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More street work in October

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Having completed the first phase of its water distribution system upgrade this spring, the Village is poised to begin phase II of the project in late October of this year. At its meeting July 6, Village Council approved a bid from GM Pipeline to do the Bottleneck Elimination Project, which will provide water flow for adequate commercial fire safety for the southern end of the village, where YSI/Xylem, Dollar General and other businesses are located.

The bid from GM, the contractor that completed phase I of the project, came in at $485,933 for the bottleneck, the lowest of seven bids for the work. The project will include replacing the water main along the east side of Xenia Avenue between Herman Street and Kahoe Lane with a 12-inch line. The work is not expected to disturb the asphalt and therefore traffic along 68 is not expected to be disrupted, Water Superintendent Johnnie Burns said last week. While radio-read water meters will be replaced on both sides of the road along that stretch, the remote-read process will not be engaged until a later date, Village Manager Patti Bates said during the Council meeting.

The bottleneck construction is part of a larger plan to increase what was long considered inadequate water flow for fire safety in the village and around Antioch College. The first part of the project, the Loop Completion project to replace old lines with 10- and 12-inch mains downtown, around the college and along Herman Street to the Village water towers, was completed earlier this month. The loop completion phase cost $764,053, about half of which was covered by an Ohio Public Works Commission grant and the other half by an Ohio Water Development Authority loan, to be paid back through a 15 percent increase in water rates.

The bottleneck will be the last phase of the project, and is expected to be complete before the winter, Bates said. The construction will continue regardless of weather.

In other Village Council business:

• Village Council approved the passage of the Village Charter Review at the July 6 meeting, in time to submit the changes to the Greene County Board of Elections for approval as an issue for the November election. After some discussion about breaking the recommended revisions into several ballot issues, Council agreed to include all the changes into a single issue.

The substantive changes to the charter include no longer requiring Planning Commission to seat one member who is a Miami Township resident; seating Council members in January rather than immediately after an election to allow for a potential recount in the case of a close vote; barring elected officials from serving as Village Manager for two years following their term; allowing new ordinances and other public notices to be posted solely online rather than in the local newspaper; and having budget ordinances take effect immediately rather than after a 10-day waiting period. The last change, made to bring the Charter into conformance with current Ohio law, would require Village managers to reside in Greene County or an adjacent county and allow their individual contracts to specify their residence or non-residence in Yellow Springs.

Prior to passage, Council discussed the Charter revision recommended by the charter review commission of Council members Brian Housh and Gerry Simms, Aaron Saari, Jane Scott, Laura Curliss, Sheila Miller, Craig Mesure and Kat Walter.

• Village Assistant Manager John Yung reported that as of July 1 the Village will enforce grass and vegetation cutting on properties 10 feet from the streets and sidewalks and 5 feet from the side and rear property lines. Property owners whose yards do not conform will be informed by mail and if the grass is not cut within a week, the Village reserves the right to contract the work and bill the owner. The enforcement is for travel safety for children and especially residents with impaired vision.

• Council approved the Village 2016 tax budget for submission to the Greene County Auditor. The tax budget is required by the auditor now, although the 2016 budgeting process won’t begin until fall. The tax budget shows higher-than-anticipated revenues, which is good news, according to Village Finance Director Melissa Vanzant.

• Council agreed to contract with Arbor Care, the lowest bidder for the Village’s 2015 utility line tree and vegetation clearance. The local company bid $92,000 to clear lines within the central zone from Allen Street to Limestone and Xenia Avenue to Corry Street. The work is scheduled to begin sometime in August, and property owners will be notified, Village Manager Patti Bates said. Arbor Care has been the Village utility clearance contractor for five years.

• Village Assistant Clerk Babette O’Reilly resigned her part-time post this month to take a full-time position outside the village. Village government is working to hire a new clerk’s assistant.

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