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Council reviews the actions taken toward 2008 goals

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Setting ‘09 goals
Interested persons are encouraged to attend the upcoming special Village Council meeting on setting goals for 2009.

The meeting will take place Monday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m. in Council chambers at Bryan Center.

The meeting will precede three special workshops that Council will hold in which it will set the Village 2009 budget.

“How we spend public money should reflect the priorities of the community,” said Council President Judith Hempfling in a recent interview in which she urged citizen participation in the goal-setting process. “The budget should be a reflection of what we most value.”

While the 2008 goals were broad statements of principle, in 2009 Council hopes to set more specific, measurable steps as goals, Hempfling said.

At the Jan. 5 meeting of Yellow Springs Village Council, Counci members reviewed the actions they took last year to address their 2008 Council goals.

Council’s goals for 2008 were:

1) Deepen democratic decision making processes with active citizen participation and effective representative governance;

2) Strengthen the Village as an excellent employer and provider of services within a responsible fiscal framework;

3) Be a welcoming community of opportunity for people of diverse race, culture and income;

4) Establish a plan that improves the economic condition of the community;

5) Develop a comprehensive policy that will address global warming and reduce the carbon footprint of our community;

6) Develop a vision of a comprehensive land use plan.

Council member Karen Wintrow presented the goal update, which had been compiled by she and Hempfling.

“We found that a lot of work got done this year,” Hempfling said, stating that she was referring to not only Council’s actions, but also that of volunteers and other citizens..

Council activities that contributed to the goal of deepening the democratic decision-making process included updating the Village Website and making documents and legislation available to citizens before Council meetings on the Web site; broadcasting Council meetings on channel 5; publishing “Council Notes,” a new item in the Yellow Springs News that alerts citizens to upcoming Council agenda items; including opportunities for citizen input in the search for the new Village manager; and holding many public meetings, including 23 regular Council meetings, eight special meetings, one educational forum on AMP Ohio’s proposed coal plant, and regular commission and task force meetings.

Activities that furthered the goal of strengthening the Village as an excellent and fiscally responsible employer and service provider were, according to the presentation, Council’s strict adherence to the budget; the sale of the Village-owned cabooses for scrap metal; and a reduction in Village employee health care costs while quality health care was maintained. Also, Council instituted a Village manager employment review process, hired an interim manager and then a new Village manager; funded an administrative assistant; instituted two additional paid staff holidays and passed legislation for the use of Tasers, in support of the police department.

Council activities that related to the Village goal of being an effective provider of services included, according to the presentation, maintaining a high level of service to citizens from all Village departments; responding to the September wind storm with a high degree of effectiveness; initiating green pricing; trimming around power lines; identifying needed upgrades to the electric system; signing on to the AMP-Ohio hydroelectric power project; and instituting upgrades at Gaunt Park pool and at the library physical plant.

Actions that related to the goal of being a welcoming community for people of diverse races, cultures and incomes included adding a lift to improve accessibility at the Gaunt Park pool; supporting Home, Inc.; beginning a safe routes to school program; and funding various Human Relations Commission efforts, including the Skate Park Extravaganza, the 365 Project and Elaine Comegys film fest, and the “Courageous Conversations on Race and Youth.”

Council actions to contribute to the goal of establishing a plan that improves the community’s economic condition included: regarding Antioch College, writing a letter to support accreditation of the college; passing a motion urging the Antioch University trustees to meet with the Antioch College Continuation Corporation; and passing a resolution urging Antioch University to keep the college open.

Council also moved ahead with the engineering and planning of roads and infrastructure for the Center for Business and Education; provided financing for the upcoming workshop with economist Michael Shuman; and moved ahead with searching for a firm to conduct a visioning process.

Regarding Council’s goal to develop a comprehensive policy to address global warming and reduce the community’s carbon footprint, Council received the Phase 1 recommendations for improvements for the electric infrastructure from the Electric System Task Force, which determined that a new $3.5 million electric substation was not necessary. It also received the task force’s Phase 2 report recommending conservation and renewable energy use practices, joined an AMP-Ohio hydroelectric project, and rejected signing on to two coal-fired plants.

Finally, regarding the goal of developing a vision of a comprehensive land use plan, Council met with Planning Commission to review Comprehensive Plan updates; approved the Friends Care Community senior apartments; began the process of soliciting requests for proposals, or RFPs, for a firm to lead a visioning process; added $50,000 to the Green Space Fund for greenbelt preservation; supported the Tecumseh Land Trust easement on Glen Helen; passed legislation in support of the Clean Ohio Fund and the Little Miami River Inc. Partnership; and began a discussion on historic preservation.

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