michael O’Callaghan, Vice Mayor