In addition to monthly reports presented in the "Villager," Mayor Eisentrout has requested that the various Village departments provide annual wrap-ups. Here is a summary of 2009 ...
By Suzanne Coulter, Clerk-Treasurer ... The Village started 2009 with a General Fund balance of $263,595.56, down from the starting 2008 General Fund balance of $309,204.23.
Municipal Income tax collections were strong last year, ending $40,086.76 higher in 2009 than 2008. This was attributable to greater recognition of the tax existing for residents and companies with Minerva Park and the diligence of RITA (Regional Income Tax Agency) on helping the Village to stay up on collections.
The inheritance tax was again strong last year at $98,132.79, but this is income we can never set into our budget because we do not know when we might receive it and because the State of Ohio continues to talk about discontinuing this tax.
The Village will vote in May 2010 on a replacement levy of 4 mills for 5 years. This is not a new tax (it is a replacement of a tax that is expiring), and we hope that you will give the Village your support on this issue - it helps to fund many great programs in our General Fund ... programs like 24/7 Police protection, EMS services, trash pick-up, leaf removal, and Village parks upkeep. Thank you for your continued support of this levy.
Police: The Police Department continued in 2009 doing a great job holding down their operating costs. Two new cars were purchased in 2009, one from the 2009 monies and one that will be paid for from 2010 monies. This is part of the Village's ongoing 3-year cruiser replacement program. The department was once again honored by MADD for DUI arrests. Acting Chief Adam Beach continues to apply for grants for the department’s new equipment needs.
Pool: The Minerva Park Pool had another great summer in 2009. They ended the season “in the black,” which is a rare occurrence for most municipal pools. Mayor Eisentrout again procured an ODNR grant for more pool renovations. The awning on the pump building was ripped off during the wind storm in February and was replaced by the Village insurance company. There were plenty of great parties at the pool in 2009, and two new events are being planned for 2010.
Streets: Because the Village did not qualify in 2009 for an OPWC (Ohio Public Works Commission) grant-loan, the Council decided to continue with the street repair program as planned, and that is why the costs for streets were so much higher in 2009 than 2008, at $226,994.52. It does look good for the Village to get some loan money from OPWC in 2010 to complete the street repair program.
Bureau of Workers Compensation: Because the Village worked diligently to implement and follow a successful return-to-work program in 2009, we were able to again join the OML (Ohio Municipal League) group program for workers compensation. In 2010, the Village will save $35,000.00 in BWC premiums.
2010 will continue to hold its challenges for the Village because of the downturn in the economy, but with each department continuing to watch its expenses and applying for grants, I have no doubt that the Village can maintain the great fiscal health we have enjoyed for a long while. Minerva Park continues to be a great place to live, and I hope to help keep it that way as your Treasurer and fellow resident. Remember to volunteer this year for one of the many great MPCA events and programs.
|Income Tax (1%, 50% credit)||$288,384.32|
By Sgt. Adam Beach, Acting Chief ... The Police Department is continuing the cruiser rotation program, which will help with maintenance expenses.
Besides providing patrolling services for Minerva Park, your Police Department is active in community outreach. For the 2nd year in a row, the youngsters at the 2009 Central Ohio Cops & Kids Day picked our cruiser for 1st place in the Kid’s Award. For the 4th year in a row, we received an Award of Excellence from MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), given in recognition of our continued commitment to removing drunk drivers off the roadways. Both Sgt. Adam Beach and the Police Department received certificate of recognition for helping the Ohio Department of Public Safety at the Ohio State Fair with our display for wearing seatbelts.
We applied for a grant for tasers an protective vests for both the Police and Fire Departments, and through the Click-It or Ticket campaign and Over-the-Limit, Under-Arrest campaign, we had an opportunity to win a free cruiser and radar unit.
