Committee Chair Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins called the meeting to order at 6:01 p.m. Members of the Committee in attendance were Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins, Mr. Licht, Mr. Hoefle. Also attending from Council were Ms. DePledge and Mr. Evers. Council President D’Ambrosio and Ms. Vaughn were absent and excused.
Present from the Administration were Mayor Morley, Finance Director Slocum and City Engineer Gwydir.
Also in attendance was Tim Miller, Director of Lake County Storm Water Management Department.
LAKE COUNTY STORM WATER MANGEMENT PROGRAM
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: We are here to discuss the Lake County Storm Water Management Program. Mayor, do you have any comments?
Mayor Morley: I met with Mr. Miller, Mr. Gwydir and Mr. Slocum about a month ago. Also, I have been talking to Willowick’s Mayor Bonde whose City is in this program and with Willoughby’s Mayor Anderson who is considering going into this program. Willoughby has not joined yet but they are looking into it.
Mr. Miller: I am meeting with their Council next week.
Mayor Morley: I thought we would ask Mr. Miller to provide us information on the Lake County Storm Water Management Program. Presently we do it at $6 per year and talking with Mayor Bonde I think there are things that could help us with some of our issues. When we agreed to stay on our own at $6 we had more people in the Service Department to do the checks. I do not know if we are lax on them but we may not be doing them and upgrading as well as what the County could do for us. I want to see what Council thinks after the presentation. This is a fact-finding presentation.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: Mr. Miller, would you like to tell us what you have for us?
Mr. Miller: Thank you for having me here. As Mayor Morley mentioned I did meet with them about a month ago. I have been the Director of the Lake County Storm Water Department and have been in that capacity for about seven years. I want to explain what exactly the Department is, why we exist, what your responsibilities are on your own, what your responsibilities would be if you come into the Storm Water Department and basically how our agency can benefit the City and some of the things we have done in other communities.
Basically as a result of the Clean Water Act of the 1970’s at one point the USEPA required communities to have a storm water program or a plan in place to eliminate what they call point discharges – meaning end of pipe. Remember when the river caught on fire – what they determined is that industrial factories were dumping material from the end of a pipe to a point discharge into the water. They created that and required municipalities and agencies to correct those deficiencies. They also included verbiage that they wanted at some point municipalities to create or develop a storm water program to eliminate non-point discharges meaning surface water. So, when you have a parking lot we wanted to develop a program to eliminate pollutants that are entering our water box. So, in 2003 the EPA started really cracking down on that. In 2001-2002 the County started looking at the possibility of creating a storm water utility or district of all the municipalities within Lake County that were mandated to have these storm water programs. Eastlake is mandated to have a storm water program and you do have a storm water program that C.T. Consultants and the Service Department are administering. As part of the USEPA mandated storm water program the Ohio EPA developed a permit. Basically the permit is all of your rivers, streams, lakes, etc. are considered to be waters of the State. So, the State has a permit that is allowing you as the City of Eastlake and we as Lake County to discharge our storm sewers into their waters. As part of that permit they said that when you develop your storm water program there are six minimum control measures that have to be in your plan. That is basically the mandate – that is the requirement. Those six minimum control measures are what we are charged to do – the first is:
Minimum Control Measure #1: This deals with public education. We have to have components of our program to educate the public about pollutants and storm water and what they cause and what they do and how you has a homeowner or individual can implement the best management practices (BMP’s) to improve the quality of storm water run-off that enters our water bodies.
Minimum Control Measure #2: This is public participation. Not only did they want us to try to educate the public but try to get them engaged. So we go out to festivals and fairs and try to do interactive exhibits to try to educate the public and get them participating in storm water functions. Early on we tried to do some storm drain stenciling – have the boy scouts put medallions on your storm drains indicating that it drains to a river and that waste should not be dumped into it. But that kind of went by the wayside due to legal issues of having kids in streets with cars. We are always trying to look for ways to get the public engaged in storm water issues.
Minimum Control Measure #3: This is illicit discharge detection and elimination program. What that means is as mentioned with the pipe discharging into the waters of the State we are required to sample those storm water outfalls. It is called dry weather screening and that means it must be after 72 hours after a rainfall. Within 72 hours the pipe may still be draining some storm water from residual water ways. So, after 72 hours we test and if we find flow in an out fall we have to test it and if it comes back to be negative or clean water – no harm no foul – we document it and call it good. If it is an illicit discharge – that is any flow coming out of that pipe that is not entirely comprised of storm water. When we sample it if we find any kind of pollutant in the water we have to trace it back to the source and eliminate it. There may a machine shop that has maybe has a flow drain in their shop that they do not know where it drains to and it is inadvertently connected to the storm sewer and they have a machine that breaks and oil gets into the drain and into the storm sewer. We have to find that business and make them correct it. That is a requirement of the permit. It is no different than if Mr. Gwydir had a crew out and the Service Department found it – you would have to have an ordinance on the books to do that. In addition to that requirement we also have to create a storm sewer map of your system and provide that to the Ohio EPA so they know if we do find a discharge and have to track it we have to know where the pipes go and run. If they are underground we have to know where they are.
Minimum Control Measure #4: This is an erosion and sediment control regulation. Any disturbance of land greater than 1 acre requires an erosion and sediment control plan. That plan must be submitted. You have to have BMP’s of silt fence or erosion control netting, seeding, getting the area seeded down in a time period. In the permit there are time frames and requirements that you have to meet.
Minimum Control Measure #5: Post construction BMP – this is if there is a development or construction activity that disturb that one acre not only do you have to control the sediment during construction but they want you to have some kind of practice on that site that when the storm water leaves the site it is clean. So, there is a water quality basin – that is a detention basin for which there is a 48-hour draw down time. You want to hold that water and let the pollutants or the sediments settle out and have that water slowly be removed and drained from the basin. There are other engineering requirements that fall under that. It really does not come into play with you guys. We just have to make sure if we are audited by the EPA that we meet all those requirements they spell out.
