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January News & Updates

The 2013 Budget

Village Council approved the 2013 Budget at its December meeting. While the deficit projection for 2012 is estimated at $1.3 million, the 2013 Budget does not reflect a deficit.  This was accomplished via a multi-faceted approach to controlling costs, the voter-approved police levy and becoming more strategic in doing business differently. 

The 2013 Budget reflects the continuation of several re-engineering strategies that help drive down costs:

  • Not replacing positions that become vacant. Obviously, we will not always be able to do this, but we are challenging ourselves to think differently and work with less.
  • Strategic changes to police staffing through schedule modification and use of part-time dispatchers has resulted in reduced overtime.  
  • Employee wages have been frozen since 2010.  
  • Employees increased their contribution to healthcare from 10% to 15% effective August 1, 2012 as well as increased out-of-pocket deductibles and co-payments.
  • Payroll has been streamlined through outsourcing.
  • The full time tax administrator position has been reduced to part-time hours.
  • New cruisers have not been purchased since 2010 and instead council authorized the purchase of used cruisers from another community.
  • Deferring equipment and vehicle replacements.
  • Council packets were transitioned to paperless, digital packets.
  • Contracted with Hamilton County for hydrant replacement, achieving higher economies of scale for replacement parts and reduction of maintenance costs.
  • Waste consortium is enabling the Village to reduce its waste collection cost.

The 2013 Budget is very lean and assumes the cost savings that have been realized will continue into the future. The foundation for the budget included minimizing departmental increases and reducing line items requests with continued focus on providing excellent services in the most cost effective and efficient manner. It does not include any additional full time personnel, assumes staffing levels remain stagnant for the most part, and costs are controlled. It also assumes the collection and continuation of the police levy, revenues staying constant, steady employment at businesses in the Village and stable property values.

To provide police and fire, administration, maintenance and zoning services to the Village residents, the staffing funded in the 2013 Budget includes 31 full time positions, down  4 positions since 2011:

16        Police/fire officers
4        Clerks/dispatchers
4        Administrative positions
  7_      Service/Maintenance personnel/firefighters
31        Total

Highlights of some of the items included in the 2013 Budget: 

  • Part time dispatching for Silverton, which will be more than off-set by revenue from providing this service.
  • Contracting for thermal imaging for the deer count.
  • 3 Taser replacements.
  • A $10,000 increase in emergency medical services fee as part of the contractual arrangement with Golf Manor and Deer Park/Silverton Joint Fire District.
  • Bi-annual print newsletter.
  • Replacement of 1998 dump truck and 1992 chipper.

What has not been included in the 2013 budget is just as important since the Village’s austerity program has delayed purchases and investments into our infrastructure. These items well exceed what the Village can afford but must be factored into future budgets. In addition, addressing unfunded liabilities of the Village must be taken into consideration. While expenses have been reduced and staffing has been restructured, the Village still has significant work ahead of itself to fully address our long term financial health but excellent progress has been made.

Calendar Events

Jan 7 Board of Zoning Appeals 7 p.m.
Jan 14 Council Meeting 6:30 p.m.
Jan 21 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Closed
Jan 29 Public Hearing 4 p.m.

Watch the December Council Meeting
Council meetings can also be watched on Time Warner Cable Channel 4 on Thursdays at 7 p.m. and Fridays at 10 a.m.

Upcoming Meeting

Village Council will hold a public hearing on January 29 at 4 p.m. to consider entering into a contract with Sycamore Township to designate a Joint Economic Development Zone (JEDZ).  The public hearing will be held in Council Chambers at the Amberley Municipal Building, 7149 Ridge Road. The public hearing shall allow for public comment and recommendations on the contract and zone. The following documents are on file in the Village Manager’s office for public viewing:  (1) A copy of the contract designating the zone; (2) A description of the area including a map; and (3) An economic development plan for the zone.

As governments trend toward consolidating services, Amberley and Sycamore Township are looking to create a Joint Economic Development Zone. The proposed JEDZ is an additional opportunity for the Village to work with another governmental jurisdiction. Amberley Village Council and the Sycamore Trustees must pass legislation allowing for the JEDZ but the decision to create the zone ultimately lies with Sycamore Township voters. 

Brush Pick-Up Resumes in January

Example of good brush pileWith bulk leaf collection completed on December 31, the maintenance department will resume brush pick-up in January.

As you may recall, reductions in personnel required the maintenance department staff to concentrate on bulk leaf collection during November and December.

