VILLAGE OF GRANVILLE
February 20, 2008
CALL TO ORDER (by Mayor Hartfield 7:33 pm)
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Those responding to the roll call were Councilmembers Barsky, McGowan, Mershon, Tegtmeyer, Vice Mayor Herman, Mayor Hartfield, Manager Holycross, and\ Brandy Maas.
Councilmember Barsky made a motion to excuse Councilmember O’Keefe. Second by Vice Mayor Herman. Motion carried (6-0)
The minutes reflect that Councilmember O’Keefe arrived at 7:37pm.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Councilmember McGowan moved to accept the agenda as presented. Second by Councilmember Barsky. Motion carried (6-0).
Mayor Hartfield introduced Mrs. Gawell and her second grade class from Granville Elementary School. Mrs. Gawell’s class had written letters to Council with suggestions for improvements to the Village. Mayor Hartfield invited them to tonight’s Council meeting to formally address Council and express their suggestions. Some of the children’s suggestions were as follows:
- Plant more trees and add green space
- People who litter should go to court
- More parking spaces in downtown
- Encourage economic development by the addition of a low price toy store
- Add pads under the monkey bars at Wildwood Park, add an ice rink and host a Wildwood family clean-up day
- Build a YMCA with a swimming pool
- Build a swimming pool
- Bike path to Raccoon Valley Park
- Add a family center called The Blue Ace Center at Bryn Du Mansion and host a Busy Kids Day at the Mansion during nice weather.
(The children’s presentation will be included as part of these minutes.)
Mayor Hartfield thanked the children for their suggestions and participation in their local governmental process. She also provided each student with a gift certificate to Whit’s Frozen Custard.
CITIZENS’ COMMENTS (7:42pm)
No one appeared to speak.
Mayor Hartfield closed Citizens’ Comments at 7:43pm.
Ordinance No. 02-08, To Provide an Income Tax Credit to Taxpayers of the Village of Granville for Tax Year 2008.
No one appeared to speak.
Mayor Hartfield closed the Public Hearing at 7.44pm.
Ordinance No. 02-08, To Provide an Income Tax Credit to Taxpayers of the Village of Granville for Tax Year 2008.was moved for approval by Councilmember McGowan. Second by Councilmember Barsky.
Councilmember McGowan read a statement describing his intentions in recommending this legislation. His intent was to provide a tax break for Granville taxpayers in these hard economic times. He advised that the Granville budget is $6.7 million with $2.7 million in income tax revenues with a nearly $1 million carryover. The tax would allow the Village a year to adjust spending to accommodate the credit. He suggested that as residents were tightening their belts so too should the Village. He indicated that a project or two might need to be postponed a year, but the Village could reduce the budget carryover to offset the proposed tax credit. He felt that by encouraging taxpayers to spend their money locally, local businesses would benefit. He also felt that $100 was a small amount to give back to the taxpayers during tough economic times.
Councilmember O’Keefe responded that it would be an assumption that taxpayers would spend their tax credit here in the Village. Councilmember O’Keefe confirmed the formula by which the credit would be applied; that no individual taxpayer would receive more than $100. Manager Holycross indicated in the affirmative.
Vice Mayor Herman questioned if Councilmember McGowan had received a memo indicating that the cost of the tax credit would be $200,000 to $400,000. Councilmember McGowan responded in the affirmative. Councilmember McGowan responded that he estimated the cost to be $250,000. Vice Mayor Herman additionally asked if Councilmember McGowan had spoken with staff or Council about what expenses would be cut to off set the cost of the tax credit. Councilmember McGowan indicated that no expenses would need to be cut as the Village will have a $1 million carryover so spending $400,000 would leave a $600,000 carry over. Councilmember McGowan indicated that he had spoken with Manager Holycross and Law Director Crites.
Councilmember Tegtmeyer asked the specific intent in offering a tax credit. Councilmember McGowan indicated that one of the reasons would be to stimulate the local Granville economy. He also felt individual citizens would benefit from the $100 including working seniors.
Councilmember O’Keefe asked Manager Holycross if he knew how much money other communities set aside as a rainy day fund. Manager Holycross indicated that it was not uncommon for communities who had a $4 million general fund budget to hold $1million dollars in reserve, which would operate a Village like ours for about eighty-two days. Councilmember Tegtmeyer responded that audit recommendations indicate at least a three month rainy day fund.
