December News & Updates
New Leadership on Village Council
Amberley residents, at the November election, voted in six new members to Village Council:
District B – Natalie Wolf
Returning Incumbent: Ed Hattenbach
This will bring more change to the Village during an already transitional period that we are experiencing with the recent retirements in management. Cooperation and understanding will be the key to creating a foundation for everyone to make a successful and smooth transition as we move forward together toward achieving the goals of the Village and providing professional services to our community.
Thanks and gratitude for the service from former Mayor Stillpass, Vice Mayor Chaiken, Council Members Cohen, Conway, Katz and McIntosh.
Each were recognized during the November 14 council meeting and presented a memento of the Village’s appreciation for their service.
The new council term began on December 1 and will run through November 30, 2013 for a two-year term. The swearing-in of the council took place on November 30 and the organizational meeting was held on December 1 where the selections were made for mayor and vice mayor as well as committee and board appointments.
Dec 8 Ad Hoc Advisory Committee 7 p.m.
Rumpke Holiday Pick-Up Schedule
Residents can expect regular trash and recycling collection service from Rumpke through the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. No delays are scheduled. Visit rumpke.com for recycling and trash collection information.
We THRIVE! Mini-Grant Received
The Village has been awarded funding from Hamilton County Public Health to establish a plan for urban agriculture at Amberley Green. To follow this initiative, go to amberleyvillage.org and click on Subscriptions to sign up to receive meeting notifications for upcoming committee meetings on this project. Learn more about We THRIVE!
Voters Approved: Gas & Electric Opt-Out
Amberley residents passed Issues 7 and 8 for aggregated electric and gas purchasing. The Village will begin the implementation process that takes several months. Residents are invited to attend the public hearings scheduled for December 21 at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.
The current opt-in program ends with the December meter reading, so participants may automatically return to Duke Energy for a period of time until a new rate plan receives final approval by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and the new energy aggregation opt-out programs can be implemented.
Reminder: Brush Pick-Up Suspended
Due to recent reductions in personnel, the maintenance department staff will concentrate on bulk leaf collection during this period. Brush pick-up will resume in January.
|What’s Next for the Village Financial Situation?
The Village of Amberley, like your neighbors and so many villages, cities and counties across the nation, has been struggling with declining revenues while trying to maintain expected services. Just as in your family, priorities need to be set and tough decisions have to be made.
So far, Amberley has managed to trim expenses and reduce its staffing without layoffs. Now, the State of Ohio is halving a local government revenue sharing arrangement and has eliminated the estate tax, which provided significant revenue to Amberley. The gap in revenue that we as a Village face is between $1.85 and $2.2 million.
It is important to note that Amberley Village does not share in or receive any income tax withholding on taxes paid by our residents to other communities based on where they work. Instead, all of this withholding is kept by the jurisdiction where the resident is employed. As a result of this tax law, residents who work outside of the Village and pay 2% or more to any other local taxing authority typically pay no local income taxes to Amberley Village.
Working with Council’s Finance Committee, Village Manager Scot Lahrmer recommended a two-part strategy to raise additional revenue. The first part of the revenue strategy is a one percent reduction in the Village’s earnings tax credit, which can be voted on by Village Council. This measure will yield approximately $900,000 in additional General Fund revenues and helps ensure financial stability. Many Amberley Village residents will not be affected by this reduction in the earnings tax credit, but others – particularly those employed in cities like Cincinnati, which have tax rates higher than Amberley’s – can expect to see their withholdings increase.
The second part of the revenue strategy is a 10 mill safety levy that will fund a significant part of our Police/Fire Department. The long-term stability of the General Fund is at stake. Most of the Village services are funded through the General Fund including services from our Police, Fire and Service Departments. The financial strain on the General Fund is intense and the safety levy is intended to create an additional funding source other than what we have relied upon since the Village’s inception in 1955.
The Village Maintenance Department prides itself on its response to winter storms. Our goals are to keep the main roads and priority routes passable and then to clear all streets as soon as possible after the storm has subsided.
The roads are treated in order of priority with the predicted weather in mind:
Here are some things you can to do help the crews work most efficiently:
With residents’ assistance in these matters, plow crews will be able to get the streets cleared with less interference from traffic and parked or stranded vehicles. They’ll be able to cover their routes more quickly.
Advancement in Snow and Ice Removal
The Village Maintenance Department will begin the wide use of salt brine this winter season. Salt brine is a mixture of rock salt and tap water. A brine making system has been implemented which will reduce the Village’s salt usage and allow for more effective pre-treatment of the roadways.
Two Application Methods
Pre-wetting involves spraying the brine onto the rock salt as the salt is distributed from the truck onto the roadway. This treatment activates the “melting” process on contact with snow and ice, and reduces the “bounce” of the rock salt off of the roadway, keeping more of the product where it is needed.
Amberley now joins the many highway departments that have advanced their snow and ice control methods to include this technology.