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Council Meeting Dec 9, 2013 and Emergency Legislation

The agenda and read aheads are available for the Monday Dec 9, 2013 meeting.  The biggest items on the agenda are 12G and 12H.  12G tells us Mr. Dave Studebaker turned in his resignation and 12H tells us Chief Schommer will be the interim city manager starting December 27th.  Also, lets talk Emergency Legislation. There are other interesting items but I will let you review them by clicking the link above.  Some of the agendas items will be addressed as they relate to Emergency Legislation and the City Charter.
 
I'm going to turn the rest of this article into and examination of the City Charter and a discussion about the use of Emergency Legislation.  I suspect one of the next edits to this prose will be an explanation of how State Law and / or court cases affect the implementation of codes such as Section 5.07 of the City Charter.  But right now I don't have any conflicting data so I'm composing this from a literal view point. 
 
First "The Issue":  Council classifies a lot of the legislation they pass as "Emergency Legislation".  This gets a lot of comments from citizens.  In fact, if you search hard enough on this site you will find that one of the first articles I wrote talked about this.  I haven't search for that article but from memory, I had spoken to Councilmember Kaleps and let her know that I thought passing everything as an emergency made council look bad.  At that time I wrote that she indicated that council was aware that the public thought this way.  The tricky part was that there is definitely city business that needs to be enacted immediately and the only way to do this according to the city charter was by emergency legislation.  Consequentially, in order to change the process would take a change to the city charter.    
 
I'm actually sympathetic to Ms Kaleps point of view in the aspect that most of the legislation that is passed by emergency is not controversial and there should be some means do quick legislation that goes into affect immediately for those items.  In fact, since that time I've been much more concerned about council "waving readings" than I have been about the use of the term Emergency Legislation. 
 
City Code:
SECTION 5.04 READINGS.
                                                                                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                    Each ordinance and resolution shall be read on three (3) separate days, unless this requirement is dispensed with by a vote of at least two-thirds (2/3) of the members of the Council then holding office.  Readings shall be by title only, unless the Council requires that the ordinance be read in full by a majority vote of its members then holding office.                  
 
My concern with using emergency legislation for just about everything is that the public gets inoculated and misses some items they likely would want to discuss.  So I've been advocating that council go about and make change to the City Charter so that normal kinds of business could be enacted immediately using some other term instead of Emergency.  As it turns out I'm not sure that a change in the City Charter is needed.  This week I read the City Charter in its entirety and from a layman's view it looks like it already contains ways to get legislation to take affect immediately without calling it an emergency.  Here is section  5.07  EFFECTIVE DATE OF LEGISLATION;
 
(A)     The following ordinances or resolutions shall take effect immediately upon their adoption unless a later date is specified therein:
 
(1)     Appropriations of money;
(2)     An annual tax levy for current expenses of the City;
(3)     Improvements petitioned for by owners of the requisite majority of the front footage or of the area of the property benefited and to be assessed;
 (4)     Submission of any question to the electorate or the determination to proceed with an election;
(5)     Approval of a revision, codification, recodification, or rearrangement of the City Code or ordinances and resolutions; and
(6)     Any emergency ordinance or resolution.
 
(B)     All other ordinances and resolutions shall take effect thirty (30) days after adoption by the Council, unless a later date is specified therein.
  
From a literal interpretation of the City Charter there are many items on Monday's agenda that are currently classified as Emergency legislation that look like they could instead go into affect immediately citing one of the items (1) through (5) instead.  Here is what I'm looking at:
 
