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Maumee City Government Lacks Transparency and Inclusivity.

Since starting as City Administrator in February 2020, Patrick Burtch, with the aid of Mayor Richard Carr and six of seven council members, has methodically added, amended, or deleted ordinances that give him virtual control of Maumee. Burtch has carefully nurtured and charmed six council members, most of whom were “rookies” he mentored and groomed to blindly do what he tells them to do. It is a sad situation for Maumee. No one is truly being given an opportunity to know, let alone challenge many of the decisions being made for Maumee – particularly when it comes to its ordinances. 

Most of the ordinances that have been passed were passed as “Emergency Measures” with only one reading instead of three. There is little or no public discourse or public notice for many of these ordinances. Some are presented hours before voting. This allows the City Administrator the ability to pass onerous ordinances with zero friction from the public. People do not even realize these ordinances exist until they attempt to get a permit or do something with their property and get in trouble.

Maumee Illegally Dumps Three Billion Gallons of Sewage.

Over the past twenty years, Maumee has illegally dumped an estimated three billion gallons of raw sewage into the Maumee River – 150 million gallons per year as reported by WTOL. To put this in perspective, a fuel tanker, like you see at a gas station, holds 7,500 gallons of fuel. If any individual dumped just one truckload of sewage into the river, they would be heavily fined and likely put in prison for just one single incident. Maumee did not do it just once. On Rich Carr’s watch, Maumee dumped the equivalent of 20,000 truckloads per year – 400,000 total tankers over twenty years. The Ohio EPA fined the city around $30,000 – about 7.5 cents per truckload and allowed the fine to be reinvested in infrastructure. See Ohio EPA Findings and Orders here.

The above information is three-year-old news, and all we have heard from the mayor is it is going to take $100,000,000 and thirty years to fix the problem. Who made that decision and why? Who estimated the costs? What if the costs are $200,000,000 or $300,000,000. Who is going to pay for those costs? Either by design, ineptness, or lack of political will, Rich Carr ignored this issue for a generation. Will the city ignore it for another generation? This is Maumee’s largest issue. The city council has already increased water and sewer rates staggering amounts. Funding hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure is not going to be easy. This is Richard Carr’s legacy for Maumee.

The “Quit Rate” of Maumee Administrative Staff Exceeds 100%.

Key leadership positions have quit allowing Burtch to name himself to the following positions: Safety Director (Police and Fire), Public Service Director (Water, Sewer, Streets), and Zoning Administrator (Zoning and Building). His autocratic leadership style has caused most of the other leadership and staff positions to quit, including the former Law Director and the former Finance Director (as well as many of their replacements). 

The second floor of the municipal building has approximately eighteen people working in that space. Not including their replacements that have left after being hired, all but three have left the city’s employment in the past three years. The police department is at 34 officers, down from 43 in 2020. With turnover from multiple hires, the three-year turnover rate for Maumee’s administrative staff is far more than 100%. There is little institutional memory left in the city’s employment. Prior to Burtch, employee tenure was decades-long for many key positions.

Burtch has Created His Own Source of Funding.

Burtch has a penchant for spending city money on improvements and has created his own source of funding to balance his budgets – and perhaps for funding wastewater treatment improvements. On February 7, 2023, with only one reading and without any significant public notice, Ordinance 007-2023 was passed establishing and revising procedures for creating far reaching assessments that appear to be able to fund any improvement made by Maumee from trees and sidewalks to hundreds of millions for a wastewater treatment plant or reservoir.  Having the ability to levy this amount of massive debt and payments on homeowners and businesses without public notice or vetting reeks of arrogance and recklessness from paid public officials.

Maumee Fails to Dispense Public Information.

Over the past two months, our organization has made numerous formal public information requests from the City of Maumee. Except for receiving a copy of City Council Minutes since January 2020, we have failed to receive electronic copies of the following requested public documents as of July 10, 2023:

  • Copies of all ordinances posted on the council drive since January 2020.
  • A list of all employees who have left Maumee’s employment since January 2020.
  • A copy of Patrick Burtch’s current employment agreement and associated documents.
  • A Certified Copy of Ordinance 002-2023 – the rental housing ordinance. Hard copy request.
  • A Certified Copy of Ordinance 007-2023 – the assessment ordinance. Hard copy request.
  • A Certified Copy of Ordinance 93-2020 – the design standard ordinance. Hard copy request

Time and Again, Burtch’s Policies are Failing.

At great cost, Burtch has a need to control everything being built, improved, or proposed for Maumee. Much to his personal tastes and preferences. When you refurbish more than thirty percent of a parking lot, you uncork the ordinance that requires it to be brought into compliance with design standards in Chapters 1141 and 1145 of Maumee’s codified ordinances enacted in 2020 by Patrick Burtch.