Councilmember Tegtmeyer indicated that perhaps prudence was the order of the day with the number of potential projects discussed during recent Council meetings as well as possible infrastructure needs. She also suggested that there was no guarantee the tax revenues would be as high as currently revenues. Councilmember Barsky added that Council has seen a gradual flattening of tax revenues. Councilmember Barsky asked if staff knew the number of returns that were from Granville residents versus individuals outside the Village. Assistant Manager Roberts indicated that out of the three hundred returns sampled, fifty percent received additional tax credits.
Councilmember O’Keefe asked if figures were available for the number of vacant homes in Granville that could potentially reduce the tax revenue. Assistant Manager Roberts indicated that specific information could be researched, but was not available at this time.
Mayor Hartfield recommended that a more effective course of action to provide tax relief would be for Council to move forward on the River Road annexation issue as that could provide an additional economic base to reduce property taxes. She also indicated that individuals would not actually receive money in hand to spend in the Village, they would just not write as large of a check to the Village. Councilmember Tegtmeyer suggested an alternative stimulus such as a gift certificate or voucher if the goal was to stimulate the local economy.
Manager Holycross reported that in completing the sampling process, the tax credit from individual returns would amount to $200,000. As the individual returns account for fifty percent of the total returns, the overall possible affect could be a total of $400,000. Councilmember Barsky also suggested that those dollars do not account for staff time as part of this project. Councilmember Mershon asked if staff could review the annual filing to reduce man hours. Councilmember Tegtmeyer responded that there could be additional filings to account for individuals whose taxes are withheld that do not file and couples who might file jointly that now might file separately. Councilmember Mershon asked how many people filed jointly. Assistant Manager Roberts indicated that fifty percent of the returns were filed jointly.
Councilmember Mershon addressed the issue of seniors who would not benefit from this tax credit. He indicated that many seniors were still working and would receive the proposed tax benefit. The individuals who work in Columbus and other communities would also receive the benefit of the tax credit. Councilmember Mershon indicated that if the tax credit did cost $400,000, a carry over balance of $600,000 would still be appropriate. The Village budget could carry this revenue loss and perhaps Council was being too over cautious.
Councilmember O’Keefe indicated that the proposed tax credit might better be used if for the collective good of the community such as the installation of sidewalk/pathway improvements or sewer improvements. Councilmember Tegtmeyer indicated that Granville residents expect Council to provide for the collective good of the community.
Councilmember Barsky indicated that Council needed to be cautious. Governor Strickland’s state budget cuts as well as the current issues with the foreclosure crisis should warrant Council being very prudent. She also indicated that Council has the responsibility for the maintenance of the Village infrastructure which needs some attention. Now may not be the time for Council to take a chance. She suggested looking at other possible alternatives.
Councilmember Mershon questioned what Council was intending to do with the $1 million carryover. The budget was just completed two months ago with all necessary expenditures covered. Vice Mayor Herman responded that it was important for Council to be responsible, allow for potential inexactitude in budget predictions and allow for challenging economic times. Councilmember Tegtmeyer added that municipalities were now finding it difficult to secure bonding funds at reasonable rates.
Roll call vote on Ordinance No. 02-08 Barsky (No), McGowan (Yes), Mershon (Yes), O’Keefe (No), Tegtmeyer (No), Herman (No) and Hartfield (No).
Motion failed 5-2.
Resolution No. 08-09 A Resolution to Authorize the Village Manager to Seek Bids for the 2008 Street Resurfacing Program was moved for approval by Vice Mayor Herman. Second by Councilmember Barsky.
Councilmember McGowan asked the amount of monies that were received from the State for the work done on South Main Street previously. Assistant Manager Roberts indicated the Village received $619,724 as a zero percent loan for twenty years to replace curbs, gutters, sidewalk repairs and rebuild the road in 2000.
Councilmember Barsky requested that any bids should look at the proposed suggestions for crosswalk improvements and traffic calming suggested in the walk-ability study from Denison University in 2004. Assistant Manager Roberts indicated that it could be considered and reviewed by the LSSU committee.
