Amberley Village News THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER FOR RESIDENTS OF AMBERLEY VILLAGE
Amberley Village Accelerated Streets Program Amberley Village is excited to announce the launch of its Accelerated Streets Program, or ASP, which represents an investment of $6.7 million over eight years to make significant advancements on our street conditions. A 2012 assessment by our Village Engineer showed that while 85% of Village lane miles were in fair to good condition, 15% were in poor condition, including concrete base streets that have been paved over with asphalt, such as those on North and South Farmcrest Drives. Staff has pursued various grants and funding mechanisms for street reconstruction of North Farmcrest, South Farmcrest and Kincaid Road through the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) The Village has successfully secured a grant in the amount of $145,000. The Village was approved for a loan in the amount of $217,347 from the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) related to North Farmcrest. And the Village was successful in its application for $71,000 from the Municipal Road Fund (MRF) administered by Hamilton County toward work on Kincaid Road. To date, the Village has been awarded a total of $433,254 in grants and loans toward the project. The total preliminary construction cost estimate for the reconstruction of Farmcrest streets is $1.6 million.
The next step for the first phase of the project is to award the engineering and design contract in April. The timeframe for engineering, survey and design will be between late April 2021 and January 2022. The project will be bid in February 2022 with construction likely beginning in the late Spring of 2022 and concluding in the Fall of 2022. The graphic on page 8 outlines a tentative projected schedule, with projects yet to be determined marked "Additional Streets to Be Determined." These projects will be assigned on an as-needed basis as the target date approaches. Residents can look for regular updates in the monthly E-News (subscribe on the Village website), as well as regular social media and website updates.
See chart on Page 8
From the Village Manager As we continue welcoming 2021, the Village has remained focused on maintaining an exceptional level of service and keeping our neighborhoods beautiful and safe. And keeping our residents connected is an important part of a thriving community. We have missed seeing smiling faces at our Municipal Building and events, but the Village has remained focused on ways to keep us all engaged. Despite the obstacles of managing a community during a pandemic, unfettered service delivery to our residents prevailed. Amberley Village is especially fortunate to have such supportive residents, and it doesn’t go without notice. Despite what loomed in our future with the pandemic and the potential impact it could have had on the Village, we fared extremely well financially in 2020. The Village is working to continue the trend with a multi-faceted approach to our financial outlook,, which you can read about on page 6, or access our Open Village Finances on the Village website. While some communities saw severely strained policecommunity relations, our Police-Fire Department has gone
over and above in its response to these circumstances and remains at the forefront of innovative solutions to expand public outreach (see Chief's message below and story, page 7). Even as we still mourn the loss of Councilmember Ed Hattenbach, I'm proud of the work of our Council in putting the Village first and identifying a successor from a pool of extremely talented candidates in such a timely fashion (see page 4). Throughout this newly-redesigned publication, you'll find stories of progress, success and hope that demonstrate the Village's commitment to its residents. From large projects like our Accelerated Streets Program (pages 1 & 8) to the smaller touches like new trash cans (page 3) and everything in between, it is my hope that our residents know and appreciate how proud the Village staff and I are to serve this community. The many notes of thanks, social media recognitions and treats from residents throughout this past year have gone a long way in supporting us through the long haul that was 2020, and we cannot thank you enough. We look forward to a brighter 2021 and are anxious to be able to gather with you again very soon!
Words from Chief Wallace In June of 2020, I issued an open letter to the community outlining the commitment of Amberley Village Police Department to positive policecommunity relations in the face of national response to the death of George Floyd. As a Department, we continue our long-standing tradition of intense training, particularly in areas that directly impact our interaction with the public. All Amberley Village staff and officers have attended trainings in both implicit bias and interaction with citizens with special needs. Most recently, all police officers attended de-escalation training and were required to complete training in “Duty to Intervene,” which outlines protocols and guidelines for when they are legally required to involve themselves in a situation. Additionally, each officer has signed a Peer Agreement for Constitutional Tactics, or P.A.C.T., which states they agree to intervene on one another’s behalf if they observe mistakes or peer misconduct. This P.A.C.T. tells the other officers in the Department that they want peer interaction if needless risk or policy violations are observed, ensuring that all officers are held to the same high standard.
