Saturday, June 29, 2013

"CHECK IT OUT" john mellencamp

Things I learned this week.

First the city has 22 small parcels of property that they contract out to a private firm to cut the grass at these locations. This after being told city employee's are the cheapest way to cut grass? Cemeteries. This along with the fact that we have employee's at the electric plant not doing any electrifying presently?

The city will soon form a committee to 'educate' residents the importance  of passing these almost 6 Mil levies. This after reading in the News-Herald today that the state probably will increase sale tax and property tax. (Over 12% on property tax) I guess these political hacks all must believe we are holding out on them? It seems the city leaders also taking a Lasse   Fair attitude on how to balance Painesville's expenses?

Although the city did not give raises to employee's in 2012-2013 The budget for salaries INCREASED over $82,000 for Painesville due to 'steps' and longevity increases? Sorry Painesville employee's,  a raise is a raise. $82,000 half of a street getting paved? No,No,No those increases came out of this or that fund........ It's still a Raise. This fact that committee should keep to themselves.

As the city headhunters go out to measure the height of grass, Painesville has a double standard; Residents  6 inches, Vacant and commercial, industrial property 12 inches?  So the former hospital site can look terrible at and it was over 12 inches. Than again  across Liberty St. that resident is well 6 inches? Ugly is ugly why the double standard? Maybe to promote growth?

How and when we produce electricity is done scientifically by a process explain to me as "Guesstimation" by whom I don't know. Then again these 90 degree days this week suggests someone guessed wrong.
Didn't attend the 'Party at the Plant' Found out it was shutdown,  during the event.  Maybe the event should have been 'Party at the off line again Plant'? Just a guesstimation.

Painesville now has it's own AREA 51 the Ashlawn building Painesville funds built behind the power plant. What seemed like an excellent project for Painesville in the 21st Century. Seems presently no one wants to talk about?

That little bird told me a long time council person has pulled petitions to run for council-at-large?
Are we to go Back to the Future? Let's hope not.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"ANTICIPATION" caryl simmons

Yes I view this coming week with anticipation.  Soon within less than a week Painesville will be welcoming a new city manager and school superintendent.

I have taken stock in Painesville and I will list what I view as positives of Painesville and hope these two new leaders realize them. Latter we can acknowledge  Painesville's minuses.

We compare Painesville to Ashtabula, Geauga, and the rest of Lake County.
We are the only city that provides electric, water, and sewer's to it's community.
We are the only city that has annexed it's size to almost double the area.
We have well established safety forces.
We have room for new and also old business growth.
We have historic Rider's Inn as well as soon Steele Mansion.
We have a great Library. { Well at least I love it there)
We are the only city that has a four year College in it.
We as a community that has built five state-of-the-art schools to educate our young.
We along with the schools have passed the last two operating levies to our schools.
We soon will have a new $362,000 sewer-jet truck as well as one big-ass 23 year-old fire truck. With no current knowledge of miles or hours on it. I did find out from Boardman the engine was re-built three years ago?
We  are experts on the  best way to put lipstick and a wig on a pig!
We have a group of 'Mover's & Shakers' up to the task (can't get enough of that phrase, sorry)
Who else can compare to this list?

Many of you can add to this list.

I guess as I look around a person could think this is an ideal place to settle down and raise a family.

What's happened? Why isn't it? Maybe Mr. Carson and Mr. Shepard have the answers?

If I was writing this article ten year's ago I could add so much more.
Fasson  Headquarter's
The Lake East Hospital, just to name afew.

Both of these gentlemen have an important job to do, a person mentioned how worse can they be? Please  let's hope that these two have that vision. It seems the last two didn't. Or atleast never bothered to explain it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

'ISN'T LIFE STRANGE" moody blues

It's getting stranger by the minute.
As most of you realize I am hardly the fan of the city's proposed almost 6 Mil levies that will cost the $100,000 homeowner in Painesville an extra $175.00 a year for Safety and Roads. What a Grinch I must appear to some of you?

Well in Baseball there is a play called the squeeze play. I am finding this is also true in politics.

