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Village Council

Village Council becomes fiscal sponsor for Chamber

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At the April 4 Village Council meeting, held virtually via Zoom, Village Council members unanimously voted to become the fiscal sponsor for the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce.

According to Village Manager Josué Salmerón, this move would allow the Chamber to seek and receive grant funds needed to “get back into business.”

“They need assistance in building their own capacity,” Salmerón said. “In order to do that, the Village will need to act as their fiscal sponsor.”

With the Village as its fiscal sponsor, the Chamber can pursue grants through the Yellow Springs Community Foundation. According to Mark Heise, chair of the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber is a nonprofit, but it is not a 501(c)(3), the type of nonprofit that would receive the type of grants the Chamber, a 501(c)(6), is eyeing.

According to the IRS, unlike a 501(c)(3), a 501(c)(6) nonprofit is able to engage in “some political activity” and may “engage in lobbying that is germane to accomplishing its exempt purpose without jeopardizing its exemption.” The Village is an Ohio Municipal Corporation and can act as an agent for nonprofits that do not qualify for grants aimed at 501(c)(3) organizations.

“We appreciate the support of the Village, as always,” Heise said. “I’m trying to get [the Chamber] back to where we once were.”

Council member Kevin Stokes said he was asked to bring the issue to Council. Stokes serves as the nonvoting Council liaison to the Chamber of Commerce and said he supported the endeavor.
In other April 4 Council business:

Citizen review board

Council continued its discussion about the citizen review board, or CRB, proposal. Council member Carmen Brown said that attorney John Watty will be hired to review the proposal; at the time, Brown said that she was waiting for a letter of engagement and other forms so that the Village could officially contract with Watty.

In response to questions from Housh about whether Watty had provided a curriculum vitae, or CV, and if a scope of work had been established, Brown said that the scope of work would be detailed in the letter of engagement. She pushed back against the request for Watty’s CV, saying that the vetting process for other attorneys did not include a request for a CV.

“If the Village of Yellow Springs were a law firm it would be appropriate to ask for a resume or CV,” Brown said. “A statement regarding experience and a scope of work would be sufficient.”

Council members Housh and Stokes said that all law firms are carefully vetted, a process that does include a review of CVs and resumes.

“I want to avoid spending another $5,000 to $6,000 and not getting what we asked for,” Stokes said. “We made an effort to select a preferred attorney before who was unwilling or incapable of giving us what we asked for. I would like for us not to be in the same boat again.”

Brown said that she was in agreement with Stokes and wanted to ensure that the Village got the answers it is seeking through the review of the CRB proposal.

“What we need done is the review of the proposal as it is, to ensure that it follows the law and that’s it,” Brown said.

Council member MacQueen asked about the dual role of Village Mediation Program coordinator and the point person for CRB intake.

Brown said that Village Mediation should move forward with hiring a coordinator with the understanding that they may be tasked with additional responsibilities once the CRB is running.

“Finding a coordinator who understands there will be some crossover is important, but that can’t be the thing that holds up finding a mediation person,” Brown said.

MacQueen also asked what Council thought about having the mediation coordinator field some complaints that would eventually go to the CRB as a step toward bringing the project to fruition.

“If we started by having someone in place to start taking complaints, it seems like it would show that we are serious about getting started and it would enable people to make complaints and [would] give [us] some data on the type and number of complaints,” MacQueen said.

Closing out the conversation, Housh identified three action items to move the legal review forward: receipt of an engagement letter from attorney Watty, receipt of credentials for attorney Watty as a final piece to the vetting process and collaboration on a document with questions for attorney Watty.

Social Justice Commission

Brown said that she had a meeting with Stokes regarding developing a Social Justice Commission. According to Brown, the conversation about the scope and purpose of the proposed commission made them realize that the already existing Human Relations Commission is doing the work that the proposed Social Justice Commission would do.

“It almost looked like we were just going to be renaming the Human Relations Commission,” Brown said. “The historical significance of the HRC and what it means to the charter doesn’t need to be messed with.”

Brown and Parcels said that an updated description of the Human Relations Commission would be presented at the next meeting.

Stokes said that he thought Council was in the right place to continue with the HRC, but that the group would need to be reconstituted.

“I think we are moving in the right direction by making some smart changes to the existing ordinances in the charter as opposed to going in a different direction,” Stokes said. “I think we are in a good place.”


Council voted to approve an ordinance establishing a body-worn camera policy for the YSPD. The policy, written by members of the YSPD, Village staff and several community members, aspires to provide transparency while protecting the privacy of individuals. Council members praised the policy before voting to approve it unanimously.

Council approved an emergency reading of an ordinance removing a deed restriction on the Union Schoolhouse property in order for the property owner, Iron Table Holdings, to erect a chimney swift tower prior to April 15, the date that the birds are expected to return to the area.

The tower will replace the birds’ longtime habitat, the current chimney in the Union Schoolhouse.

The chimney has been capped in anticipation of construction and rehab of the building, which is the future home of local radio station, WYSO. Future coverage of the chimney swift tower as a part of the Environmental Commission Sustainability Champions program will appear in a future issue of the News.

Council heard a first reading of an ordinance amending the subdivision regulations section of the Village code. A second reading and public hearing will be heard at Council’s April 18 meeting.
Council approved two resolutions renewing health and dental insurance for Village employees.

Council’s next meeting will be in-person on Monday, April 18, at 7 p.m. Virtual participation will be limited to commenting on legislation and the Citizen Concerns portion of the meetings. Citizens who would like to participate in the Zoom call will need to make arrangements with Judy Kintner by 6 p.m. on the day of the meeting.

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