Today, all members of the Department receive Daily Training Bulletins (DTBs), which focus on key points and test officers' knowledge and understanding of Amberley Village policies and procedures, which includes the following statement: "The Amberley Village Police Department is committed to providing law enforcement services to the community with due regard for the racial, cultural or other differences of those served. It is the policy of this department to provide law enforcement services and to enforce the law equally, fairly, objectively and without discrimination toward any individual or group." I am committed to seeking out new and innovative ways to expand the positive reach of our Police Department, both to our community and to those beyond its borders. While we have always striven to excel in strengthening our community relationships, it is critical now more than ever for us to take a leadership role in positive policing. It's what has made our community stand out for more than 80 years, and what will set us apart in making a difference moving forward. Read more on page 7
One Stop Drop
The Amberley Village Environmental Stewardship Committee has been meeting monthly to determine the best way to proceed to ensure the strongest recycling outcome with a priority on the safety of our residents. For these reasons, the annual One Stop Drop will be moved to the fall months to ensure adequate time for the COVID vaccine to reach its fullest effect. Look for information to come in subsequent E-News and print newsletter editions. And be sure to check out the Amberley Village website, as well as sign up for emails to receive regular updates!
Tax Due April 15 Amberley Village will follow Ohio filing deadlines, which as of this printing were still April 15. While there is no in-person tax preparation assistance available due to COVID-19, Jenny West is available by phone at 531-0130 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff has also set up a new Tax page on the Village website, which consolidates important tax information in one place and is accessible from the top menu on the home page. In addition, a new secure e-mail service has been set up to allow for the safe digital submission of tax forms. Check the new tax page for updates to filing and payment deadlines. Residents are also reminded to utilize the Village Tax Drop Box when submitting forms in person. The Drop Box is monitored 24/7 and emptied regularly to ensure security.
Litter-ally Speaking Litter pickup in the right-ofway is an ongoing struggle for Amberley Village Crews. While our mowing contractor collects litter weekly during mowing season, the responsibility falls to the Maintenance Department in winter. However, when streets are covered in snow for extended periods, litter collects en masse. Crews walked Ridge, Section and Galbraith after the snow melt, and gathered 88 30-gallon bags of litter totaling 96 bags for the month of January.
While much of the trash in our rightof-ways comes from motorists passing through the Village, residents are asked to refrain from littering on our roads. Thanks to Village Crews for keeping Amberley looking beautiful!
Cincinnati Tax Rate Change Residents should be aware that the earned income tax rate for the City of Cincinnati decreased in October 2020 from 2.1% to 1.8%. For residents who reside in Amberley and work in Cincinnati, this means important changes in filing.
When the tax rate for the City of Cincinnati was 2.1%, the tax liability for Amberley Village was met in full. Beginning with tax year 2021, the change in the earnings tax rate for the City of Cincinnati means .2% of Amberley Village tax liability will be due with Village tax returns in April 2022. Each resident who works in the City of Cincinnati may be impacted differently based on whether their employer withholds Amberley Village tax. If your employer does not withhold Amberley tax from your paycheck, then .2% is due for Amberley Village. Residents in this situation may want to consider paying quarterly taxes or ask their employer to change their withholdings. to offset taxes due for tax year 2021 and beyond. Questions? Contact Jenny West at 531-0130 or email@example.com.
As part of the Village commitment to keeping our environment both clean AND green, Amberley Village will be installing new trash and recycling receptacles throughout the park at the Municipal Building. These are 55-gallon stadium cans with custom logos and a plastisol dipped finish. Look for them on Municipal Building grounds this coming Spring! For more information about the new receptacles and how they're made locally, visit our website at www.amberleyvillage.org/
Remembering Ed Hattenbach
Members of Amberley Village Council and Village staff are utilizing the new Village Tree + Bench Donation Program as a way to memorialize Councilmember Ed Hattenbach, who was lost to COVID-19 in January of this year. A tree will be dedicated in Councilmember Hattenbach's name in the Spring of this year. Look for announcements on social media, the Village website and via email when a date and time have been determined. Ed will long live in the hearts of his friends, neighbors and all those whose lives he touched during his 12 years of service to Amberley Village.
New Council Appointment Set for April 12 Amberley Village Council met on Monday, March 15 to interview candidates for the open council seat in District A, which had been held by Ed Hattenbach for multiple consecutive terms. Mr. Ben Hunt was selected from five candidates to serve as the appointed replacement for Mr. Hattenbach. Mr. Hunt is expected to be appointed at the April meeting of council, which will be held on April 12, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. Login information for the meeting is available on the Village website.