While Painesville residents seek to find answers to our general fund budget dilemma  the boys and girls down in Columbus might just be planning to tighten the screws a little bit more on us.

As Council-President Hada and others have told us the present Republican state administration has in the last few years decided to cut Painesville City's state funding by 24%.  This has put quite a burden on our general fund. So we have to ask residents for levies.

Now news out of Columbus suggests the GOP held senate and house has a NEW plan for Ohioans.
Think about this;
They want to decrease income taxes by 10% WOW!
They want to increase sales tax from 5.5% to 5.75% ( I guess lake county sales tax will go up to 6%?)
Reduce taxable income for some business owners by $125,000
And the one no one is talking about

ELIMINATE the 12.5% discount on property tax.

What will be the effects of this on your property tax bill?

Whichever form of government Federal, State, and Local they have no idea how to save money only how to increase the tax load on citizens. Where is the Tea Party on this one?

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer the state of Ohio will brag how they improved the state budget.

You will see your taxes increase and little of value for your sacrifice.

Maybe it's time for a little bit of Brazil down in Columbus?

Monday, June 24, 2013

"OUR HOUSE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET talking heads

Couple of hot days finally. As I sat and read the Sunday News-Herald. After scanning the front couple of pages for at least two minutes and sorts for another two. I always read the Real Estate Marketplace .

It's informative as to what and where properties are selling in Painesville as well as surrounding area's.
What caught my eye this weekend were two Painesville properties  A home at 645 Bank St. reportedly sold for $455,000? I was intrigued which home on Bank St. was this? I had two properties in mined. It was neither it was the home right to the south of the Coe Manufacturing Building. Nice house but $455,000 is this a typo? Maybe even the wrong address?
The other home was on Spruce Lane in Heisley Park for $275,800.
So am I to believe if the two levies pass this homeowner will be subject to over $350.00 a year in additional taxes? A little more than the price of a postage stamp isn't it Council-President Hada.
Why in the world would this person living in a new development chose to raise his taxes for roads when he has brand new ones around him?  Forget the house on Bank St. That just can't be right.

In the coming moths the city will form a committee to inform and sway residents to vote for both of these levies. The question has to be will there be a group to oppose them?

Friday, June 21, 2013

"THUNDER ROAD" bruce springsteen

Seems like what to do know with the Main St. Streetscape will rest with our new city manager Anthony Carson. Along with a fund shortfall I guess he will have to decide what to do with or without? Still can't understand why such a large discrepancy between engineering and construction costs?

Along with that just maybe he will be able to answer who approved that fence and why on Main St.

Here is an article I found in the Bayside Gazette on Berlin, Maryland Historic Downtown.

Posted on 5/16/13
Written By: Shelia R. Cherry Associated Editor

BERLIN-  Downtown merchants turned out in mass at the Monday  meeting of the Berlin Town Council to register their discontent with actions by the Historic District Commission to curb the use of sandwich board signs and cafĂ© tables along Main St. Joining that dissent were Mayor Gee Williams and Town Administrator Anthony Carson. The following morning, Planning and Zoning Director Chuck Ward, the town liaison to the commission resigned, after being given the option to depart on his own or be dismissed. Citing editorials and news articles in the paper, Williams and Carson took issue with the commission assumption of jurisdiction over the placement and appearance of moveable structures and  sought guidance from Town Attorney David Gaskill.

Look wherever you stand on the on tables or fences downtown at least it will be nice to get some answers.  My question is this fence a hindrance to walking down Main St.? Now we might get an answer as to who gave approval?
Mr. Carson will be able to deal with all issues including say Cobblestone. It appears in Berlin  God forbid a police officer drove an EMS unit to an accident  in January?

Mr. Carson appears to have come from a nice place. Want's to be closer to his family. I believe he will be up to the challenge. In his first couple of months I believe he will be tested by department heads on the knowledge he has. I wonder how much perfume, lipstick and wigs he will be shown by the 'movers & shakers" of Painesville. ( how I loved that comment)
He will assume the position of city manager in less than ten days. I wish him the best and he's in my prayers.

