RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
MEETING OF COUNCIL
The council meeting was called to order by Mayor Goudy on Monday, March 9, 2009, at 7:30 p.m.
Attendance was taken and the following council members were present: Mr. Bruns, Mrs. Terry, Mrs. Kyle, Mayor Goudy, Mr. O’Callaghan, Mr. Blackwell, and Mrs. Perkins.
Other city staff members present were John P. Applegate, City Manager, Denise Winemiller, Clerk of Council, Michael Blackwell, Public Safety Director, and Joe Moore, Law Director.
Mayor Goudy called for a moment of silence.
1. Mayor Goudy asked if there were any additions or corrections to the council minutes from the February 23, 2009 council meeting. There were no corrections so Mr. Bruns moved that the minutes be accepted as prepared. Mr. O’Callaghan seconded the motion. Mrs. Terry abstained and the other council members voted in favor of the motion. The minutes were accepted as prepared.
2. Carolyn Rice, Montgomery County Treasurer will address the council.
Mrs. Rice had not arrived so Mayor Goudy said the council would proceed with the citizen’s and visitor’s comments.
3. Citizen’s and Visitor’s Comments
Mayor Goudy recognized Mr. Jerry Gergasko. He said that he had taken a bad fall and had to call the City of Union rescue squad. He said two EMT’s responded and they were prompt, efficient and courteous. He said he wanted to thank them for doing a great job.
Mayor Goudy and the council thanked Mr. Gergasko for his comments.
4. THIRD READING – ORDINANCE 1466 - AN ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR THE ISSUANCE OF $425,000 FIRE TRUCK ACQUISITION BOND ANTICIPATION NOTES BY THE CITY OF UNION, OHIO, IN ANTICIPATION OF THE ISSUANCE OF BONDS, FOR THE PURPOSE OF PAYING THE COST OF ACQUIRING A FIRE TRUCK. (three readings)
Mr. Bruns moved that they have the third and final reading and adopt Ordinance 1466. Mr. O’Callaghan seconded the motion. All concurred and Ordinance 1466 was adopted.
Mrs. Rice arrived at the council meeting and Mr. Moore felt that the agenda did not need to be amended. The Council went back to Item # 2 on the council agenda.
2. Carolyn Rice, Montgomery County Treasurer will address the council.
Mayor Goudy introduced Carolyn Rice. Mrs. Rice said that she wanted to come back and talk to the Union council and tell them what had been happening in the Montgomery County Treasurer’s Office.
She said that the county had just come through collections. The first half taxes were due on February 18. She stated that the funds were still in settlement which means they did not have final totals on what had been collected. She said that they have been very busy and from what they could see, the numbers are similar to last years.
Mrs. Rice said in many cases, people do not pay all that is due during the first half of the taxes. Even though they have to pay a penalty, they sometimes pay the taxes by the second due date.
She said they work with customers to get on a payment plan to pay as much as they can.
The second half of the tax collection will be July 15 and the bills will go out in June. She said due to the reappraisal of properties, their schedule was very tight because all the information has to be refigured through the auditor’s office.
Mrs. Rice said starting the process of a tax lien sale enabled them to collect a large amount of money.
Union has received 153,383 dollars from the lien sale over the last four years. Northmont Schools has received 1,900,000 dollars. The money comes to the cities much faster that way than waiting for a foreclosure.
Mrs. Rice reminded everyone to apply for the Homestead Reduction for anyone 65 and over. This would also apply for anyone that is permanently disabled.
She said she had looked at the delinquency figures for Union. There were 82 parcels out of 2,843 which amounts to roughly three percent. The total amount owed is 119,163 dollars. She said this is better than some of the other communities.
Of the 82 parcels, 27 parcels are already on a payment plan, so that means 33 percent are on a payment plan. She suggested that people that are delinquent come forward and make a plan with the county on paying their taxes.
Another statistic is that 61 percent of the delinquencies are under two years old.
Mrs. Rice said she wanted to discuss the United Way HelpLink, 211. She said it was the same idea as 911 but instead of critical assistance, it would just mean you needed assistance, but not as an emergency. The HelpLink is staffed twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. She said residents could use it if they have questions about property taxes or their mortgage.
Mrs. Rice told the council that she was often asked about the reappraisal process and changing property values. She said that is a project handled by the Montgomery County Auditor’s office, not the Treasurer’s office. Mrs. Rice explained the appeal process and steps that had occurred concerning the property revaluation.
Mrs. Rice said they now have a program on public access television that gives an overview of what the Treasurer’s office does and sometimes has special programs, like on the property reappraisal.
A future initiative is what to do with the vacant or abandoned properties. Dayton has over 5,000 properties that need demolition.
She said they are working to get a program that is going on in Cuyahoga County to Montgomery County. The Senate bill gave Cuyahoga expanded authority to establish a land reutilization program for the next two years. She said they will be learning how the program works so they can see if it would be something they could bring to Montgomery County.
Mrs. Rice asked if there were any questions and she offered to stay until after the meeting in case anyone wanted to talk to her. Mayor Goudy thanked her for coming and for providing all of the information.
5. Toll Road Festival - Discussion and Action
Mr. Applegate said the city had sent out a survey to the residents and he had provided a copy of the survey and the results with the council packets. The staff had updated numbers as of 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 9. “Continue” the festival is 145, “Stop” is 90, and “Change” is 60. Mr. Applegate said in looking at the comments under “Change”, most of the comments were not to continue with the festival but to look at another venue.
