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Yellow Springs Village Council supports Paris accord

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At their June 19 meeting, Village Council members unanimously passed a resolution in support of the Paris climate agreement, brought to Council by the local organization Mothers Out Front.

“We are here because of our children,” Laura Skidmore, who has daughters aged 2 and 11, said to Council members. “This is the world they will inherit from us, and they’re relying on us to make good decisions.”

The resolution states that Council “commits to exploring the potential benefits and costs of adopting policies and programs that promote the long-term goal of GHG emissions reduction while maximizing economic and social co-benefits of such actions.” In doing so, Council joins 12 states and hundreds of other communities and businesses, including Xylem of Yellow Springs, in upholding the goals of the 2015 Paris accord, following President Trump’s announcement that the United States would pull out of the agreement. The agreement aims to limit the rise of greenhouse gas emissions that are linked to rising global temperatures and climate change.

“Climate change is a huge problem that can make us feel small and powerless,” said Mothers Out Front member Christine Reedy. “But if we work together, we can tackle this giant problem.”

The local MOF group is the first such group in Ohio, according to Skidmore, its local founder. The organization began in Massachusetts in 2015.

After thanking the group for bringing the resolution forward, Council member Marianne MacQueen described the Village’s current efforts toward greenhouse gas reductions and renewable energy use. Currently, the Village electric portfolio contains between 85 and 90 percent renewable energy sources, and the Village is moving toward establishing a solar farm. The Environmental Commission is creating a Climate Action Plan for the village, led by the efforts of Duard Headley, and that commission, along with the Energy Board, continues efforts toward environmental sustainability.

“Village government really has been working on this,” MacQueen said.

Villagers interested in helping the effort are encouraged to volunteer for either the Environmental Commission or the Energy Board, MacQueen said, and more volunteers are needed.

In other Council June 19 business:

• Council unanimously approved a pay increase of 2 percent for Village Manager Patti Bates, following the annual review of her performance during an executive session. Bates’ annual salary of $103,950 is now $106,029.

Council members praised Bates for her performance and accomplishments.

“Council is very happy with her work,” Council President Karen Wintrow said, noting that Bates is also looking ahead to retirement in several years.

• Council unanimously passed an ordinance that allows those who water gardens or lawns in the summer to pay a reduced seasonal water rate, as that water does not go through the Village sewer system. The ordinance, which repeals an earlier ordinance, allows interested villagers to sign up for the program in which their summer water usage will in September be adjusted to reflect their use during winter months. To sign up, interested persons should contact the Village utility office at 767-7202.

• Council unanimously approved a resolution that authorizes the Village manager to submit a grant to the Ohio Public Works Commission for a grant for an upgrade to the stormwater drainage system on Winter Street.

• Emily Seibel, executive director of Home, Inc., presented a report on the completion of the Cemetery Street Project, the first project in which Village government partnered with Home, Inc. to provide affordable housing in the community. The project involved the construction of four homes on Cemetery Street, resulting in first-time home ownership for four families with a combined total of 11 children. Two of the families were longtime village residents, while two are new to the village.

“Thank you for making Yellow Springs a more welcoming community for people with diverse incomes,” Seibel said.

• During citizen concerns, Steve Hetzler registered his complaint that villagers are not picking up after their pets.

“Too many people feel it’s their perogative to have their pets excrete on others’ property,” he said, stating that both dogs and cats should be licensed and collared.

• After being officially sworn in by Mayor Dave Foubert, Police Chief Brian Carlson reported that local police will begin walking with villagers around Yellow Springs in August. Volunteers to partner with an officer are still needed, he said. The department is also looking to soon add a third sergeant position.

• Along with the purpose of evaluating a public official, the executive session preceding Council’s regular meeting also included a discussion of potential litigation.

Council’s next regular meeting is Monday, July 3, at 7 p.m. in Council chambers.

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