Madeira Capital Fund, Underfunded, Many  Shortcomings.....

September 3, 2017

​September 12, 2017 Updated

​     ​Councilwoman Nancy Spencer suggested that the contribution required might need to be increased to pay the 1,000,000,00 price tag for the 4000 foot Thomas Drive water main replacement. The current contribution is the 25% tax that is added to the Indian Hill water bills paid by the 2,240 Madeira homeowners required to drink Indian Hill water per the contracts posted on the blue button above. The quality of the water is not an issue, in fact some say that the Indian Hill water far exceeds the quality of the Cincinnati water consumed by Madeira residents residing in the other 1,600 Madeira homes. The city of Madeira contracts for water with both Indian Hill and Cincinnati. Our city is divided, those living in "Old Madeira" use Indian Hill Water while those homes in areas that were annexed to Madeira after 1968 are consuming Cincinnati water. (Old Madeira is shown on the maps posted on the blue button above).

​     This story seemed simple enough when it began but maybe not so. It is said that the city of Madeira owns the water distribution system in "Old Madeira" including the "Water Mains", but not in areas consuming Cincinnati water such as Kenwood Hills, Kenwood Road and any other Madeira neighborhoods and streets where residents consume Cincinnati water. This is a case of "too little, too late" 2,240 Madeira residences cannot be taxed enough, to underwrite the replacement cost of ageing Madeira water mains, part of the "water distribution system". Prior Madeira city councils and our current city manager waited until 2012  (see blue button above)  before imposing a water tax on "old Madeira" households. The 2012 contract posted on the blue button above in section 7 says that Madeira would establish a "Madeira Capital Fund" requiring a balance of $500.000.00. Reading further the contract required that Madeira residents would be required to pay an additional 25% on top of their normal water bill if the Capital Fund balance drops below $500,000. 00.

​    This is a story of at least 28 years, of neglect, not total neglect but neglect nonetheless. Our city has in all fairness taken on some substantial projects such as rebuilding Dawson Road, resurfacing of Kenwood Road, sidewalks installed on Kenwood Road, Shawnee Run Road, and Dawson Road. Our city manager and city councils should be commended for these projects. These were in some instances special pet projects, created by council members every two years, projects that could be justified, but delayed and set back the normal scheduling of infrastructure, replacement and repairs. I watched two years ago when this began to change. The current Public Works committee of councilmembers Ashmore, Gehring, and Spencer identified past mistakes and have redirected the city manager in refocusing on better maintenance of our streets, parks, sewers, water mains and other important infrastructure. 

​    The most urgent problem facing our city is not enough revenue to address the aging infrastructure throughout our community, and be responsible in the process. An example is the TIF,  council recently passed, (Page 11) using future tax, yet to be generated, revenue from the yet to be completed Camargo Road "Traditions of Madeira" project. Our council members have identified five TIF projects, one of the five, covering up a creek on private property, is secretive and was not included in any public documents, and has yet to be explained. Madeira residents are watching closely actions our council are taking in the use of tax revenue derived from the "Traditions of Madeira" project (Page 5). Expenditures may in some cases be subjected to legal challenge. The $1,000,000.00 secret proposal to cover a creek located on private property is a questionable proposal. 

​   So, the "Madeira Capital Fund'" underfunded and inadequate to provide the funds needed for Water Main replacement in "Old Madeira" has become a beacon shining light on the need for further revenue needed to bring our community streets, parks, sewers, water mains, and other infrastructure up to the maximum standards. Every city council since 1980 have been reluctant to increase city revenue for one reason, our school district, and the effect of taking any potential revenue from the district. It has been taboo to even discuss the subject. That must change for the sake of our community.

​Updated, September 11, 2017 City council passed Resolution number 25-17  "authorizing the city manager to Submit Application for Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) funds for the Camargo Road Street Improvements and Thomas Drive Water Line Improvements". The city has few options and this resolution if successful will be beneficial for our community.

