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 2012 ...
By Lynda Sudderberg, Fiscal Officer ... I joined the Minerva Park team in late September and hit the ground running. My 25 years of experience in the accounting field includes more than 19 years with governmental entities, such as port authorities, a solid waste district, and the Ohio Department of Development. I am also an actively licensed Ohio CPA.
Since my arrival, there has been a lot of work to catch up on, and managing the budget was a challenge as the year came to a close. Additionally, the accounting system the Village uses (provided by the Ohio State Auditor) was scheduled for a major upgrade at year-end. This was a very positive change because the new system is more sophisticated, more functional, and faster, but the change took extra time to manage.
A summary of Village revenue and expenses for 2012 follows:
|Income Tax (1%, 50% credit)||$267,000|
|Local government funds||$59,000|
|Fines & forfeitures||$49,000|
|Leisure time activities||$93,000|
|Basic utility services||$135,000|
The Village used $173,600 of its cash reserves in 2012, leaving roughly $78,000 of General Fund cash to start 2013. As I write, the Village Council, Mayor, and administration are in the midst of developing the final 2013 General Fund budget. Trying to balance the budget with decreasing financial resources is a serious challenge and will require difficult decisions.
As you may know, the State Legislature reduced local government fund distributions by 25% in 2012, and 2013 will see another 25% reduction. This has resulted in a $40,000 revenue reduction for the Village. The inheritance tax also has been eliminated in 2013. The total received by the Village from this tax has exceeded $570,000 over the past six years. While we couldn't budget for this revenue, it did provide significant resources to help offset operating expenses. The recession also has negatively impacted property tax and income tax receipts, which collectively represent roughly 75% of total Village revenue. The impact of these changes has reduced our revenue by 5.2% from 2011 to 2012 ($59,000) and is projected to reduce it another 4.5% in 2013 ($48,600).
Lower revenues mandate lower expenses, and there are many fiscal challenges on the expense side. In an effort to fully maintain existing services to residents, the Village has budgeted expenses in excess of revenue for the past two years, using cash reserves to fill the gap. Total General Fund expenses increased by 4.4% from 2011 to 2012 ($53,000), but both years came in below the amount budgeted.
The largest portion of the expense budget (roughly 50%) is used to operate the Village Police Department. Chief Nuesse has done a tremendous job of managing department expenses, ending both 2011 and 2012 well below budget. The Chief is working hard on the 2013 budget and has trimmed it to come in significantly below 2011 actual expenses.
The other half of the budget is comprised of smaller operations and administration budgets, and cuts are being made and efficiencies identified throughout. Chief Hoechstetter has proposed a very lean EMS budget and will be contributing to the revenue side by implementing billing for EMS runs outside the Village. General administration of the Village is led by Council and Mayor Eisentrout who have assembled a very competent team of part-time staff. General government functions include Mayor's Court, zoning, code enforcement, land and building maintenance, fiscal operations, recreation and parks, and management of legal, insurance, and other services.
Minerva Park is a wonderful place to live. As financial resources for local governments become more scarce each year, we must identify ways to cut expenses while maintaining the most important aspects of Village life. We'll need the Village's support as we try to meet the challenges in a thoughtful and successful manner.
By Chief Kim Nuesse ... The MP Police Department received the grant funding in 2012 as shown in the chart at the bottom of this page. We also received a generous donation of gently used office furniture valued at several hundred dollars from another government agency in December.
New block watch groups were formed, and we participated in neighborhood meetings with residents on Alder Vista, Lakewood, Maplewood, and Minerva Lake Road. We also welcomed new officers to the department: Officer Anna Tomaro and Officer Shawn Hensley.
Other changes included the formation of an investigative team consisting of Detective Lt. Rex Waldenmyer and Detective Curt Kelly, to solve criminal cases occurring in the Village. Last year resulted in more successful prosecutions and resolutions of serious cases than in previous years when that function was outsourced to another law enforcement agency. Our patrol officers received additional training in preliminary investigations and crime scenes, which will increase the quality of service to our residents and businesses. Our supervisors had advanced training in management and leadership as part of our focus on higher professional standards.
