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The Council of the Village of Riverlea met on the above date at the Thomas Worthington High School, Worthington. The following Council members were present: Mayor Eric A. MacGilvray, Marc Benevento, Scott K. Gordon, Chad A. Lowe, Kathy McClintock, Josh Schoenberger, and Jacalyn Slemmer. Also present were Joshua C. Mehling, Clerk-Treasurer, L. Leah Reibel, Solicitor, Carolee Noonan, Planning Commissioner, William P. Charles, Street Commissioner, and Jody Croley Jones, Web Manager. At 7:00 pm the Mayor called the meeting to order.
A public forum was held to inform residents of where the Village stood in the infrastructure process, including the request for funding assistance. The Mayor began by giving a brief history of the project and decisions made by Council. He then explained the process by which the Village had applied for OPWC funding, including descriptions of the three applications submitted. The Village expects to hear the preliminary results of the applications in early December, with the final decision announced in mid-December, at which time the Village may need to decide which, if any, of the options to pursue.
A resident asked if the Village was aware of any competition for funding in this round and the Mayor replied that he had heard of a couple of potential projects in the city of Columbus and possibly in Worthington as well.
Another resident expressed concern and shared concerns from neighbors on the increase in taxes due to the infrastructure project and what would happen if the Village did not receive assistance from the applications submitted. The Mayor expressed that he understood those concerns and that the Village was committed to completing the project expediently and at minimal cost to residents. The resident also mentioned that she had noticed several potholes along the streets as she regularly walked through the Village and she wondered if they were going to be dealt with before the project was implemented. The Street Commissioner replied that he was marking these potholes and that he hoped to have these dealt with by the winter, based upon contractor availability. He did state that he did not feel that it was prudent to deal with the larger repairs given that the streets would be torn up in a few years, but that the smaller ones would be dealt with.
Another resident inquired as to what the situation would be if the Village were not successful in this round of funding assistance. The Mayor replied that there were a few options available. One would be to move ahead with the project without funding assistance from MORPC. This could involve funding assistance from other entities, including the Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA), which would offer funding for the water line portion at below market rates. The advantage of this option would be that the project would be completed sooner, though likely at a higher cost to residents. Another option would be to reset the whole process and approach MORPC with another application for assistance in the fall of 2017 in the hopes that there may be a smaller pool of projects competing for funding. This would preserve the potential decreased costs to residents, but would delay the project and increase the risk of increasing interest rates.
Another resident asked if the Village considered the Village's rejection of annexation to Worthington as part of this process. The Mayor replied that yes, the Council had discussed this during the process. He mentioned that as part of the conditions of annexation, Worthington would have assessed Riverlea property owners for the money needed to repair this infrastructure. These assessments could have been paid up front by residents, but if not, these would have served as encumbrances on the houses, which would have needed to be fully paid if the house were sold. By choosing the tax levy, Riverlea residents have more flexibility in deciding how to handle the costs of the repairs. The Mayor stated that if residents wanted to approach Worthington about annexation again after the project was completed, it may be more palatable for both Worthington and Riverlea residents to not have this infrastructure issue in the way.
A resident mentioned that she had heard about discussions of a surcharge on water bills to pay for this process. The Mayor clarified that this water bill surcharge would only serve as potential collateral if the Village decided to pursue OWDA loans to fund the water lines portion of the project and then defaulted on the repayment of these loans. He described this as an unlikely scenario.
Another resident asked if the Village was going to deal with the several potholes along the streets and the Street Commissioner reiterated his earlier statement that he was marking these potholes and hoped to have them dealt with by winter, though some of the larger ones would not be handled until the Village had new streets.
With no further questions, the Chair of the Infrastructure Committee encouraged residents to contact him or the Mayor if they had any additional questions or concerns. The Mayor thanked the residents for attending the meeting.
The minutes of the regular Council meeting of August 15, 2016 were not read since each member had received a copy. Benevento mentioned that he had sent an email to the Clerk-Treasurer stating that the percentages in the OPWC funding request options were reversed in the minutes and the Clerk-Treasurer affirmed that he had corrected those. Slemmer moved and Schoenberger seconded the motion that the minutes be approved as submitted by the Clerk-Treasurer with the above adjustment. The following vote was recorded on the motion: Yea, 5 - Benevento, Gordon, Lowe, Schoenberger, and Slemmer; No, 0 – None; Abstain, 1 - McClintock. The motion was approved (5-0- 1).
