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New Franklin still addressing flooding issues

5/29/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

Plus, renewal, replacement levies being studied for November ballot

NEW FRANKLIN — New Franklin City Council adopted legislation May 21 that authorized city officials to purchase a vacant piece of property on Renninger Road, south of Center Road, for $32,500 in an effort to address an area in the city prone to flooding.

Council voted 5-0 on the real estate agreement, with at-large Council members Gust Kalapodis and Andrea Norris absent.

Mayor Al Bollas, who also was absent for a family emergency, has told Council the property was needed as a site to construct a retention basin to control storm water problems in the area and south of it.

“It is in the right place and available,” said Councilman Paul Adamson (Ward 1).

Adamson and others discussed the city’s effort to address flooding problems, including the need to initiate a study and prioritize projects. City officials acknowledged the matter would be best addressed on a county level, but because those efforts are not progressing, they have decided to move forward rather than wait on a county plan.

This past fall, the city constructed its first retention basin in front of City Hall off Center Road using a $186,000 grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and $50,000 in matching funds from the city. The site includes a retention basin, green space, a wetland and a new porous parking lot. The project was built on city-owned land.

Bollas has stated that more of these basins are needed throughout the city to control flooding, but the cost to purchase the land to construct them is a factor. He added the city would continue to review city-wide solutions to flooding in various areas.

Council also adopted legislation to amend Section Five of Ordinance 05-65 that regulates noise by advertising, sound amplifying equipment, machinery, noise producing instruments, vehicles and animals.

Previously, the ordinance exempted restaurants, hotels, summer gardens and bars in the city. Bollas explained the amendment was requested by numerous residents and is intended to restrict outside entertainment using a radio, loudspeaker, tapes or other sound-amplifying device, as well as musical instruments in those establishments to the hours between noon and 10 p.m.

Council decided to take time on two new pieces of legislation introduced that evening regarding the placement of tax levies on the November General Election ballot.

One is the renewal of an existing five-year, 5.75-mill fire levy for fire protection services and ambulance and emergency medical services. The levy expires Dec. 31 and collects $1.7 million annually, according to city officials. The levy costs the owner of a $100,000 home $173.58 annually and does not represent new taxes or an increase, according to city officials.

The second request to come before voters this fall is the replacement of an existing 2.50-mill police levy to provide police services in the city.

The replacement — suggested instead of renewing a 2.50-mill levy that was first approved in 1981, expires Dec. 31 and collects $292,000 annually — would instead collect $771,391 annually, according to city officials. The replacement levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $87.50 annually, which city officials said was a 62 percent increase from the current $33.13 property owners pay annually for the existing levy.

Bollas has stated the extra funds are needed, as the General Fund has been used to supplement the Police Department’s budget of $1.7 million by $725,000 in 2011, $700,000 in 2012 and 2013, and an expected $650,000 this year.

In other business, Council approved:

  • an agreement with Software Solutions to upgrade the city’s financial software system for a cost of $31,545;
  • the advertising of sealed bids to obtain No. 304 limestone for use by the city’s Road Department; and
  • the transfer of $50,000 from the General Fund to dispatch.

Amendments to Zoning Code Section 1400.02 (definition of litter) and Section 800.10 (junk/unlicensed vehicles) was placed on time pending public hearings on the two scheduled for June 18 at 6 p.m. at City Hall, located at 5611 Manchester Road.

The next Council meeting will take place June 4 starting at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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