Go to this newspapers web site. It appears Mr. Carson will be greatly missed. One thing he might miss is anyone turning out in mass at a council meeting?

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In other news a  Heisley Park resident  wanted to build a 8X8 foot shed on his property in a shwall that emptied into a storm sewer. He believed by reading the city website he didn't need a building permit. ( I can understand why he would think that) His claim that the cost of moving the building would be $1500.00 and it wouldn't be where he wanted it. The Zoning Commission rejected  the appeal. The resident now can take this decision to the Board of Appeals. This failed 4-1

In the other agenda item seeking a variance on Painesville Codified Ordinance. Section 1113.05 the length of a cul-de-sac is 700ft. they want to extend the cul-de-sac another  122 ft. ( I presently believe that cul-de-sac in not presently at 700 ft..) A resident question how this will affect the flooding on his property as well as the wetlands? A resident on Community St. sent a letter objecting to the variance. Look on the first issue the resident was told by the city that he should read the code before he started construction on his shed. Now lets assume the lady on Community read the code on cul-de-sac's and decided to purchase her home on the fact a cul-de-sac can only be 700ft. long. Why bother reading anything? 5 people can decide to change it in twenty minutes?
Wetlands in the area will be sold to lot owners? Somehow there seems to be something wrong with this idea. Look people buy a lot, and how  many feet of it you can't do anything with except pay property taxes on?  Also if the wetlands aren't included in the lot size you can't build on that small a lot?
First anyone serving on these boards at no salary should be thanked by everyone in Painesville.
Some really take their positions seriously. I just wish they would put themselves as a homeowner in the area they are voting on. This passed 4-1.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

"COOL WATER " slim whitman

I have heard a lot of smoke and mirrors recently when it comes to Painesville's three utilities.
At the last council meeting the discussion focused on  'what would happen if the road levy fails?'
Talk of eliminating reciprocity to assessing people for street repairs. Listening from the audience what started as a question turned into a perceived threat?

Now the last time I checked there was about 230,000 people living in Lake County approximately only 19,000 of these souls have their own electric, water and waste treatment facilities. How's that working out for you?

I would like the city to take and have the water system analyzed  by an independent firm and evaluate the value of this resource to the people of Painesville. What is it's worth? Would anyone be interested in purchasing the facility? How would it affect the cost of water service to resident's and business?

Water is one of our most precious resources, that said ask, the people on Elm St. how it was that the city felt little responsibility in providing rust free water due to the age of the water pipes. I remember Councilman Flock setting a rusted filter in front of the city manager. Still until every resident along with business had a surcharge that raised residents there water bill  by $8.00 a month not one pipe was replaced.

Maybe its time to evaluate this water department to see what we can best use it for? Maybe it's time to move on? Another thing to consider is that in a few years Concord Townships water contract with the city will again go out for bid. If we loss that business what is the net worth of our water department? Can and will Painesville offer a lower rate to Concord than city residents?

As many residents have already seen the Electric Department has made mistakes. No I'll take that back,  the council and administration has made many mistakes one that cost the electric department 2 million dollars last December. Now we have built  a 4000sq.ft. building behind the electric plant for that Ashlawn Battery project and something is very wrong. Was the council fully informed before we spent that $400,000 on building that building thanks again to our former city manager not telling council the whole story?. What's going on? You could cut the air with a knife when that resolution was discussed at last Mondays council meeting. I get the impression that council and the administration would like this all to go away. I asked my councilman what's the deal? He informed me he couldn't discuss it? Now call your council person and see if you get the same answer?

It seems the only utility that seems to be run affectively is the waste treatment plant? Although by their own admission they are only running at 50% capacity. Another idea the city might solve the smell problem would be to plant Douglas Fir trees along the east side of the property this might solve that problem.

Would the selling of the water plant be a new idea for Painesville? Back in the early 60's Painesville owned it's own natural gas department this was sold to East Ohio Gas.

