May 19th, 2020 Council Meeting notes
Councilwoman Bigham thanked Trent Walsh on City Staff and several constituents representing HBA who met with HCER on Baseball fields. They have done great work to ensure the fields will be open – and she wanted to express her gratitude to all involved for their efforts.
Councilman Sutton reported on the Park Board survey results. Top 3 items, not in order, on their community survey showing interest include: trails, dog park, and tennis courts. In June the Park Board will tour all of our parks to look at what needs to be repaired, cross reference that list with staff, and create a plan to address those needs. Councilman Sutton additionally commented on resident comments for First and Main code easing discussion (eating on F&M Green space, picnic tables etc) – people really like the idea. Bill agreed that he has also received a lot of positive comments on the matter. I mentioned this as well. We have all received a number of comments individually and as a council that this is the right thing to do.
Kate expressed her ongoing concern about parking for downtown merchants and believes that perhaps just relaxing regulations would be a better way to go than closing streets for our restaurants.
In my council comments, I tried to express the frustration that many residents have passed on to myself, along with my own views on the shutdown regulations that have been handed down by Governor DeWine. I read a letter that I wrote and am sending that letter along with a video segment to Senator Roegner, Representative Weinstein, Governor DeWine and Congressman Joyce. If you have 7 minutes, it could be worth the time. I am glad several other councilmembers expressed support for this statement and as such I included their comments for the state representatives as well. Nothing was taken out of context. I am not trying to editorialize their views in any way. Simply convey a message to the Governor and State Representative who have been more supportive of the Health Director in the State of Ohio than the US Constitution. If you would like to view my comments, it starts about minute 11min 45sec in our Council Video.
At the end of my statement I asked for Parks and Playgrounds to open and followed that up with an e-mail to City Staff this morning. Staff did receive an update from the State of Ohio just this morning. Unfortunately, playgrounds and splash-pads are not allowed to open under the State Orders. I am not surprised – and I am very disappointed.
We discussed lifting the State of Emergency in Hudson but determined the city may not be eligible for some funds under state and federal programs if we do. We can open areas permitted under state orders without lifting the state of emergency. So, for now, we will keep the state of emergency in place and open everything permissible as the State of Ohio rolls those orders out.
Jim Stiffler gave council and update on the potential loan program we have been considering. The loan program, because of the limits placed on city loans to businesses, requires that the business meet very tight restrictions… and not many businesses would qualify for those or were particularly interested in it. Jim Stiffler has said the businesses would welcome grants – which has not received council support. Thus we will revive the CIC for future need, if need should arise, but not implement the loan program.
Bill Wooldredge gave council an update on a Hudson Community Foundation Grant program for businesses they are trying to put together. I have committed my own resources to this as well and will contribute to the grant program through HCF once it is finalized.
Appointments Bill Wooldredge announced that we have not been able to come to agreement on the appointment for a replacement At-Large council member to replace Dan Williams position. He is directing staff to draft legislation to be acted upon at the June 2nd Council Meeting calling for a special election to be held concurrently with the normal November election to replace the At-Large vacancy.
Many people have asked why we could not come to agreement. Its easy to see that 3 council members were supportive of city hall expenses, supportive of phase 2 development, and supportive of Velocity Broadband. Three very big expenses that remain divisive issues in Hudson. Three council members are not supportive of those same issues. The day a legislative body fears an election is the day that body has served its own interests for too long. I like elections. The people get to say what they want, which is what democracy is about.
The following boards and commissions are seeking to fill a vacancy. The park board, the tree commission, and architectural & historic board of review. Applications for these boards are due by May 22nd. If you would like to apply, please follow this link.
Most items under the consent agenda were typical to city operations and grants. 20-58 We approved a resurfacing of Ravenna Road from Old Mill Road to the Portage County Line. 20-59 We closed out a very old contract with Lockhart Concrete Company for a 2012 sanitary sewer and water main project. 20-60 We approved a maintenance contract for our eastside electric substation. 20-61 We received a fire department training grant 20-62 We received a EMS Priority One training and Equipment grant
20-63 was more problematic. This relates to the Rt91 Turn-lane Improvement project. The city appears to have made a mistake in the bid and our discussion surrounded exactly how big that mistake was. Some data shows $300,000. Some shows $1,400,000. But it is several hundred thousand in any case. It is a $5.2 million project that was engineered by an outside consultant. The state of Ohio reviewed it for their funding portion (over $3 million) and came back with a couple issues that the engineer missed. Those items along with some estimates in the bid process that came in high caused the Staff to come back and ask for additional appropriations. We have at least 20 questions in a couple e-mail threads that have gone back and forth and at this point we just need time to review the data. This item was tabled and will be discussed at the workshop and reintroduced at the June 2nd meeting. The project needs to be awarded by June 15th – so if we go through this on June 2nd we will be within the state guidelines to award the project.
20-52 On 3rd reading, and after several discussions, we approved a Wheel Loader needed by staff to manage salt loading. That equipment has a 4 month order lead time, thus it needed to be ordered now for the fall.
20-64 This was the first reading for the rollover of 3.85 Million in note debt associated with Velocity Broadband. Discussion on this item occurs on 3rd reading. There will be some discussion.
20-65 This is the first reading related to a loan program for Hudson businesses managed through the CIC. As I said earlier it appears that very few businesses would apply and this legislation is likely dead on paper, though the CIC may be cleaned up so it is ready and functional should need arise. This does come with changes for downtown that would temporarily permit restaurants to use the green picnic tables, possibly sidewalk space for tables, add a designated alcoholic beverage zone on the First and Main green. All items I believe at least 5 members of council were very supportive of. Any questions or concerns, please contact me.