City of Madeira Participates in

​October 1, 2017

​       ​The City of Madeira is a participant in making most but not all financial data available to the public. Madeira has posted most of the financial data from 2015 & 2016, nothing from 2017, most of the financial data is from the city's general fund. In spite of less than complete the information posted is still of interest. Examples are posted on the red button above. Go to madeira to review Madeira financial data.

to use space at the Madeira  - Silverwood Presbyterian Church is expected to be temporary, "In order to accommodate the enrollment at Madeira Elementary School in grades Kindergarten and first grade, the Madeira Preschool program will be moving to Madeira - Silverwood Presbyterian Church". The temporary location will be used beginning with the 2019-2020 school year.

  Plans for the relocation call for two safe fenced outdoor play areas, as well as a large motor room, "Before school care" will be offered at the new location from 8 AM - 9 AM, and "After School care " from  3:30 - 6 PM. The After- School care will be provided by the Champions Program, at Madeira Elementary School. The new location will have a dedicated administrative assistant during operating hours. Madeira Assistant Superintendent Tim Weber, explained that the State of Ohio sets strict standards for Preschool programs in Ohio, and that the Madeira Preschool program has earned five stars. Weber also talked about how well prepared Madeira Preschoolers are when entering Kindergarten, "are provided developmentally appropriate experiences" while enrolled in the Madeira Preschool program. Weber stressed that the Preschool program is self funded, requiring tuition payments. Weber is impressed with the influence that Preschool parents have on their young students, including strong family values. Weber is very thankful that Madeira - Silverwood Presbyterian Church was willing to partner with the School District, providing the space needed for the Preschool program. When the relocations are completed at least three classrooms will be available for Kindergarten - Second grade students at Madeira Elementary. Thanks to Assistant Superintendent Tim Weber and Program Administrator, Mary Ann McPherson, for providing content for this story. 

In 1965, a house was razed  at the corner of Miami and Euclid Avenue, making way for a new Madeira Branch Library, serving Madeira, Indian Hill and parts of Kenwood. Architect Carl Strauss was awarded the Gold Medal by the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects for his design. A remodeling and expansion of the Madeira Branch was completed in April of 1993. The remodeling included the purchase of a vacant house at the Euclid Road Library entrance. The house was razed making way for additional parking. 

Madeira School District Student Enrollment & The Miller House...

September 22, 2018

     Recently this writer was given an opportunity to sit down with Madeira School District Superintendent Kenji Matsudo, and Assistant Superintendent, Tim Weber. In the hallway just outside Kenji's office I noticed framed photos hanging on the wall of all Madeira School Superintendents dating back to 1938, nine photos in total. I have personally known all but two past Superintendents. My first observation was that Kenji and Tim are young men providing leadership to a school district reflecting their generation. Photo at right, Kenji and Tim>>>>

This Harry Potter fella appears to be very popular, now what about our Library.  Three of our  Librarians holding Masters Degrees, Kathy, Debbie, Bess, are also Madeira residents, part of a staff of 20 full and part time staffers. A fourth Librarian  with a Masters Degree ,Claire lives outside Madeira.  Madeira has a sizeable supply of teen summer volunteers numbering 20-25. Many full time Library staffers began their careers as volunteers including our Branch Manager. Out of forty Hamilton County Branches Madeira ranks at the top in almost every category.  In 2018 visitors to our Branch Library checked out 357,000  books, Audio, and Cd's, and was 4th in circulation. Twenty Thousand  visitors attended 396 programs. Our Library was 4th in Library attendance in 2018, 172,000 visitors, or 11,216 per month. Found out that Debbie founded "Movers and Shakers"  a program for children including Music, and Dance . One corner of our Library is  set aside just for children.  The Connection, Miller House Museum, story coming.

​​​​Madeira, City Government, Schools & Our Library..

Madeira Preschool Moving to Madeira - Silverwood Presbyterian Church.....

March 5, 2019

   If you were a Madeira resident in 2006, you might remember that some Madeira students were bused to Milford while our School District was building new school buildings. Special circumstances require special solutions. The use in 2006 of an unused Milford School building was temporary, just as the plan


October 1, 2017

​      ​ Our State Treasurer Josh Mandel noted that Ohio was 46th in the nation when it came to government transparency, and decided to do something about it. Mandel figured out that he could create a state Website that would allow public access to financial data from within every state agency from the Governor to the Highway Patrol. It was determined that every expenditure, checks, names of recipients, and reason for the expenditure could be posted on the Website. 