Your Police Department continues its collaboration with area agencies to help keep our Village and surrounding areas safe. Here are the 2009 statistics for responses in the village and in surrounding areas.:
|Assist area agencies||398|
|Breaking & entering false alarm||22|
|Breaking & entering||2|
|Burglary in progress false alarm||33|
|Domestic disputes or violence||52|
|Passing bad checks||0|
|Receiving stolen property||5|
|Stolen vehicle recoveries||3|
|Traffic warning citations||1,062|
By Christi Nordman, Clerk of Courts ... 2009 proved to be an exciting year for Minerva Park Mayor's Court. In January 2009, we hired a new Clerk of Courts, Christi Nordman, who implemented several new ideas for operating Mayor's Court. In June 2009, we partnered with the Baldwin Group to install new Mayor's Court software, allowing us to better manage many of our reports … Supreme Court electronic reporting, Treasurer of State Reparations/Rotary report, and State-mandated costs remitted to the ODPS for the Drug Law Enforcement Fund. Additionally, we can run daily cash reports, detailed end-of-the-month disbursal reports, delinquency reports, audit reports, council reports, dockets, and court disposition reports. From our delinquency reports, we have been able to go back through the years and collect unpaid traffic fines. Since June 2009, we have collected thousands of dollars in unpaid fines owed to Minerva Park before 2009. This is a work in progress, but we remain very positive in believing we can collect most of the unpaid fines.
The purchase price for the Baldwin Group software was $9,100, fully funded by the Mayor's Court Computer Fund. Computer Fund revenue collected from traffic violations in 2009 totaled $1,476.50.
Just as exciting - the addition our new VeriFone Credit Card Machine, purchased in September 2009 for only $350. Within two weeks, the credit Card machine had paid for itself! For many violators, it is more convenient to pay traffic fines via the telephone, so we can now offer this service. Since September 2009, we collected $3,867.50 from credit card payments.
Here are the statistics for 2009:
|Number of court cases||610|
|Paid to State of Ohio||$8,974|
|for MP Computer Fund||1,477|
|for MP General Fund||$31,817|
fire department - ems
By Chief Rick Hoechstetter ...The Fire Department responded to 307 emergency calls in 2009. Eleven percent of the calls in Minerva Park, 22% from Blendon Township, 54% from Columbus, and 13% from Westerville and other areas.
Members served a total of 7,446 hours in 2009. Sixty-seven percent of this total represented paid hours; the rest is volunteer time. The 5% increase in time served in 2009 is a direct result of the efforts that the entire membership has made to make this new employment structure work. I would like to express my appreciation to Mayor Lynn Eisentrout, Clerk-Treasurer Suzanne Coulter, Council President Pam Park-Curry, and Council for their support. Norm Jones worked the most paid hours as a medic again this year, and Caleb Stelzer volunteered the most hours in 2009.
The Fire Department did not make any major capital expenditures again this year. Previous acquisitions are working well, and we have high hopes that they will last for many more years. The Columbus Fire Communications Department is in the process of updating the 800 Mz "talk groups" to accommodate some growth in the system. To date, our existing walkies and station units seem to be able to accept the changes; we'll know more in 2010. The Nextel rebanding effort (they have promised to exchange our existing radios for new digital radios in exchange for the rights to our existing 800 Mz bandwidth) appears to be about ready to finally happen, although this has appeared to be true for several years. We may know more about this in 2010.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to former Lt. Jon Packer for his service as the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) officer. Captain Quinn has taken over that responsibility for now. I promoted Brian Horton to Vehicle Lieutenant this year and would like to express my appreciation for former Lt. Michael Ostrander for his yeoman's service in the same office
Fire inspections in 2009 were up a bit because more residents requested them as a part of their efforts to create home-based businesses. The Ohio State Fire Marshall’s office divested primary compliance for monitoring responsibility to local jurisdictions in 2007, and this change appears to have settled into a familiar routine. Fire code violations pursued this year were unremarkable. We remain vigilant because there remains no limit to human creativity and because compliance issues remain unfulfilled in the category of ongoing issues. To date, BUSTR has taken no further action to remediate contamination issues involved in the removal of the fuel tanks from the Payless QuickStop Gas Station at 5620 Cleveland Avenue. The current step (Tier I testing) was supposed to have been completed in October 2008. I wish to recognize Fire Inspector Tom McClannahan, as always, for his service.
The 2009 run data are as follows:
By Arlene Stuart, former Zoning Clerk ... The Planning and Zoning Commission had a busy 2009. Many of the residents made improvements to their homes ... a good thing for us all. The following applications were heard in 2009, totaling $934.35.
|Home Businesses & Occupations||3|
|Signs (commercial business)||5|
|Signs (private garage sales)||6|
|Plumbing (hot water tanks)||6|
|Copies & Tapes||$32.35|
Note the following schedule for filing applications for hearings before the Planning & Zoning Commission for 2010:
|by March 11||for April 1|
|by April 21||for May 6|
|by May 19||for June 3|
|by June 16||for July 1|
|by July 21||for August 5|
|by August 18||for September 2|
|by September 21||for October 7|
|by October 20||for November 4|
|by November 17||for December 2|
The Village continues to update the Zoning Code and fees.
