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Council passes ‘09 budget

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At their April 6 meeting, members of Village Council unanimously approved the second, or final, reading of the 2009 Village budget. Council had approved the budget’s first reading on March 16.

Total appropriations for the 2009 budget are $12,367,590, which includes $3,153,068 of appropriations for the general fund. The general fund has a reserve, or surplus, of about $1.7 million, which is more than 50 percent of the total general fund.

For more budget specifics, go to and click on 2009 budget.

The 2009 budget includes $100,000 to the greenbelt fund, which had only minimal funding for the past several years. Council made the appropriation at the recommendation of Tecumseh Land Trust leaders, who urged the Village to be ready to purchase possible easements in the Jacoby greenbelt area on the Village’s western edge.

The budget also includes $50,000 to begin energy conservation measures in Village-owned buildings and $50,000 to fund a visioning/planning process.

While some previous meetings had included spirited discussion on the budget, at Monday’s meeting none of the 30 villagers attending spoke to it, nor was there significant discussion from Council. It seemed, according to Council President Judith Hempfling, that sufficient discussion had already taken place.

“I’m pleased with the process,” said Council Vice-President Karen Wintrow, citing Council’s three budget workshops preceding the March vote, and the hour-long discussion before the earlier vote at the March meeting. “We’ve had lots of citizen input.”

While Council will keep a close eye on Village revenues, this year’s larger-than-usual surplus “is a comfort,” in difficult economic times, Hempfling said, citing the 2006 property tax levy as having allowed the Village to address several large capital projects, such as street improvement. The Village has spent more than it promised to spend on the streets program with the levy revenues, according to budget figures.

“We have kept the promise to take care of the streets,” Hempfling said.

HRC efforts funded

In other business, Council unanimously approved a request from the Human Relations Commission, or HRC, for $9,000 to fund a variety of efforts this year. The HRC has as its goals helping to empower and protect the civil rights of young people, supporting equity in the schools, developing neighborhood cohesiveness, and finding ways for villagers to share resources during difficult economic times, according to HRC representative Joan Chappelle.

The requested funds would be used to provide youth leadership training, organize educational programs to explore racial achievement gaps, and fund neighborhood support initiatives and efforts to enhance diversity in the village, according to the HRC request.

“Our goals for the next year are ambitious,” said HRC member Heather Wright.

In the past year, HRC members have listened to many citizen concerns, according to Chappelle, who identified some of those concerns as youth concerns regarding space downtown, censorship of the YSHS one-act plays and the use of drug dogs in the school, and community concerns over the use of Tasers by local police, among others.

Council members expressed their appreciation for HRC efforts.

“You’ve played an increasingly important role in Yellow Springs,” Hempfling said. “You provide a venue for creative problem-solving.”

One of Council’s six goals is to create a welcoming community for people of diverse races and income levels, and the HRC is the organization directly addressing that goal, according to Lori Askeland.

Current HRC members are Chappelle, Wright, Don Wallis, Jason Totty and Patti Dallas, with John Booth the Council representative. The HRC meets the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. in Council chambers, and currently has one vacancy.

Other Council business from April 6 will be covered in next week’s News.

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