July 24, 2017 Summary

MARION CITY COUNCIL MEETING

City Hall – Council Chambers on July 24, 2017, 7:30 PM

ROLL CALL -10 members answered – Mr. Cumston, Mr. Ratliff; Mr. Thomas, Ms. Blevins, Ms. Cunningham, Mr. Huddle, Mr. Norris, Mr. Daniels, Ms. Gustin, Ms. Fisher.

THE LORDS PRAYER WAS SAID

Proclamation for RobotWorx was presented to Tony Joyce, Director of Americas for Scott Technology for their 25th Anniversary in Marion.

Mr. Cumston and Ms. Fisher thanked Mr. Joyce for being a part of our community.

Summary of Proceedings from July 10, 2017 – Mr. Cumston moved to approve, Mr. Huddle 2nd. Roll call: Ayes all, motion carried. Summary is approved.

OLD BUSINESS:

ORDINANCE 2017-31:

ORDINANCE TO VACATE A 16’ WIDE NORTH/SOUTH ALLEY BETWEEN 1083 AND 1085 WEST CENTER STREET (LOT #’S 6746 AND 4218) PURSUANT TO ORC 723.041 RETAINING PERMANENT EASEMENT RIGHTS (Applicant, Richard Collins)

          Mr. Thomas said this came out of Streets & Sewers with a 2-0 recommendation for approval, this is the 3rd reading and we are requesting a public hearing tonight.

7:35 PM Public Hearing is now Opened

No Discussion

7:36 PM Public Hearing is now Closed.

Mr. Thomas moved to adopt, Ms. Cunningham 2nd; Roll Call: Ayes all, motion carried. ORDINANCE 2017-31 IS ADOPTED

ORDINANCE 2017-34:

ORDINANCE TO VACATE A 16’ WIDE “L” SHAPED ALLEY BETWEEN LOT #’S 920 TO 924 AND 926 TO 930 AND BEHIND PRESIDENT HARDING’S HOME PURSUANT TO ORC 723.041 RETAINING PERMANENT EASEMENT RIGHTS (Applicant, The Ohio Historical Society)

          Mr. Thomas said this came out of Streets & Sewers with a 2-0 recommendation for approval, this is the 3rd reading and we are requesting a public hearing tonight.

7:37 PM Public Hearing is now Opened

Mr. Kevin Hall spoke on behalf of the Ohio History Connection previously known as the Ohio Historical Society. This alley surrounds President Harding’s Home site and new home for the Center. I don’t think this alley has ever been used or maintained by the City. This is the last piece of the land liquidation. All the homes are owned by the Historical Society.

7:38 PM Public Hearing is now Closed.

Mr. Thomas moved to adopt, Ms. Cunningham 2nd; Roll Call: Ayes all, motion carried. ORDINANCE 2017-34 IS ADOPTED

ORDINANCE 2017-39:

ORDINANCE MAKING APPROPRIATION ADJUSTMENTS IN VARIOUS FUNDS FOR THE YEAR ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2017

Mr. Cumston said this came out of Finance with a 3-0 recommendation for approval, I’ll move to suspend, Mr. Huddle 2nd. Roll call: Ayes all, motion carried.

Mr. Cumston moved to adopt, Ms. Cunningham 2nd; roll call: Ayes all, motion carried. ORDINANCE 2017-39 IS ADOPTED

ORDINANCE 2017-41:

AN ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR THE ISSUANCE AND SALE OF NOTES IN THE MAXIMUM AGGREGATE PRINCIPAL AMOUNT OF $7,688,500, IN ANTICIPATION OF THE ISSUANCE OF BONDS, FOR THE PURPOSE OF PAYING THE COSTS OF VARIOUS IMPROVEMENTS; AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY

Mr. Cumston said this came out of Finance with a 3-0 recommendation for approval, I’ll move to suspend, Mr. Thomas 2nd. Roll call: Ayes all, motion carried.

Mr. Cumston moved to adopt, Mr. Thomas 2nd.

Auditor Carr read the Fiscal Officer’s Report

Ms. Gustin asked about Belmont Street – that is finished. Auditor Carr said that these are the outstanding notes that are rolled, those projects are complete, the only new monies added this year to this was N. Greenwood for ½ million dollars which came in higher.