We began our discussion talking about the School District enrollment, small by most accounts, this years enrollment is 1,531. In the 2013-2014 school year the district had 1,373 students enrolled. I asked if an increase of 158 students in six years has had an adverse effect and how the district has adjusted. I  also asked about increased enrollment effecting a teachers effectiveness, teaching their classes. Specifically, I learned that the district did not plan for physical expansion of the Elementary and Middle School buildings, but the district has the ability to adjust to the current and near future increase in student enrollment. One important procedure currently in use is employing a second person as shown in the photo at right sharing teaching responsibilities in first grade classrooms, photo is one of the five first grade classes visiting the Miller House Museum, >>>>>>>>>

one first grade class has 27 students, the other four classes have 25 students. It was noted that the second person teaching in the classroom is certified, to teach. There was no concern expressed that increased enrollment in the near future will become unmanageable. 

Our Middle School, Formally Sellman School                                                  Our Elementary School, Formally Dumont School

                                                                                                                                         Madeira - Silverwood Presbyterian Church 

Photo Above, Copies, Faxing, and more, ask while at Library.

What do you know about "our" Library?  How lucky are we in Madeira and Indian Hill, 17 Hamilton County Communities don't have their own Branch Library.  Recently I noticed that our Library parking lot was nearly filled to capacity and wondered what was going on, so I dropped in. I was surprised that most Library visitors were dressed in strange clothing including large hats. I noticed a familiar face, Branch Manager Kathy Brunner >>> and her daughter Rory. When I asked about the strange clothing it apparently was a celebration of "Harry Potter". My Grandchildren are fans of Harry Potter, but I am still stuck on the "Captain Hornblower"  series of books. I was impressed  that so many kids (and adults) were at the library having such a good time, but that isn't unusual at our Library.  As I was about ready to begin asking questions about our Library Branch, I noticed another familiar face, it was Debbie Hull, Children's Librarian, photo below.

Dave Bergan, Madeira Assistant Superintendent

August 19, 2019

    Dave Bergan is a local boy, he grew up in Evendale, and attended Princeton Schools K- 12. He was a Princeton High School Swimmer and would later coach swimming and water polo in Mason. One summer he coached the Evendale Eagles summer swim team. After high school Dave enrolled at Miami University in Oxford Ohio where he continued as a college swimmer. Dave received his teaching degree from Miami University. 

   His teaching career began in the Mason School district, where he taught 7th grade math and served as an assistant school principle. His first nine years were spent serving in the Mason School District.  After nine years in Mason Dave pursued new opportunities in the Deer Park School District, as principal of Amity Elementary, Director of Student Services and soon progressed to Assistant Superintendent of the School District. Dave is leaving his position in Deer Park  after serving six years, accepting the same position in the Madeira School District. The Madeira Assistant Superintentent position became available this school year when Tim Weber accepted the position of School Superintendent in the Wyoming School District. 

   Asked why he was interrested in the Madeira position Dave said that the Madeira School District always ranks high in State ratings and that he expects to learn and grow while contributing his knowledge to the district. He already has been very impressed with the teaching staff, students, Schools Foundation, the PTO and the Planning Committee.

   Dave resides near Madeira in Montgomery with his wife Barbie and his two sons Ben (9) and Colin (6). He is looking forward to working in our Community School District.

Photos, Top left & right, Madeira Historical Society Member Liz Frederick demonstrating how it was done before Washing Machines and Dryers, Madeira 1st graders, 2018.

Middle Photo left, Liz introducing 1st graders to the chickens, this is how we got our eggs "then". 

Middle photo right, Madeira Historical Society member Dianna Davis showing what was "then" and "now"  inside the Miller House Museum Dining room. Madeira 1st graders 2017.

