Mid-Year 2019 Departmental Reports

Staff has turned in their departmental reports for the second quarter of 2019. As always, I’m amazed at how much work gets done quietly and without fanfare throughout the city.

During the Second Quarter of this year, from April to June….

Human Resources processed 17 new city employees and processed out 8 employees leaving employment with the city.

In the Division of Fire, calls for fire service were up slightly from second quarter this year (692) compared to the same time in 2018 (649). EMS runs were slightly up for the same quarter, 2,353 in 2018, compared to 2,396 this year during the same time period.  Opiate overdoses continue to peak and ebb depending on the month. As the opiate crisis abates, we are starting to track more closely drug overdoses of all kinds to better understand addiction in the city.

Building Inspection processed 492 new permits with a construction value of $31,174,043, and completed 1089 inspections during the second quarter. That number included 18 new single family residences to be built.

Middletown Division of Police saw crime level out in the second quarter. Part One crimes, the most serious crimes, were reported 1,416 times year to date measured against 1,393 reported crimes through the end of June in 2018. Calls for service continue to decline from 18,482 year to date in 2018, down to 18,168 in 2019 year to date. The reduction in calls for service allows our officers to be more proactive in preventing crime and we hope the trend continues.

The Law Department reviewed 49 contracts and prepared 27 pieces of legislation for City Council’s consideration, and the Municipal Court and Prosecutors worked on 2,695 open cases including 253 felonies, 961 misdemeanors, 71 OVI (drunk driving) cases, and 1,410 traffic cases.

The Health Department year to date inspected 170 food service operations, handled 60 animal bites, completed 13 indigent cremations, issued 2,629 birth certificates and issued 1,759 death certificates.

Public Works completed repairs on 199 traffic signals, spent 400 hours working special events in the city, spent 675 hours collecting litter throughout the city, 500 hours of flower bed prep for the spring, and completed cleaning of 9,296 linear feet of sewer mains.  They completed 1,209 lane miles of street sweeping, utilized 321 tons of asphalt on pothole repairs, and repaired 178 street sighs. They’ve treated 2,254 million gallons of wastewater, repaired 11 water mains, and produced 1,044 million gallons of drinking water.

Planning is working on completing Middletown’s application to be a Certified Local Government for Historical Designation. They’ve updated the City Development Code to work with Civil Penalties, worked on a Community Strategic Energy Plan, and continue the final work to complete the City’s new Master Plan. They approved new permits for Dunkin Donuts (Breiel at the old Marco’s Pizza), Waffle House (Cin-Day Rd) and Chipotle (Towne Blvd).

The introductory Chapters of the new Airport Master Plan have been reviewed and accepted by the FAA. The airport continues the process to get developable land certified under the SiteOhio program. Drafts of new Airport Minimum Standards, Policies and Procedures, and Leasing Policy are under legal review. Butler Tech is completing build out of class space at the Airport and will house students there this fall.

Phase I of the Oakland Redevelopment project is complete. Phase II will include neighborhood outreach and design of new housing and rehabilitation standards.

That’s a lot of work by a lot of dedicated people. I’m proud of my staff and the work that they accomplish every day. Have a great week!

Dayton Business Journal: Focus on Middletown

The Dayton Business Journal has focused on Middletown for the month of July with a  large string of articles promoting the great things happening in the City.  And there’s a lot to talk about!

Since May 2019, we’ve had ribbon cuttings for Swire InnIndigo Pass, Cornerstone Manor, Don’s Pizza, BMW Motorcycles and Cool Comics & Collectibles, and had a kick off of construction (finally!) for the Goetz Tower project.

 

I’d like to thank the DBJ for their extensive coverage.  As we continue to strengthen and update our city, we are getting great press coverage in the region.

The Dayton Business Journal has posted articles this month on:

Kettering Health Network’s proposed expansion in Middletown

Atrium Medical Center’s expanded service options for residents

Educational opportunities with Butler Tech at the Middletown Regional Airport

PACE energy upgrades at the Sonny Hill Community Center

Carnegie Library restoration activities

We will be finishing the City’s new Master Plan in the next few months, and all of these projects fit into the expansion efforts in future city planning.

