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 2011 ...
By Nancy White, Fiscal Officer ... I am honored to serve as your newly appointed Fiscal Officer. Having been a Fiscal Officer at another municipality for 28 years, the responsibilities and duties of this position are not unfamiliar to me ... the village form of government is only slightly different.
Returning to Minerva Park is somewhat déjà vu because I grew up not far from here, attended Hawthorne, and graduated from Westerville High School when there was only one. I spent many nights at slumber parties and ice skating, sledding, and visiting friends here in the Village. So I do have some history here, even though it is not recent. Life does come full circle.
Having joined the Village at the beginning of October, it was necessary for me to get up to speed. I am impressed that the staff so diligently tries to serve the residents, but as required by law, the Village must respond to all public records requests, the sheer volume of which has required numerous hours of staff time to fulfill, taking valuable time from their everyday duties. This in turn costs the Village money that could be better spent in other areas.
As you have seen in the news, the state legislature has reduced the Government funds by 25% during the last half of 2011 and will reduce it by an additional 25% in 2012 (with an estimated loss in 2012 of $26,650). In 2013, the Inheritance Tax will be eliminated. Typically, the Village does not receive a large income from Inheritance Taxes, but when these monies are received ($66,677.19 in 2011), they can be used to offset Village expenses. The governor also is looking to reduce the number of municipalities for a "skinny Ohio," meaning that small municipalities will be encouraged to consolidate with larger municipalities. Additionally, the state is considering centralizing and taking control of collecting local income tax away from small municipalities like Minerva Park. Your Council is being proactive in addressing this issue, with legislation voicing opposition to such a move (minervapark.org/legislation/2012/2012-9_control-tax-collection.doc). These and other challenges obviously mean there will need to be continued reductions in expenses to offset these reductions in funding, and some projects may need to be pushed back until the funds are available.
The Police Department has completed its first year under the supervision of the newly hired Chief Nuesse. She has made numerous changes and trimmed the operating expenses while continuing to provide the service that the residents expect. In 2011, Chief Nuesse led the Police Department to more that $26,000 under budget.
The Pool had another year of operating in the black. The profit for 2011 was $3,295.02, slightly down from 2010. During the early part of 2011, the Village completed a project at the pool that was funded by an ODNR grant under the NatureWorks designation. The total project $27,000, with the Village receiving $19,500 toward installing a second handicap ramp, laying concrete in the triangle adjacent to the children's slide, and extending the deck at the southeast corner of the eating area to accommodate a few more tables.
In 2011, the Village was awarded a 100% Ohio Public Works Commission grant for a paving project on Jordan Road, Park Lane Court, and Park Lane Drive, in the amount of approximately $223,756, with work to be done in 2012. This represents the final phase of resurfacing all of Minerva Park's streets starting in 2004. Mill & fill has an average lifespan of 16 years, so this should allow MP an opportunity to replenish the Street Fund, anticipating that the cycle will start again in 2020.
The new year will present challenges in trying to keep the Village operational costs down. The staff makes every effort to spend Village funds in a responsible manner while continuing to provide service to the residents. I have met many new people who work in various capacities for the Village as both employees and volunteers. It is truly a close-knit community that all should be proud to be a part of.
|Income Tax (1%, 50% credit)||$275,403.07|
By Chief Kim Nuesse ... 2011 was a transition year for the Minerva Park Police Department. In January 2011, I began my term as police chief. In February, we began coordinating our investigative services with Blendon Township Police Department. We also did some internal assessment and restructuring within our department. The Franklin County Sheriff's Office conducted an independent internal audit of our property and evidence room, and we received a good report.
I also conducted an equipment audit, requested a LEADS audit, and reviewed our grants, which resulted in good findings. In March, we began a service sharing arrangement with Gahanna's fleet maintenance service and IT departments to provide repairs to our police cars and computers. The transition has been seamless and beneficial for both communities.
April and May resulted in a new computerized records management system for our police department that eliminated taking paper reports and provided us with access to information in the police cruisers in a timelier manner. This system was provided to us at no cost from the Ohio Attorney General's Office. Similar systems range from $100,000 or more to implement. Our records management system also allowed us to better track property and evidence. We were one of three agencies chosen statewide by the Ohio Attorney General's Office to beta test a new citation module for the records management system.
In June, we received new radios from a Homeland Security grant, valued at approximately $10,000. We also received free scheduling software from a federal grant program and federal grant assistance for ballistic vests for officers that will reimburse the Village up to 50% of the purchase cost.
