HUBER HEIGHTS — The Huber Heights City Council members will be easier to hear in the not-too-distant future. City Council Monday approved spending $60,000 on a new digital audio-visual system for council chambers at city hall. But the decision wasn’t made until council struggled with what it meant to be compliant with the Americans for Disability Act.
The funding for the new system was included in a supplemental appropriations ordinance that included more than $8 million for bond retirement and $550,243 in additional funding for the water pressure upgrade project. But it was the council chambers project that made the most noise.
Council Member Janell Smith questioned whether council is currently ADA compliant.
She said the original estimate for the upgrade was less than $40,000 and now it had grown to $60,000 and she wanted to know if council currently was ADA compliant.
Law Director Gerald McDonald said his answer was yes because currently there are no ADA related complaints about council chambers. But, he said, the new plan was designed to improve the current system as well as to address potential issues concerning residents with hearing problems.
Council Member Nancy Byrge questioned the need for what she saw as added expense. “We can add on later if we see there is a significant demand that justifies the cost,” Byrge said.
Mayor Jeff Gore said that the requirements for the system had not been amended or changed due to ADA requirements, but that the higher total came in when the city sent out the project for bids. City Manager Rob Schommer said original estimates from companies varied widely but when the project went out for bids more accurate prices were submitted.
Councilman Glenn Otto reminded council that the main reason for the upgrade was to improve the audio system so people in the audience or listening on-line could better hear what is said at meetings then evolved into including some ADA issues.
A vote to waive the second reading of the ordinance passed 7-1 with Smith voting no. The vote on an ensuing resolution to sign a contract with Industrial Communication and Sound for $60,000 for the new equipment passed 8-0. So Huber Heights residents should stay tuned – the future will include better sounds from council chambers.
Also on Monday night, council:
- Heard Schommer say the aquatic center filtration replacement project is complete; that the EPA is monitoring and working to resolve a diesel fuel spill from an accident on I-70 that resulted in a strong diesel odor in the Willow Creek area and that the spill had no effect on the city’s water supply; and that the city parks and recreation board has submitted its list of priorities to the city.
- Passed on to third reading a resolution adopting the city’s five-year capital improvement plan.
- Approved a resolution for a temporary moratorium on unlicensed massage businesses in the city. The city is working on legislation that will provide a more permanent solution.
- Gave permission to Schommer to apply for grant money from the Bureau of Justice Assistance proof Vest Partnership. The grant will provide 50 percent of the cost of body armor for the police department. The city’s cost for replacing 11 vests this year will be about $4,500.
- Approved a three-year license renewal for Southwestern Public Radio for tower space on the city-owned Needmore Road radio tower. The rental fee is $1,000 per year.
- Approved an alternate assessment procedure for citizens wishing to tie into the city water and sewer lines. The procedure will allow assessment fees to be paid through property taxes.
- Reappointed Jennifer Bierley And Lee Cromer to the Arts And Beautification Commission to terms expiring June 30, 2021, on a 7-1 vote. Smith voted no.
- Appointed Vicki Dix to the Parks and Recreation Board for a term expiring March 31, 2019.
- Appointed Robert Deam to the Board Of Zoning Appeals for a term expiring Jan. 31, 2020.
- Appointed Daniel Yoe to the Board Of Zoning Appeals for a term expiring Jan. 31, 2023.
- Council held an executive session following Monday’s meeting to discuss pending litigation and possible discipline for a city employee. Council’s next meeting will be June 25, 7 p.m. at city hall. The next council work session will be held June 19, 6 p.m., at city hall.
Reach Dave Lindeman at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.