Our 2012 statistics ...
|Total Police Calls||12,684|
|9-1-1 hang-up calls||35|
|Assist Other Agencies||347|
|Auto Crash - Property Damage||26|
|Bad Check, Forgery||2|
|Contact Communication Center||2|
|Drunk, Driving Impaired||8|
|Emergency Squad Needed||5|
|Emotionally Disturbed Person||7|
|Escort, Parade Detail||4|
|Fight in Progress||26|
|Hit-Skip Auto Crash||6|
|Hit-skip Crash - Injury||2|
|Missing Person Located||7|
|Motorcycle, ATV Complaint||2|
|Offidcer in Trouble||8|
|Open Door Found||204|
|Open Window Found||22|
|Person with a Gun||8|
|Person with a Knife||1|
|Residence Vacation Check||2,571|
|Robbery in Progress||11|
|Stolen Vehicle Recovered||2|
|Theft in Progress||4|
|Transport Arrested Person||36|
|Vehicle - Abandoned||3|
|Vehicle - Disabled||52|
|Warrant Served - Felony||3|
|Warrant Served - Misdemeanor||1|
By Christy Williamson, Clerk of Courts and Police Clerk ... 2012 brought some changes for Mayor's Court. With much sadness, we said good-bye to our Magistrate Chip Wetterauer, who passed away unexpectedly this summer. We were fortunate to find a most commendable replacement. We hired Eric Nordman, an attorney who works and resides with his family in Westerville. With this new change, we also moved our court date from every other Tuesday at 5p to every other Wednesday at 8a.
Because most of the tickets written by our officers are still coming to Mayor's Court instead of going to Franklin County Municipal Court, our court continues to grow.
Below are the 2012 statistics:
|to MP General Fund||$50,072.71|
|to MP Computer Fund||$1,834.00|
|Paid to State||$15,426.08|
fire department - ems
By Chief Rick Hoechstetter ... The Fire Department responded to 437 emergency calls in 2012, representing an 18% increase over 2011 totals. This number fluctuates, and it's good to see it increasing ... it represents half of the agreement we have with the Columbus Fire Department that, in turn, provides us with complete 911 Fire-Rescue-EMS coverage the Village enjoys because of our participation in the Franklin County Automatic Response District. Four percent of our calls in 2012 came from Minerva Park, 12.5% from Blendon Township, and 85.5% from Columbus.
Members served a total of 5,282 hours in 2012. Eighty-four percent of this total was paid medic hours; the rest is volunteer time.
We participated in community outreach programs, including the nearly famous Firehouse Diner at the Village Garage Sale in August, fire safety programs during Fire Safety week in October at Hawthorne Elementary School, CPR classes offered throughout the year, and the continuation of the File of Life Program, free to Village residents. This program provides free forms for residents to affix to the front of their refrigerators to provide critical medical information in case of an emergency. Please call the Station (882-3375) or email email@example.com if you would like us to drop some off for you to fill out.
The Fire Department did not make any major capital expenditures this year, although ongoing maintenance costs on our 6-year-old truck continue to gradually increase. The monitors, radios, and the rest of the equipment appear to remain in proper working order.
The Columbus Fire Alarm Office rolled out its latest upgrade to their Computer-Aided Dispatching (CAD) system, which was too big to fit on our mobile data console (MDC), so we had to upgrade it. The silver lining is that we are nearly ready to select a medical billing company for non-resident runs, and one common requirement specific to all medical billing is access to a portable data terminal. We hope that, whatever billing authority is ultimately selected, it will have a data-collection program small enough to fit on our former MDC. We have tested two programs that do.
I am both very pleased and surprised to finally be able to report that the Nextel rebanding effort (exchanging our existing radios for new digital radios in exchange for the rights to our existing 800 MHz bandwidth) is finally complete. Nextel exchanged our three old "brick style" walkie-talkies for three new digital models, giving us a total of five. Because we are billed for the privilege of using all EMS radios in the Columbus system, we plan to cache two of them, taking them the out of circulation and saving those operational costs, thereby giving us a pair of spares for later uses.
Fire inspections continued, and there were no major new issues to report this year. Bureau of Underground Tanks and Regulations (BUSTR) advised that their plan to issue an administrative order requiring the Payless Quick Stop (5620 Cleveland Avenue) ... to take the necessary actions to remediate the contamination issues that remain following the 2007 removal of their fuel storage tanks ... is on hold because the owner has left the country. The Tier I testing was never completed. Efforts to complete this testing are ongoing.