Mr. Daniels spoke: on all properties subject to taxes levied by the City, what is meant by property. Auditor Carr said when dealing with Bonds – County is relying on property taxes. We get very little back from the County. That is the language we use in there. They are all General Obligation Debt – which get tied back to the GF dollars. Mr. Daniels said what that implies if there were not enough revenue in the GF, the City would levy property taxes. Auditor Carr said we have no ability to do that. That is just a term that they use in financial word, it’s standard language. We don’t have the right to raise property taxes to meet these projects. We are close to 1.8 million from property taxes each year and 15 mill in income tax. We don’t have the power to increase taxes for these obligations. This is just standard language by law. Mr. Daniels asked Mr. Russell the same. Mr. Russell said he agrees with the Auditor. Mr. Daniels said does the City have the right to levy. Mr. Russell said he would have to do some research on that. These are legal general obligations for the City. Bond Counsel is refereeing to the interest in principal for all other sources, the General Fund. The Auditor stated that the revenues are in place from the Enterprise Funds.

Mr. Daniels said to discharge debt, there are certain ways to do it. The City is not allowed to discharge a debt, otherwise to pay it. Financial Institutions know that. Mayor Schertzer said I don’t know either whether we can do property taxes. I suspect that it might be able to. We must go to the voters though, like the schools do. We’ve done that with the Income Tax 2X in the past 30 years. More than likely we would come back to you with an increase in Sewer/Sanitation Rates. That would be the source of the payment for those funds. I understand your apprehension about it, but to continue to do sewer projects in this community, this is the way we go to pay for them. 4 sewer projects in these 7 million notes. Those sewer projects will continue indefinitely.

Mr. Thomas said the debt service portion of the storm water and the sewer is the money that pays back these bond obligations. The administration has the ability without City Council to make sure that those obligations are being made. That is where this money is coming from. Mayor Schertzer said I have talked to a lot of Mayors that don’t have the storm sewer side like we have in Marion. As we do these projects, those rates go up. Mr. Norris stated the sewer rates will go up. Auditor Carr said we have projects that are done, at the end of being paid off. 24-million-dollar project is being paid off, we are trying to structure.  It depends on the fluctuation of being paid off, trying to keep those rates under control. We looked at it a couple of years ago, and that was $1.00 that went up in a 10-year period. We try to look at what’s being paid off, our obligations, the EPA telling us what our needs are. We just don’t borrow to keep on doing it. It’s going to be long term.

Mayor Schertzer said I think we do a very good job of taking care of this area. There have been many years where we have NOT to raise it. The EPA coming in and telling us to do this, we tend to push back a bit. It’s too burdensome on our residents. We manage it with the manner of what the Auditor just said. If this Council wishes not to do any more sewer projects, then you tell me. Mr. Daniels said the true responsibility of when the City indebts itself. I’m not saying all governments operate that way, but if you have a portfolio of real estate, and go in debt to maintain the roof, plumbing, etc., this borrowing to maintain the system that you have. There is probably something wrong to have a roof fixed. If you don’t have much capital on hand, you’re going to get a call and tell us about your cash flow. Since I’ve been on Council, the City has continually to rely on debt for simple maintenance. We need to know what our responsibilities are to make that debt.

Mr. Ratliff said when we borrow money, we are also making payments for previous projects and paying off debt along with accruing debt. I believe in reading through with the property taxes, we are limited by 10 mill that everybody can borrow. That’s what they talk about, only leverage yourself in the entire county 10 mill. That’s set by the State as far as our limitation is at. We share that with the County and the Schools. Mr. Thomas said we have been doing this for 20 years, I understand what Mr. Daniels is saying, in those 20 years, we still have the lowest in surrounding counties – the lowest sewer rates. If we don’t do this, and the resident calls you and wants to know why the storm water is in their back yard, we have an obligation to the residents. I don’t like to carry debt, if you don’t do anything, we won’t be able to approve the sewers and storm water if we don’t do this. It hasn’t gone up tremendously. As the Auditor and I understand, it’s debt that we can manage. We’re able to go back to our residents and let them know what we are doing. Auditor Carr said please understand that many residents have called us with problems. To fix those problems, this administration brings different projects to you every year, you have the right to say NO. I don’t like to go into debt. What that means we stop doing projects, raise the rates, wait until we have enough cash to pay for it. You have the decision. Most of these projects in here are already done, these decisions have already been made. This is the situation, we do the best we can. How can we fix it today? It’s the decision you guys are making every single day. We try to manage what’s being paid off. We are fortunate to have the sanitary/sewer fund to pay for this. There is a revenue debt process that we have talked about. Do we take away on future obligations? You no longer have the authority, whatever those debts are going to be, if that’s a 12.00 increase to our customers, that’s what it’s going to be. That’s a way to cover the obligation. The only way right now, is the storm and sanitary funds. We never defaulted on a payment. Mr. Cumston said every 10 years the City goes to Moody’s and Standard and Poor, they look at our worthiness to take on this debt. Bond Counsel does the review and look at the funds. We have the Auditor of the State each year to look at us. 10 mill includes schools, - that’s why they went to GASB accounting. We are getting close to the 10-mill window. 20 years ago, we did a study for infrastructure, the City will be 200 years old in a matter of a few years. It’s a big deal.