Thanks for a wonderful year of compliance and improvements in our beautiful Village. We should be planning our spring projects while it’s still cold, so call us at 882-5743 or stop by the Community Building on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday from 9 to noon with any questions.
Learn more at minervapark.org/zoning/.
By Dick Busick, Code Enforcement Officer ... During 2009, there were 25 violation notices written, and 4 citations were made into Mayor's Court, for a total of 29 notifications with a case being sent to Franklin County Environmental Court. This was a significant decrease from the 48 notifications sent in 2008. Many additional issues were resolved via personal contact with cooperative residents. Of those receiving violation notices, the highest numbers were for trailer-truck-automobile code infractions, followed by high grass or weeds, and home occupation permits, and signage issues.
Council will continue to examine the Building Maintenance Code relative to “improved surfaces,” and we will continue to monitor the use of trash dumpers and storage pods, which are permitted for only a limited time. Presently our zoning tracking sheets indicate that we have no code violations being processed, which is a 4-year low. In the past, when code violations occurred, we tried to resolve the issues first by personal contact, followed by a rather extended period of time for compliance, and then we sent violation notices when the problems were not addressed. We have observed that most of our issues can be attributed to a very small group of individuals who do not respond until violation notices are issued. For those repeat violations, we will be issuing notices much more quickly so we can resolve problems more quickly.
We will continue to enforce our Villages Zoning Code and the Building Maintenance Code so that Minerva Park will continue to be a place where we can all be proud to live. With us all working toward keeping our Village "looking good," we also will be keeping our property values high. Village residents can continue to contribute to this effort by keeping all vehicles in good operating condition and properly licensed, by maintaining their property in a neat and well trimmed manner, and by limiting the storage of trailers and boats in their driveways to less than a 48-hour period for loading and unloading. New residents should be aware that the erection of fences, the installation of sheds, and the operation of a home occupation all require a Village permit.
The 2009 statistics follow:
|High grass or weeds||6|
|Home occupation permits||3|
mp community association
By Lisa Craddock Thitoff, MPCA President, and Bob Gale, MPCA Past President ... The MPCA continues to have a steady membership of village residents (69% as of December 2009, with a drop of 9% from 2008, although we did have an increase of donations). In 2009, the MPCA hosted or helped with more than 20 activities or committees underwritten by your annual $15 dues, advertising in the Villager and directory, annual garage sale, in-kind donations, and various fundraisers, including MinervaFlora events (garden contest awards, the annual Garden Tour, Festival of Lights, and MinervaFlora beautification), the Duck Award for outstanding citizen of the year, children’s parties (Halloween, Christmas, Easter egg hunt), Founders Day, the Publicity Committee (including our wonderful street reps), Candidates Night, membership, the Resident Directory and monthly Villager newsletter, Christmas carriage rides, pool events (Family Fun Night, Adult Wine & Cheese), Garage Sale, greetings from the Sunshine Committee and Northland Community Council participation. Not bad for $15/year dues, eh?
Because of minimal interest and to make money available elsewhere, scholarships were dropped from the 2009-2010 budget. We will revisit funding for these in the future.
The 2009 Duck Award for Outstanding Citizen of the Year (page 2) was awarded to Steve Thitoff for involvement in almost every facet of the Community Association. The 2009 NCC President’s Award went to Jim Kehl for his past work with the Newcomers Committee, as a past officer with the MPCA, lake clean-ups, and various work around the Village. Congratulations to both Steve and Jim!
We welcomed Tina Cates as the new MPCA secretary and Glenda Morris as the new Children’s Committee chair. Many thanks to outgoing Children’s Chair Lisa Stockdale, Don Champney (NCC rep), Gretchen Persohn (for her years as secretary), and Bob Gale (for his many years as the MPCA president and for staying on as chair of the MinervaFlora, Sunshine, and NCC committees). Thanks also to all those who have helped throughout this past year and to the dedicated and overworked MPCA Board: Marilyn Herboltzheimer, Sharon Bierman, Dave Way, Dick Busick, Dianne Poncinie, Kristan Onofrio, Bonnie Townsend, Tina Cates, Bob Gale, Lynn Eisentrout.
