Thursday, February 16, 2012

What's Gone Down and What's Coming Up

It's never a dull moment for the Lone Wolf. Here's a quick recap of some of the things I've been doing and some things that are coming up. Fortunately, Scott gave me a new camera for Hanukkah so I can document the places I go, otherwise I would forget for sure. As my friend Leslie used to say: My brain is like a steel sieve...

Pleasant Ridge Library Dedication
State Senator Eric Kearney
On Monday, February 13th, I accompanied former Council Member, Peg Conway, to the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly accessible Pleasant Ridge Library.  The library, which is located just down the street on Montgomery Rd., is within walking distance of three local elementary schools -- Pleasant Ridge Montessori, Nativity Elementary, and TCP World Academy. Kindergartners from PRM and Nativity provided adorable entertainment for those gathered for the dedication. 
Nativity Kindergartners sing "Grand Ol' Flag"

Energy Aggregation Update:
Many residents have been asking when they will be able to take advantage of the lower rates that will be made available due to electric aggregation. At Monday's Council meeting, Resolution 2012-26 was passed which authorized the Village Manager to enter into a contract with DPL Energy Resources.During the year 2011, our residents saved $269,000 during the 10 months Amberley was in the opt-in program. The new supplier rate will lower bills based on prior aggregation rates by 6.6%. Residents will expect to save $175 annually from the current Duke Energy rate. Residents who are a current customer of Duke do not need to do anything to be included as this is an "opt-out" program. If you, like me, are currently signed up with another supplier and wish to participate in the Village's program, you will need to contact DP&L Energy Resources, and request to be enrolled. First though, residents should check to see what, if any, cancellation charges may apply for leaving your current supplier. 

Tennis Key Cards 
As a We THRIVE! community, Amberley was required to enter into shared-use agreements in order to promote physical activity. One way to achieve this goal, is to allow non-residents to utilize our assets. In this case, Amberley has tennis courts that are often empty. For a fee of $70 per year for one year, up to twenty-five non-residents are now permitted to purchase key cards to be used on the lower, tennis courts located on the south side of Village Hall. Resolution 2012-27.

Is it a Policy, System, or Environmental Change
On Tuesday, former Mayor Merrie Stillpass, accompanied me to the wrap-up event for the We THRIVE! grant. It was great to get together with representatives from the first nine grant recipient communities as well as the three new ones (including our neighbor Roselawn). It's incredible how much a community can do with a little bit of money. For example, in addition to the new community garden that will be installed at Amberley Green, residents can look forward to a new Amberley Trail near the Section/Ridge corner of French Park so that we can run or walk around our Village Hall walking track and then extend that walk across the street and safely enter French Park from a trail. The grant will pay for a foot bridge as well as signage. We hope to recruit scouts to do the volunteer construction. Also, after a conversation with Metro, Amberley will be included in a comprehensive transportation study that may result in a new bus stop being located in Amberley near the JCC. This will enable employees and senior users of the JCC to access the facility by bus. Additionally, seniors who come to the JCC from Cedar Village via the Cedar Village bus, will be able to get to a grocery store or do personal errands via the Metro bus. The We THRIVE! grant will be used to pay for a bus stop bench. 

Don't Forget the Police Levy
Last, but by no means least, please don't forget about the Police Levy that is on the March 6th ballot. Nearly 50% of the Village budget is consumed by our police services. If this levy doesn't pass, expect to see a significant negative impact on our police service as well as all other services in the Village.  You can expect the police to operate on a response basis only instead of in crime-prevention mode as they do now. If you have not attended any of Chief Wallace's presentations at Village Hall or the previous Town Hall meeting at the JCC, you have another opportunity on Tuesday, February 21st at 6:30 PM. It is important that all of us have an understanding of how our operations function and the current associated costs. 

I recently heard a resident say that he doesn't care if his house burns down. Seriously -- a resident actually said that. Well, maybe his house is merely bricks and mortar, but my house includes memories of a lifetime that are irreplaceable by any insurance company. Family photos can never be replaced, not to mention objects to which we've attached special significance. Chief Wallace gave me a tour of the police station yesterday and I was able to get a look at the dispatch service as well as one of the many neighborhood mapping tools used by the police. I was able to easily see my own house and noted three stickers affixed to it. Those stickers indicated that there was one 911 call from from our residence in the last year, as well as two misdemeanor arrests (on the property -- not my immediate family). There are lots of stickers on that map! 

Example of how the Police Dept. is being restructured.
At the most recent Council meeting, residents spoke in favor of the levy, and I addressed what I see as the "intangible" elements that bring people to Amberley Village. I identified eight reasons people choose to buy a home in Amberley and listed them randomly: nostalgia, large lots, access to synagogues, access to Cincinnati Public Schools, convenience, proximity to parks and green space, architectural uniqueness, and services. You can read the entire address by clicking HERE

I'll leave you with an example of one of those beautiful "Amberley" homes I refer to in my Address to Council. This home sits on a beautiful, large wooded lot and is replete with the charm and craftsmanship that we associate with Amberley. You can request a blue sign for your own yard by visiting


  1. For a police levy to pass in March, there is a strong expectation from sizeable group of AV residents that council and the village management need to commit to cutting expenditures meaningfully. I would rather hear more about how you think the Village can operate around or below $4.25 million/year, which includes principal paydowns on the Green. Much of this recent comment is a lot ra-ra and scare tactics. One person said they don't care about their house burning down. That's anecdotal, and it's truly unnecessary to bring up in this important discussion. Is there a significant number of people saying what this one person said? Or, is this just a few residents. There needs to be long-term structural change to bring down cost over time. Ten mils is a lot to expect from residents, and residents expect a lot from council in return. The last council was booted out (all but Hattenbach), because many people felt that the previous council lacked the ability to keep the previous village manager in check. We have a double-edged sword. Higher taxes means people may house shop elsewhere. Fewer services also means people may just shop elsewhere. We need a council that will find and commit to true balance.

  2. Thank you for your reply. I can assure you that council is committed to finding the balance you speak of while at the same time, preserving the essence of what we know of as Amberley. I have said before, that council cannot focus on one area of Village health while ignoring the parts that you refer to as "rah rah." Quality of life and community issues are of equal importance to the economic health of Amberley. All must be the focus of council. I refuse to let other areas of Village life stagnate while I wait for a levy to pass or a committee to make a "recommendation to council" AFTER the last council meeting before an election. I cannot speak to the relationship of former councils or the former village manager, but Amberley is quite fortunate to have a current village manager who is doing an excellent job at trying to save a sinking ship. He has earned the respect of council and his staff and at the same time, fended off with grace some truly disrespectful words and actions by a small number of residents.


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