View brush guidelines

Christmas Tree Recycling

The brush crew will chip Christmas trees at the curb along with residents’ brush. Trees set out for chipping must be completely free of debris such as ornaments, wiring, lights, tree stands, and should not be bagged.

Check out this video from Hamilton County Recycles to view the lifecycle of a Christmas tree. It’s very possible that the Christmas tree you recycle will be reused as mulching wood chips by a neighbor right here in the Village!

Call Ahead for Large Trash Items

Rumpke’s service includes collection of six, 32-gallon cans or bags per pick-up. Cans and bags should not exceed 50 pounds. Please do not place trash at the curb in boxes. All boxes should be broken down and bundled. Please call Rumpke at 742-2900 at least 24 hours before your regularly scheduled collection to request a large item pick-up for acceptable large items, and/or excessive amounts of trash.

Day to Day Home Safety

With burglaries on the rise throughout the county, here are some Home Safety Tips to deter intruders.

  • Use lighting to show signs of life in the house, dark homes day after day sends a message that you are away on a trip.
  • Be sure to set your home’s alarm while you are away.
  • Exterior lighting should allow 100 feet of visibility.
  • Use light timers or photo-cells to turn on/off lights automatically.
  • Use infra-red motion sensor lights on the rear of the home.
  • A well lit home exterior makes it difficult for a burglar to approach unseen.
  • Use highly visible alarm decals, “beware of dog” decals or block watch decals.
  • AN UNLOCKED LOCK IS NOT A LOCK! Remember to keep your doors locked even when you are home.
  • Do not hide a second key. Burglars know the hiding spots and will look for keys.
  • Remember to keep your doors closed and locked, including the garage door if you are working outside. 
  • House numbers are very important. They should be large enough to be seen from the roadway and should be visible both day and night. This will help the police, fire or any emergency unit locate your residence quickly.
  • Store small portable items such as laptops, small electronics, wallets/purses away from windows and doors.
  • Store ladders in the garage or keep them locked with a bicycle lock.
  • Avoid allowing strangers into your home. Ask for identification of anyone coming to your home uninvited.  If you are not sure, call the Police at 531-2040.
  • Do not allow strangers to use your telephone.
  • A wide angle door viewer on your door is a must if visibility is not otherwise possible.
  • If you’re going to be away from your home for extended periods of time, allow a neighbor to park in your driveway and offer to do the same for them.
  • If something doesn’t seem right to you, call the Police immediately.
  • Making notes of your observations is very helpful if the police need to be involved. Details such as license plate number, physical description of the person, and vehicle, including the last direction they were traveling will help the police in any investigation.
Home-Heating Safety

While it’s tempting on a cold winter night to leave a fire going in the fireplace or a space heater on at bedtime, think again. These devices can become extremely dangerous if not used properly.  Amberley’s Public Safety Department recommends these guidelines:

  • Space heaters need space. Keep all things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
  • Turn portable heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
  • Plug power cords only into outlets with sufficient capacity and never into an extension cord.
  • Inspect for cracked, frayed or broken plugs or loose connections, and replace before using.
  • Have your chimney inspected each year and cleaned if necessary.
  • Use a sturdy fireplace screen.
  • Allow ashes to cool before disposing. Dispose of ashes in a metal container.
  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home so that when one sounds, they all sound. Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
  • Install and maintain a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area.
  • Never use an oven to heat your home.
Quarterly Payment Due?

If you expect to owe Amberley income taxes for 2012 and they aren’t deducted from your paycheck, the Tax Office would like to remind you that it’s time to make a quarterly payment.  Every person who anticipates any taxable income for 2012 and the income is not subject to withholding by employer or taxable by another municipality should be making quarterly declaration payments. The 2012 4th quarter estimated payment is due Thursday, January 31, 2013. Please make your final quarterly payment on or before that date. If you need assistance or have questions about your estimated payment please call the Tax Office at (513)531-0130. Tax Office hours are 8 am to
5 pm, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

E-File Available for 2012 Tax Filing

The Village is in the process of updating our tax software and making e-file of village income tax returns available to residents and tax preparers. Residents will receive a letter in January explaining the new online tax preparation.   Please do not discard!  This letter will include a PIN number to securely access and file your 2012 Amberley Village income tax return online. If completed online, you will still need to mail the completed form with backup documents. Blank tax forms will still be available on our website for printing if you wish to prepare by hand.