Mr. Ratliff said that thing that gives me heartburn, when we pass this, we do give the authority for 6% interest, that always give me heartburn, it seems very high to me. 7.7 million debt. You’ve done a good job, it’s been a lot lower than that. Auditor Carr said it just gives us the highest point of the spectrum. It’s gives us the flexibility. It’s the standard language just to cover that.

Mr. Daniels said I understand the defense. Sanitary and Storm projects, there is debt. I don’t think one storm sewer project would lower the water in the basement, we’ve corrected CSO’s, we’ve replace sanitary lines, not one project can I think of, have reduced anyone’s water in their basements. There are solutions to this, let’s fix on what people are barking about. If I flooded, I’d be barking too. We are not considered on a flood plain, no FEMA insurance. We don’t have that in the City. Let’s start one – the diversion on the water flow down to Uncapher, the Columbia tile, at least take that water out of it. There are several things that we can do to slow rain water. They are not 100 year events anymore.

Mayor Schertzer said we are getting diverted from the current issue, I agree with you Mr. Daniels. I went to Zanesville yesterday, with new developments they all had storm water retention out front. We are an older community, we don’t have storm water retention basins. It’s easy to do with new construction. Out in front of the YMCA, there are two basins, that’s storm water retention. There has been some water in them this past year. Those 100 year floods – don’t know what they mean anymore, we have had erratic weather events this year alone. Some areas, we haven’t eliminated the problem, I get calls from a person on Windsor St., after each rain, still have water down here, but it goes away quicker. Whatever you guys are doing, you’re on the right path. Back in the 60’s they measured feet in their basement, occasional I measure an inch. I live on Forest Lawn Drive – there is no storm water there – it’s all sanitary. But I believe now, we may be on the right path to minimize some of the issues. I would love to do more storm water retention within the City. The EPA wanted 3 major basins outside the City limits. It didn’t seem cost effective. You talk 7 million; each of those basins were nearly 10 million dollars.

Roll call for adoption: YEAS: Mr. Cumston, Mr. Ratliff, Mr. Thomas, Ms. Blevins, Ms. Cunningham, Mr. Huddle, Ms. Gustin; NAYS: Mr. Norris, Mr. Daniels. ORDINANCE 2017-41 IS ADOPTED

ORDINANCE 2017-40:

ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING AND DIRECTING THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS TO PREPARE PLANS AND SPECIFICATIONS, AND ADVERTISE FOR BIDS FOR THE HANE AVENUE SEWER IMPROVEMENTS, PROJECT 17-1S, IN THE CITY OF MARION, OHIO, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY

Mr. Thomas said this came out of Streets with a 3-0 recommendation for approval, I’ll move to suspend, Ms. Blevins 2nd. Roll call: YEAS: Mr. Cumston, Mr. Ratliff, Mr. Thomas, Ms. Blevins, Ms. Cunningham, Mr. Huddle, Mr. Norris, Ms. Gustin; Abstain: Mr. Daniels; Mr. Daniels said he is working with one of the contractors who will bid on this. It’s a donation to the City’s Parks Department.

Mr. Thomas said he would encourage for everybody when this bid comes back to question the cost, where the money is coming from and how that would affect the storm water department. Voting NO on something is showing a disservice for our constituents. Doing this is very important to our constituents.

Mr. Daniels said I’d ask the Council persons be educated as to what the % of debt. Our debt responsibility of principal and interest make up 12% in 2010 of the storm water fund, then it goes higher – in time we continue to fund the debt. The opposite of that is going to be more close to 30 or 40 – stable, paying things off, at the same rate you are indebting yourself, you’re not going into the hole. That’s what I’d like to see. How much that services debt.

Mr. Thomas moved to adopt, Ms. Blevins 2nd. Roll call: YEAS: Mr. Cumston, Mr. Ratliff, Mr. Thomas, Ms. Blevins, Ms. Cunningham, Mr. Huddle, Mr. Norris, Ms. Gustin; Abstain: Mr. Daniels. ORDINANCE 2017-40 IS ADOPTED

ORDINANCE 2017-42:

ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE CITY AUDITOR TO PAY A BILL FROM THE MARION MUNICIPAL AIRPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 5705.41 (D) (1) OF THE OHIO REVISED CODE, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY

Mr. Cumston said this came out of Finance with a 2-0 recommendation for approval; this was made because of a late PO for the Airport, I’ll move to suspend, Mr. Huddle 2nd. Roll call: Ayes all, motion carried.