The 2012 run data are as follows. We very proudly serve Minerva Park.
planning & zoning
By Sara Schumacher, Zoning Clerk ... The Planning and Zoning Commission had a productive year, hearing many applications in 2012. The past year included several improvements sought by the Village residents, who continue to maintain and beautify their homes. The Commission approved the following permits for $687.85 in 2012.
Applications to be heard by the Planning & Zoning Commission at their monthly meeting must be submitted at least 15 days before the scheduled meeting. If you have questions, please call the Village offices at 882-5743.
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/.
By Dave Hays, Code Enforcement Officer ... In 2012, 18 written violations were issued with approximately 90% compliance. They ranged from broken and dilapidated fences; dilapidated sheds; RV-trailer-camper parking; improper disposal of trash, brush, limbs, tires, concrete blocks, trash, pallets; and repaving parking surfaces. These were in addition to the approximately two dozen grass and weeds violations that were written and taken care of. Twenty-five violations were issued directly to residents verbally, again with more than 90% compliance.
Some homes in the Village are in the process of foreclosure. An investigation of these properties revealed the property preservation groups responsible for upkeep, enabling us to contact them and have the issues rectified.
There is zoning legislation that is being worked on with the Planning & Zoning Commission that we will present to council this year.
As always, please e-mail any complaints or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
mp community association
By Lisa Craddock Thitoff, MPCA President ... For your Community Association, 2012 was a productive year.
MinervaFlora (chair Bob Gale) clean-ups were done in April and November. The annual garden tour took place 2 days after the derecho, so a bit of clean-up was necessary for the tour gardens, and one was closed to visitors. The Garden Award was given for the summer garden. The Village's beautifully lit houses were judged in the Festival of Lights. Minerva Lake Road, east of the Community Building, was wonderfully lit, but Wildwood Road also had an abundance of lights this year. The entrances and spillway needed some plantings replaced, so the grasses were taken care of in the spring, and hollies were replaced by taxus in late fall.
The Green Team was very effective this year, as committee chair Jen Pauken reports. The Community Garden was successful in 2012, and there will be plots available in 2013. Some members did classroom visits at Hawthorne Elementary and presented a basket of produce and flowers to the school as a thank-you for letting us use their land.
Seedlings were grown and donated to the Children's Committee to give at the Easter Egg Hunt. Various articles were printed in the Villager. The Green Team achieved the designation of Greenspot, showing Minerva Park's commitment to sustainability and eco-mindedness. For 2013, they look forward to a Tree City USA designation and to hosting various speakers.
The Children's Committee (chair Glenda Morris) hosted the annual Easter Egg Hunt and Halloween and Christmas parties. Glenda and her helpers helped to make Family Fun Night a success. As a side note, Glenda and husband Andy were awarded the NCC President's Award both for their efforts with the Children's Committee and their street rep positions. Glenda and her helpers are great at putting together creative, fun parties.
New to our Villager newsletter (editor Sharon Bierman) have been the "getting to know you" profiles, suggested and submitted by Rose Hart, letting us know about fellow residents. This has been a welcome addition to our monthly newsletter.
Directory (editor Sharon Bierman) and Membership. Our new committee chairs Sid and Bonnie Townsend along with Sharon Bierman were instrumental in getting the Directory out a bit sooner in 2012.
I'd like to thank Marie Takacs (Newcomers outgoing chair) for her excellent and efficient job greeting new residents for the past 3 years. In 2012, Marie welcomed 22 new families to the Village. She has resigned the position to spend more time with her family. Our new greeter will be Deb Ford, so let her knowof new residents at dford_ email@example.com.
The Christmas Carriage Rides again were well attended. Thank you to Santa and Mrs. Claus for taking time out of their busy schedule to pop in. And our appreciation goes to Mayor Lynn Eisentrout for taking time out of her busy schedule to organize the rides. We found out earlier in 2012 that the MPCA was given the NCC's "Best Event Award" for our 2011 Christmas Carriage Rides.
Thank you to Sara and Maddie Schumacher for organizing our annual garage sale. The 2013 Garage Sale is being planned for June 15. We are looking for someone to organize this event.
Our Summer Music Series, organized by Sid Townsend, brought the Gas Pump Jockeys and the Standard Time Band to the patio by the lake for your enjoyment.
Bonnie Townsend, Street Rep and Volunteer coordinator, did a fine job finding volunteers and hosting a sing-a-long earlier in the year.