Mr. Applegate asked if there were any questions. Mrs. Terry said that the city is responsible for the festival and it takes a lot of work. They discussed that attendance has dropped the last three or four years, not just for the festival but for events in other cities. She knew it was hard to get rides at the festival.
The council members mentioned the comments about moving the festival to another location. If they would move it to the Union park, it would be a problem if it rains, and people cannot walk there. Residents would have to drive and cars would have to be parked. Mr. Bruns said there were many different comments and people’s opinions were split. Mr. Bruns said it seemed like the general consensus was that the festival should be changed.
Mr. Applegate said they got 300 responses out of 2,400.
Mr. Bruns suggested that they suspend the festival for a year and have the Park Board, city staff, etc. look at what else they want to do.
Mrs. Perkins said she agreed that it should be suspended and they could consider if they want a theme or what kind of image they want the city to project.
Mrs. Terry said the city is unique.
Mr. Bruns moved that the festival be suspended for one year and have the Park Board or a committee formed by the Park Board, study the information and come back with a plan within the next ten months and give the city their recommendations.
Mr. O’Callaghan asked Mrs. Winemiller for her opinion. Mrs. Winemiller said that if she could speak for the employees, they would like to discontinue the festival. Mr. Bruns said they should get Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, service clubs or some other group so it is not a city run festival.
Mr. Applegate said that would be his recommendation. He said it was mostly city employees and their spouses that worked at the festival.
Mr. Applegate said the festival was started by some of the businesses on Main Street who wanted to get more people in town. It started out being private but once it was going, the business owners came to the council and said they did not want to do it. That is how the city got involved.
Mr. Applegate said as city manager, he did not want to continue the festival because of the potential financial loss. He said if people want it, they need to step up and take it over.
Mr. Bruns said if no one comes forward to take it over in January, then that would be the end of the festival.
Mayor Goudy asked what kind of a burden it was for the police department. Chief Blackwell said that they worked all weekend and their focus was on the festival. He said fortunately they had not had any problems outside of the festival area. He said a few years ago they had a structure fire and had to pull the police officers away from the festival. Chief Blackwell said they had been fortunate. He mentioned about the windstorm that occurred on Sunday the year before. If the storm had occurred on Saturday, the Chief said they would have had casualties and the city might have had some kind of liability. The Chief went on to say if he wasn’t an employee, he probably would not come to the festival because there were other festivals throughout the area. He said the Toll Road Festival does not compare to some of the other festivals.
He said the police and fire department have had community safety days the last few years and they attempted to get the business owners involved and support the event and they got no support and most of the people that came were not even citizens. He agreed with the council that they sit back for a year or two and see what they could do to improve.
Mayor Goudy thought that with the economy the way it is now, they would not get much revenue or turn out for the next couple of years. She said from what she is hearing, they should table the festival for awhile.
Mrs. Perkins suggested that people look at alternatives to the festival. Mr. Bruns agreed, like someone in a survey had suggested a 3 K run.
Mr. Bruns rephrased his motion and moved that they suspend the Toll Road Festival for this year and that the Park Board either thorough a committee or through the Park Board, with help from the City Staff, analyze results of the survey that was done and look for other options to either replace or continue or do away with the festival. Mayor Goudy seconded the motion. All concurred and the motion was passed.
6. Open Agenda
Mr. Blackwell asked if the city would be getting any money through the stimulus plan. Mr. Applegate said they have submitted applications and they were going to be submitting more. They had sent applications for storm sewer projects and the wastewater plant and the applications had moved on to the next step.
Mr. Blackwell asked about the water tower project. Everything was going well and the bid opening is going to be March 24.
Mrs. Kyle thanked Mrs. Rice and Mr. Gergasko for his nice comments.
Mrs. Terry also thanked Mrs. Rice and Mr. Gergasko. She said she knew how good the rescue squad was and she thanked him for coming and telling the council.
Mr. Bruns thanked Mr. Gergasko also and thanked Mrs. Rice and said he was looking forward to her next visit.
Mr. Bruns asked about the letter from the Ohio Department of Taxation in the packets about the taxes and that the local government fund was being dropped by 7.4 percent. He asked how that fit into the budget that they had just adopted. Mr. Applegate said they had allowed for that.
Chief Blackwell said that he had provided the council with a pamphlet/newsletter in reference to the new engine that the city is in the process of purchasing. He said he would keep the council and citizens up to date on the process of purchasing the engine and would probably have everything ready by July of this year.
Chief Blackwell said that everything in the police and fire departments was going well.
Mr. Applegate said that by the next meeting, they might be ready for a tour of the stand-by generator on River Road. They are pulling the last of the wire to get to the control building on Martindale Road so they can have service for all four wells. Mr. Applegate asked if they would prefer to meet an hour before the council meeting. He said they still had to do a test on it. They had waited until the price of copper wire went down and by doing that had saved thirty thousand dollars. He said he would let them know and if agreeable, they would meet an hour before the regularly scheduled council meeting.
7. Mr. O’Callaghan moved that the council meeting be adjourned. Mr. Bruns seconded the motion. All concurred and the motion was passed. The March 9, 2009 City of Union council meeting was adjourned.
Denise A. Winemiller, Clerk of Council
Michael O’Callaghan, Vice Mayor