Councilmember Mershon suggested that Council should plan for these types of improvements prior to advertising for bids. Councilmember Tegtmeyer asked if each of the proposed street improvements should be reviewed for additional improvements. Councilmember Barsky responded in the affirmative. Councilmember Mershon indicated that the previous South Main Street and Burg Street improvement projects had committees that looked at needed improvements, but that information was not built into the budget or bid. Councilmember Mershon felt that repaving South Main Street was premature and did not allow time for planning for the needed improvements. He recommended looking at whether the Elm Street/South Main Street crossing could be improved.
Mayor Hartfield asked Service Director Hopkins to speak about the condition of South Main Street. Service Director Hopkins indicated that with the amount of traffic and the weight of the traffic traveling that roadway repaving that roadway in seven years was not unreasonable. The repairs that will be needed over the next two years and then repaving in year three would inconvenience traffic more than completing the repaving project in 2008. Councilmember Mershon indicated that in Service Director Hopkins’ reported to the LSSU committee earlier, changing the order of paving projects was based on having money available, not because the road needed repairs. Service Director Hopkins responded that he switched several road projects around to allow for the most effective timing of projects, additional preparation for more extensive repairs to roadways, and to allow for repairs to roadways that need immediate attention. The South Main Street project was moved to 2008 as it allowed for more street improvements to be accomplished over the next five years, remain within the existing 2008 budget, and would address repair issues on South Main Street immediately rather than patching the road for the next two years. Over the years, he indicated that frequently he shifts projects around in the department’s five year plan to allow for a variety of circumstances. He could move other road projects up instead of South Main Street, but the cost of those improvements could be higher than the amount budgeted for this year. Service Director Hopkins questioned if Council would permit him to move any other road projects forward.
Councilmember McGowan indicated that he had received complaints regarding repaving Erinwood. Councilmember McGowan felt that those roads in Erinwood were far worse than South Main Street. Service Director Hopkins indicated that road improvements for Erinwood were in his fiver year plan. He also indicated that in his opinion and based on his experience, the condition of the Erinwood roads were not as serious as South Main Street. Councilmember Mershon indicated that he walked every one of the streets listed in this legislations and thought many other streets looked as if they needed repair more than South Main Street. He indicated that South Main Street was moved in order to spend the budgeted street improvement monies for 2008, not based on an analysis of what roads needed to be improved. Vice Mayor Herman responded that additional information has been added since the LSSU committee meeting and did that satisfy any concerns. Councilmember Mershon responded that he would have preferred that the Service Department provide Council the five year plan and the criteria by which roads were selected for improvements. Council has requested many times the criteria for capital expenditures. Councilmember Mershon requested waiting thirty days to hear from staff as to which streets need to be done, what other improvements to walkways and sidewalks need to be done, the budget, and why specific streets were selected. Councilmember Tegtmeyer asked if the bid process could go forward while this information was being gathered. Councilmember Mershon responded that the planning needs to be completed prior to the bid process. Mayor Hartfield indicated that an alternate bid could be added in with the overall bid thereby avoiding a delay of the bid process. Service Director Hopkins added that advertising for bids early allows the Village to secure the best pricing. Councilmember Tegtmeyer suggested a possible dual track – take the opportunity to secure the best bids and determine Council’s priorities at the upcoming Special Council meeting. Councilmember Mershon questioned the harm in waiting thirty days before advertising for bids. Mayor Hartfield indicated that price escalation could be a detriment. Vice Mayor suggested moving forward on this legislation in a collaborative process with staff. He added that if Council feels there are defects in the way information is conveyed to staff relative to the expectations of Council; Council should work on this issue at the Special Council meeting this Saturday.
Vote to approve Resolution No. 08-09. Motion carried (5-2). Resolution No. 08-09 was adopted.
REVIEW OF MINUTES
Regularly Scheduled Meeting of February 6, 2008
Councilmember McGowan moved to table the minutes from February 6, 2008. Second by Councilmember Barsky. Motion carried 7-0.
MAYOR’S COURT REPORT – January
The Mayor’s Court Report for the month of January was presented for review.
Councilmember McGowan indicated that the report showed an increase in parking and moving violations. Councilmember Barsky asked if the department was being realistic about citations for parking too far from the curb. Manager Holycross indicated that he would check with Police Chief Mason. Councilmember Barsky also encouraged the Village is sensitive to Village merchants regarding citations for overtime parking. Councilmember O’Keefe asked about the high number of speeding tickets on James Road and if there was any evidence that the reduced speed limit was acting as a deterrent. Mayor Hartfield indicated that the violations were being given for excessively high rates of speed. Councilmember Tegtmeyer indicated that the residents who requested the speed reduction were accurate.