There have been new officers added to the department this year. Officers Ian Willis, Barry Harp, Curt Kelly, and Thomas Baughn have made a great addition to our policing team. Promotions also occurred with Matt Fenstermaker being promoted to Lieutenant and Jim Boyers promoted to Sergeant. Lt. Rex Waldenmyer was reassigned from patrol to detective and has assisted in solving several cases successfully.
Our supervisors received specialized training this year to enhance their skills, and officers also received a variety of training. The MPPD received 176 hours of federal and state grant-funded training at no cost to the department. In addition, our officers received another 270 hours of varied training, ranging from Ethics, Search & Seizure Law updates, CPR/first responder training, and other important topics.
In July, we revived the bicycle patrol, which was welcomed by our community.
In the fall, we began our neighborhood watch program and currently have two very active groups - one on Alder Vista and another on Lakewood. Our goal is to have neighborhood watch groups throughout the Village for better communication between the police department and residents. We already have begun to see good results from our partnership with these two groups.
In December, we were awarded another equipment grant, a RAPID ID fingerprint unit, to use while on patrol to assist us in identifying criminals and wanted persons more quickly. Lt. Waldenmyer organized a very successful Cops for Kids toy drive, as a result of the generosity of our Village residents, for which we are grateful. We received enough donations to help local families and provide gifts to Franklin County Children's Services and to a domestic violence shelter for the children there who were in need. Thank you to our residents for making a wonderful holiday possible for all these children and for your continued support for our police officers. We are looking forward to continued progress in 2012.
|Assist Other Agency||156|
|False Alarm - Burglary||87|
|Fire - Vehicle||1|
|Investigate Open Door||54|
|Mentally Ill Person||2|
|Missing Person Returned or Found||20|
|Property Damage Accident||25|
|Threats or Harassment||8|
|Traffic Jam, Road Blocked||3|
By Christy Williamson, Clerk of Courts and Police Clerk. 2011 was my first full year covering two jobs in our job-share program. The purchase of our Mayor's Court software again helped run this office very smoothly and enabled us to stay current on each defendant's status, helping the Village collect the money owed to Mayor's Court.
We have definitely seen an increase in the number of people attending Mayor's Court this year. Our new police chief, Kim Nuesse, has implemented new guidelines for ticketing procedures in our Village. This year we transferred only 45 cases to Franklin County Municipal Court as compared to transferring 421 cases in 2010, a reduction of 89%. These cases help support our Mayor's Court and allow the Village the opportunity to collect this money instead of Franklin County Municipal Court.
The public is invited to attend Mayor's Court, held on every other Tuesday at 5p. Our 2011 statistics are as follows:
|to MP General Fund||$35,654.88|
|to MP Computer Fund||$1,444|
|Paid to the State||$9,987.52|
fire department - ems
By Chief Rick Hoechstetter ... The Fire Department responded to 377 emergency calls in 2011, representing a slight decrease from 2010 but slightly above the average annual number of runs during the decade. While this number may fluctuate a bit, the one thing that doesn't is the complete 9-1-1 Fire-Rescue-EMS coverage the Village enjoys because of our participation in the Franklin County Automatic Response District. Nine percent of our calls came from Minerva Park, 16% from Blendon Township, 70% from Columbus, and 5% from Westerville and other areas.
Members served a total of 7,248 hours in 2011, with 76% of this total paid medic hours and the rest volunteer time. I would like to recognize the efforts of the entire Department in this important area. I also would like to express the Department's appreciation of the Mayor, Council, and the Community for their continued support.
Many officers and members of the Fire Department participated in community outreach programs, including providing food service at the Village Garage Sale in May, participating in Safety Day, holding fire safety programs during Fire Safety week in October at Hawthorne Elementary School, and the continuation of the File of Life Program that is free to Village residents. It consists of a card you affix to your refrigerator door, listing your emergency information in case the squad is called to your house. Quick access to your doctor, prescription information, allergies, etc., can make a difference when someone is unable to speak for themselves during an emergency. Please call the Station (882-3375) or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like us to drop off some File of Life cards at your home.
The Fire Department did not make any major capital expenditures this year, although the medic vehicle needed one relatively major transmission repair. The monitors, radios, and all the rest of the equipment appear to remain in proper working order. The Columbus Fire Alarm Office updated their Computer-Aided Dispatching (CAD) system to include a data channel. This will permit them to include information other than the call data, such as specific route maps or staging information, with each emergency call. They also upgraded their dispatching software, which required us to upgrade our Mobile Data Console (MDC). We are in the process of doing so.
The Nextel rebanding effort (exchanging our existing radios for new digital radios in exchange for the rights to our existing 800 Mz band-width) continues. That's the good news. That it should be complete in a few years (and always will be), remains the other side of the story.