I guess I'm asking is our Water Department one of our 'sacred cows' and residents deem it more important than say living in Painesville working in Mentor and paying 2% income tax to them and then as Councilman Fodor suggested paying 2% to Painesville also? This could be accomplished with a simple vote of council.  Something to remember if you suggest raising income taxes on people and you presently get a income tax free pension it would be very easy to vote for this.

All I'm saying before we are subject to threats maybe we should think out of the box. Have I missed anything? If you believe this is a good or bad idea please lets us know and the reason's why.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

'IN THE YEAR 2525 zager & evans

At last nights council meeting I couldn't figure out was going to take longer. The start of tonight's council meeting or the streets in Painesville to be drivable on again?
At the start of Monday's meeting Council-President Hada asked to go into executive session, this lasted until 8:45? Due to matters pertaining to purchasing property and personnel matters.

Well after an hour and fifteen minutes the regular council meeting started.

Ordinance number 1.  Is pretty much a no brainer taking properties that were zoned business back to residential when the properties have been used this way for as long as I can remember.

Resolution    Authorizing the city manager to enter into a contract with Ashlawn Energy LLC over the Vanadium Redox Battery Demonstration Project. Houston we have a problem. I have know idea what the problem is but presently this has been tabled? A representative of the company spoke of 200 jobs for Painesville. Remember we have already built the 4000sq.ft. building for this project and now we have a snag no one wants to inform the public with? Look if we remember this was not how the project was sold to us? Best thing we now have a building to park our new 22 year fire truck as well as a new $364,000 sewer-jet truck. More on that later. After listening to the back and forth this project might have be the reason for the executive session?

Resolution     Best guess is that the city to enter into Memorandum of Understanding with the senior center for the purpose of providing senior services? The city can't even take care of the streets and now they want to  provide senior services. My understanding and rumor's are that a new senior center will be built on the site of the old hotel in or around 2525? What will happen to the Allen Building the present site of the senior center? Plan on a future levy.

Resolution for a 3 Mill Tax for road and street improvement. Another no brainer that it would be put on the ballot 6 yes 1 no. At that rate and the present condition of our streets MAYBE by 2525 this program will succeed.

Resolution to Levy a 2.74 Capital expenses for public safety. Well this one also passed 6 yes 1 no???
Why would Councilman Flock vote against this levy? Well along with believing people in Painesville are already taxed enough, maybe the fact that this councilman has asked the administration and department head ,"how many miles and hours are on that fire truck" He has asked at least four times always with a promise to get him that information. He's still waiting and he believe this is just more of a show of arrogance by the administration? If they can't answer a simple question what chance will any of us have asking where and how the money will be spent? Look if this levy passes the dedicated funds must go into a fund along with  the safety forces guaranteed the same funding average for the say the last five years. If the percentage goes down than all you voted on was a general fund levy.

In other news Doug Lewis brought up that the bids were open for the Main St. streetscape and the lowest bid was 1.4 million. In grants and general fund money the city has only about 1.1 million. Back to the drawing board. Find more money or get rid of a few whistles and bells? My best guess is that this project will be put off until 2014 or 2525?

New sewer jet truck $364,000. We will get a trade in of $30,000 the company will make the $58,000 worth of repairs at THEIR expense letting us use the truck until our new one arrives? Why not pay the $58,000 of repairs and keep the truck? Council-President Hada explain "you don't know the whole story". Well please explain it to me.
Well all three utilities use the truck and the majority of the cost will come from those three utility funds with little or none coming from the general fund. [ what is it little or none] to replace this vehicle that has already six years over it's recommended life.
Now if this is true why did the city wait this long to replace it. Service Director Lynch claimed this is the best insurance that over the last weeks keeping basements dry. Sorry Mr. Lynch if you had checked with Mr. Lewis basements did flood a few weeks ago.

 This could end up being quite a dilemma for the administrations. Do we enter parades with our 22 year old fire truck or our brand new $364,000 Sewer-Jet cleaner? Wonder if it can make siren sounds?

Oh, and council went back into executive session.

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To clear something up Mr. Torre asked the administration what was the conditions of the hiring of the new City Manager Mr. Anthony Carson.
He was told Mr. Carson was hired at $120,000 a year and has a THREE year contract.
Hope that clears it up for some of you.

