Mayor’s Report: October 26th, 2020

GOLF MANOR (10/26/2020) – Submitted by Golf Manor Mayor Stefan Densmore

First off, I’d like everyone to please join us in honoring the memory of Corporal Adam McMillan of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office who on Friday (10/23/2020) succumbed to injuries from an accident while on duty two weeks ago. Adam was a 19 year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, and an organ donor. 

I’ve instructed Golf Manor administration to join with the law enforcement colleagues of Cpl. McMillan, and all public servants throughout Hamilton County who mourn his tragic loss while being forever thankful for his selfless commitment, dedication and service to others.  

At the Sheriff’s request, we offer prayers for all the deputies in his department and the families directly affected by this tragic loss. Adam is the brother of Officer Erin McMillan of our own Golf Manor Police Department, so we keep her specifically in our prayers as well. 

We also honor the memory of Chuck Whitford, father of our own Lieutenant Chad Whitford, of the Golf Manor PD. Mr. Whitford passed away October 15th at the age of 74. We offer our prayers specifically for Chad, his wife Jill, and the rest of the Whitford family. 

COVID Update: [Data numbers included in this portion of the report are provided by the Hamilton County Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency Emergency Operations Center].

  • This past Friday (10/23/2020) the State of Ohio reported the highest single day increase of COVID-19 cases, reporting 2,518 new cases, 9 of the 11 highest single day increases have occurred in the past 10 days.
  • Homeland Security says cases are currently doubling in SW Ohio every 10-14 days.
  • Adult medical-surgical bed utilization in Hamilton County has increased to 84% capacity. In Hamilton County adult critical care bed utilization has increased to 88% capacity. 
  • There are no plans currently to delay or cancel elective procedures in Hamilton County hospitals. 
  • The Health Collaborative and leaders from regional healthcare networks held a press conference this past Friday and stressed the importance of the members of the public taking personal measures to protect themselves and help keep case numbers and hospitalizations low.
  • Governor DeWine was asked on Friday about the possibility of a new “Stay at Home” order and responded that this is potentially in the hands of Ohioans, reiterating that we need to be careful about the events we attend, keep our guard up, and keep taking personal measures to slow the spread, such as mask wearing. He says the failure to do these things is what has led to the current dramatic spike in Statewide cases.
  • Deer Park Jr. and Sr. High Schools will be transitioning to remote learning effective immediately through 11/6/2020 due to active spread of COVID-19 within the buildings.
  • Cincinnati Waldorf grade school is quarantining for 10 days following a student testing positive there. If the quarantine goes well they plan to return to in person on Monday 11/2.
  • Hoxworth Blood Center has seen an increase in need for blood donations and plasma. It’s noted that individuals that have recovered from COVID-19 can still donate. Plasma from former COVID-19 patients has been used as an experimental treatment for COVID-19 patients.
  • Governor DeWine and leaders from the Ohio legislature announced a new COVID-19 relief package that utilizes $429.5M is State CARES Act funding to provide grants in six focus areas: 
    • $37.5M in assistance to bars and restaurants, 
    • $45M in assistance to non-profits and the arts, 
    • $50M for assistance with rent, mortgage, water and sewer services, 
    • $62M in assistance to rural and critical access hospitals,
    • $100M in assistance to higher education, and
    • $125M in small business assistance. 
  • The Governor is encouraging the State Controlling Board to approve this new relief package on Monday (today). Within this package, they’ll provide up to $10,000 to businesses that employ less than 25 employees and will help at minimum 50 businesses from each of Ohio’s 88 counties. Applications will open on November 2 at www.businesshelp.ohio.gov

Mayor’s Halloween Recommendations: Lots of children and adults are looking forward to the Halloween festivities this weekend–let’s continue to promote the safety precautions passed down from our local and State health authorities:

    • Social distance between family groups
    • Wear masks under costume masks 
    • Respect homes not participating (don’t knock on doors where the lights are out)
    • What we’ll be doing at our house, for the 1st three days after Halloween, is limiting the candy consumption of our kids to the number that we can clean off with a clorox-type wipes. This is actually recommended by the Hamilton County Health Department, for at least the first 72 hours after Halloween. It’s my recommendation to follow this guideline just to be safe. While most kids are not high risk if they get COVID-19, most kids are super spreaders wherever they go– I know as a parent it’s really hard to get kids to do anything in a sanitary way.