Councilmember Barsky moved to accept the January Mayor’s Court report. Second by Councilmember McGowan. Motion carried 7-0.
Mayor Hartfield instructed the report be filed with the Clerk. A copy of the report will be included as part of these minutes.
MANAGER’S REPORT – January
The Manager’s Report for the month of January was presented for review.
Councilmember Tegtmeyer noted the eight and half percent drop in income tax revenue. Councilmember O’Keefe asked about the residency of an individual who was arrested for heroin. Manager Holycross indicated that he would check with Chief Mason. Councilmember O’Keefe asked if the Village was still weighing trucks. Manager Holycross indicated that he would also check on that issue.
Councilmember O’Keefe asked about an email from a Mt. Parnassus resident who was upset because hunting did not take place on his or adjoining properties. Clerk Prasher responded that this individual did not have four acres to meet the program requirements and his neighbors did not respond to repeated requests to participate in the program. Vice Mayor Herman indicated that the overall program was very effective.
Councilmember Barsky asked if the increased hours for vehicle repair were the result of specific problems with a number of vehicles or was new equipment needed. Manager Holycross indicated that number of hours spent on vehicle repair were normal. Council will receive the five year capital plan for this Saturday’s meeting.
Councilmember McGowan moved to accept the January report Second by Councilmember Tegtmeyer. Motion carried 7-0.
Mayor Hartfield instructed the report be filed with the Clerk. A copy of said report will be included as part of these minutes
Economic, Finance, Personnel Committee (EFP) – (Herman, Mershon, Tegtmeyer)
Vice Mayor Herman indicated that the EFP committee would be meeting tomorrow to develop a structure for review of Council’s priorities for this Saturday’s Special meeting.
Granville Foundation – Tegtmeyer
Councilmember Tegtmeyer reported that the Foundation held its annual meeting and a general business meeting where they approved over $50,000 in grant requests.
Light, Safety, Streets/Sidewalks, Utility Committee (LSSU) – (Hartfield, Herman, McGowan)
Planning Commission – O’Keefe
Councilmember O’Keefe reported that the Planning Commission elected a new chair, Tim Ryan with Tom Mitchell as vice chair. The Commission completed their review of the Gateway District ordinance. They had a couple of questions including the definition of a fast food restaurant and what constitutes fast food. They also questioned if traffic could be a consideration in denying an application. The Commission moved to approve their recommendations for the Gateway District. These recommendations would be presented to Council within the next six weeks.
Planning & Zoning Committee (P&Z) – Barsky, Mershon, O’Keefe
Recreation Commission –McGowan
Tree & Landscape – Barsky
Councilmember Barsky reported that Council has a copy of Mr. Siegel’s letter to Kiwanis regarding their request to tap trees. Mayor Hartfield indicated that Kiwanis would be presenting a long range plan at Council’s March 5th meeting. Mayor Hartfield also indicated that the Tree & Landscape Commission should attend the March 5th meeting.
Union Cemetery – Mershon
OTHER COUNCIL MATTERS
Councilmember Barsky indicated that staff questioned whether the Gateway District ordinance should be forwarded to the Planning and Zoning Commission or Council. Councilmember Barsky recommended that it should go to the full Council for review.
Councilmember O’Keefe asked if Newark could discuss their property maintenance ordinance at the Community Mayor’s meeting next Tuesday.
Councilmember O’Keefe indicated that the Granville Fellowship was hosting a fundraiser on April 6th. She hoped the Granville community would be supportive and recognize the contributions made by our local seniors.
Councilmember Tegtmeyer reported that on February 21st and February 29th, Treasurer Cordray would be in Newark to discuss the Governor’s task force proposal to aid in with the current foreclosure crisis. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Councilmember Tegtmeyer also advised that the Open Space Committee’s report and recommendations would be available within the next two weeks.
Mayor Hartfield reminded Council of the upcoming Special Council meeting on Saturday, February 23rd from 9:00am until 12:00pm. The public is welcome to attend, but may not participate in the meeting.
Councilmember McGowan moved to adjourn the meeting. Second by Councilmember Barsky. Motion carried, 7-0. Meeting adjourned.