Minimum Control Measure #6: That is pollution prevention and good housekeeping. This is your municipal yard or operations the City of Eastlake runs – if you had a waste water treatment plant or a water plant or your municipal yard where you are storing your road salt, road materials, etc. – you have to have a plan in place for that facility as well because the EPA is saying that if we are requiring developers and contractors to do all this you had better have your house in order too.
So, these are the six minimum control measures and we have a plan in place and we are administering those just as the City of Eastlake has a plan in place that you are addressing as well. What our program does is we have pulled our resources – right now we have 15 communities within Lake County that are all at Level II. I can speak about Level I but communities have found it is not a benefit to them. Level I communities receive the services of MCM #1, #2, and #3 – public education, public participating and the illicit discharge sampling. Everything else was on them. With Level II which is where all our 15 communities are at now the Lake County Storm Water Department assists the municipalities with administering all six minimum control measures and we also have a funding stream for capital improvements and operation and maintenance of your storm sewer system. So, currently that fee is $1.25 per month per residential unit. For a non-residential unit we utilize our GIS department and look at a non-residential parcel of land and use aerial photography to determine the amount of impervious area on the site. By determining the amount of impervious area we have determined early on when developing the program that an equivalent residential unit that is being charged the flat fee of $1.25 per month – we calculated out an average half acre lot with a 2,000 square foot house and two car garage and concrete driveway was about 3,050 square feet of impervious area. We took that number and used it as an equivalent residential unit for a non-residential. You take your big box store and calculate the impervious area on site and divide it by 3,050 square feet and there are 25 equivalent half acre houses on this area and it is multiplied out – that is how their fee is generated.
Mr. Licht: You mentioned the aerial view – some of the BMP is concrete is porous – how can you tell that from an aerial?
Mr. Miller: We probably can’t. If we know those practices are in place when we digitize that site we can say this is all porous concrete – do not calculate that. Sometimes, especially in rural area like Madison Township we might look at site which looks like it has a concrete parking lot but it is gravel. If we have a question we will run out and check it or if we have to certify the rains by the end of the year and if it gets to the time where we don’t have the time or manpower to check it we will go ahead and bill it and then when we have time check it and if it is erroneous we will issue them a credit.
Mr. Licht: Do you do that on a yearly basis?
Mr. Miller: We have been perfecting it since 2003. In 2003 it was a new thing and we had people who were questioning the charge and whether or not it was accurate and we had guys physically measuring to double check. Now we pretty much have them dialed in but they will spot check to see if they are accurate and pull certain parcels every year. We have 15 communities and have over 50,000 customers that get a storm water charge and we when the property tax bills go out we typically get 5-6 calls a year. When we get them we check them out but we do not get a lot of calls requesting that.
Mr. Slocum: On your initial layout do you provide information – I am especially concerned with our commercial owners – if they have porous cement or if they have already developed a retention pond?
Mr. Miller: If the retention ponds are grass they will not be charged.
Mr. Gwydir: With WalMart we have a storm water code and they did some BMP’s with the islands in the parking lot and porous concrete. We want to make sure the businesses are covered and not double charged for those practices.
Mr. Miller: We do have a credit manual and we have had very few people take advantage of it. But, we have also had very few people put those practices in place. In that type of case if we know that particular business utilizes BMP’s and you can say as the engineer that you feel that has reduced the run-off to our system by about 20% you can ask us to consider giving WalMart a 20% discount because of that – then we would do that.
Mr. Gwydir: I think the Building Department can produce those documents because it is notable.
Mr. Licht: Is that something on a yearly basis that you can look at the building permits to see.
Mr. Miller: Yes. We take the building permits to determine if a business has put on an addition or paved more parking lots so we know what that area is without having to redigitize that parcel and we can add it to that.
Mayor Morley: Do you have a mechanism if a business has a dispute?
Mr. Miller: We have an advisory board and as part of that board we don’t necessarily have bylaws but if there is a discrepancy it can be brought to the advisory board and they can make that determination.
Mr. Slocum: Do you have written procedures if a homeowner would call – what are the procedures for dealing with this?
Mr. Miller: If we have a business that disagrees with the calculation we go out and verify it.
Mr. Slocum: Do we play any role in that? If one of our businesses objects what role if any do we play if there is an objection to the amount of your charge?
Mr. Miller: I suppose someone from your Building or Service Departments can go out and measure it with our guy and if it comes back that is what the measurement is there is nothing to dispute. An impervious area is an impervious area. I don’t know how you dispute it. At one point we had to compromise with the nurseries in the rural areas because they had a lot of – it is difficult because with their operations even though they had gravel for their roadways and parking lots because of the heavy equipment that is on there the gravel is no longer impervious – you are getting run-off. But, to compromise with them we only charge them 85% based on their gravel areas to give them a little credit. On the flip side I don’t think we should have done that because in the winter months they put up plastic huts and turn the entire sire impervious and we don’t charge more during those three months when we know every amount of rain that hits those huts is running off the site and we have serious flooding downstream because of it.
Mr. Licht: It sounds like you handle each complaint on a case by case basis. There is no standard.
Mr. Miller: Case by case – we have the number – 3,050 square feet. We calculate the impervious area on the site through the aerial photography and if there seems to be discrepancy we will go out and measure it.
Mayor Morley: I think that is a good backup – that our Building Department or they do that for any discrepancy.
Mr. Slocum: Has the 3,050 changed?
Mr. Miller: No. It is been the same. I get literature about storm water programs throughout the country and that number varies anywhere from 3,000 to 3,500. It is a pretty standard number.