Election Preparation 

  • Safety Procedures: I want to share the safety procedures in place for those that wish to vote in person here at the municipal building on election day in Golf Manor. The safety procedures are being implemented by the Hamilton County Board of Elections. Voting booths will be sanitized between each voter, and we will have hand sanitizer and masks for voters. People who plan to vote in person on Nov. 3 will be required to wear a mask at all times, according to Gwen McFarlin, chair of Hamilton County Board of Elections.
  • Unity of the Village: Everyone on Council (I’m sure) is aware that we have Issue 10 on the ballot. I think it is important that no matter the outcome, we look at this as an opportunity to make the Village stronger and not divide us. I’m already engaged in planning some efforts to do that, and hope the Council will join me in seeking ways we can unify the village, both now and following these two possible scenarios after the election:
    1. If Issue 10 passes… It will then be Council’s responsibility to create the Commission referenced in the legislation. The referendum petition stayed this process of creating that commission (it is not that we did not finish the task, but could not finish the task until the referendum was resolved). Appointing the Commission is the next step in the process and is an opportunity to reinforce inclusivity and reinforce that our Village is a welcoming community. One of the ways to do this is to make sure that we have residents on the Commission who may have had reservations about, or even opposed the Ordinance. This will be at the discretion of council, but something I will be advocating for under this 1st scenario.
    2. If Issue 10 doesn’t pass… I will urge council to listen to what the residents of the Village have determined, and to direct attention to what, if any, next steps we should take to keep Golf Manor a welcoming community. The bottom line is that no matter the outcome of the election, it is important that we as elected officials serve as a force for village unity.

Administrative Policy Updates: There are a couple of policy issues I want to address next:

  • New Policy/Procedure for requests of tax information— Details of this will be in the Administrator’s report. I approved of a new procedure for requests of tax information about residents. The policy insures the maintenance of privacy required under Federal and State law.
  • Council Members wishing to Consult with the Village Solicitor This is a procedural reminder for council members to consult with the Village Administrator or the Mayor, prior to reaching out to the Village Solicitor outside of Council meetings. Our legal counsel is paid by the hour, and we put into place a couple years ago a procedure to prevent duplication of questions to the Solicitor and to make sure that the questions we are asking him are literally legal uses of his time (e.g. the funds that pay the solicitor come from the community, so we legally have to make sure that any time we are paying him for has a benefit for the community). As a new council member I often had questions outside of our Council meetings, so don’t take it personally if you get a personal reminder about this. So this is the reminder to Council, and to your constituents should they have questions through you to the Solicitor, to bring those questions to the administrator or myself first.

Traffic Safety Update 

  • Speed Humps. I’m sure everyone has noticed the new speed humps in the village. I’ve been an advocate for these since I first joined council, and am so happy that we have them now. I’ve been driving around the village inspecting each one just for the pleasure of the experience of driving over them. I want to thank our administration and financial team for figuring out how to do it, and our council for unanimously approving the bid to get the work done. I want to reiterate the words of Councilwoman Chaney who pointed out in an email this past week that it was our village administrator, Ron Hirth, and Anna Gedeon who laid the village budget foundations that ultimately created the surpluses that made a project like this possible. So thank you Ron and Anna.
  • Additional Court Report. I met with Chief Campbell, working on a framework for a report, accompanying the Mayor’s Court Report, to include more detail about runs that our Police Department is doing each month in the village (in a way that doesn’t violate anyone’s privacy). For instance the number of traffic stops, parking citations, litter citations– previously this data has not been part of the Police Report to Council. The Chief and I will figure out what makes sense to include category wise to hopefully answer questions for Council about the department’s activities in the village — more than just in terms of financial numbers currently in the Court Report. The Chief and I agreed that this can be a very helpful communication tool from the Police Department to the council.
  • Support & Solidarity with our Neighbor Pleasant Ridge. There was a traffic fatality on Langdon Farm Rd this past week. Reports say the driver who was killed was hit by a driver coming the opposite direction who crossed the centerline. Cincinnati Police say excessive speed and impairment do not appear to have played a role in the crash. But despite this, the tragedy has brought a lot of attention to safety improvements that could be made along that road. I want to thank Councilman Van Harn for coming to me with his ideas of how we might as a village reach out in support and solidarity with Pleasant Ridge following this accident. Among the ideas presented to me, it has been brought to my attention the efforts on Cincinnati City Council to address these safety concerns. I’m drafting a letter to Mayor Cranley and the City Administrator, along with our village administrator, Ron Hirth, to express the importance of addressing the safety concerns along Langdon Farm, and our desire to help in any way we can. I’m thankful for the unanimous support from council for these efforts (expressed via motion) and will mention this support in the letter.

This report is respectfully submitted to the Village residents of Golf Manor. Thank you for the honor of being your Mayor. To our staff and elected officials, thank you for your service to the community.

Stefan Densmore, Mayor, Village of Golf Manor.

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