City Council, May 29, 2018

May 30th, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

City Council
May 29, 2018

Members Present: Sean Malone, Nancy Moore, Tres Roeder, Julianna Senturia, Anne Williams, Earl Williams, and Robert Zimmerman
Others present: Mayor David Weiss, Chief Administrative Officer Jeri Chaikin, Director of Information Technology Frank Miozzi, Director of Public Works Patricia Speese, Finance Director Robert Baker, Law Director William Gruber.

The meeting was called to order by Mayor Weiss at 7:30 p.m.

Agenda—Council actions:

  1. Mr. Baker asked for approval of the the 2019 Tax Budget. This is a routine annual request that’s required so that the city can collect its share of property taxes from the county. His summary included a detailed explanation of “inside millage” (10 unvoted mills allowed across local government entities) and “charter millage” (millage voted on and included in the city’s charter). The city’s share of “inside millage” is 4.4 mills. The county can claim any surplus the city does not use from the 4.4 mills, so the city always plans to spend all it’s allowed so that it doesn’t have to give back any revenue. Mr. Malone added that the finance committee had approved the budget. Council approved the budget.
  2. Mayor Weiss presented the minutes of the April 9, 2018, council special meeting and the April 23, 2018, council regular meeting for approval. There were no questions or discussion and the minutes were approved. Mayor Weiss then asked if there were any residents present who wished to comment on the 2019 budget or minutes. There were none.
  3. Mr. Miozzi presented a request recommending the city enter into an agreement with Charter Communications for maintenance of the I-Net fiber network for a period of five years (2018-2023) at a total cost of $75,400. Funds are provided in the Information Technology operating budget. The fiber network provides remote city buildings with access to the city’s shared telecommunications and computer resources. The city, schools, and library originally contracted with Adelphia in 2000 to build out the fiber network within the city. Then in 2012 Ohio allowed suppliers to charge for connection services and the city, schools, and library contracted separately. This item was discussed at the May 4 combined committee meeting of the Building, Housing and Technology Committee and Safety & Public Works Committee. These committees expressed appreciation of the effort to collaborate with the library and schools. Both committees unanimously voted to support the recommendation to continue the service with Charter Communications. INET fiber maintenance was reviewed by the Finance Committee on May 21. There was a discussion about the history of the service and a request to look into the possibility of simply having Charter offset the fee from its franchise payments. Mr. Zimmerman commented that five years seemed a long commitment; he wished to understand why and if there was a cancellation clause. Mr. Miozzi said the fiber network has been used for the past 17 years, and the contract was put in place for the next five years because it was a lower cost than for one year. He expects it to last for 30 or more years, and said that the contract is less expensive than other options might be with shorter contracts. He would like to lock in even longer contracts. Ms. Senturia commented she appreciated Mr. Miozzi’s explanation and how he had worked with the schools and library to find least-cost options. The contract was approved as an emergency to put in place a contract before the July renewal deadline.
  4. Ms. Speese presented a request for approval to renew the triennial Tree Assessment at the current rate of $1.16 per front foot. The current triennial tree assessment for the maintenance of trees in the city’s rights-of-way expires at the end of 2018. This assessment funds the city’s forestry program, including planting, maintenance, and removal of trees. The assessment of $1.16 per front foot is levied against all properties in the city with the exception of property owned by the city and the school district. While this request did not go to the Safety & Public Works Committee due to timing, it was presented to the Tree Advisory Board on May 16. The Tree Advisory Board wholeheartedly supported this request. It is expected to generate $740,000 per year, will maintain current service levels, and will focus on eradicating the Asian Longhorn Beetle that is damaging trees. This request was also approved by the Finance & Administration Committee on May 21. Mr. Malone commented that this was sufficient for tree maintenance but did not account for maintaining the capital equipment used for the service. This should also be budgeted and separately brought before council, he said. The tree assessment was approved.
  5. Mr. Baker requested approval of several 2018 budget amendments for passage on first reading as emergencies. As the city implements its yearly budget, certain items may require changes or corrections in order to provide adequate appropriations for all expected expenditures. Finance is requesting to amend the 2018 budget for two debt service funds, the Economic Development Fund, the CCSE (Contract Charges and Statutory Expense) Fund, and one Special Revenue Fund. Mr. Baker summarized the changes required. All department expenses fall into two categories, either personal service or “other.” Directors can move funds within these categories without amendments, but not between categories. This was approved by the Finance and Administration Committee on May 21. The amendments were approved.
  6. Mr. Baker presented his request to authorize “Then and Now” certificates for payments of various transactions, which he summarized. This item was also approved by the Finance and Administration Committee on May 21. The payments were approved.

Mayor Weiss adjourned the meeting at 8:08 pm.
Frank Goforth and Ryan Brady

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