Conservation Study is Voted a Required Consideration for Amberley Green Development One of the key components of reaching consensus at Amberley Green has been safeguarding its valuable green space. Resolution 2021-1 was passed in January and adopted a Conservation Study of Amberley Green by MKSK Studios. The purpose of the study was to identify areas of Amberley Green that should be protected and other areas that could be developed. An objective in establishing zoning text for Amberley Green was to identify and preserve heavy growth of trees, significant slopes, and natural areas like ponds. The MKSK study, in conjunction with the passage of Ordinance 2020-16, accomplishes an important balance between conservation and development. Ordinance 2020-16, Adopting Zoning Code Text for Amberley Green, was passed at our January Council meeting. This does not change the status of the property's Residential A designation but instead allows development an avenue to begin. All documents are available in full on the Village website under Forms & Documents/Amberley Green.
Cicadas Are Coming!
Deer Park Public Library serves as the primary service branch for residents of Amberley Village. Those who have visited are well aware of the big impact it has despite its small space. Book lovers will be excited to learn that plans are underway to relocate the branch to retail space formerly occupied by T.J. Maxx. The move will allow the library to expand its offerings, and will even include a community room available for reservation. The new branch is expected to open late Summer of 2021. Learn more at cincinnatilibrary.org by searching "Deer Park."
While the prospect of a mass swarm of cicadas might not be enticing to many of us, Dr. Gene Kritsky of Mount St. Joseph right here in Cincinnati has developed an app to make this year's emergence more than just a spectator sport. You can be a part of cicada history by participating in his ongoing research by downloading Dr. Kristky's Cicada Safari app, which allows for data, photos and video to be recorded. Visit your favorite app store, or search "Cicada Safari" for more information. An added bonus is that the app features fun facts throughout!
COVID-19 & Vaccines Many Amberley Village First Responders and staff have now received vaccinations for COVID-19, and are hopeful for a return to traditional business procedure at the Municipal Building. Early recipients of the vaccine received the two-dose shot, while several administrative staff who were not eligible for the earlier distributions were offered the single-dose shot in mid-March. Residents are reminded that vaccination does not replace social distancing and masking up in public places, but combined efforts are expected to expedite reopening of Village offices. Visit the Village website COVID-19 page for regular updates!
What's YOUR "Why"? Chief Rich Wallace: "Our job is to protect and to serve. I can think of no better way to fulfill this oath to elevate the safety of everyone in our community." Lt. Brian Blum: "My wife, who is in the health care field, and I felt this was a wise decision to remain healthy and protect those around us." Village Manager Scot Lahrmer: "I wanted to do my part to expedite a return to all the things I miss especially spending time with extended family."
Amberley Village staff and leaders were recently asked their primary reason for being vaccinated. At right are just a few of their "why's"...what's yours? POST YOUR "WHY" ON THE AMBERLEY VILLAGE FACEBOOK PAGE TO ENCOURAGE NEIGHBORS CONSIDERING THE VACCINATION!
New Website to Feature Videos & Panoramic Views
Duke Undergrounding Project
Residents who subscribe to the Village E-News have already had a sneak peek at the work staff recently completed on a new promotional video geared toward those considering Amberley Village as their new home. A second video targeting potential businesses has also been completed, and is slated to be featured alongside the residential video on a newly-designed website, which will be launched in the coming months. The website redesign has been underway since early in the pandemic to streamline communication with residents and will feature more simplified navigation, streaming video, a brighter, cleaner interface, and interactive 360° aerial views of key Village public spaces, such as the Municipal property shown below. The new site is scheduled to launch in the coming months.
Over the past several years, many residents have expressed frustration with the number of power outages. Amberley Village has worked directly with Duke Energy to devise a solution that could reduce the number of outages, particularly in the southwest portion of the Village. Duke Energy has been reaching out to residents to request permission to install underground cabling. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and patience while work is underway to improve services to Amberley Village residents. Questions? Visit Duke Energy at duke-energy.com/TUG or call the Customer Service Line at 800.544.6900.
Village Financial Overview The pie chart at right shows expenditures for 2020, and demonstrates a significant portion of the budget is spent on our Police Department and essential services.
Residents can view the full Village financial overview via the Village website by clicking on Open Village Finances at the top of the home page at www.amberleyvillage.org..
