Village Council Regular Meeting
- Published: March 9, 2021
Bike path purchase approved
In a 4–0 vote, Council approved a resolution to purchase three acres of land along the eastern edge of the Yellow Springs Schools’ East Enon Road property for $60,000 for a bike path to the Agraria Center for Regenerative Agriculture. Council member Laura Curliss recused herself from the discussion.
Community Solutions secured a half-million dollar state grant for the bike path from the village to its educational farm, but the funds couldn’t be used to purchase property. According to the resolution, the nonprofit will lease the bike path back from the Village for $2,000 per year for 15 years. In response to a question from the News, it was stated that the Village will maintain the section of the trail.
Sidewalk project moves forward
Council unanimously passed a resolution approving Choice One Engineering of Sidney to prepare plans for the sidewalk paving along Limestone Street between Dayton Street and Walnut Street. The project was delayed a year due to COVID-19, and will cost $675,454, with $400,000 coming from the federal Safe Routes to School program along with a $275,545 local match.
Budget balanced in 2020
Village Finance Director Matt Dillon reported that the Village ended the year $38,000 in the black on a $14 million budget. “We ended the year with just about what we started with,” he said.
Utility solar project criticized
Council Vice President Marianne MacQueen raised concerns about a planned 1,800-acre utility-scale solar photovoltaic project just southeast of Yellow Springs. Among her concerns was that prime farmland would be converted to solar fields, whose power would be sold to the East Coast. Village Solicitor Breanne Parcels recommended that the Village not seek official status as an “intervener” in the process, as nearby Miami Township is planning. Curliss suggested that Council could instead pass a resolution in opposition to the project.
Village Manager Josué Salmerón gave a presentation on municipal power costs and sources. Last year, local electricity demand went down by close to 5%, likely due to the pandemic and mild weather, while power costs rose 4%. Meanwhile, the Village’s electric portfolio is currently about 77% renewables. Over the next two years, however, about 20% of the portfolio needs to be replaced with other sources. Salmerón said he will return to Council with options soon, and is exploring two local solar generation projects in the range of 2.25–2.5 megawatts each.
Funds for Cost of Living update
Council unanimously passed a resolution to give $2,500 to the James A. McKee Association to help fund an updated Cost of Living Report. The project budget is $10,000, and the 2020 Census data on which the report heavily relies will be released sometime in the next few months.
Arts funding granted
Council approved $5,000 in funding for the Village Arts and Culture Commission for 2021. The funds will be used for micro-grants for emerging artists and support for the John Bryan Community Gallery ($2,000), the Village Inspiration in Design Award, or VIDA ($500), and efforts to use arts to “amplify discussion and ignite action” related to policing, anti-racism, environmental justice and local cost of living.
Council’s next regular meeting is Monday, March 1, at 7 p.m. via Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/3555457065.