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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

Music Center Financials

Category: Huber Heights City Government

We have new financials for the music center posted on the City Website:

Look for the new numbers on the bottom of this page.

Or go to it directly here


It is much more complete than anything we've seen assemble previously.  Look it over and start a discussion in the comments below.  

Update - April 16, 2016

How is everyone coming along with their review of the Financials?  When I started to

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Where do TIF dollars come from?

Category: Huber Heights City Government

We had a very good discussion about the Carriage Trails Investment/Subsidies at the Council Work session last night.  Looking at the social media discussions I see there are still a lot of questions.  I'll start with one of the basics:  Where do TIF dollars come from?

Then I'll talk about some of the other items I've been asking staff to provide for more than 6 months.  
1.  Is using the TIF dollars

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Carriage Trails discussion

Category: Huber Heights City Government

The first reading of the 17th amendment to the Carriage Trails development occurred at the last council meeting.  There is much interest on this subject from all over the city.  If you don't have any background you can start by reading the Summary that the Assistant City manager and I worked on to document some of the financial benefits we see as a result of the development.  Read the Summary.  You

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Meeting Packet full of information  - Water Softening, Rose Music C…

Category: Huber Heights City Government

The agenda for the Work Session,  this Tuesday at 6:00 pm at City Hall, has good read ahead materials for every agenda item.  I'm very happy council and staff have come together to provide this service for you.  The objective is for the City's website to become the one stop place for residents to reference when they need complete information about the issues of the city.  With the…

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Update on Ward 5 appointment

Category: Huber Heights City Government

Tuesday March 1st, I sent two letters to all members of City Council.  I've posted them below.  


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Council,

I thought I would provide an update on the ongoing search.  I was attempting to reach out to the elected representative to inquire if she would consider resuming her position.  She declined to contact me personally but

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Older news

February 9th 2016, 12:05 AM Energy Aggregation on the ballot this election 4 comments
February 6th 2016, 12:19 PM YMCA discussion and the Feb 2nd Work Session 0 comments
January 17th 2016, 8:24 AM Water Softening Discussion 1 comment
January 8th 2016, 10:05 PM Controversy, Controversy,  Controversy 0 comments
January 4th 2016, 6:57 AM Anatomy of a Newspaper Article 0 comments
January 3rd 2016, 12:53 PM School Board opening Huber Heights City Schools - apply ASAP 2 comments
January 2nd 2016, 1:05 PM Goodbye 2015, hello 2016 1 comment
December 19th 2015, 2:59 AM Music Center profit loss discussion - this is fun. 2 comments
November 29th 2015, 11:02 PM What does The Impact Group do for the City? 0 comments
November 14th 2015, 10:29 AM Brandt Pike revitalization, Bike paths and Roundabouts 3 comments
November 5th 2015, 11:16 PM Election is over.   0 comments
November 1st 2015, 1:49 PM DDN article concerning staff at General Council Meetings 1 comment
October 29th 2015, 11:10 PM Letter to Ward 6 residents 0 comments
October 25th 2015, 4:32 PM Recent videos from Local 2926 interviews 4 comments
October 15th 2015, 7:12 PM $17 million or $8.5 million council chooses $8.5 0 comments
October 10th 2015, 2:01 PM Election message for the residents of Huber Heights 0 comments
October 3rd 2015, 1:12 PM Ed Lyons - Thank you council for a billion dollars! 0 comments
September 28th 2015, 1:10 AM Update  15  Oct  –  Another $579,000 wasted by Council 1 comment
September 23rd 2015, 9:32 PM Update $651,651 (not $1 Million) dollar deficit in City Budget 0 comments
July 18th 2015, 12:25 AM Family Disc Golf Day August 9th 0 comments

Recent Comments

Carriage Trails discussion

I am a resident of Carriage Trails and also a resident of Huber Heights, as Carriage Trails is in Huber. With that being said city council is doing their due diligence by gathering as much information on this subject as possible. From what I have seen and gathered over the past couple weeks; are people seem to reacting with a lot of emotion, which in my experience can cloud critical thinking and ideal perception from sound decision making. Looking at this as a big picture standpoint as the City of Huber Heights, not just Carriage Trails, it is imperative to take into account whether or not the government subsistence is needed to further the development of Carriage Trails. The reason being; if the money is not needed to further develop and sell lots in Carriage Trails then the reality is the City could use that money for many other important things such as paying off debt for the aquatic center, the rose music center, and for water & sewer. However, if the research shows the sale of homes will diminish, slow, or stop if the subsistence is not paid then it may be a benefit for the City to pay the subsistence.  With all of that being said, things I would like to know; are there other developers; or has the city entertained the idea, to look at other developers to see if there is any interest to take over the project if DEC pulls out? Is $199,000 the minimum DEC would take to continue to develop the 25 lots or has the city thought about offering a $50,000 or $100, 000 as a counter offer to DEC? That is not to say they can't pay the full asking price of $199,000 but this is simple negotiating tactics. As a citizen who has to manage my family budget if I can save money somewhere I am going to take advantage of it and do it. City council, in my opinion, has the same mentality which is why they are looking into this in order to make an informed decision. Other things I've heard from others representing some of Carriage Trails residents is if the developer pulls out the home values will drastically drop, HOA fees will quadruple, and the current residents will lose horrifically. This could all be true; however, I have not seen any facts to back up those comments. Dry Run LLC is the current company who cuts grass for the HOA, owned by Ken Conaway, who also is a stakeholder in DEC, to my understanding. I would be confident if the HOA were turned over to the residents and the mowing bid was publically open for contracts the free market system would prevail and a company would be willing to cut grass for less; therefore, not quadrupling the HOA fees. These are simply my thoughts and opinions. I do not want to see Carriage Trails fail as I have a vested interest; however, I do not want to see Huber Heights fail because we are all Huber residents. I will stop with this; if the new lots being developed are sold for more money than what earlier residents paid for their lots then in the long run this can/will raise property value for the residents of Carriage Trails. Obviously, this assumes the lots would still be sold at a higher price; however, if the lots would sell then not only does create a higher value for the existing homes already built it increases the revenue stream for the city…

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Open Letter to Council - It's time to do all of our debate in public

Why don't you ask Janell why she changed her mind rather than speculate that it was due to discussion with other council members.  Too much speculation of other people's motives in this whole situation.

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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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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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