A busy year for Village staff
- Published: February 22, 2018
At Village Council’s Feb. 5 meeting, Village Manager Patti Bates presented an End of Year Report from Village staff, regarding projects completed during 2017.
“We did a heck of a lot,” she stated to Council.
The following projects were completed, in addition to the daily operations of the Village, according to the report.
• A new chief of police, Brian Carlson, was hired.
• Village staff worked with Cresco Labs LLC toward that company’s successful application for a Tier 1 medical marijuana cultivation license.
• A new water plant was constructed under a contract with Shook Construction.
• With consultation from the firm DesignNine, a fiber needs assessment was completed.
• After two years of planning, the new Village staff barn at the Sutton Farm was completed.
• A 1-megawatt solar array was constructed, and became operational at the Glass Farm.
• Using a long-standing grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the infrastructure connection between East Enon Road and the entrance to the Center for Business and Education, or CBE, was constructed.
• A long-unused generator was rehabilitated and installed at Bryan Center.
• The Yellow Springs Housing Needs Assessment was completed with the help of Bowen National Research.
• After several years of inactivity, the Safe Routes to School project on Winter Street and Fairfield Pike was constructed, adding sidewalks to those streets.
• Work was completed on sidewalk ramps and domes throughout the village, funded by a Community Development Block Grant.
• After considerable public discussion, a lodging tax was passed by Council. The tax went into effect last month.
• A new zoning tool, the Pocket Neighborhood Development, or PND, was added to the zoning code, allowing for increased housing density.
• A large section of Sutton Farm was sold to Glen Helen for conservation purposes.
• The Yellow Springs Police Department added the rank of corporal. Two current officers, Jeff Beam and David Meister, were promoted to that rank.
• Steps were taken so that the Yellow Springs Arts Council permanent collection was returned, after a hiatus of several years, to the Bryan Center.
• In working to improve various infrastructure systems through rehabilitation and preventive maintenance, the Public Works Department (including the Streets, Water Distribution and Electric, and Parks and Recreation crews) completed the following: clearing 12 sewer backups; fixing three water main breaks and fixing 25 electrical outages.
In other Council Feb. 5 business:
• Council began a discussion on new guidelines for how members of Village boards and commissions should address disagreements. The topic was prompted by a recent incident involving members of the Justice System Task Force.
Council President Brian Housh and Vice President Marianne MacQueen presented recommendations on the topic. These included that commission members first alert the group’s Council liaison to the concern; if that step is not successful, the commission member should report the concern to the Village Council president.
The recommendations also include new guidelines for commission members, including that they not make derogatory or slanderous statements about other commission members, Village Council members or Village staff.
Council will revisit the topic at its Feb. 20 meeting.
• Police Chief Carlson announced that the department is in the final stages of hiring two new officers, and will soon begin the interview process for candidates for the position of community outreach specialist.
• Council unanimously approved a fund for those who have overpaid utility bills, so that the overpayments can be used for future bills.
• Council unanimously approved the creation of a fund to house revenues for a Yellow Springs-Clifton bikepath connector project.
* During the Citizen Concerns section of the meeting, Chrissy Cruz requested that Council create a process for utility round-ups, whereby Village residents can round up their utility bill payments in order to donate the extra money to those having trouble making their payments. According to Cruz, last year The $10 Club, which she runs and which helps local families with a one-time financial need, assisted 27 families who needed help paying their utility bills. In recent years, the Village has initiated significant fee hikes in its water and electric utilities.
Council member Judith Hempfling agreed with the need to help with utility payments.
“We need to look at the options we have to assist people who are having difficulty paying their bills,” she said.
• Ann Poortinga was sworn in as the new Village clerk of courts, following the retirement of longtime clerk June Allison.
• Council accepted the resignation of Kate Hamilton from the Human Relations Commission, or HRC, due to health issues.
• Council made several appointments to Village commissions. Ted Donnell was unanimously approved for the Planning Commission, Karen Wintrow for the Economic Sustainability Commission and Nancy Mellon, Kathy Moulton and Catherine Roma for the Arts and Culture Commission.
• Following the regular meeting, Council met in executive session for the purposes of discussion of potential litigation and the compensation of a public employee.
• Council’s next meeting will take place Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. at Council chambers. The meeting is postponed from its regular Monday date due to the Presidents Day closing of Village offices.