That is how our fees our calculated – currently it is $1.25 per month per year and it is placed on the property tax duplicate so when the tax bills go out it is on the tax bill as a storm water fee. When that money comes in to our Department we have 15 agencies. We don’t have line items for each community but all the money we collect comes into our budget. We establish our budget the way you do – salaries, OPERS, workers comp, all the way down the line and then we have a project line item. Anything that does not go into the administration goes into the projects. That pool of money is then divided up between the communities. Because we are billing on an equivalent residential unit basis (ERU) we know how much we are collecting from each community. It varies. We calculate the dollar pear ERU that it takes to administer the six minimum control measures for every community. We can then determine by how many ERU’s the City of Eastlake would have how and much it is costing us to administer the program. So, out of your collection that would be about $224,000. We would take off how much whatever that will cost to do the MCM’s 1-6 and the rest goes back to the community in the forms of projects and operation and maintenance. Most of that is to be chosen by the Service Director, City Engineer, City Council. It is important to note that you know your City better than I do. I will not come in here and say – within reason I have to watch what kind of projects we fund – but, I will not say we should not do a project in one area because we need to be in another area. That is not my role – that is your role – to determine where you want to spend the money. This agency is an avenue to get that money to you so we can do that.
Mayor Morley: Some of the things I brought up were – with our limited manpower – Corporation Creek. With us being in this group they could contract that out and utilize the people to go in there to clean it.
Mr. Licht: Why couldn’t the City contract?
Mr. Miller: We can get very creative. We have done a lot of different things.
Mayor Morley: We could hire out and give them the bill.
Mr. Miller: You could do that. You could also say it is cleaner and easier if we hire a contractor and pay them and then get reimbursed. Sometimes that is easier but if you hire a contractor and send it to me I have to make sure that vendor is in the system.
Mayor Morley: That was my point – they would handle it for us.
Mr. Miller: Painesville Twp. needed a ditch cleaned and their Service Department could not handle it – they asked us to get quotes from three contractors and handle it. We did that. In other cases they would say it is not a big deal – they would do the work and send us a bill for reimbursement. We have also had communities use their own guys to do the work and we would reimburse them for the time and material. What I don’t want to get into and I hope you can appreciate it – going to fix the little bird bath in Mrs. Smith’s backyard.
Ms. DePledge: We would not want to do that either.
Mr. Miller: But, if there are expectations for this agency to be part of that I don’t want this.
Mayor Morley: What about catch basins?
Mr. Miller: We have a street sweeper we can put into a community twice a year for street sweeping purposes. We also have the ability to clean catch basins. Our guys only work 4-10’s during the summer so Monday through Thursday they can come out to the City and with the assistance of your Service Department – we only have one guy in the truck. We would send them out and you would have a couple of guys who could flag traffic and pop manhole lids?
Mayor Morley: How about rebuilds?
Mr. Miller: That would probably be a case by case thing. We try to stay more in lines of trunk sewers, regional drainage ditches – we don’t want to be your Service Department.
Mr. Gwydir: Is the street cleaning and basins coming out of the administrative costs or out of the capital side after the administrative costs?
Mr. Miller: The purchase of the street sweeper came out of the administrative side.
Mr. Gwydir: I mean to come here – to come here and clean out a catch basin – does that come out of the capital side or the administrative side?
Mr. Miller: No, I am pretty sure it comes out of the administrative side. Because the only thing we are providing is the operator of the machine. Even when we do street sweeping or catch basin cleaning we don’t send a truck. We ask that the community have a truck on site so we can dump material and it is loaded onto your truck and taken to the landfill.
Mayor Morley: We have all the trucks. We have about 180 catch basins to repair this year.
Mr. Licht: Mayor and City Engineer Gwydir – it sounds like a lot of the administrative is the minimum control measures 1-6 but it also sounds like it is a requirement – maybe not 1 & 2 for the public education and outreach – the illicit discharge and the construction site storm water – those are all things we currently have n place – correct?
Mr. Gwydir: Those are all things more or less that you do. When Mr. Miller speaks to the MCM’s he is speaking to a permit that is about 23 pages long. The requirements under those 6 MCM’s – public outreach and education seem fairly benign but when you start getting into illicit discharge monitoring and checking those things – yes, we do it. There are ways to do it and there are ways to do it. I would suggest that the County doing it for so many people would provide the City with a uniform way that would probably be important to the EPA if they come knocking and they will come.
Mr. Licht: What is the cost savings to the City for using that administrative portion of things?
Mr. Gwydir: You have an administrative fee to do that and you can calculate if off the 200 and some odd thousand – can the City do it cheaper – maybe they can but it takes quite a bit of work and quite of bit of uniformity. So, yes, you are doing those things – you are doing the reporting. At the end of the year Service Director Rubertino will be putting it in and I believe Employee Mastrocola just finished up this year putting that report together. I have seen the report and it is accurate as I understand it. But as time goes on these regulations are getting more robust. We are on the third permit cycle. I believe the second permit expired…
Mayor Morley: We are not saying that we can’t do it. We believe if the EPA came they would be better suited to answer a lot of the questions. We are doing the paperwork between CT Consultants, the Watershed, but…
Mr. Miller: I think it is important to realize that with the permit it is someone nebulous. You can meet the general intent of the permit perhaps. But, if it does not satisfy Ohio EPA when they come to audit you then they can count you as being deficient even though you think you are satisfying the requirements of the permit. We have been audited by the Ohio EPA and I never got the report but they did come in and audit our program and it is pretty thorough. There are some things they interpreted differently than I did and when it was mentioned I said that was fine – we would start doing it that way. They have been good to work with in that sense but I think as the Mayor and Mr. Gwydir mentioned the uniformity and getting the same consistent message out and the same information out to the public is important.
Mr. Licht: How far has that mandate been from the State?
Mr. Miller: Since 2003. It was supposed to be five year permit. The first was a six year permit because when they implemented the changes they wanted it took them about a year to get all the public feedback and implement it into the permit. We are ending the second permit – it expired January 29, 2014. We do not have the new permit yet but there were some changes in it. Perhaps the biggest – in 2003 you were required to submit a storm water management plan to Ohio EPA – now they are saying it has been 10 years and it is time to update the plans. That is one of the biggest things that we see coming down the pike. We will have two years to do it but we will have to take our storm water plan and bring it up to date from what was originally submitted in 2003. And I think for the City of Eastlake it would probably be – in my opinion – a good time to get in because if you are coming in with us you will take our plan and you will not necessarily have to update yours because you can say you are part of the County program and go from there.
Mr. Licht: How many times has the City been audited since 2003?