The ordinance states that when 30% or more of a parking lot is refurbished, a litany of other improvements is mandated, with no grandfathering of older structures, such as the following:

  1. Interior concrete curbing is required.
  2. All paving must be removed to bare stone.
  3. Alternate drainage and retention ponds or tanks may need to be installed.
  4. Approaches must be reinstalled with six inches of concrete.
  5. Regardless of condition, if sidewalks are less than 5’ wide, they must be replaced with 5’ sidewalks.
  6. If a commercial property, sidewalk width must be 6.’
  7. Street trees may need to be removed and replaced with city approved street trees.
  8. This may also give the city authority to go inside a building and require improvements be made.

For one apartment community, this took the estimated cost of improvements from $120,000 to $300,000 including a requirement to tear-out and replace 8,000 square feet of perfectly good 4’ sidewalk with 10,000 square feet of 5’ sidewalk. The owner was willing to spend $120,000 to resurface the parking lot, but refused to waste $180,000 on Burtch mandated improvements.  So all improvement plans have stalled.  Well over half of the buildings in Arrowhead Park and throughout Maumee are affected by this ordinance. When driving, you will notice many parking lots in extremely poor condition throughout Maumee. Knowledgeable paving contractors advise their customers to sit tight and wait. This ordinance makes no sense and needs to have a simple “grandfather” provision to allow owners to make needed improvements to keep their properties looking sharp.

The design standards can also be uncorked if you are making improvements to the inside of a property. If the proposed improvements are greater than fifty percent of the Lucas County Auditor’s assessed value (35% of total value), the design standards are uncorked for both interior and exterior improvements. This formula puts the “uncorking” at a low amount compared to value.

Maumee Reneges on Neighbor.

In 2003, the cities of Toledo and Maumee, along with Monclova Township, developed a joint economic development zone (JEDZ) that includes hundreds of acres of property within Monclova Township. Although the property is in Monclova Township, Maumee receives a portion of the income tax collected within the boundaries of the JEDZ. Included in this agreement is a stipulation that “there shall be no annexation, merger, or consolidation of any unincorporated territory unless it is approved by the legislative bodies of all the contacting parties”.

On June 6, 2022, the Maumee City Administration, without consulting Monclova Township, irresponsibly moved to annex 27 acres of land situated in the neighboring township of Monclova. This needless action clearly violated the terms of the long-standing joint development partnership created between Maumee, Monclova, and the City of Toledo. The matter is now being litigated.

This unnecessary and short-sighted action negatively impacts the relationship between two adjacent and intertwined communities. Loss of trust could very well impede important discussions regarding regional water issues, emergency services back-up and future development of the JEDZ. Maumee deserves leadership that not only keeps their word but abides by written agreements they have entered.

With Five Hours’ Notice, City Council Did It Again.

On July 10, 2023, Maumee City Council, at Patrick Burtch’s command, passed Ordinance No. 016-2023 that allows the City of Maumee to deny or remove a Certificate of Occupancy and levy fines for any property found in violation of any pemit or inspection ordinance. Any hearing is an administrative hearing with members of Burtch’s team presiding. What this means is that no property can be used for its intended use without a valid Certificate of Occupancy and no due process can be had outside of Patrick Burtch’s domain. The ordinance was only available for review five hours before the council meeting. Only Councilman Phil Leinbach attempted to have three readings. The ordinance was passed with only one reading and without a thorough public vetting of the ordinance

Maumee Businesses are Organizing to Oppose Burtch and Council.

Maumee business and commercial property owners are organizing to put political pressure on city council – or have them removed from office. Many Arrowhead business owners are absolutely frustrated with Burtch’s policies that are making Maumee non-competitive and creating a reputation of being an unfriendly place for business. If you are interested in being part of this movement, please send us your contact information.

Maumee Can’t Afford Patrick Burtch.

While his policies are hurting Maumee, costing businesses and homeowners money while driving away customers, City Administrator, Patrick Burtch has the highest compensation plan of any city administrator in Ohio – including its big cities. His employment agreement was negotiated by Maumee’s Mayor, Richard Carr, and represents a compensation package that is more than double that paid to Maumee’s prior city administrator.  It is also dramatically more than the $136,000 salary earned by Toledo’s current mayor who represents a population nineteen times greater than Maumee’s 13,810 people.

Patrick Burtch’s current employment agreement calls for a $180,000 annual salary, 12% of deferred compensation ($21,600 per year), a car (say $10,000 per year), and 460 hours of comp time ($39,000 per year) for a grand total of at least $250,000 per year.

Burtch’s employment agreement was recently amended to increase his severance pay from 180 days to 260 days which could range from a $128,000 to $178,000 of

Maumee Needs You to Be Engaged.