Friday, June 14, 2013

"TRACES" classics IV

  "HAPPY FATHERS DAY 2013"


Photographs, tickets torn in half.

Everyone from council to the administration along with residents are trying to find new revenue streams for the city's general fund.

My thoughts it must be resident neutral meaning not just hitting workers, property owners, renters as well as  just people on the upper scale or the lower scale.

I was presented with the idea of camera tickets watching major intersections for people who run red lights and camera's placed in school zones to ticket people driving over the posted speed limit during certain hours. We may get two benefits from this, revenue and safer drivers.

I would like to hear your thoughts. I believe Euclid has this system where a private company sends the ticket and collects the money, working on a percentage system. 65% to the city and they keep 35% for there trouble.

When I first heard this idea I was very opposed to the idea and than after thinking about it  seems like a decent fair idea.

Maybe someone could start a company with the only responsibility of writing parking violation. No meter reader and the police can do important work in the process. Working on a percentage.

Let's hear your thoughts, please.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"THE WAY WE WERE" barbra streisand

This coming Saturday Painesville Electric power will be celebrating 125 years of service. Their are many municipal power companies in the country but in Painesville's case they still and can produce electric power on their own.

They will have an open house and you can see how Painesville has produced your electric power for the past 125 years.

I have watched in the last couple of weeks crews putting down mulch, trimming bushes, planting flowers and painting to sprucing up the facility. I believe it would be enlightening and educational to take the tour Saturday.

What you expected me to rain on their parade? There's other times to do that, lets just celebrate their birthday.

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Want to collect a Painesville memory cheap and for a good cause?

Talked to the Judge at Rider's Tavern this week she was up in the Inn's attic and found an unopened box from Painesville Printing dated 1953. (Many people in Painesville would love to view the possible treasures in that attic)
In the box were as like new unfolded menu's of Lutz's Inn from 1953.
First it was Rider's than Lutz's and now Riders Inn .
"Six White Pillar's"

The menu contain prices charged at that time.
An example Boston Strip Steak $2.95 that includes salad, potatoes rolls butter as well as a beverage.
Filet of Lake Erie Perch appetizer or soup salad, relishes, potatoes or vegetable, rolls and butter, dessert, beverage for $1.75
You could even get a cup of homemade soup for.20 a bowl was .35

The Inn is selling these menu's for $1.00  all proceeds go to the Inn's scholarship fund.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"DROWNING" backstreet boys

What I learned at last nights council meeting basically came down to "Well Ang you can drown in twenty-five feet of water or fifteen feet of water, but your gon'a DROWN".

At the start of the meeting Mr. Lewis and Mr. Lynch explained that our sewer jet truck was Caput.
Repairs will cost $25,000 but we would be much better off purchasing a new one for $350,000. Plus the street sweeper needs replaced at $230,000 along with a new salt storage area $250,000. Other service vehicles are in need of replacement due to age the higher maintenance costs. Hey didn't we just purchase a Twenty-two year old fire truck? After all this I expect that at the next council meeting we will be told the parking garage is also unsafe and must be torn down at a cost of a million dollars?  Talk about being on the Titanic.

Sitting in the audience council seems the most confused about these levies than the citizens. It's seems they don't even know the amount of money that is needed to right the ship instead what's the largest amount we can squeeze out of the residents? There was even a debate on if the safety levy should be 2.74 mil or 2.58 mil? Seven people heading in seven different directions.

Different ideas were looked at to get funding for the city. My favorite A 'privilege fee' for renters to have what the honor to live here?

Reciprocity reared it's head again. I really believe this is the financial mechanism they would want.
Along with individual street easement's. Say to repave Skinner Ave. people would be charged by the foot for street repair and in the case of Skinner Ave. $550.00 would be added to a residents property tax for ten years.

Look we have been told one of the reasons Painesville is suffering was that the Governor and State Legislature has cut funding to Painesville sending $750,000 LESS in the last two years. I guess this will make the state budget look great but what about the communities that they are starving? Why not go after the state? Why does the state pass laws that limit what you do with profits from your utilities?