Mr. Gwydir: I don’t believe we have since I have been here.
Mr. Licht: How long have you been here?
Mr. Gwydir: Since 2010.
Mr. Miller: When they come to do the audit they look at your annual reports you submitted and want to see – as Mr. Gwydir has mentioned the permit is 23 pages long – they can pull out all six MCM’s or audit for MCM #3 – what have you done for your illicit discharge? If you don’t have something in place showing you have been doing that work …
Mr. Gwydir: It will be similar to the EPA audit that just happened a few months ago on the sanitary. They ask for all your records and make a determination about it as to whether or not you are in compliance.
Mayor Morley: I think this addresses what you have been asking about – the impervious and going with the non-residential too.
Mr. Licht: It does but it is also a reason our residential rates are from $6 to $15 – $15 per year instead of $6 per year. I have a note that it generates approximately $38,000 a year. We currently have 8,003 units?
Mr. Slocum: I think it is less than that.
Mr. Licht: I am looking at this email.
Mr. Miller: That was an estimate from our GIS Department.
Mr. Licht: Multiplying the residential by $6 comes to $50,000. Why does it only generate $38,000?
Mr. Slocum: The $38,000 that I am reporting is what we collect. We have things that are built up that we certify to the County every year.
Mayor Morley: I don’t think we can do what you are going to ask. If we have them do all they are going to do we are going to pay CT Consultants. We don’t have our Building Department people to do what you are asking.
Mr. Licht: But you said you are going to send someone from the Building Department with them to check.
Mayor Morley: For their disputes.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: You are implying that he is going to ask something but he did not ask it.
Mayor Morley: I said I was going to send someone from the Building Department on disputes. I am not going to send them to measure everything.
Mr. Licht: I guess I am having a hard time. With the amount of money we could generate with just the City alone as opposed to going in there where we will only get 70% of that money that is generated. I am trying to find out the hidden costs.
Mr. Slocum: The 70% is also the six point program plus the collection on it.
Mr. Licht: But the six point program – we are already adhering to four of the six – correct?
Mr. Slocum: We should be adhering to six of the six.
Mr. Gwydir: You are actually adhering to six of the six for reasonable intents and purposes. That being said you are doing most of these things – if you say can the City of Eastlake do this cheaper than what Lake County is offering I would speculate the answer would be – yes – you are kind of getting it done now for all reasonable intents and purposes. As this is going on the regulations and things are ramping up and if we get caught short it will cost someone a good deal of money and I guess the differential of what Eastlake can do it for and what the County is offering to do it for is a determination of whether it is worth it or not for taking on the billing which is a sure thing and taking on chasing people around that are delinquent which is a sure thing – I would suspect they would ratchet up the illicit discharge things and the things that are really where I think the EPA will come in and land and look at you. Without a doubt it will be more expensive. I do not want to put Mr. Miller on the spot – as communities come on which I expect they will do.
Mayor Morley: I am okay if we want to stay and collect our $6. I just want to look ahead to what Mr. Gwydir is saying but is not saying about us doing our control.
Mr. Licht: That is why I asked the question about what would it take for us to come up with an impervious area so we can do the calculations internally and say okay if we raised our rates to $12 and used 2,000 as the estimated residential unit – there is a lot to mirror from that program but it seems like the City could generate more money if we kept it in-house. The hidden expense is where…
Mayor Morley: This is what we are doing about the City right now – if you noticed when we did the streets – we are contracting out the cement for the street program. We are doing the same with the asphalt – we will work out a bid to do that because we don’t have in-house resources so we are trying to use outside resources. Yes, we can do and collect and do ours City-wide and say the fee will be $12 but we don’t have the resources to complete things. We can collect $12 and put it in a fund like we do now. We don’t really use any of that money out of that fund because we don’t have that much money.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: There is an additional benefit to this program that I don’t think you have talked about yet. That is the funding stream for capital improvement. Last year when Mayor Morley and I spoke with you part of the scenario was the City of Willowick – can you go into that?
Mr. Miller: One other way we have done funding and projects is – the City of Willowick needed to do about a $900,000 project but they obviously did not have that much money in the storm water program at that time. So, we entered into a separate Memorandum of Understanding whereby they were able to secure financing to do the project and in turn we agreed on a set amount of their storm water fee that came into our program for us to repay that financing for the original cost plus their interest. So, their payment was due September 10th or 14th and we wrote it into the MOU that we would have them a check to cover that cost by September 1st of every year. That MOU was in effect for five years and they were able to take on that project. Their engineer took care of it and they did everything in house except that we paid off their project for them.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: Was that a funding stream for capital improvements?
Mr. Miller: Yes. And when you allude to the 70% I know that rubs communities the wrong way – when we collect the money we have to administer that 6 CMC measures – we have partnerships with the Soil and Water District, the Health District, the Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Ohio State University Extension and the Lake County Engineer. So, all those entities…
Mr. Slocum: You have people dedicated to this problem. We have no one dedicated to this problem. In the back of my mind what scares me the most is as we sit here you ask – do we comply – and yes, Mr. Gwydir says we probably do. If we had to go through an audit I don’t know what type of exposure that creates if they come in and find that instead of us actually meeting requirements if we are deficient what type of exposure would that create for this community? When this initially came you had 25 more people working in the Service Department then you do today. We have lost that much. The bodies you have are stretched thin and the responsibilities get stretched thin. This is something you know – if they have not been in yet and we have not been audited then all you can do is knock on wood because you know it will happen.
Mayor Morley: And, if I had not talked to Mayor Bonde and Mayor Anderson – Cities that are doing okay – that are looking to go into this I may not have said to go to Council and just stay at the $6 but the more I get into it on this side – we collect the money but have not used any of the money.
Mr. Licht: We do not generate enough.
Mayor Morley: You are right. It will take us double the amount of years to get any money to use it.
Mr. Licht: But, if we change our ordinance. The estimated residential unit in Eastlake will not be 3,050 – it will probably be closer to 2,000. So, you will generate more money if you keep it in….
Mr. Slocum: All residents pay the same thing.
