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Many benefits of e-Health deal

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The Village has reaped many “not so obvious benefits” from its recent loan deal with Creative Memories that allowed the local business e-Health Data Solutions to stay in town, Roi Qualls, co-owner of eHDS, told Village Council at its Sept. 6 meeting.

“I think it put us on the map,” Qualls said of the Village’s action. “Yellow Springs got creative and made things happen.”

In recent months, eHDS was on the verge of moving out of town after out-growing its previous office space in MillWorks and finding no appropriate alternatives in the village. The situation spurred Village staff and officials to try to find a way to keep the growing business in town, and in the end, it offered Creative Memories a $30,000 loan to subdivide that company’s currently unused office space, thus creating an appropriate space for eHDS along with additional space for other potential businesses.

The eHDS staff moved into its new quarters the end of August and, according to Qualls, “the verdict so far is, we absolutely love it.”

EHDS employees, many of whom live in the village, had preferred that the business stay in town, but the company’s owners, some of whom live out of town, indicated they would move if a reasonably-priced alternative could not be found.

“We were courted aggressively by Fairborn and Springfield,” Qualls said.

However, the company stayed in Yellow Springs because the Village/Creative Memories deal provided office space “that’s very competitive” with other options, he said. “You have lowered the cost of doing business in Yellow Springs.”

Other benefits of the eHDS deal include putting to use a facility that had been empty for two years, developing a good working relationship with the Minnesota-based Creative Memories executive staff and providing easier options for local businesses that are seeking new space, he said.

Qualls thanked Council and Village staff for its “support and creativity” in negotiating the deal, and said eDHS is planning an open house at the end of the month.

In other Council business:

• Members of the Yellow Springs Tree Committee asked for Council’s support for naming the arboretum at Ellis Pond after the longtime committee leader Lloyd Kennedy.

“He’s one of the original founders 35 years ago, and he’s still planting trees,” YSTC President Anna Bellisari said. “He deserves the honor.”

The group plans to install a new sign at the park that identifies both the park and the Lloyd Kennedy Arboretum.

Council members expressed support for the new sign and appreciation for Kennedy’s work guiding the committee in its work planting trees in the village.

• Council approved a request from Village Electric and Water Distribution Supervisor Kelley Fox for a new pole-setter for the electric crew. While the 2011 budget includes $100,000 for the equipment, Fox stated that he found a model that is more efficient than the one originally sought but also more expensive, costing $40,000 more than budgeted. The pole-setter is a walk-behind piece of equipment that fits through fence gates and allows electric crew staff access into backyard areas in order to get to power poles. The new pole-setter is more flexible and will do less damage to backyards than the bucket truck currently used, Fox said.

• Council heard a report from Village treasurer Rachel McKinley on Village investments. Due to the sluggish economy, investment returns remain extremely low, McKinley said, although the Village is now saving money on bank fees that it no longer pays. The committee that oversees Village investments — herself, Finance Director Sharon Potter and Village Manager Mark Cundiff — will decide in December whether to retire the Village’s bond service on the John Bryan Community center, which would immediately cost the Village about $650,000, but would save a considerable amount in future interest payments. However, according to Cundiff, that decision will be made only in light of immediate needs for capital improvements that could be affected by retiring the bond.

• Council unanimously approved a resolution that certifies to the Greene County auditor the need for the 8.4 mill property tax levy approved by voters in May. The resolution identifies the yearly levy revenue to the Village as about $741,000.

• Council unanimously approved a resolution to re-appoint John Chambers of Coolidge Wall as the Village solicitor.


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