11.         Pending Business
 
        A.   An Ordinance For Making Appropriations For Expenses Of The City Of Huber Heights, Ohio For The Period Beginning January 1, 2014 And Ending December 31, 2014, And Declaring An Emergency.
(second reading)
Here is an example that makes me wonder why council doesn't use Item (1) instead of item (6) and change the end of the sentence to read, "This legislation will take effect immediately because it makes an "Appropriations of Money" in compliance with Section 5.07 Item (A)(1) of the City Code. I'm also glad that council had at least two readings of the budget.  This is an example of an item that I believe is important enough that they should have had three readings. But if people aren't voicing the same opinion as I voice, then I'm just a single person complaining.
        C.   A Resolution Authorizing The City Manager To Enter Into A Contract To Purchase Two 2 1/2 Ton Dump Trucks And Appurtenant Equipment Thereto For The Public Works Division, Waiving Formal Bidding Requirements, And Declaring An Emergency.
(second reading)
Use Item (1) instead of item (6) - "This legislation will take effect immediately because it makes Appropriations of Money".  Here is an example that I would be concerned about the waving of readings.
 
        D.   A Resolution Authorizing The City Manager To Enter Into A Contract To Purchase One (1) Leaf Vac Truck And Appurtenant Equipment Thereto For The Public Works Division, Waiving Formal Bidding Requirements, And Declaring An Emergency.
(second reading)
Use Item (1) instead of item (6) - "This legislation will take effect immediately because it makes Appropriations of Money".  Here is another example that I would be concerned about the waving of readings.
        I.   A Resolution Authorizing The Mayor To Enter Into An Agreement With Alan B. Schaeffer And Pickrel Schaeffer & Ebeling For Legal Services As Law Director For The City Of Huber Heights, Ohio For The Calendar Year January 1, 2014 Through December 31, 2014, And Declaring An Emergency.
(first reading)
Use Item (1) instead of item (6) - "This legislation will take effect immediately because it makes Appropriations of Money".  This is an interesting case.  This law firm has represented the city for quite awhile and they seem to be doing a good job.  However, there has never been any open meeting discussions that confirm this.  It would be interesting to know if there are ever any rival firms that apply for the position and if so how they are considered. 
          ADMINISTRATION
David Studebaker, City Manager
        L.   A Resolution Authorizing The City Manager To Enter Into A Five Year Copier Lease Agreement With ProSource, And Declaring An Emergency.  
(first reading)
Use Item (1) instead of item (6) - "This legislation will take effect immediately because it makes Appropriations of Money".  Here I don't know if it is appropriate to wave the readings.  They may prompt a rival bid.   
 
        M.   A Resolution Authorizing The City Manager To Enter Into A Contract With Zimmers & Associates, And Declaring An Emergency.
(first reading)
Use Item (1) instead of item (6) - "This legislation will take effect immediately because it makes Appropriations of Money".  If you haven't read this contract you should. Even though council is very please with the job this company does - council gave them credit last year for securing some of the grants for the Aquatic Center and Amphitheater - this is still a service members of the community should have an opportunity to know we pay to receive.  It was especially interesting that in the Admin meeting last week those discussing this issue went out of their way not to mention the kind of service provided.
          HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT
Katie Knisley, Human Resources Manager
 
        O.   A Resolution Establishing And/Or Amending The City Of Huber Heights Organizational Chart And Authorizing The New Personnel Staffing Levels As Detailed Below, And Declaring An Emergency.
(first reading)
Here is an example that makes me wonder why council doesn't use Item (5) instead of item (6) and change the end of the sentence to read, "This legislation will take effect immediately because it makes an "Approval of a revision, codification, recodification, or rearrangement of the City Code or ordinances and resolutions;" in compliance with Section 5.07 Item (A)(5) of the City Code.  I'm not sure of the need for second and third reading since there are no revisions.
 
        P.   A Resolution Establishing And/Or Amending The Salary Ranges And Wage Levels For Employees Of The City Of Huber Heights, Ohio, And Declaring An Emergency.
(first reading)
Here is an example that makes me wonder why council doesn't use Item (5) instead of item (6) and change the end of the sentence to read, "This legislation will take effect immediately because it makes an "Approval of a revision, codification, recodification, or rearrangement of the City Code or ordinances and resolutions;" in compliance with Section 5.07 Item (A)(5) of the City Code.  I don't believe there is a need for second and third readings since the only change is a deletion. 
 
          ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT
Don Jones, Assistant City Manager
 
        Q.   An Ordinance Approving The Execution Of A Tenth Amendment To The Amended And Restated Development Agreement With DEC Land Co. I LLC, And Declaring An Emergency.
(first reading)
See next item.
 
        R.   A Resolution Declaring It Necessary To Improve Public Streets And Easements By Constructing And Installing On Certain Property Within The City Street Improvements, Water And Sewer Lines, Storm Drains, Lighting, Irrigation Lines, Signage, And All Necessary Appurtenances, And Declaring An Emergency.
(first reading)
I'm not absolutely sure I understand the language of item three but this looks like an example so it may be appropriate for a change to the end of the sentence to read, "This legislation will take effect immediately because it makes an "Improvements petitioned for by owners of the requisite majority of the front footage or of the area of the property benefited and to be assessed;" in compliance with Section 5.07 Item (A)(3) of the City Code.  However, given that most people in the city still don't understand mechanism of TIF and Special assessments council really should put together an accurate brochure.  If it takes three readings to make that explanation then they should take three readings. 
 
        S.   An Ordinance Determining To Proceed With The Improvement Of Public Streets And Easements By Constructing And Installing On Certain Property Within The City Street Improvements, Water And Sewer Lines, Storm Drains, Lighting, Irrigation Lines, Signage And All Necessary Appurtenances, And Declaring An Emergency.
(first reading)
  Another possibility for Item (3) and another opportunity to explain how this is required to go along with agenda item R.
 
        T.   An Ordinance To Continue With The Special Assessment For Improvements To A Single Property Owner That Exceeds 15% Of Initial Estimate Described In Ordinance No. 2013-O-2063, And Declaring An Emergency.
(first reading) Another possibility for Item (3)

 
 
        U.   A Resolution Authorizing The City Manager To Enter Into A Public Infrastructure Improvement Agreement With Ohio Valley Christian Alliance For The Construction Of Those Certain Improvements Described In Resolution No. 2013-R-5857 Passed On August 26, 2013 And Ordinance No. 2013-O-2063 Passed On August 26, 2013, And Declaring An Emergency.
(first reading)
  Another possibility for Item (3) or Item (1)
 
          FINANCE DEPARTMENT
Jim Bell, Finance Director
 
        V.   A Resolution Authorizing The City Manager To Expend Funds To Cover The Costs Of Various Goods And Services Ordered By City Departments/Divisions, And Declaring An Emergency.
(first reading)
  Another possibility for  Item (1)
 
        W.   An Ordinance Authorizing Advances And Transfers Between Various Funds Of The City Of Huber Heights, Ohio And Amending Ordinance 2012-O-2005 By Making Supplemental Appropriations For Expenses Of The City Of Huber Heights, Ohio For The Period Beginning January 1, 2013 And Ending December 31, 2013 (Various Capital Improvement And Operations Funding), And Declaring An Emergency.
(first reading)
Another possibility for Item (5) or Item (1)
 
        X.   A Resolution Authorizing The Finance Director To Enter Into Agreements For Other Professional Services As Needed With Plattenburg & Associates In 2014, Increasing The Not To Exceed Amount, And Declaring An Emergency.
(first reading)
Another possibility for Item (1).  Another opportunity to discuss if additional reading are appropriate when it involves long time associations between the city and the contractor.
 
        Y.   An Ordinance Authorizing A One-Time Transfer Of Monies From Various Funds To Document Advances Previously Made To Various Funds, And Declaring An Emergency.
 

(first reading) Another possibility for Item (5) or Item (1)
 
        Z.   A Resolution Authorizing The Finance Director To Identify Those Certain Transfers Made From The General Fund As Advances And Providing For The Return Of Those Advances To The General Fund, Declaring The Intent Of Council, And Declaring An Emergency.
(first reading)
  Another possibility for Item (1).  Not sure I said everything I should have said during the discussion of this item in the Administration meeting. 
 

Rating

Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by Janell) 1 vote
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