Mr. Licht: What I am saying is if we looked at Eastlake just as Eastlake the estimated residential unit is probably only 2,000. So you will generate that much more money with the non-residential unit for the City as opposed to putting it at 3,050. We could generate more money.
Mr. Miller: We have about 20-25% that we say we need to administer the control measures – that other 75% is coming back to your community.
Mayor Morley: We can also look at how much we will pay CT Consultants and the outside entities.
Mr. Licht: By outside entities are you talking about hiring a contractor which is the same thing the County would do?
Mayor Morley: We can use our people and get reimbursed but yes, outside contractors. The difference is all the work that goes into it – like doing bids – we don’t have those people to administer on a day to day basis. Mr. Slocum is doing the bid. We were just picking Mr. Gwydir’s brain on doing bids for asphalt. We don’t have it. I understand what you are saying. I agree with what you are saying- if we had the people. These are people who have the people in place and they are still going to the County.
Mr. Licht: We have been in this since 2003 and we have adhered to everything since 2003.
Mr. Slocum: We haven’t been audited – that is another thing…
Mr. Licht: If you are telling me we are going to fail an audit..;.
Mr. Slocum: I have absolutely no knowledge. I don’t know if we haven’t been audited.
Mr. Gwydir: I think you sited the term getting by and for a lack of better terms it is getting
comments could not be understood due to background interference.
Mr. Hoefle: If we go with a program like this does it help with our insurance policy that we are tied in with another organization? That they look at it to see if we have set programs?
Mr. Slocum: It has nothing to do with it.
Mr. Miller: What does help you is for obtaining OPWC projects because you have a source of income to match those types of applications.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: Doing for us like you did for Willowick.
Mr. Miller: Let’s say you know you have an area that needs a storm sewer improvement and it will be $500,000. You can come to the Storm Water Department and say you would like to have Mr. Gwydir fill out an OPWC application – would the Storm Water Department be willing to put up the $250,000 matching money for the project? That keeps the money in your General Fund that you don’t have to pull out because we will be the match for you.
Mr. Gwydir: That is the match out of the capital?
Mr. Miller: Yes.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: Can you give us some other scenarios you did in other communities of similar capital improvement things?
Mr. Miller: We have done stream restoration projects. In the last 10 years we have done
$15,235,000 in projects. They vary – it all depends. We have done projects where we have been the lead agency all the way through from start to finish. We hired the engineer, went out for bid, got the contract, did the contract administration, contract inspection, punch out, close out. We have the ability to do that. We have the ability to allow the City to run with their practices the way they do it and just provide the funding stream. I think with our Department we are unique in the sense that we can be pretty creative with the Community and what you feel comfortable with.
Mr. Slocum: Mr. Licht, one thing in the financial equation and what you would love to have and I would love to be able to tell you and I don’t have any idea what it is – what is the actual cost today for us to implement this program? None of that cost ever gets charged to that fund whatsoever. They are all hidden – what does it cost us to maintain that stadium. All I know is I wish I did not have it because it takes quite a bit and I am sure this entire process is eating significant resources – either hard resources, specific things or time and effort that today instead of rebuilding things we are monitoring outflow. I cannot tell you that and I know that is something you would love to have to make this – it is costing me 25% – how does it compare to what it is really costing me today?
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: About how many people are in the Department we would be giving our 25% to?
Mr. Miller: We have all these other agencies we are part of and in my Department I have three in our office and the two employees at the County Engineer’s office on staff half of the time and four or five employees in the Soil and Water District. There are three sanitarians in the Health Department that do our sampling and testing and there is one or two in the OSU Extension – this is not all year round but part-time.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: All that is part of the administrative fees you are talking about. I multiplied out – that 25% would be $56,155.50 out of $224,622. So, we are having all the additional people working for us including you as a Director for $56, 000 a year.
Mr. Miller: Yes.
Mr. Licht: Multiply that by 15 communities…
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: That is how much it would cost us.
Mr. Miller: I think it is important to realize as the communities increase that cost would go down. Right now I have 70% but the dollars that it takes for me to administer the program are going to remain pretty consistent. So whether I have 15 communities or 20 communities the dollars it takes to administer should be pretty consistent. With the sampling we have to do in your community it will increase a little bit but I will not have to bring on staff necessarily. So, what that means is that 70% should start creeping up because there should be more money coming back to the community as the program grows.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: I multiplied it at 25/75. So it is more than $56,000.
Mr. Miller: It should start creeping up. Consistently it is running us about $400,000 to do the MCM’s 1-6 per community. It is not $56,000 times 15 communities. It is roughly about $400,000 that is taking us to run the Department. With that the rest of the money goes into capital projects and operations and maintenance. I think one other thing that is important to know. You ran the numbers of what you think you should be collecting and what you are actually getting – because ours goes out on the property tax bill our rate of collection is about 98%.
Mr. Licht: Is that something the City could do?
Mr. Slocum: No. As a matter of fact we attempted last year to have that done and the County refused to allow us to certify these bills.
Mr. Miller: Actually that is because of the Ohio Revised Code.
Mr. Slocum: No, other Counties do that.
Mr. Miller: Not for storm water – not on property tax.
Mr. Slocum: Absolutely they do. I worked in Cuyahoga County. Lake County’s Auditor does not do a lot to support communities that is done in other counties. They took a very hard line position with it.
Mayor Morley: He tried last year to get the $6 put on the tax duplicate so we did not have to have that administrative cost. They said no.
Mr. Slocum: We were not told no because of the ORC. We were told no because we were not participating in this program. They put the gun to our head.
Ms. DePledge: This seems to strike me as more of a regionalization thing. That seems like part of that mentality – more centralized location for everything and taking away money from the cities but they still want more money from the public which sets up a problem in this community.
Mr. Miller: In my view, and I think if you talk to any of the people in the other communities, the program is doing good. We have done $15 million in improvements in these communities over the last 10 years.
Mr. Licht: Are you talking residents or government officials that say it has been done efficiently?
