September News & Updates
Ice Cream Social Tradition Continues
The weather was perfect at this year’s Ice Cream Social on August 19. Amberley officers were on hand that evening with safety information and demonstrations, as well as the Golf Manor Life Squad and the Blue Ash K-9 unit. The fire truck showered the tennis courts creating a cool place for the kids to play.
Along with music and dancing, children enthusiastically participated in the kids’ bike parade led by Officer Andrea Alt.
Special thanks to Amy Rubenstein who coordinated the event. Amy did an amazing job of ensuring the success of the event in the face of budget challenges. Special recognition and thanks to all those who volunteered. It is the dedication of these individuals who enjoy giving back to their community that makes an event like this a great success.
Re-Zoning the North Site Property
After the required public hearings, Village Council, at its August 13 meeting, approved the North Site District Regulations recommended by the Village Planning Commission. The regulations were drafted by the Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission. Principal permitted uses for this district include office, flex office/warehouse, hotels/motels, nursing homes, recreational uses, government/public buildings/facilities, universities, and other educational facilities. Residential use was excluded as part of the overall plan for this site.
With the zoning district established, Council took the next step in the process to re-zone the North Site. A resolution was approved to refer a draft ordinance to the Planning Commission that would apply the North Site District zoning to the North Site property. A public hearing will be held by the Planning Commission at its October 1 meeting at 7 p.m. at Village Hall to consider the rezoning.
Police Department Selected to Form Task Force
The Amberley Village Police Department has been invited to join The Greater Cincinnati Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force. The goal of the organization is to investigate and prosecute the increasing number of cases of child sexual exploitation and abuse.
This task force will be led by the U.S. Attorney’s office and will be comprised of 11 agencies, federal, county and local. Chief Wallace commented that, “This is an honor for members of this department to be involved in such an important organization.”
Seat Belt Safety
One of the most effective measures a person can take to prevent injury or death in a motor vehicle crash is to be restrained in a seat belt.
On average, more than 60 percent of people killed in crashes are not properly restrained. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate to critical injury by 50 percent.
The Amberley Village Police Department is a member of the Hamilton County OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired) Task Force and has a zero tolerance approach when it comes to seat belts. We participate in programs such as “Click-It or Ticket” to help improve seat belt safety and awareness.
Sept 3 Labor Day – Offices Closed
Watch the August Council Meeting
Curb Work Underway
Residents may have already noticed that curb work started recently as part of the 2012 Street Improvement Program.
Deteriorated sections of curb and gutters will be replaced on Sagamore Drive, Dot Drive, Crestdale Court, and North and Whitetree Circle. Residents will be notified by the contractor, Prus Construction, prior to work beginning if their driveway will be blocked or otherwise inaccessible.
Join Your Neighbors at the AG
Residents are gathering the first Thursday each month to help care for the trees on this beautiful property. The next date is Sept. 6 at 6:30 p.m. The group will meet in the parking lot of Amberley Green.
Next Block Watch Meeting – Oct. 3
Residents are encouraged to attend the next block watch meeting tentatively set for October 3 at 7 p.m. in the community room at Village Hall. No registration required.
Get valuable information to keep your neighborhood safe and help your police officers keep crime down. You will not be asked to “walk a beat.” Residents will receive crime prevention techniques to be vigilant with home security and watch over their neighborhood.
At the upcoming September 10 Council meeting, Mayor J.K. Byar will present a proclamation declaring September as Block Watch Month in Amberley Village.
Brush Pick-Up Suspended
As of part of the Village’s on-going efforts to streamline its operations with a reduced staff, the maintenance department staff will concentrate on bulk leaf collection during this period.
Brush pick-up will resume in January. The last pick-up for residents would be their regularly scheduled pick-up day during the week of October 8-12.
FREE Electronics Recycling
Through October 31st, Hamilton County residents can drop off their outdated electronics for proper recylcing at no cost. Items accepted: TVs, CPUs, hard drives, personal copiers, docking stations, monitors, scanners, printers, cellular telephones, tape and disk drives, tapes (VHS, Beta, Cassette, 8-track) VCR and DVD players, mice, modems, computer speakers, CD Rom devices, and laptops.
|Village Pursuing Grants
The Village will apply for grants from the State of Ohio’s Local Government Innovation Fund (LGIF) that are available to communities. The LGIF was established by the State legislature to provide financial assistance to Ohio political subdivisions for projects that promote collaboration, merger, and shared services among local governments. Village Council approved two resolutions last month to apply for grants that would position the Village to benefit from shared services and off-set some costs related to bidding the Village’s waste collection contract.
The first grant involves the communities of Silverton, Deer Park and Amberley Village which have been discussing how the three communities might share services and provide improved services through collaboration, aimed at reducing overall costs. Applying for grant funding could further fund analyses about savings the three communities could realize.