Lower photo left, Madeira Historical Society member and retired Madeira teacher Jay Hanson explaining how it was then when there were passenger trains, ringing the bell, 3rd graders 2017. Photo bottom right 3rd graders May 2009.

Photo above, Display of History of various Women's issues "Right to Vote" Feminism" "Women's Hour" "Chasing Freedom"

 Madeira Council members have awarded two contracts that total  $414,500.00 with no competitive bids. Brandstetter Carroll Inc. according to the two proposals will provide Engineering Services for Water Main Replacement. The estimated cost for the Water Main replacement is $3,575,000.00. It was not determined who, when or how the $4,000,000.00 will be paid back. Madeira residents, about 2,200 are currently paying a 25% Sur charge for Indian Hill Water, but it has been discussed that the sur charge may be increased to pay for the $4,000,000.00 Water Main Replacement project, possibly increasing up to 100%. Council has delayed their decision until after the November 5th election providing cover for the two Council members Hilberg and Gehring running for re-election.

Dave Bergan Madeira School District Assistant Superintendent is shown above scoping out the Miller House Museum. Dave like Madeira first and third grade students is discovering what it was like living from 1948 back to the 1800's. He is listening to Bob Hope, Jack Benny, and FDR just like his Great Grandparents, before there was Television (1948). Madeira 1st Grade students will experience "then and now" when visiting the Miller House.


Madeira Political News  &  More

When discussing student and staff safety both Kenji and Tim were thankful for the increased presence of Madeira Police officers at all three school buildings and for training provided for school staff by Madeira police personal.  Entrance to each of the three School buildings has been provided with increased safety features including cameras and locks. The school district is working with our police chief and officers, addressing further potential for increased student safety. In the past, there have been discussions regarding the possibility of placing security personal in each of the three school buildings. Madeira City Council members have determined the cost, which would be considerable and would require expenses other than just personal.

  It was stressed that there are many considerations when reviewing student and staff safety, much is looked at from within. The district provides a tri-fold brochure titled "Bullying Prevention Programs" addressing bullying specifically for students at Madeira Elementary, Madeira Middle School and at the High School.  Around the country it has been determined that Bullying can lead to serious misbehavior and sometimes violence. Addressing Bullying and the effects is an important component of Madeira Student and Staff Safety efforts.

  No one can deny that the Madeira School District is the reason that most, but not all residents decide to live in our community, and as such tax's are very high. The district according to data found on the school website appears financially sound, but indicates a deficit in the year 2022. When asked about the deficit I was told that the district continues to update their five year budget forcast, and the district does not include increased revenue estimates prior to having the revenue in hand. An example discussed was the $20-30,000,000, "Traditions at Camargo" facility, the Pub 81 Sports Bar, and the TGFI replacement "Hoppin' Vine Tap House and Wine Bar" all three bringing in substantial new revenue in 2019 to the School District as well as the City of Madeira. The City of Madeira created a TIF (Page 2) and is already spending their Traditions at Camargo tax revenue, (Page 2).

Enrollment equates to students, and as a member of the Madeira Historical Society, this writer has met over the past 46 years many outstanding Madeira students. One specific project that is hosted by the society is "Then & Now". Madeira first grade teachers created this program and bring their students to the Miller House Museum in the fall, where displays in the Museum are labeled as "Then", and the teachers provide items representing "Now". An old Black & White television, then and a flat screen TV would be "Now". Madeira 3rd grade students visit the Museum in the spring, and have a slightly different history learning experience. These visits to the Miller House exemplify the education provided in the Madeira School District.

Douglas Oppenheimer / Madeira News

 It Began Here, Our Library....

    June 28, 2019

  Today, this is a shoe repair shop, at one time our City Council met here and our first Library was here.  So you could say that our library came from humble beginnings. Many Madeira residents remember getting their library books at the corner of Euclid and Miami Avenue, our second Library location and City Hall.  Before the conversion as City Hall and our Library  the building was the Madeira Methodist Church. It wasn't until June 13, 1965 that our library found a permanent home in a brand new building built on the corner at Euclid and Miami Avenue.

​City Council Increasing Indian Hill Water Sur Charge

October 24, 2019