Mr. Miller: I would say both. The residents have an agency they can call and they get response. If it is a city resident that calls us we work with the city’s Service Director or City Engineer to go out and look at the problem. We are not going to supersede your local authority but we want to work with you to try to correct these efficiencies. The one thing we can do when I say the residents are very pleased – as a regional utility because we are a regional utility – we have 15 communities all over Lake County – we have the ability to go on private property to do projects. I will use Madison Township as an example. If it is just going out to do regional ditch cleaning – you have cross country ditches in Madison that have not been maintained in 20 years. So, we get right of entry permits from the property owners and go out there and clean the ditches so the drainage system – not every community has an entirely piped in storm sewer system but the storm sewer system empties into ditches in places and sometimes fake ditches. If those ditches are not maintained as part of the storm sewer system that system is compromised. So, in Madison we have been able to clean about three miles of ditch annually to try to restore the capacity. comments could not be understood
due to background interference.
A question was raised about Willowick
Mr. Miller: The big thing in Willowick – they had an 84” culvert that collapsed and they were applying for OPWC money and because they did not have it they came to us and asked for the 50% match for an $80,000 or $90,000 so they could get the OPWC money. We were able to give them $50,000 so they were able to get the OPWC funds and fix the project.
Mr. Slocum: Did you play any role in the community when the floods were actually occurring?
Mr. Miller: No. That was all on them. What we are doing now because there was so much basement backup – we are helping their City Engineer to pay for a storm sewer and sanitary study to try to assess that system. We are helping them out in that regard to – to start looking at how we can correct the sanitary and storm laterals that are deficient. We are paying for that study. It is really up to the community how you want to spend the money to do the projects and what you find necessary to do. The good news is it is a funding stream that you currently don’t have. And I realize there is heartache when you talk about residents having to pay the fee but as I said when we do get calls from residents and we explain what we are trying to do and why we are trying to do it generally speaking we have …
Mr. Licht: So we can forward all the calls we get to you?
Mr. Miller: If it shows up on the County bill they will not call you – they will call us and ask why they are getting billed for storm water.
Ms. DePledge: And you will say your City Council said we could.
Mr. Miller: No, we don’t direct them. We explain what it is and what the program means and what we are trying to do. But I think it is important and if you talk to community leaders and some residents – the work we have been able to do to try to fix and manage the aging infrastructure has been great. Mentor-on-the-Lake is a great example. We have done projects there that they would not have been able to fund for 10 years.
Ms. DePledge: Are you saying that the money that will be generated from this less your take is more than what we currently have right now?
Mr. Miller: Absolutely.
Ms. DePledge: For the record if we don’t like what is going on in the agreement it has a five year term so we can always opt out after five years if we were dissatisfied with anything.
Mr. Miller: Yes, we would like you to be in for the permit term. What happened early on there was a fear from communities that they were going to be putting money into this program and not have money come back – the fear of regionalization that now that the County has money they will hold onto it. So, some of my predecessors funded things that did not need to be funded just to have monies come back into the communities. I think if we try to do this on a one year basis instead of looking long term you are doing a detriment to your system and long range planning – we have these issues and are collecting about $150,000 a year – let us now spend $150,000 just to spend it before the County uses it somewhere else. Let’s build up some capital and make a dent in some of these things.
Ms. DePledge: When we talk about the County coming out to work on the City’s manhole covers and sewer drains – if there is damage done – I am looking for liability?
Mr. Miller: The MOU addresses liability. The MOU would have to be reviewed by your legal counsel.
Ms. DePledge: I would want something to be here to say if the County guys are working on something here that our guys are not involved in and someone gets hurt – I do not see anything in here about that type of liability.
Mr. Miller: I am not an attorney. I would let the attorneys discuss it.
Ms. DePledge: This is the first time we have seen this document.
Mr. Miller: That is the document that is in place with every one of our communities.
Mayor Morley: I had Mr. Klammer look at it.
Mr. Miller: It has been vetted by our Prosecutor and the Law Director of every community that is part of our program.
Mayor Morley: Have you denied any projects?
Mr. Miller: Yes. But they were justifiably denied. I had a Service Director that wanted me to pay for the repaving of a bridge because it was over a stream that was defined as regional. I cannot pay for paving of a street. That is pretty much the only example I have. On the flip side if you came to me with a bird bath type scenario and said this person is at every Council meeting – just get her off our back – put a pipe in her back yard. I will not do that.
Mr. Gwydir: What if you do a storm sewer project down a City street and tear the street up?
Mr. Miller: We have had to do that. The unfortunate thing is it takes more money out of your capital. If you can assist us then that keeps money for…
Mr. Slocum: But you would pay for paving…
comments could not be understood due to background conversation
Mr. Miller: We did a storm sewer project in Painesville Township and the storm sewer was right down the center of the road. The pipe was about $300,000 – $400,000 but we had to pay for the road – it was down the center and it was destroyed. So it was a $750,000 project. The storm sewer system was put in during the 1920’s or 1930’s and served its life and the road was caving in because it had sandy soil and we had cave-ins and sink holes – yes, I would be willing to do that.
Mr. Hoefle: With any projects we may have if we go with this – it will still be the $12,500 limit? If it is under $12,500 it will be the Administrations call?
Mayor Morley: Yes, and if we would go over $12,500 – even if the money is in their funds.
Mr. Miller: I cannot make the ultimate decision on projects. You submit a request to me and if I think it is worthy project or is something we can fund I still need to run it by my Board of Commissioners and they have to sign off on it as well. They have to approve the expenditure of the money.
Mayor Morley: In working with Mr. Gwydir – we were talking about a generator we need for a back-up system for Galina – $48,000. First we were going to try to get grant money for it before we would allocate the money out of our fund to fix it. That is one of the items we are working on now. Obviously, we would come to you and say we want to pay the $48,000 – that will always happen. With the projects we decide on we will go to Council.
Mr. Miller: Regarding regionalization – this is our 15 communities – we track internally what we collect and what we spend. What is important to note is there is no community where what we collected is higher than want we spent. It is not a Christmas Club – at the end of the year if we have not spent money we are not going to send a check to Mr. Slocum and say this is what you did not use. It rolls over.