Former Councilman Matt Danzuso received the Duck Award for the person having the most impact on Minerva Park for 2012.
The Nancy Fischer Memorial Scholarship was awarded to brothers Kevin and James Walsh and will be available again in 2013 for a worthy Minerva Park student.
Fundraisers included the annual plant sale, Family Fun Night, Wine & Cheese at the pool, Garage Sale, and maps of Minerva Park sales, the latter donated by the Hard family and offered by Rose Hart.
New events included a self-defense course instructed by Police Chief Kim Nuesse, yoga at the Community Building, a spring Art in the Park art fest, and Village-wide luminaries (suggested and organized by MPCA Vice President and Councilman Dave Way).
A huge thank you to all of the committee chairs and volunteers you see listed above.
Thanks also go to Alan and Nayda Hipolite for taking excellent care of the publicity signs at the entrances, letting you know what is happening in the neighborhood, to Jeff Rigg for moderating Candidates' Night, to Bob Gale for chairing the Sunshine Committee, to Bob and Dave Way for bringing us the information from the Northland Community Council meetings, to the many people who help (planned or unplanned) with all of our events. You are very much appreciated ... and to my husband Steve for all his help and understanding. One more thank you to our nearby Meijer store for their generosity in donating gift cards to help with our events.
Please continue to underwrite these events by paying your Community Association dues of only $20 annually.
It is the involvement of these folks that make this Village a better place to live. Please help us by doing YOUR part. Contact me at 891-2166 to volunteer.
By Mayor Lynn Eisentrout ... We began 2012 on a high note when we received approval from the Ohio Public Works Commission in December 2011 for our 100% grant application for the final street improvement project on Jordan Road, Park Lane Court, and Park Lane Drive. With all of the Village streets now milled and filled, we are in "maintenance mode." We will now concentrate on growing our Street Fund to plan for future street replacements and a strong infrastructure.
In April, we held our first 5K run, sponsored by the Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA), to benefit a former Hawthorne Elementary School student. Many thanks to Alder Vista resident Marnie Schultz and her colleagues for organizing the event.
In mid-May we received the good news that our application to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) for a $10,000 grant from the 2011 Ash Removal and Canopy Restoration Grant Fund had been approved with $5,000 in grant money and $5,000 in matching funds from the Village for removal of ash trees from public lands. We received our $5,000 from the ODNR in February 2013.
A developer began to show a genuine interest in the golf course property, and the Village submitted a Letter of Intent in June to the golf course owners of our intention to purchase the land to support a 9-hole course and to discuss a purchase price.
The June 29 storm is not one many of us are likely to forget. We experienced prolonged outages (although most of us were up and running within three or four days), arcing wires, exploding transformers, a fire, and a multitude of uprooted and fallen trees. The generosity and courtesy that neighbors showed one another was nothing short of amazing. It made me so proud to live in our community. I even received a comment from a first-responder (outside of the Village) about how "nice" everyone seemed.
We were deeply saddened when our Mayor's Court Magistrate, Damon "Chip" Wetterauer passed away unexpectedly on August 22 while on vacation in South Carolina. Chip was a modest man who served the City of Westerville for many years as a City Council member (four terms), set fiscal standards, and chaired the 2010 Charter Review Board, among many other notable accomplishments.
Also in August, I attended the Joint Franklin County Preliminary Damage Assessment meeting, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help us submit a request for reimbursement of the expenses we incurred from the clean-up in the aftermath of the June 29 storm. After also attending a September 4 meeting with FEMA reps and several more meetings after that, the deadline for submission was extended to November 4. We have not yet received that reimbursement.
We were most appreciative of the resident support shown for the 5-mill Replacement Levy on the November 2012 ballot. This levy generated $175,201.
In closing, I want to thank all of our staff for their hard work and dedication. In the spirit of trying to make your tax dollars stretch as far as we can, we have implemented a job-sharing approach to accomplish as much as possible with our limited staff resources. For example, Sara Schumacher is the Mayor's Administrative Assistant, the Zoning Clerk, and the Deputy Clerk of Courts. Christy Williamson is our Clerk of Courts, undertakes a support staff role of Police Clerk, and assists Sara as needed. Both of them also work with our Fiscal Officer. In addition, we all answer the phones and support each other in the event of family emergencies or illness.
I hope you will remember my open-door policy. I welcome your suggestions and will always listen to your concerns. I am honored to continue to serve as your Mayor.