Some of these articles can only be accessed by subscribing to the Dayton Business Journal, but all the featured articles for July are shown here:

https://www.bizjournals.com/dayton/news/feature/community-spotlight-2019-middletown

 

Civil Offense & Fines (also referred to as Civil Penalties)

City Council recently approved Ordinance No. O2019-35 enacting Chapter 214 (Code Compliance: Civil Offenses & Fines) and amending Sections 1436.06 (Remedial Action) and 1436.99 (Penalty) of the Middletown Codified Ordinances. The purpose of this new ordinance is to give the City Enforcement Officers an additional tool to help address violations of the City Code in a manner that does not require subjecting citizens to a proceeding in Court and a criminal conviction.

Previously, when an enforcement officer observed a violation of the code, they could choose to work with the citizen to correct problems, they could give warnings and they could issue a citation for criminal proceedings.

With this new legislation, Officers can now also choose to enforce the code by issuing a civil penalty. This is a civil financial penalty to violators instead of a criminal court case.

If a person receives a Civil Penalty and disagrees with the Enforcement Officer’s determination, they can request an appeal with a hearing officer who will hear from both the citizen and the City Enforcement Official and make a determination if the penalty should be imposed. The City has created an Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) to oversee these citations. Middletown native, attorney Jimmy Calhoun, will work as the Hearing officer for all appeals.  He is independent of city government and the Municipal Court.

Below are some of the frequently asked questions about Civil Offenses & Fines along with answers and/or explanations.

1. What is a civil offense?

  • A monetary penalty (civil fine) issued for a violation of various sections of the Middletown Codified Ordinances. Ordinance
  • Fines are based on the class of the violation, but the fine may be reduced in some cases with timely compliance.
  • It is an alternative to a criminal citation and a criminal conviction.
  • A criminal citation cannot be issued at the same time as a civil offense for the same violation.

2.  How does the process work?

  • City enforcement officials discover a violation and issue a notice of the violation.
  • Depending on the nature of the offense, a city official may give a warning / opportunity to abate the violation. On the other hand, a violation of the MCO which is strictly traffic or criminal in nature could lead directly to a Notice of Civil Offense.
  • If a Notice of Civil Offense is issued, it must be served in person, by certified mail or posting on the property. Sample Notice of Civil Offenses
  • Each civil offense will be docketed with an individual case number.

3.  What should you do if you receive a Notice of Civil Offense?

  • The ANSWER portion of the Notice must be filed within 10 calendar days of service.
  • There are 4 options for the Answer:
    • Admit the violation, and pay fine as stated on Notice.
    • Admit to a reducible violation, provide proof of correction and pay the reduced fine. The Notice will indicate if it is eligible for reduction.
    • Request a hearing to contest the civil offense.
    • Respond that an administrative appeal under Chapter 2506 of the Ohio Revised Code has already been filed in Common Pleas Court. The Civil offense is suspended until appeal has been resolved.
  • REDUCIBLE FINES: Abatement of the violation must be completed within 10 calendar from service of the Notice.
  • APPEALS ~ REQUESTS FOR HEARING:
    • Upon receipt of Answer requesting a hearing, the OAH will send a Hearing Notice within 10 calendar days.
    • Hearings will be held within 30 calendar days of request.
    • Hearings will be held at the City Building and will be recorded.
    • The OAH will notify you if you need to appear.
    • A written Post-Hearing Decision of Hearing Examiner will be issued within 10 calendar days of the hearing.
    • Fines owed will be due within 10 calendar days of receipt of Decision.

4.  Unpaid Civil Fines

  • If the Answer and fine are not received within 10 calendar days, OAH will send a post-default notice of fine.
  •  The fine doubles after 10 calendar days.
  • If the unpaid fine is referred for collection, the fine increases again

5.   When will enforcement of civil penalties begin?

  • Ordinance O2019-35 goes into effect on July 5, 2019.
  • Staff is currently being trained on issuing civil offenses.
  • We expect to start issuing Notices of Civil Offense beginning July 15, 2019.

The long term purpose of this is two-fold.  We hope to use it to bring more properties into code compliance and to continue to clean up the city.  Second, the civil fine keeps our residents from getting a criminal conviction for housing violations and other nuisance activities.

Like all ideas and policies, this is not a silver bullet. It won’t solve all of our compliance issues. I still can’t legislate an ordinance to make your next door neighbor care about their property and the neighborhood and to be a good neighbor.

It’s another tool to help… nothing more and nothing less. Hopefully it helps.