Fire inspections continued at the usual pace this year, and there were no major issues to report. We are waiting for the Bureau of Underground Tanks and Regulations (BUSTR) to issue an administrative order that will require the Payless Quick Stop tenants (5620 Cleveland Avenue) to take the necessary action to remediate the contamination issues that remain following the removal in 2007 of the fuel storage tanks on the property. The Tier I testing, due to have been completed by October 2008, was never done. I wish to again recognize Fire Inspector Tom McClannahan this year for his efforts.
The 2011 run data are as follows. We very proudly serve Minerva Park.
By Sara Schumacher, Zoning Clerk ... When thinking ahead to home improvement projects, remember to call the Village, and our staff will help you determine whether your project requires a permit from the Village or Franklin County. The Planning & Zoning Commission meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Community Building.
The following hearings and/or permits were heard in 2011, totaling $1020 in fees:
|Commercial Fence Variance||1|
When the weather warms up and you begin to think of home improvements, please call the Village (882-5743) and we will assist you with any necessary permits.
Learn more at minervapark.org/zoning/.
mp community association
By Lisa Craddock Thitoff, MPCA President ... In 2011, many events and activities were made possible by your Community Association (MPCA) dues, only $20/year from each household. Thank you for helping make Minerva Park a great place to live!
In early 2011, some members of the Community Association met to brainstorm new ideas for events, fundraising, and service projects. We succeeded in completing 3 of the ideas: a sing-along, discount mulch sales (available from Kurtz Brothers), and landscaping the spillway and 6 of the 7 entrances into Minerva Park. The MPCA paid for the hardscape and labor, and monies from the late Mary Yost fund paid for perennial plant material. This project is a perfect example of your Community Association and Village government working together for the good of our community. If you would like to help maintain these beds, please call Bob Gale (882-0622) or Lisa Craddock Thitoff (891-2166).
Marilyn Herboltzheimer, our outgoing Membership chair, reported that our membership for 2010-2011 was 68% or 380 homes. In 2011, after 13 years of chairing the Membership Committee, Marilyn handed the reins to Sid Townsend. Marilyn didn't do just membership ... you will find her helping at many of our events. My goal for membership in 2012 is more efficiency among all parties involved (membership, street reps, Villager, and printer) for a more expeditious turn-around, from taking your information to delivery of your Resident Directory.
Newcomer Committee chair, Marie Takacs (actually, she IS the committee) did a great job greeting 17 new residents in 2011.
In September, your MPCA officers were re-elected for their previously held positions. I had reported in error that our term limits are 2 years. Apparently at some point the bylaws had been changed to have no term limits. In November, Village Councilman Matt Danzuso stepped down from his seat and as liaison to the Community Association. Newly elected Councilman Dave Way began his post as MPCA Council liaison in January 2012.
Bonnie Townsend, the head of the Street Rep group, may be revamping the program, but she reports that we have 29 of our 42 street rep zones covered.
We had two residents apply for and one receive the revised $500 Nancy Fisher Scholarship. The MPCA's Outstanding Citizen of the Year (a/k/a the Duck Award) was awarded to ex-Councilman Matthew Danzuso. The Northland Community Council's President's Award for 2011 went to Marilyn Herboltzheimer for her years as Membership chair and her other various volunteering. Glenda and Andy Morris also receive the NCC President's Award for their work with the Children's Committee (Glenda is its chair), being street reps (Glenda was the rep, and Andy has taken over her post), and for the many ways they help out.
The Children's Committee, under the leadership of Glenda Morris, had 3 large events in 2011. The Easter Egg Hunt hosted 75 children looking for 1,000 eggs. There were prizes, seedlings provided by the Green Team, and line dances with the Easter Bunny. For Halloween, the Ohio Nature Center presented some owls and owl history to 35+ kids, snacks were had, crafts were made, and costume prizes were given out. The Christmas Party had 25+ kids doing ornament crafts, grandparent gifts, greeting cards, a Play-Doh party, and visiting with Santa Claus. The committee also helped at the annual Family Fun Night at the pool with games and a raffle and at Founders Day with games, contests, and activities. Glenda says many volunteers helped out at all parties and helped with baking and prepping.
MinervaFlora, chaired by Bob Gale, had its usual garden contest, garden tour, Festival of Lights, and service days with the help of 25 people. Bob, as Sunshine Committee chair, continues to send notes to those in our community who may need words of encouragement during difficult times. As NCC rep, Bob brings us the news from the Northland Community Council. Dave Way is the alternate NCC rep.