Look there are no easy answers and at the same time council seems to not understand that Painesville has a low-income as well as aging population. While in the past twenty years surrounding communities were striving for growth. Painesville decided to chase Steris, Fasson, even the hospital out of town. These assets had their own diversity programs to get out of Painesville. Painesville seem's to want to be a small New England type community. That pretty much has fail poorly. Any guesses who's plan that was?
Painesville the 'vanity' city it seems over the past thirty years we have spent more on lipstick, makeup and wigs than taking care of our city's health. Just look at the goals of our latest Main St. project.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

"SHAKEDOWN" bob seger

Well Monday nights 'Special' council meeting will start a little earlier 7:00 p.m.
Wonder what kind of turnout to expect? Will some come out of the shadows to support the levies?
Will some come in opposition to them?
Will anyone suggest  "What will we do if the levies fail?"
My best guess is that one will pass but not both.

Will council members be in support of the levies?
I don't want to hear lets give the voter an opportunity. What isn't that what you gave voters last November? Will they keep asking until they pass?

Will anyone suggest  "other revenue streams?'

Look I've pretty much heard them all what we have created here is a diverse community of poor White people, Black people, and Hispanic people. Throw in an ageing population and well there ain't much there.... there.

Changing reciprocity amounts will it make any difference? Seems I remember a study done when the hospital moved how poor our community was? Lowest per capita of vehicles as well as income in the county.

What can the city do with and do without?

Something tells me the only ideas  we will hear are the same old same old.
Think out of the box? People we are all in the box!

Maybe another SHAKEDOWN of the residents is all we got?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"DESPERADO" eagles

Busy Monday council meeting .First reading for both levies were left on first reading.
Some facts about this meeting if you own a $100,000 home you presently pay $2,212.74 in property taxes presently. with close to $1,500.00 going to schools. The 2.74 Mill Safety levy will add $83.91 to your property tax and the 3 mill Road Levy will add $91.88 to your yearly property tax.
This combined will add  $175.79   to the $2,212.74 for a grand total of $2,388.53. In the case of a $75,000 home you presently pay $1659.56 with alittle over $1,100.00 going to schools. and the safety levy adds $62.93 and the Road Levy will add $68.91 this combined will add   $131.84   for a total of $1,791.40.
As you view these increases remember the $96.00 a year in "taxes" to assure you of improved waterlines? If that isn't a tax what is it?

Now next Monday a 7:00 PM there will be the second reading of these levies that way they will be voted on in the third Monday in June. This Road levy was left up to the people last November. It was voted down. So if anyone on council votes to put it on the ballot in November I must assume they support both levies and will stand to want to raise your taxes. No more let the people decide. We did that last November and it FAILED. and for you to bring it to us again I believe you must stand 100% behind both levies. You must actively promote raising people's taxes the amounts stated above and even more in places like Heisley Park and Liberty Greens.

Council will be looking in the community for people to be on these levy committee's in support of there passage.

If you believe this will solve the street problems in Painesville my question is how many years will we need this levy. One member of the public mention shared sacrifice  who pays besides property or home owners?
I was told the city is run by experts and then my question is why does it appear for over twenty years Painesville operates from 'Paycheck to Paycheck' where was the funds for replacement. where was the 'rainy day fund' why no reserve funds?  Maybe it's easier to spend everything for the past couple of decades and just squeeze you wallet or purse a little more now?

Again the city is desperate for funds and all I see is us just treading water.

Would you join a committee to support either of these two levies? Would you join a committee to defeat either of these levies?

In other news council voted to pay the assistant city manager wages equal to  city manager pay for the first six months of 2013. Council person DiNallo stated an amount of less than $6,000? Am I to believe the assistant city manager makes only $12,000 less a year than the city manager?

Can anyone explain why having 26 million dollars in the bank that can't be used to repair streets is illegal by state law, yet you can dip into that amount and pay AMP-OHIO 2.1 million dollars for YOUR mistake?