PACE Energy Financing at the Community Center

CBI Middletown has for several years operated the Robert Sonny Hill Community Center. Under our operating contract with CBI, the City maintains responsibility for any maintenance to the building that costs more than $2,500. Over the last few years, there have been increasing maintenance issues and costs involving the roofing and lighting in the building.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a financing mechanism that enables low-cost, long-term funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation projects. PACE financing is repaid as an assessment on the property’s regular tax bill, and is processed the same way as other local public benefit assessments (sidewalks, sewers) have been for decades.  For existing businesses with limited capital, this provides a low annual cost method to replace obsolete or nonfunctioning equipment or to perform energy upgrades in a sustainable way for the company.  For prospective or new businesses, the program offers financing of energy producing portions of the new project and helps developers and businesses stack the financing for the project in a favorable way to make the project viable or to make it more profitable.

By utilizing PACE financing on a public building, we not only improve the energy efficiency and operation of the Community Center, but also the Economic Development Department will have a facility to use as a showcase of the program, the process to utilize PACE, and to visually demonstrate its benefits.

City Council recently approved PACE financing for the Community Center project to include:

  1. Convert interior and exterior lighting to LED Lighting: convert remaining interior and exterior lighting to LED bulbs and fixtures
  2. Update HVAC Controls: Install low-voltage programmable thermostats to allow night and weekend setback temperatures for the four furnace/AC units as well as new thermostat to control electric resistance baseboard heating
  3. Parking Lot LED Lighting: Install 8 new LED parking lot lights with new poles (2 to East Lot, 4 in West Lot, 2 over entry drive)
  4. Fix entry Roof Drain: Correct drainage problem from roof to facilitate storm flow away from the roof to landscaping or storm drain
  5. Roofing Renovations: Separated out into three sections. Removes existing roof system, leave insulation in place, new hardboard over insulation, new roof system, edge metals where needed, replace damaged gutters and downspouts, reuse gravel ballast, new insulation and TPO roof over metal roof section

In addition, the project has allowed us to form a partnership in financing between the Warren County Port Authority and the Butler County Port Authority. As we sit in both counties, having the Port Authorities working together creates a future benefit to Middletown in developing and financing projects in both counties.

If you are down at the Community Center in coming months, you should see a vast difference in the lighting and safety around the facility, and you’ll see the new roof going on. A win for the Community Center. Better energy efficiency for the building. A showcase project for Economic Development. Regional partnerships.

They all work in making Middletown a better place to live, work and play.

Code Enforcement and Downtown Vacant Properties

As we work on finalizing our new city Master Plan and develop priorities and new goals for the city, code enforcement and occupancy of vacant buildings continues to move up the priority list for City Council.

We’ve looked at this in downtown and now through our housing committee. Council has added new tools for the monitoring and enforcement of vacant and non-compliant properties, and they have directed staff to add additional code enforcement staff starting later this summer to assist in continuing to clean up all areas of the city.

On April 4, 2019 City Council adopted a Vacant Property ordinance. The Vacant Property Ordinance establishes a program for identifying and registering vacant property within the City’s Downtown Urban Core Central (UC-C) Zoning District. The ordinance was put into place to address properties that potentially present a fire hazard, provide temporary occupancy by transients, detract from private and/or public efforts to rehabilitate or maintain surrounding buildings, or properties that present a hazard to the health, safety and welfare of the public in the downtown area.

Since the adoption of the Vacant Property Ordinance, the Division of Police’s Code Enforcement team & Economic Development’s Zoning Division have combined forces and formed the “Central Avenue Task Force”. Starting on Monday, June 16th, the Task Force will be focusing their efforts in Downtown Middletown, specifically those properties located in the City’s UC-C Urban Core Central zoning district in conjunction with the ordinance.

The Task Force will work block by block to try to make contact and work with all property owners that have any Building or Zoning code violation issues and/or permitting issues. Code enforcement issues can pertain to property maintenance concerns such as tall grass, trash, peeling paint, signage, etc.

Recently on June 4, 2019 the City Council reviewed and approved an ordinance to enact Chapter 214 (Code Compliance: Civil Offenses & Fines) and amend Sections 1436.06 (Remedial Action) and 1436.99 (Penalty) of the Middletown Codified Ordinances.

The Task Force will work with property owners in hopes to work with them and give them an opportunity to abate any code violation issues. However, if they choose to ignore the problem, they can then be cited into to court for the violation. This civil penalties are designed to give city officials an alternative to criminal court and convicting violators of a crime, but still impose a penalty. Any city official (i.e. patrol officer, code inspector, etc.) that is charged with the enforcement of the Middletown Codified Ordinances may issue a notice of violation in relation to the code that the official enforces, and then issue a civil fine to a person found not to have complied with the violation notice instead of citing them into court.