We look forward to more fundraisers like the annual flower sale and to the music series planned for this summer (thanks to Sid Townsend and others for taking this on). We have a goal to get more of our residents involved, and let’s face it, all these activities take three things – help, money, and people to enjoy them. Please, if you haven’t paid your yearly dues, do it now. If you have, thank you! If you can help or have an idea, let us know! We are in need of a few street reps, an NCC rep, and someone to run Family Fun Night.
By Mayor Lynn Eisentrout ... It seems as if this year has just flown by. 2009 ushered in several changes in part-time staff (20 hours per week). Clerk of Courts Charline Garrabrant retired after 10 years of employment with the Village. Christi Nordman was hired in January and brought a wealth of experience and initiative. She has implemented many changes to the betterment and increased efficiency of our Mayor's Court (please see her report on page 6). Christy Williamson, a most welcome addition in her role as Office Assistant and support staff to the Clerk of Courts, the Police Department, and the other departments, also has shown a great deal of initiative in organizing the Police Department office and the Clerk of Court's office before Christi Nordman accepted the position. Arlene Stuart, my Administrative Assistant and Zoning Clerk, semi-retired to travel and spend time with her grandchildren but is still researching and drafting changes to our zoning code in partnership with the Legislation Committee. Sara Schumacher, initially hired in 2008 as an Office Assistant to support my office and the Clerk-Treasurer’s office, was appointed to fill the vacant Zoning Clerk position and has settled nicely into that role. Sara also has done an amazing job with the Records Retention Program and the Records Commission. Please see the Zoning Report on page 7. And not least, Court Magistrate Chip Witterauer replaced Don Breckenridge at a slightly lower rate per court session.
In January, our request to FEMA for reimbursement of expenses we incurred from our cleanup efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike was approved. We received $12,388.27 – $10,000 from our insurance company and $2,388.27 from FEMA, which represented the 75% match of the $3,184.36 in remaining expenses that we submitted.
Our 2008 Pool Renovation Project to recap the remaining pool floor and to replace about 75% or 2,700 sq.ft. of the concrete deck around the pool began in April 2009 and was completed before the pool opened in late May. You may recall this was a $72,151.00 project with $37,800 in funding from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and $34,351 in matching funds from the Village. The MP Police Department also was awarded a grant for $2,400 for the purchase of three new Mobile Data Terminals.
With the warmer spring weather, we experienced severe algae problems on the North Lake. Homeowners residing along the Lake (the Friends of the North Lake) met several times with their elected officials voicing their concerns. While the lake was treated several times, the problem persisted, prompting us to investigate the installation of aeration devices in conjunction with treating the lake as an immediate, short-term solution to the problem. We hope to have these devices installed by early April 2010, with treatment to begin as soon as the weather and water temperature permits.
As Clerk-Treasurer Coulter noted in her report, our income tax collection is a little better than anticipated; however, there still are some residents and business owners who have not complied. In July, I reported to you that I had attended a Regional Income Tax Agency Council of Government meeting, and this issue was discussed at length. Once we receive the final list of filers and non-filers, and those who are still delinquent in their payments, we will send notifications and summons into Mayor's Court. I encourage anyone who has not paid their income tax to contact RITA at 1-800-860-7482.
The bid for the 2009 Street Repair project was awarded at an August Special Council meeting, and construction commenced shortly after. This, as were the other street projects, was a mill and fill but required extensive repairs on the streets (East Shore Drive, Kerrwood Drive, Ponderosa Drive, and Berry Lane Court, East Shore Court, and North Lake Court) but especially Alder Vista. Also at the August Council meeting, the Peddlers and Solicitation Ordinance was approved.
In November, I reported to you that we had been approved for funding for the above-mentioned Street Project, which at the time had included all of Maplewood and Farview. Because we had already begun construction on those other streets mentioned above, we were ineligible to receive funding for that portion, but because we had eliminated Maplewood and Farview from the original grant application, we were eligible for a loan for those streets. Revised paperwork (project total is $150,894) was submitted to the OPWC, and we have been approved for a 15-year, 0% loan of $76,956 with MP's matching contribution of $73,938. We then had to revise our 2010 Street Repair Project to include ONLY the remainder of Lakewood Drive and Lakeland Court. We should receive a decision in May.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all of you for your support as I begin my sixth year. I am honored and privileged to serve as your mayor. I hope you all feel that my door is always open, and that every idea, suggestion, and concern of yours is as important to me as it is important to you. Our Village is unique, safe, and beautiful, and I truly appreciate your efforts to work together to keep it that way.
As always, if you have any questions, concerns, suggestions, or complaints, please contact me.