More people need to be paying attention to what is going on with Maumee’s city government. Maumee has an autocratic city administrator that does not want to have citizen engagement in any decisions and a “stacked” and tolerant city council that lets him have his way. This has led to ordinances not being vetted by the public, rammed and jammed for passage after one reading, and a city administrator compensation package that is excessive when compared to those of similar or greater responsibility. Fortunately, Maumee has new options for city council members. Many who will be strong for Maumee and help to make city government more effective in the future.

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Post by Maumee Citizens for Common Sense – Bradley Reynolds, Treasurer

Exhibits

EPA Agreement

Ordinance 007-2023

Chapter 1141

Chapter 1136

Ordinance 016-2023

Patrick Burtch Employment Agreement

Who We Are

Maumee Citizens for Common Sense (MCCS) is a concerned group of Maumee citizens that care about Maumee. We particularly care about having the city being effectively managed and governed by a Mayor and City Council that are open, transparent, and inclusive.

Presently, and for some time, Maumee’s local government has been operating in the shadows, with many ordinances without titles other than their ordinance numbers, passed by emergency measure in council meetings that are no longer live-streamed, following City Council agendas that are posted at the last minute.  Virtually all these ordinances were written by Patrick Burtch to give himself unbridled power, authority, and control over many aspects that affect Maumee citizens and businesses.

Our membership ranges from citizens that have lived in Maumee all their lives to corporate citizens that own small and large businesses within the City of Maumee.  We came together because of a very unnecessary rental housing ordinance (002-2023) that was rammed and jammed through three meetings of Maumee City Council with tremendous opposition, little transparency, and no real discourse. Mayor Richard Carr and City Administrator, Patrick Burtch stifled every effort for meaningful communication. They weren’t acting as leaders but as bullies controlling all the narrative, explaining little, mostly half–truth, and bulldozing the ordinance to passage by six council members in front of hundreds of people – all in opposition. One lone council member, Philip Leinbach, stood tall in opposition.

 

A Referendum Petition is Launched

Maumee Citizens for Common Sense believes Maumee citizens will stand with them in affirming this rental housing ordinance is not needed. For that reason, MCCS engaged Don Brey of the Columbus law firm of Isaac Wiles because of his experience in election law and procedure to assist in the preparation of a referendum petition.

Within ten days of starting, a group of circulators, led by Colleen LaChapelle, gathered 903 signatures of approximately 560 needed (10% of those that voted in the last gubernatorial election) and submitted them in proper form to Jennifer Harkey, Maumee Finance Director and City Auditor. Maumee refused to turn the ballots over to the Board of Elections for processing, claiming the ordinance attached to the petition was not properly certified even though it was received from Lorrie Perry, Clerk of Maumee’s City Council.  MCCS’s legal counsel filed a writ of mandamus with the Ohio Supreme Court asking the court to mandate that Maumee turn the petitions over to the Board of Elections for review and processing. A decision on that matter is expected later this month. MCCS expects the Supreme Court to rule in its favor which would immediately send the petitions to the Board of Elections for certification and placement on the fall ballot.

 

It’s Just Not Needed

Maumee has a population of approximately 13,443 people living in approximately 6,202 housing units. Of those housing units, 25% or 1,550 are rented homes and apartments. Presently, there are no significant health or safety issues found in Maumee’s rental stock requiring the creation of a costly administrative department with a host of administrators and enforcers. Why create another unnecessary bureaucracy for Maumee to manage and fund. The Ohio Revised Code has served housing providers and tenants well for many years. When have you heard anyone say we need more housing laws, rules, and regulations?

“This ordinance and others are an example of overreach and expansion of local government to solve a problem that doesn’t exist that will likely create more unforeseen problems for our community.”

- Colleen LaChapelle, Lead Petitioner

The Ordinance Has a Psychopathic Tone

We have attached a link to Ordinance 002-2023 and want you to read it. As you read it, you will find that it is not a business-friendly document. It has somewhat of a psychopathic tone to it where its mandates are purposely attempting to inflict pain and suffering upon Maumee’s housing providers. How can this type of attitude and ordinance help attract new development or redevelopment to our community? Every homeowner should be opposed to this rental housing ordinance because it also takes away and stifles their private property rights that can transfer to subsequent owners.

Ordinance 002-2023

We Will Continue to Investigate

MCCS is aware of several ordinances and other matters that need to be brought to the attention of the public. We will be shining light on those ordinances and other matters and gather signatures and file initiative petitions to have those ordinances added, repealed, and/or amended. We are not going away. We are just getting started.

We Need Your Contact Information

If you’d like to receive updates from Maumee Citizens for Common Sense, please send us your e-mail address. We’ll provide you with information that you need to know concerning your city government. We would like to be able to inform and mobilize large groups of people in very short amounts of time.

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