The second grant involves working with the Center for Local Government (CLG) on bidding waste collection for communities.
Grants bring tax dollars back to our community and Amberley Village seeks grants from Federal, State, and local sources to supplement the Village budget and provide programs and projects to benefit the residents of the Village.
|Keeping Amberley Beautiful
Driving through Amberley Village can transport you to a place of beauty and serenity with tree-lined streets of mature trees, one-acre lots, and open green spaces that provide Amberley its unique ambience. The impact of efficient Village services and environmental stewardship is at the heart of this picturesque experience. It’s hard to believe, but the streets and right-of-ways in Amberley generate an average of 159 30-gallon bags of trash per year! Can you imagine? That is like collecting 4,770 one-gallon milk jugs from Village streets! In addition, 134 dead animals and 24 dead deer are removed from the right-of-ways on average.
The Village’s Maintenance Department does an outstanding job of keeping Amberley’s roadways pristine, while delivering services in a very efficient manner. As crews work through the grass cutting routes, they also pick up the trash and debris along the roadways. Effective dual services are a key element in maintaining a healthy and beautiful community.
|Village Composting – Where Do Your Leaves and Brush Go?
Do you ever wonder what happens to the brush and leaves that you set out at the curb for pick-up? The material is stockpiled at the North Site as a compost pile. The Village’s Maintenance Department collects an average of 2,436 cubic yards of chips and logs and 4,655 cubic yards of leaves per year.
The Village’s composting operation has produced recycled material to be used by residents, the Village and commerical operations. Wood chips are used to mulch around the Village’s trees, bushes, paths and trails, and as a very effective erosion control barrier on a large construction projects saving the Village thousands of dollars.
The leaf compost has been utilized by the Maintenance Department as a soil amendment when planting trees and bushes and was added to the soil in the rain garden and bio-swale along the walking track during the construction phase. Commerically, the wood chips and leaf mulch have supplied the raw materials that would eventually become mulch, finished compost, bio-filters, and even boiler fuel.
Composting regulations require the Village to remove 25% of the stockpiled material annually. Since 2011, the Maintenance Department has an arrangement with a local tree contractor to haul and recycle the wood chips and leaf compost free of charge. This is a savings to the Village of $4,000-5000 annually. By maintaining the composting program, the Village is able to provide an efficient brush pick-up service to the residents with the added benefit of free wood chip delivery, create material for re-use on Village projects, and save the cost of disposal fees if the material were hauled away. This is a significant example of efficiency in our service operations, a great savings to the Village, and an exemplary model for recycling and keeping material out of the local landfill.
|Energy Aggregation Update – Natural Gas
Now that Amberley’s successful electric aggregation program is in place and residents are saving money, it’s time to save money on natural gas. Residents who currently use Duke Energy as their natural gas supplier will automatically be included in the Village’s new natural gas program.
If you are a current Duke natural gas customer, you will receive an “Opt Out Letter” from IGS and Amberley Village. This notice will identify IGS as the Village’s natural gas provider and will confirm the rate to be charged for services, as well as other terms and conditions of the program.
Residents who receive the “Opt Out Letter” and who wish to participate, do not need to do anything further since participation is automatic. Those who do not want to participate will have 21 days from the postmark date of the notice to decline the offer by notifying IGS.
At the conclusion of the 21 day period, Duke Energy will send a second notice to residents confirming their choice to leave Duke Energy and have IGS provide natural gas service. Following this seven day period, and upon the resident’s next meter reading date, the resident should begin receiving service from IGS under the Village’s program. As with our electric aggregation program, the IGS rate will be reflected on the customer’s Duke Energy bill. Customers will continue to receive their bill from Duke Energy, which continues to provide the actual distribution of natural gas in Amberley Village.
The Village has chosen to do a variable rate plan for the near future after reviewing prices for longer term fixed rates which were not advantageous given current market supplies and forecasted demand. Keep in mind that Duke’s natural gas rates fluctuate on a monthly basis. Electricity prices tend to be stable, while natural gas rates frequently adjust with the market. As a result, some months may find the program’s rates higher than Duke Energy, but for the majority of the time, the program rates should be lower. Initially, the IGS rate will change monthly until there is more stability in the natural gas market. At that time the rate will be fixed and you will be informed when this occurs. You may opt-out of the program at any time without any additional cost to you.
All utilities are permitted to collect an Ohio Excise Tax (OET) from its customers and ultimately those receipts go to the State of Ohio. The OET current rate is 4.89%.
While the OET stays in place for electric aggregation pricing, when a customer or community starts purchasing natural gas from an alternative supplier, the OET is supplanted by the local sales tax. For Hamilton County, the current sales tax rate is 6.5% and is reflected separately on the customer’s Duke Energy bill. Normally when alternative natural gas suppliers are soliciting customers, this tax issue is not mentioned during that solicitation, whether by mail or telephone.