Karen Cogley reported that the Green Team was busy in 2011, hosting speakers about backyard bird feeding, organic gardening, invasive plants, organic lawn care, and bat conservation, with related articles about bats, the Asian long-horned beetles, garlic mustard, invasive plants, recycling, and organic lawn care. Their team leader, Greg Wittmann, stepped down in 2011, and now the Green Team is changing its lead person quarterly. In 2011, they started a Facebook page. Janice Windborne reported that the Community Garden had 20 plots used into November 2011. The garden has remained organic, even through an invasion of squash bugs. The MPCA thanks Hawthorne School for their support of the garden.
With Sid Townsend at the helm, the Summer Music Series presented 3 concerts - light jazz in June, bluegrass & gospel in July, and Dixieland in August.
The December 2011 Christmas Carriage Rides, organized by Mayor Lynn Eisentrout, were fully sponsored by your MPCA, presenting desserts instead of the usual light supper. The change seemed to be well received.
All of our other traditional events were put on as usual, including the annual Garage Sale chaired by Dianne Poncinie, Family Fun Night at the pool, Founders Day chaired by Bonnie Townsend, a Wine & Cheese event at the pool, and Candidates night, a lengthy but important event this past year. Our couple in charge of sign distribution, Alan and Nayda Hipolite, are doing a spectacular job, as is Sharon Bierman, producing the Villager and annual Resident Directory.
In closing, I would like to say thank you to all those who have helped this past year (even the littlest bit of help is helpful and welcome). As you certainly have read many times before, all of these events take people to drive them, to make them a success. If you are interested in helping out with anything mentioned above or if you have fresh ideas for events, please let us know. Contact Bonnie Townsend (890-2427) or Lisa Craddock Thitoff (891-2166).
By Mayor Lynn Eisentrout ... 2011 was a year of progress and some changes.
In January, we hired Kim Nuesse as our new Police Chief. In the nearly 14 months that she has been with us, the Department has benefited greatly from her experience in securing grant funding, networking, partnering with neighboring agencies, initiating numerous training opportunities for our officers, and supporting two active block watch groups.
Also in January, Minerva Lake Road resident Dave Hays was appointed as our new Code Enforcement Officer. Dave also serves as the City of Bexley's Code Enforcement Officer and brings a wealth of knowledge to the position.
Like many other communities, we saw the invasion of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and the effects they had on our beautiful trees. Residents Bob Gale, Greg Wittmann, and then-Councilman Matthew Danzuso spent many hours conducting an inventory of our tree population to assess the extent of the infestation. While attending a seminar on the EAB, Greg found that there was grant funding available to municipalities from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to treat and remove trees on government-owned land. Green Team members Karen Cogley, Bob Gale, Jennifer Paulken, and I completed and submitted a grant application requesting $5,000 from ODNR and pledging $5,000 from the Village. Unfortunately, we received word in March that our application was not approved. We continue to work on the problem.
Many thanks for generously supporting our two replacement levies in 2011: a 4.0 mill levy in May valued at $115,010.32 and a 1.9 mill levy in November valued at $73,630.40. We diligently strive to manage your tax dollars wisely in these trying times.
Also in November, residents re-elected me as your Mayor for a third term. I am most grateful for your support and will continue to work on your behalf.
Our 2010-2011 Street Repair Project was completed on schedule and came in under budget by approximately $58,000.
Wildwood Road resident Harry Toy spearheaded a fundraising effort for a Veterans Memorial to be erected near the Community Building. It will recognize veterans who have served in all branches of the military and those who remain missing in action. While a model of the memorial has not yet been finalized, contributions are still being accepted. The goal is to have the memorial installed by Veterans Day. If you wish to make a contribution, please contact Harry at 890-0141.
We continue to monitor both lakes, particularly the North Lake's algae issues. In April, the Council approved $5,300 for 12 chemical treatments of the North Lake. These treatments, in conjunction with the aerators running 24/7, seem to be very effective in keeping the algae problem under control. We will continue to monitor the situation and in all likelihood will treat the North lake again this year.
In June, long-time Clerk-Treasurer Suzanne Coulter tendered her resignation and became our Acting Fiscal Officer until Fiscal Officer Nancy White was appointed. Nancy comes to us with 28 years of experience as Mifflin Township's Fiscal Officer. She has been working closely with my office and the Finance Committee to ensure the financial health of the Village both now and in the future. This is in part because we must prepare for Local Government funding cuts and the elimination of the Inheritance Tax in 2013.
An application was submitted in September to the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) to mill and fill Jordan Road, Park Lane Court, and Park Lane Drive. After several revisions and many hours of work on this application, we received word that we were approved for a 100% grant totaling $223,756, meaning that these roads can be milled & filled in 2012 at no cost to the Village. It was a wonderful way to end the year!
Thank you for your support, suggestions, and assistance throughout this past year. As your Mayor, I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve you.