Amberley Village wrapped up the 2020 financial year in a much better position than earlier expected. Several key factors included a one-time cell tower fee, the sale of property at the North Site to Lewis Animal Hospital, difficult budget cuts and innovative use of CARES Act funding. Collectively, we ended 2020 under budget in the amount of $443,600. The pie chart above shows the breakdown of expenditures for 2020. Village Council set the 2021 Annual General Fund Budget at $5.7 million in one of the most important documents that a legislative body will approve all year. The Budget sets policy and ultimately reflects the values of the Village by directing our limited financial resources to accomplish the major goals and objectives for the coming year. The Budget continues to be based on conservative practices, which have helped the Village for long-term financial health, even when economic downturns occur. It preserves our current staffing levels of 35 full-time positions and funds operations in the Police, Fire, Maintenance and Administration Departments. A brief glimpse of the Police Department Budget illustrates the continued funding of part-time Police dispatch supplementing our full-time dispatchers, replacement of two cruisers, fuel, $20,000 in capital purchases and training among other items. The Police Department receives 8 mills in funding known as the police levy; however, the police levy only pays approximately 38% of police costs. A 2021 General Fund subsidy in the amount of $2.1 million will reflect the General Fund’s contribution towards the Police Budget in the amount of $3.5 million, enabling the police levy to cover approximately $1.3 million. The Fire Department Budget reflects the Village’s unique program which combines police/fire and maintenance/fire services. Fire pay, training, grant assistance, and hose testing have been included in the budget for a total of $323,802. In the Village capital budget, $19,500 has been budgeted for replacement fire hydrants as part of the 2021 Street Program. The Maintenance Department Budget funds significant supplies and materials to perform services like brush chipping, leaf removal, and snow and ice control. The Department operates with seven personnel who double as firefighters. Overall, the 2021 Budget funds resident services and many of the programs mentioned in this newsletter.
The graph at left shows the disbursement of property tax dollars in Amberley Village. Amberley Village receives approximately 17% of total dollars generated. And while the total allocation of dollars will increase in 2021 from homes where property tax increased, it is not anticipated to make a significant impact on Village income.
Community Policing and Accountability Amberley Village Police Department has compiled a detailed overview of its community policing policies. This document will be available for download and review on the Village website, as well as a copy of the Open Letter to the Community issued in June of 2020. Staff has created a new link to our Community Policing page, which showcases our efforts, including some of the following highlights: Amberley Village conducts an annual review of each officer’s racial profiling statistics as an additional measure to ensure unbiased community policing. This is above and beyond the required measures, and a practice fairly unique to Amberley Village. We have worked to establish a relationship with the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio Center for Social Justice to discuss our AVPD operations as they pertain to use of force, traffic enforcement, use of camera systems and documentation of racial profiling statistics. We will continue to work with them in these areas to ensure unbiased feedback regarding where we are as a department and where we can improve in the future. From top to bottom: (Top): Officer Delarisco Sumler (l.) and Detective JD Drake (r.) (Bottom left): Even a random traffic stop can be an opportunity to develop positive relationships! (Bottom right): Officers utilize technology to remove bias from traffic stops
Chief Wallace openly welcomes residents to contact him directly with any questions or concerns. He can be reached at the Village Municipal Building at 531-2040, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1954 Fire Truck Brings Back Memories
Amberley Village Fire Department was recently contacted by an individual now in possession of a 1954 Seagrave Pumper, which had once belonged to the Department. The Village also received photos, which staff shared with alumni of Amberley Village Police-Fire Department in hopes of gathering some personal memories of the vehicle. Retired Police-Fire Chief Garry Benner responded to say the truck was new when he began at Amberley Village. He shared that it was a very reliable piece of equipment that "helped extinguish a lot of fires," and that even when a new truck was purchased, the Seagrave "would run circles around the newer Pirsch." He said the pumper was sold when the Department bought a new Seagrave during his years as Chief from 1983-1993.
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Looking Ahead: Monday, April 12: Thursday, April 15: Saturday, April 24: Sunday, July 25:
Council Meeting (6:30 pm) Tax Day (midnight deadline) Drug Take Back Day (10 am - 2 pm) Bike Safety Event (9am - noon)
Dates Coming Soon: Ice Cream Social One Stop Drop Committee meetings are posted regularly on the website calendar, Village posting boards and on Facebook. Sign up to receive notices via email on the Village website at www.amberleyvillage.org.
Amberley Village announces its Accelerated Streets Program (ASP), which will span eight years and more than 25 streets throughout the Village!