Ms. DePledge: But it is saved for use in our Community.
Mr. Miller: I track it internally. I think it is very important. You are the ones joining the program. I am not going to take your money and run over to Timberlake and say Eastlake just joined let’s fix your storm sewers. It does not work that way.
Mr. Licht: Do you publish the amount of money that is carried over?
Mr. Miller: Yes. I don’t freely send it out but at a Finance Director’s request I will certainly provide the number. He will know how much is generated. My plan with all our communities is – I talk about the 5-year long range planning and I do believe in that – I sit down annually with the Mayor, Service Director and City Engineer to review what we have done and what we are going to do. We could have a 10-year long range plan and with one storm like July 20th last year that plan goes to the side and we have an emergency we have to fix. I meet with them annually to see if anything has changed or if some high priority item has come up that will drop some of these items down – and, try to develop a funding plan. If Eastlake is generating $150,000 a year and you do an assessment and find out you have $5 million in projects you will not sit here and wait 15 years to collect that $5 million to do all the projects. You will look at where you can get the biggest bang for the buck – maybe it is the high priority areas and maybe it is one nuisance project that has been bugging you for years that you want to get off the table because you finally have some funding for it. That is a decision you make and we help facilitate it.
Mr. Hoefle: Do you have any affect with the Chagrin River and some of these companies along the Chagrin – with the dredging and water management – with the City having to have matching funds to help with the dredging?
Mr. Evers: The Port Authority gets matching funds from the State – whatever we give them they get matching funds from the State.
Mr. Hoefle: Wasn’t there a point where we were also trying to match funds to help with the dredging?
Mayor Morley: We have donated a certain amount of money a year.
Ms. DePledge: In 2013 it was $6,000.
comments could not be understood due to background conversation
Mr. Miller: We have to be cognizant of the fact that we are trying to do projects that knowingly improve the flooding aspect but also has some water quality aspect to it as well. I would have to research to see if that dredging would fall under that type of scenario where storm water can be used as a match for dredging. I am not sure if I have had that request.
Mr. Gwydir: Mr. Miller noted earlier that there was a differential in the rate between what you will charge per residential unit and what the City is charging now. As far as the rate per ERU how is that established? Does the City have any input in what that is – either more or less than the amount you are currently charging and if it is going to change do they have any input to that once they sign up for the program?
Mr. Miller: The Board of County Commissioners set the rate. Initially it was set based on the amount of projects that communities were looking to do. Does the City have any input – absolutely. If they had any feeling that the rates were too high or too low they can always contact the Commissioners and make that known to them. Yes, they have input. Now what the Commissioners choose to do with that information I cannot speak for them. But, you always have the ability to either start with the Advisory Board and have them make a recommendation to the Commissioners or go to the Commissioners. My own personal opinion – I don’t think if you decide to come into the program this year that asking for a different rate for Eastlake as opposed to other communities – I do not think you should go that route.
Mr. Gwydir: I am not suggesting that. I just wondered what mechanism there was.
Mr. Miller: Through the Advisory Board and the Commissioners.
Mayor Morley: There is a termination section in the MOU.
Ms. DePledge: I reviewed the liability issue and was struggling with it because it says “the City shall indemnify and hold the County harmless from any all claims, actions or causes of actions and any and all damages, direct or indirect that may arise as a result of the work that the City is required to perform.” Then I looked at the duties of the City – we have to train people?
Mr. Miller: No.
Ms. DePledge: We have to have them available for training. So we will be short staff on some days.
Mr. Miller: But under MCM #6 you have to have training anyhow. So, if they don’t show up at a training and they come in and ask how many trainings your guys did…
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: Are any of the items in the MOU negotiable? Is this carved in stone?
Mr. Miller: It is not carved in stone. But if you start changing it too much I do not want to get into a situation where I have a different MOU for every community.
Mayor Morley: This is a boiler plate for other communities. We received Willowick’s when we first asked. Mr. Klammer has reviewed it. You can get with him. That is why I sent this to Council today – after Mr. Klammer had reviewed it. This is just a draft.
Ms. DePledge: Do we have oil separators now or is that a cost we will have to incur if we go into the program?
Mr. Gwydir: I don’t believe we do.
Ms. DePledge: There are duties we have to do.
Mr. Miller: Those are things you should have done anyhow. If you don’t have oil separators…
Mr. Gwydir: They may be in the main building.
Ms. DePledge: Let’s say we didn ‘t and we joined the program and found out we are not in compliance – is that something that the money you will collect be used to help us install it?
Mr. Miller: If that is something you requested it to be for I would have to make your case to my Board that we are not doing an improvement to your Service garage – that it is necessary. Yes, we can make that argument.
Mayor Morley: All requests will come from us – not from them to us. It is what we want as a City and Council.
Ms. DePledge: If we are not in compliance we are going to be paying a lot of money and the residents are going to be paying the money. The whole reason we are doing this is to avoid future liability. Obviously we want to make sure we are in compliance with everything.
Mr. Miller: We have people on staff that will come out and walk through your maintenance facility and do the things we need to do – the trainings you mentioned – we provide those trainings. You can do it any number of ways. Sometimes if it is a half day training cities have sent everyone in their department to our training center. You don’t have to – you can send you Service Director who can do the training and come back and train his employees. We have had our people come out every Monday morning when employees are in the shop to plan the week and do a 20 minute presentation and training on site. Again, I want you to understand we are flexible and try to be creative and try to do what the City has requested of us. Another example of how we try to make it easier on the Service Directors – we have an annual meeting in March and bring in all the Service Directors and talk about what we did the previous year and what we expect to do the following year and if there are any changes the EPA is looking to do, etc. We have that type of training every year also. This year because of the weather and all the patching the Service Directors needed to do I did not feel it was appropriate to pull them away in March to do that so we will hold the training in the fall instead.