Mr. Cumston moved to adopt, Mr. Huddle 2nd.  Ms. Gustin stated that we need to be aware that this impacts us when the State Auditor comes and has an overall review what goes on in the City. We need to be careful about this.

Roll Call for adoption: Ayes all, motion carried.  ORDINANCE 2017-42 IS ADOPTED

ORDINANCE 2017-43:

ORDINANCE CLARIFYING AND MODIFYING marion city code SECTION 943.19 TITLED EXEMPTION OF SENIOR CITIZENS AND DISABLED PERSONS FROM PAYMENT OF CHARGES RELATING TO DOMESTIC REFUSE AND RUBBISH COLLECTION TO PROVIDE FOR NECESSARY UPDATES IN THE CITY OF MARION

          Mr. Daniels said “1st reading tonight”. ORDINANCE 2017-43 HAS HAD IT’S 1ST READING

Matters not on the Agenda:

Todd Schneider 220 Cummins Ave. Leadership Marion Class, 26 participants. Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, Tom Toney runs it. I represented Marion City Schools through Rushmore. Our project was to create a business incubator. Our goal was to raise $10,000 to put on a business style competition (“Shark Tank”). We have exceeded our funds, 8 applicants at this point. We rented out the May Pavilion and on August 10, we ae going to hold this competition. Our plan going forward is to create a sustainable incubator that can be used to benefit the City of Marion and Marion as a whole. Wanted to let you know about it - August 10 @ 5:30. Now we need people in the seats.

Dave Troutman, 1020 Bexley Ave spoke – vacant, damaged houses, over 200. Mr. Russell mentioned to me that we are making some progress with the Land Bank. Mr. Troutman said maybe over 350 houses of abandoned houses. Burnt out houses on Davids Street. I’m concerned about this. We really haven’t made any progress with this abandoned home program. We have a city code that tells us what to do. Signs and tape around it. 60 days we should have it under control. We are not living to it. I asked a safety director for the list, he is supposed to maintain it. I’d like to challenge Council, Safety Director, let’s all help the safety director and make him do the list. We just don’t see it. That’s part of our beautification process.

          Mayor Schertzer said the house on Davids St. – it is on our land bank. Please come to the meeting on August 10. I think there has been two homes torn down on the County Land Bank. Knowing how much we have, spend on homes, we send it in. Mr. Troutman said that’s not our code. Mayor Schertzer said I see your point, but the remedy for a lot of these homes was the neighborhood stabilization grant, moving forward land bank, and now the county land bank. In regards to the home you mentioned on Davids St. It must be foreclosed by the County. That process is a little bit slower. That home you are referring to is going to cost 24,000 to tear down. The County Land Bank, we are only allowed to spend 25,000 to tear down a home. When you do the advertising for the home, we are going to be over budget. Don Davis is going to try to go to the contractor and see if he would go for a lower amount, so as we don’t go over limit. We must foreclose on these homes in the County Land Bank. For the tracking of these homes, we do keep a list, every abandoned home – I’m sure we don’t have all of them listed. Make the Safety Director know of any homes in your ward. A lot of people walk away of them, and the City is not aware of them all. Mr. Troutman said I asked for that list, and nobody knew what I was talking about. 1360 is your code, and you’re not working on it. Mayor Schertzer that list does not encompass every abandoned home, not every home should be demolished.

          Chief Collins said out Impact Program is hosting a National Night Out next week at Grant Middle School on August 1, 2017 between 6-9.

The drug task force had a seizure last week to the tune of $582,000.00 in cash and 2 locations. All the monies go back to Marmet – they are self- sustaining with that money.

          Mr. Ratliff noted that the CDBG grant – we didn’t know how much the actual budget was – if there were more monies, that it would go to the tear down of abandon homes. We’ll be able to do 10 instead of 5. More money in there than what was anticipated.

COMMITTEE DATES:

                                                                      Reference

Finance:                 8-7-2017       @ 6:30 pm    Regular Business

Regional Planning:  8-23-2017     @ 7:00 pm    County Building

   With no further business to come before Council, Ms. Fisher adjourned the meeting.

                            

                                                            ____________________________                                                            Kate Fisher                                                                                             President of Council

 

_________________________   

Clerk of Council