The minutes of the special Council meeting of August 22, 2016 were not read since each member had received a copy. Lowe moved and McClintock seconded the motion that the minutes be approved as submitted by the Clerk-Treasurer. The following vote was recorded on the motion: Yea, 5 - Benevento, Gordon, Lowe, McClintock, and Schoenberger; No, 0 – None; Abstain, 1 - Slemmer. The motion was approved (5-0- 1).
Report of the Clerk-Treasurer
Schoenberger moved and Benevento seconded the motion to approve the payment of bills and to accept the financial reports for August 2016 as submitted by the Clerk-Treasurer. The motion carried (6-0).
Report of the Mayor
The Mayor announced that the City of Worthington had named Jerry Strait as the new Chief of Police. Strait had previously served as liaison to the Village of Riverlea with the Worthington Police Department and had met with Council in the past. The Mayor asked Council if they would like to invite Chief Strait to meet with them and they replied that they would like to offer this invitation.
The Mayor reported that the Solicitor had sent the owner of the property at Riverglen and High a letter asking them to trim the trees that are in the sight line of motorists. The owner had complied with this request and trimmed the trees.
The Mayor mentioned that the Council had discussed implementing a program to assist residents with the purchase & planting of trees in their yards. He asked the Street Commissioner if it would make more sense to wait until the infrastructure work had been completed to implement this program and the Commissioner replied that it would.
The Mayor reported that an email had been sent out from the Worthington School District updating residents on the restructuring process. McClintock mentioned that she was on the task force for this process and that they expected to have recommendations to present by the end of the school year. She stated that she would post the link to a survey of residents and other information on the Village's Facebook page.
The Mayor reported that he had received an email that a group of Girl Scouts in the Village were interested in creating a bee garden in the Village. These girls could not make the September meeting but were planning on attending the October meeting to discuss this.
Report of the Solicitor
The Solicitor mentioned that per a discussion the previous month of the sign ordinance in the Village, signs are prohibited with the exception of garage sale, development, security system, and realtor signs, and these signs are only permitted on the homeowner's property or the property for sale or development. The Mayor stated that it was up to Council how vigorously they wished to enforce this ordinance. The Web Manager proposed putting a note about the sign ordinance on the Village's website to educate residents and Council agreed with this proposal.
The Solicitor mentioned that she had not yet received a response from the homeowner on the letter sent about reimbursement for landscaping damage & legal fees from the storm water sewer repair project.
Report of the Street Commissioner
The Street Commissioner reported that he would schedule a clean out of the Lift Station by the end of the month.
The Street Commissioner reported that he had conducted a test of the water lines in the Village to detect the presence of lead in the water. An initial test took small samples from three locations and these did not find any problems. He then took a larger test, conducted with EPA standards, and this test also did not detect any problems with the water.
Report of the Planning Commissioner
The Planning Commissioner reported that the Committee had tabled an application for a patio as the homeowner needed to also apply for a variance, as the patio would fall within 10 feet of the property line.
Report of the Web Manager
The Web Manager reported that there was an incident in which the website was down for about eight hours, and since this issue, there have been issues with caching on the server, meaning that updates to the site are not appearing immediately. The server's host is working on this issue.
Comments from Residents on Agenda Items
There were no comments from residents.
Committee on Infrastructure
The Chair of the Committee reported that he had posted an item about the OPWC loan submission to the Village's Facebook page, where it had been seen by over 150 unique households within the first 48 hours.
Committee on Communications
The Web Manager reported that the Committee would be meeting the following week, and they planned on deciding on a primary method of communicating with residents at that meeting.
Resolution 2016-12, A Resolution Accepting the Amounts and Rates as Determined by the Budget Commission and Authorizing the Necessary Tax Levies and Certifying them to the County Auditor was introduced by Gordon. McClintock moved and Schoenberger seconded the motion to waive the three readings of this resolution in order to send this certification to the County Auditor by the first of the month. The motion passed unanimously (6-0). Slemmer moved and Lowe seconded the motion to approve this resolution. The motion passed unanimously (6-0).
Gordon moved and Lowe seconded the motion to authorize the following expenditures: