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Welcome to Tom McMasters' blog about being Mayor & life in Huber Heights

Thoughts

This is the third year of my four year term as Mayor.  This site is set up so that I can let you know my thoughts on City government and you can give me feedback on what you like and dislike about my performance as mayor as well as what is going on in the City.  We can talk about anything here. 

To the left you can post your own blog.  You can also comment on the main articles.  If you ever want to get back to the front page click on the top left part of the page that has the HuberResidents.org logo.  Also, for quick notes or to tell you about upcoming events I often use my Facebook page
 
Tom McMasters
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As important as I'd like to think this website can be, if you really want to keep up with City government regularly look at the agenda items found on the City's Meeting Information & Audio / Video page 

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News

Energy Aggregation on the ballot this election

Category: Huber Heights City Government

The March primary is just around the corner and early voting begins in a few days.  Besides the Presidential and other primary races, Huber Heights residents will have Issue 1, Energy Aggregation on the ballot.  After I vent, I’ll address the pertinent points that I believe should affect your voting decision. 
  
Venting -- Unbelievably the City’s website HHOH.org, does not have notice of…

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YMCA discussion and the Feb 2nd Work Session

Category: Huber Heights City Government

We’ve had a couple of work sessions now with the new council members in place.  We’ve seen some positive and some negative results.  The one item I plan to talk about today is the discussion with the director of the Huber Heights YMCA.  That discussion is on video.  It is the 5th agenda item and starts about 1 hour 30 minutes into the meeting.  Before I start that discussion let me point out that

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Older news

January 17th 2016, 8:24 AM Water Softening Discussion 1 comment

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Energy Aggregation on the ballot this election

I copied this from Facebook  it was posted by Council Member Glenn Otto:
My understanding on Energy Aggregation in the City of Huber Heights

This seems to be the hottest talking issue in Huber Heights at the moment, and I believe that it should be with a public vote coming on the 15th of next month. After recently reading a lot of conversation on different social media posts, and talking about it at last night's Council session, I thought that I would share my thoughts and opinions on the subject.

First I would simply like to explain what your vote on March 15th means.

A yes vote will not establish a City program of energy aggregation, however a no vote will deny it. This vote simply gives or denies, the current and/or future members of your City Council, the permission to establish such a program. The actual details of the plan would be decided only after passage of the Issue.

Voting Yes on Issue One would mean that you would like the City Council of Huber Heights to have the ability to establish a program (on it's own, or through a third party), at any time in the future, to develop a program of Energy Aggregation, and negotiate the terms of the contract.

Voting No on Issue One would mean that you would not like the City Council of Huber Heights to have the ability to establish a program (on it's own, or through a third party), at any time in the future, to develop a program of Energy Aggregation, and negotiate the terms of the contract.

As to the terms that the City Council could include in any future contract, I cannot speak to what they will be, but there has been a lot of discussion on what could be in a potential contract, and what these things would mean to the citizens of Huber Heights.

How third party fees would be paid:
If the City uses a third party then there will likely be fees involved. There are generally two options on how those fees would be paid, either out of the City's general fund or directly by the residents who elect to use the service. If the fees are paid out of the City's funds, then all taxpayers are paying a small equal share whether they use the service or not. If the fees are split among only those who use the service, then the fees would more that likely be larger and placed directly on their bill. It is unknown at this time what those fees may be, but we have been told that Troy's fees to the negotiator of their program are $40,000 over three years (with the majority coming in the first year), and that the City of Troy pays for this fee directly out of their city's funds. It has also been mentioned that the fee, if placed on the purchasers bill, would be approximately $1 per month, or $15 per year. I believe that there should also be a mechanism to provide a â€cemaximum amount†to the third party, in order to maintain the best rate possible.

Opting Out:
If a program is established, then there would be an â€ceOpt Out†feature, and I believe that it would be important to insure that any resident of the city should have the option to opt out of the program at any time with no fee for doing so. However, the flip side of that coin is that there should only be certain times that those who opted out would be able to opt back in, if they choose to do so at a later date.

What if it passes, or fails:
Ultimately, if Issue One passes by a wide margin, then I believe that it will be the Council's responsibility to ensure that we create a program that is fully vetted to the public with the residents best interests in mind. If it passes by a slim margin, then I believe that we will have to take additional time to continue to poll the public on what is important to them, fully utilize the people in deciding what kind of program goes into place, and take our time to establish a plan that accounts for those in favor, and those against. If the issue fails, then there is no action but to move on to the continuance of doing what is best for the people of Huber Heights.

No matter what, The City should definitely continue to educate its people on different ways that they can save money, with or without the program, by using tools like the one provided on the State of Ohio's website found here: http://www.energychoice.ohio.gov/ .

I will finish by saying that I believe that anyone willing to research what you are currently paying per kilowatt hour (you can find this information on your bill), and price around by calling providers or researching them on the Ohio website, could possibly match or beat the price that is being used for The City's informational purposes (5.3 cents per kWh, as seen with Troy). The prices seem to fluctuate since my personal bill (directly through DP&L) showed 5.4 cents last month and 5.3 cents this month, The City's presentation shows a DP&L customer paying 9.4 cents, and last night Ms. Blankenship said she was paying 5.1 cents through her provider.

Ultimately, the choice is yours! Get to the polls on March 15th and place your vote whatever way you feel is best.

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Politics and the music center

Just asking…has the city manager or anyone who represents Huber Heights, have they contacted any current presidential campaign to see if they would come to the music center and do a political event? I would think that this would be a good thing for Huber with many positives. First off, rent for the music center. Huber Heights name being thrown out there. Campaign monies flowing into the community. The location is great for the candidates and the traffic. Once someone is at the music center for a political rally, they might see the concert schedule and want to come back. Again, many positives for Huber Heights.

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Water Softening Discussion

So when was there a survey for water softening? This is the first I an hearing about this.

In reading this article, it states that if Huber goes ahead and does the water softening, the average monthly increase would be $6.27 per month. I would have to say that number would realistically be around $15 per month. There are operating costs and budget over-runs once they start doing the job. Plus we all know how honest the city council is when they give us these numbers.

IMO, if people want the city water to be softened, then this should definitely be on an election ballot.

In my house, I installed 2 whole house water filters and a water softener. Then I added a cold water filter under the kitchen sink. My refrigerator has another filter built in and it never clogs because the water is too clean before it gets there. I spent under $500 total and installed all of this by myself. The filters cost under $5 each and I replace them about every 2 or 3 months. I buy 2 or 3 bags of salt per month. I will gladly continue my way of water filtering before I would choose to pay more to the city for the same water. Even if the city started water softening, I will keep doing what I am doing.

I think that if someone was that concerned about their water quality, then they would go ahead and do their own fix. Why would you gripe and hope someone else does something for you?

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School Board opening Huber Heights City Schools - apply ASAP

You are absolutely correct.  I spent the better part of yesterday (Sunday) and today trying to find any "official" notice anywhere on their website about the School Board vacancy (aside from watching the utube video).  How unfortunate that our school district is not up-to-date with technology and the benefits it provides.  The 2016 calendar is not up-to-date (for the Board meeting - when/where/time).  How are we to be involved if this information is not easily located or updated?  