We will work with any resident or business owner to resolve their violations. There is an easy way to never get on our radar…keep your property in compliance with the codes of the city.  There’s an easy way to get us to go away if you’ve received a Notice of Violation…correct the problem or work with us on a reasonable timetable to correct the problem.

There has been some concern over using new tools to clean up the city. Many of the arguments I’ve heard remind me of the concerns with the red light cameras. There was always a 100% foolproof way to never get a red light camera ticket… don’t run the light.  This is no different.

Cleaning up our city is just that…we have to clean it up. Everyone. Everywhere. Over time. Work with us and we’ll all be fine and the city will improve.

 

City Summer Events

It’s going to be a busy summer in the City with events happening regularly around town. There’s a community calendar on the City website: City Community Calendar to submit your own event and scope out what is happening any day of the week in Middletown.

Some upcoming highlights are:

This Saturday, June 1 from noon – 7 p.m., Middletown Division of Police will be hosting their second annual Jeep-N-Eats at 1027 Manchester Ave. (Downtown) Food, Music, Kids cool activities and lots of awesome Jeeps. 250 last year to be exact!

A new City event this year, Summer Adventure Night. This will be a free, family friendly event with Columbus Zoo animals visiting, as well as Trooper the dog, along with inflatable play areas and face painting for kids. More details here: Summer Adventure Night

Always a summer favorite, the Bash just kicked off last week!

5:30 – 9:30 pm at Governor’s Square downtown Middletown

Free and open to the public

May 22

June 5

June 19

July 3 (Fireworks, Festival)

July 17

July 31

Aug 14

 

We welcome the Ohio Challenge Balloon Fest back to Middletown again this year.

July 19 and 20

Smith Park

 

Summer Movies in the Park

7 pm pre-show, 8:30 snacks, 9 pm show

Free and open to the public

June 7 Downtown

June 21 Goldman Park

July 12 Douglas Park

July 26 Goldman Park

August 2 Downtown

August 16 Goldman Park

September 6 Downtown

Don’t forget one of the biggest events of the year in Middletown, the Middletown Police National Night Out. MPD has moved it to Smith Park to accommodate the crowds. Last year almost 5,000 people attend. This year it will be Thursday, August 6th. Stay tuned for more news!

Hops in the Hangar

August 10 at Middletown Regional Airport

 

Enjoy the summer in your hometown!

First Quarter 2019 Departmental Reports

Staff has turned in their departmental reports for the first quarter of 2019. As always, I’m amazed at how much work gets done quietly and without fanfare throughout the city.

During the First Quarter of this year, January through March….

Human Resources processed 20 new city employees and processed out 11 employees leaving employment with the city.

In the Division of Fire, calls for fire service were down significantly from first quarter this year (624) compared to the same time in 2018 (809). EMS runs were slightly up for the same quarter, 2,356 in 2018, compared to 2,417 this year during the same time period.  Opiate overdoses continue to drop, with 92 reported during the first quarter this year, compared to 130 for the same period in 2018.  As the opiate crisis abates, we are starting to track more closely drug overdoses of all kinds to better understand addiction in the city.

Building Inspection processed 331 new permits with a construction value of $5,526,396, and completed 982 inspections during the first quarter. That number included 13 new single family residences to be built.

Middletown Division of Police continues to see drops in most crime. Part One crimes, the most serious crimes, were reported 682 times during the first quarter measured against 677 reported crimes for the first quarter of 2018.  Theft related crime continues to drop and the first quarter showed an unusual spike in assaults (55 now vs. 18 last year 1st quarter). Calls for service continue to decline from 8,892 in 2018, down to 8,207 in 2019 year to date.  The reduction in calls for service allows our officers to be more proactive in preventing crime and we hope the trend continues.

The Law Department reviewed 57 contracts and prepared 34 pieces of legislation for City Council’s consideration, and the Municipal Court and Prosecutors worked on 2,675 open cases including 248 felonies, 820 misdemeanors, 83 OVI (drunk driving) cases, and 1,524 traffic cases.

The Health Department year to date inspected 96 food service operations, handled 25 animal bites, completed 6 indigent cremations, issued 1,338 birth certificates and issued 954 death certificates.

Public Works completed repairs on 149 traffic signals, spent 316 hours working special events in the city, and completed cleaning of 350 linear feet of sewer mains.   They’ve treated 2,303 million gallons of wastewater, repaired 15 water mains, and produced 831 million gallons of drinking water.

That’s a lot of work by a lot of dedicated people. I’m proud of my staff and the work that they accomplish every day. Have a great week!