Mayor Morley: If you do decide to move this forward this is the perfect opportunity for doing something in three readings so if the public does want to come out and ask questions. I will not tell Council how to do it but this is the perfect opportunity to have three readings and have the public come out. I am okay either way. I am okay with staying with $6 but after attending Mayors’ and Managers’ meetings and talking with the surrounding Mayors – they all have the resources and are still deciding to go with this. I think it is something we have to look at. But, I am okay with whatever Council wants to do – move on it or not move on it.
Ms. DePledge: If we do this in three readings and it gets approved when does it go into effect?
Mr. Miller: January, 2015 – when the tax bills go out.
Mayor Morley: If there is a project – say we vote this in during October and we have an emergency – they would look at the fact that the money will be coming and do the project on a contingency.
Mr. Miller: Provided we had the money and it was not a million dollar emergency.
Mayor Morley: The money we have already collected stays in the fund we already have and stays here?
Mr. Miller: Yes.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: Does the Committee have any other questions?
Mr. Licht: I want to apologize to Finance Director Slocum if I implied that the City would need an audit – that was not my intent.
Mr. Slocum: No apology necessary.
Mr. Licht: In my mind we have gotten by since 2003 and not to say your point that there is a possibility that if we were ever audited there may be some issues. I feel like the “regionalization” and the dollars that could be raised with the City keeping it here is a significant difference. I would ask that we table this for now so everyone can do a little bit more research and get a little more input from the Council members who are not here. It does not sound like there is urgency right now.
Mr. Evers: I agree. We need to talk to Mr. D’Ambrosio. He is the one who originally set up these fees for the storm water management. I would like Ms. Vaughn present too. I would like to hold it in Committee for investigation.
Mr. Licht: I agree – hold it in Committee.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: We can discuss this again on June 17th? We have a Finance Committee meeting I believe on that day.
Mr. Licht: I have no problem with that.
Upon review, it was agreed to hold this matter in Committee.
Mr. Miller: You were mentioning the audit and if it were to come. I want you to understand that we can be a resource for you to assist you with that and we would do that. But, as you were reading in the MOU there are still responsibilities of the City – as example public education. We do a great job of getting the information out to the Communities to add to their web sites and newsletters. If we get that information to you and whoever is charged with putting that out does not do it I cannot help you with an audit. Because we have given you the information but you are not choosing to get it out to your residents. That is on you – not me. There will still be some things the City has to do and usually there is one point person we have that we can get that information out to. The same thing with your Service Department – we can come out and do a walk through and say there are things you need to watch out for with your Service Garage and the guys say great and we walk away and they go back to old habits and EPA walks in the door – we will not be responsible for that – if we are providing that information to you and you are not doing anything with it. I think that is important to know. We are not an end all be all agency and not all the liability falls on us but we will make sure you have the tools and if you do it as we mentioned that it will be okay.
Mr. Licht: With the outreach program – if there are pamphlets you would give them to the City and the City would be responsible for mailing them out?
Mr. Miller: No, if it was a direct mailing we would do the direct mailing. We have in all our other communities stands where we change out the posters and put in new pamphlets. But, if you had a news letter that you send and you say four times a year a storm water article will be published in the news letter and we give you those and you don’t publish them – that is what I was implying.
Ms. DePledge: Will you be available for the June 17th meeting?
Mr. Miller: I will check my calendar.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: If you can come back it will be helpful.
Mr. Miller: I don’t want to say there is urgency or imply that you have to act quickly but for us to do this we have to digitize all the impervious area – not knowing what the City is doing I have already asked our staff to start doing that because we have had the City of Painesville come up to Level II this year and possibly the City of Eastlake and Willoughby. For our purposes and I don’t know what your three reading schedule will be but I would hope we would have a definite answer by mid-September or October.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: That should be no problem – even with three readings.
Mr. Miller: When we certify the rates we actually have every parcel of land and we have to take out parcels like the MetroParks because they have their own storm water program – so if there are any Lake MetroPark properties in Eastlake we have to pull those out. We have to physically pull out some parcels. We do have a credit manual for non-residential properties. There is always a question about schools. We tried to reach out to the schools. I know how it is when you are asking residents to pay a fee but when you look at our fee as opposed to what they are paying on their property tax bill it is really nominal.
Mr. Licht: I agree. That is why we started looking at this in the first place.
Mr. Miller: I certainly would encourage you as Mayor Morley has done with the local Mayors if you know other Service Directors I encourage you to chat with them. I think we run a pretty good program. I think what we have done over the last 10 years has been pretty good.
Mr. Slocum: There are three areas in the City – this complex – will you bill us?
Mr. Miller: Yes.
Mr. Slocum: You are going to bill us for here, the stadium, the parking lot in the stadium?
Mr. Miller: Yes.
Mayor Morley: We would pay our fair share.
Mr. Licht: Do those three entities currently pay the $6 per year?
Mr. Slocum: No.
Mr. Miller: The County pays also. School Districts pay. The County Engineer gets a storm water bill for his facility.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: You spoke with us last year in August after the flood. We felt so disabled from all the phone calls and heartbreak we listened to and people’s basements being destroyed. It just went on and on. It was overwhelming. When I talked with you I thought here was someone who could have really helped us. We could have had an ace in the whole in this whole thing. In looking into the future you guys could at some level prevent that level of nightmare and have capital fund help. In my humble opinion I like this program. On the same hand I like the idea of three readings so we can hear from everyone.
Mr. Licht: But during the storm you would not have offered any assistance. I want to make sure that was clear. In my eyes an ace in the whole would be someone to assist immediately.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: They did assist with the 84 inch culvert collapse which resulted from the flood.
Mr. Miller: If you had big events and if storm sewers get clogged and you don’t have the resources we can bring in private contractors to start doing the jetting and cleaning and televising and trying to figure out what is going on.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: And they could help us with the generator on Galalina to help pump the stuff out of there.
Mr. Evers: Maybe.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: No – not maybe.
Mr. Miller: I do not know if I could purchase a generator.
Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins: That is a maybe. We will leave this in Committee.
There were no further questions or comments.
There was no miscellaneous.
RECOGNITION OF THE PUBLIC
There was no one who wished to speak.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 7:31 p.m.