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Goodbye 2015, hello 2016

I tend to agree with your comments.  The citizens have spoken in the last election and want a different direction or might I say correcting the course.  Your comments about were right on while I cannot say anything for the second I sure can for the third.  Yes I say things in a very direct manner, I do not sugar coat anything.  One might ask why am I that way.  Well for the past 2+years I started to go to the council meetings and speak and when I ask questions and do not get full answers I grow frustrated.  The citizens expect better on getting the right correct full data out.  The council member that called me out put in a email sent to all and me later to remind me of the definition of integrity.  Some key words truthful, completeness, to name a couple.  I continued to get half truths as I call it.  What is a half truth?  Well here is what it is…A person as in the music center says the center made a profit.  Well did it.  I have requested data for months and get piecemeal.  I still do not have the final answers to my questions.  That is just one of many that have made me grow frustrated at the way the city and old council were running things.  Once the press release or article is written with half truths the story is correct but make the reader think one way instead of the correct way.  My new years resolution if I want to have one in this area is having a council and city manager that work for the citizens of Huber not their self interests. We want to see the city manager and council work for us.  We want full clear accurate information, not to work  with emergency actions (I will comment further on that), get our finance in order before another penny is spent so all know the $50M+ debt impacts the residents of the city, no more sole source, no more subsidy for DEC for Carriage Trails (more to follow), explain the disconnect of the special assessment that those residents pay which is much less that what they signed for at closing?  Does this mean that the city will be eating the cost which is a result of poor decision making?  If DEC wants more subsidies for Phase three and four then they should come with open books and show why they need one.  When I asked the question the response I received is we do not look at their books.  Well now do you know they need one.  The city should not be the one working up the deal.   It starts with DEC.  If they say they will walk away from it without it then maybe we do not need them to continue.  While I am not an attorney Huber Heights in 2015 operated under the everything is an emergency (most of the time).  I have been trying to see if I am correct when you do emergency legislation and non emergency.  While I cannot say in the affirmative but it looks like emergency cannot be changed so sole sourcing to DEC all the time cannot be changed much less any other contract.  Maybe someone with a more legal background could clear that up.  I am going to assume that the music center did indeed loose money their first year.  I as a citizen would like to see MEMI come make a presentation on why they think we lost money and what can be done to show a profit, and take questions from council and citizens and answer them instead of getting filtered data through the city manager.  Hopefully our city will open up more and let the citizens know truthfully what is going on from debt, subsidy's bonds, TIF, risk just to name a few.  I wish this next city council all the best especially to the three new members of council and my you stay true to your beliefs in the decisions you will make to make Huber Heights better.

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Site Purpose

I've found that when people talk to our current city council they listen. I also believe council both needs that scrutiny and they don't like it. In fact, they proclaim they want public input but then their actions discourage it. I’ve been trying for a year and a half to get more people to learn about what council is doing because I know with our feedback the city will end up with better government. This website is new online and I have a great vision on where it can go! Right now you can review the beginning of the Aquatic Center or “The Heights” or you can create a profile and start adding content to this site. This is a great project and I look forward to working with you to ensure we get good government here in Huber Heights.
 
Tom

  


Flier

If you've come to this website because of a flier you probably want to see the City Lawyer's opinion paper first. At the very bottom of that page you can find a link to the flier for you to download it and pass it out yourself. 
 
Tom McMasters



Announcements

Web Designers, Authors, Ideas Wanted

This website theme has great potential especially since it is open source and free but I can see I'll need help to make it work. If you believe in the vision and you can write code for a website as sophisticated as this contact me. As useful as this site seems it loads pretty slow so if you know of another open source theme that does the same things contact me.
Also, I think if there are 8 of us willing to rotate through the committee meetings and then write about the key events we can improve this city. Contact me if you are interested.

Finally, if you have pictures of City events, construction, public areas or services I'd like to show them. Send them to me and I'll incorporate them into the site. Tom McMasters

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Model airplanes / Drones

I think it is because I was a test pilot for the X-45 and a safety officer for Global Hawk and Predator and I've also belong to a model aircraft club that I have a different idea of UAV than what we see in the news.  Most of the drones we see in the news are really just more sophisticated model airplanes and we would be a lot safer if people realized this and operated them as if they thought…

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Cookies with Santa - Christmas Concert.

I received these two Huber Heights Christmas announcements for Thursday Dec 3rd Cookies with Santa at the Athletic Foundation and Sunday Dec 6th Christmas Concert at the Eichelberger Amphitheater.


A reminder of the annual Huber Heights Athletic Foundation "Cookies with Santa" event for 2015!


The event will be held this Thursday, December 3, 2015, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Huber Heights Athletic

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Housing to Youth

I was looking at the procedures to start an llc and found this interesting in the context of all the questions about Concept 1.  I wonder if they have the referenced letter and if they do why they didn't provide it.  It certainly would have helped their credibility. 

Some of the reasons to add an attachment would be in the following situations:
* The business name you have selected is already in

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Older blog posts

October 8th 2015, 10:56 PM 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan 0 comments
January 3rd 2015, 12:30 PM Information from the mayor needs to be accurate 0 comments
December 3rd 2014, 6:58 AM Young Marines meet @ St Peters 0 comments
November 6th 2014, 12:11 PM Vectren is running gas into our streets. 1 comment
October 26th 2014, 3:20 PM Ebola will give science a bad name 0 comments

 

Image of the day

Tax Split

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