Village Council denounces Roe v. Wade decision
- Published: July 16, 2022
At its July 5 regular meeting, Village Council passed two resolutions in response to the June 24 Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. The first of the two pieces of legislation formally dissented from the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson case; the second established the Village’s intention to de-prioritize enforcing state laws that criminalize abortions.
Council President Brian Housh, who recently penned a letter to villagers regarding the overturning of Roe v. Wade, said that he was still reeling from the Supreme Court’s action.
“We are disgusted and we are frustrated,” he said. “It’s untenable, but we need to focus on what we can do.”
Referencing a letter to Council from various medical professionals throughout the village, Housh said that Council was determined to support villagers who need abortion access, an effort that Council member Carmen Brown will lead.
“It’s great that Carmen is able to be our lead on Council for how we can move forward and do what we can locally,” Housh said.
Council member Kevin Stokes said that he understood that people may be feeling powerless, and that a lot of the burden tends to fall on employers, but Council’s legislation shows a commitment to doing something.
“I appreciate all of the effort that we are undertaking in the village.” Stokes said.
Council member Carmen Brown spoke about communities who have historically been refused bodily autonomy and pledged her support for people seeking abortion care.
“Some of us have had to navigate this assault on personhood and freedoms for many years,” Brown said. “It’s important that we move strategically and that we understand that our bodies are our bodies, no matter what. I’m committed individually to doing all that I can for anyone who may find themselves in a situation where they might need this medical procedure.”
In response to a comment by former Council member Laura Curliss — who noted that several large, private companies had committed to supporting their employees’ access to abortions — Housh said that Council would try to support any staff members who may need an abortion.
“If we can’t figure out a way to do it as a local government, then we are going to figure out something else,” Housh said.
The second resolution, which focuses on law enforcement, says that enforcement of anti-abortion laws is in opposition to Village policing guidelines. The legislation says, in part:
“Our Guidelines for Village policing explicitly require that our officers: protect human rights and civil liberties. … Council believes non-prioritization of fundamentally misogynistic and punitive laws is in keeping with this mission.”
During the legislation discussion, Council member Marianne MacQueen asked how the enforcement would work. In response, Brown said that people experiencing a medical emergency do not have to disclose whether they had an abortion.
In response to a question from the News, Housh said that the resolution was patterned on legislation recently passed in Dayton.
“This would definitely extend to any person implicated in an abortion law,” Housh said.
“Discussions around becoming a sanctuary city for women’s reproductive rights are part of what we are going to look into.”
Sarah Sinclair-Amend suggested setting a clear procedure for enforcing abortion laws. In response, Housh said that Council would be proactive in creating policy around reproductive rights.
After Council unanimously passed the resolution, Rebecca Potter thanked them for taking steps to protect reproductive rights within the Village.
“I just want to take a minute to applaud all of you,” she said.
In other Council legislation, July 5:
Council passed a resolution to give Home, Inc. $30,000 towards an affordable senior housing project. Council member Marianne MacQueen explained that Home, Inc. will be pursuing a project that will include attached cottages or larger buildings with rental units.
“It will be mostly senior [housing] but not only senior [housing],” MacQueen said.
According to MacQueen, the predevelopment money will help Home, Inc. to commission drawings and renderings that will allow them to begin pursuing funding sources.
This most recent request from Home, Inc. comes after two attempts by the organization to get state funding for a 52-unit senior housing project on property behind the new fire station between East Herman and Marshall streets. Council member Kevin Stokes said that those attempts were not fruitful, and state funds were awarded to Appalachian communities. That project has been scrapped and Home, Inc. is looking to develop a new plan for the same property.
“We didn’t quite fit the profile where those funds were going to be directed,” Stokes said. “We did agree to fund them at $30,000 and I’m happy to see that this is moving forward.”
2023 tax budget
Council passed a resolution adopting the finance director’s 2023 tax budget. According to Village Manager Josué Salmerón, who presented the budget in the finance director’s absence, said the budget “kicks off the beginning of our tax preparation season.”
The budget presented to Council includes the cash resources the Village is expected to have at the end of 2022 and an estimation of revenues the Village will receive in 2023. According to Salmerón, the revenues largely come from income and property taxes. To determine those numbers, the Village receives estimates from David Graham, the Greene County auditor, and from representatives of the Regional Income Tax Agency, or RITA.
According to the numbers submitted to Council, the Village’s estimated revenues for 2022 amount to $3,996,373. The projected revenues for 2023 amount to $3,703,185.
The packet included with the legislation also included forecasted expenditures for the rest of 2022 and 2023, along with three years of actual numbers — the actual dollar amounts spent in 2019-2021. According to the numbers presented, the Village received $3,618,090 in 2019, $3,333,460 in 2020 and $3,683,165 in 2021. Of note, there was a dip in revenue in 2020 due to the pandemic and a boost in revenue in 2022 from American Rescue Plan Act dollars.
Salmerón said that the projections show the Village ending the 2022 fiscal year with a 90-day reserve, which is in accordance with state recommendations. After explaining the budget breakdown, Salmerón told Council that, should they accept the tax budget, the numbers would go to the county auditor for certification.
Prior to the vote, MacQueen suggested that the finance committee aim to project expenditures that Council may ask for in the 2023 budget so that both staff and Council requests can be recognized simultaneously, rather than Council requests coming after staff requests. Council member Gavin Devore Leonard said that he hoped that everyone would be able to see budget proposals throughout the process so that staff requests are not cut in the process of finalizing the budget.
“We’re hoping that everyone sees the type of cuts that everyone has to make,” Devore Leonard said.
Council passed the legislation unanimously.
Additional items from the July 5 meeting, including information from Council’s executive session regarding the Village solicitor, will appear in next week’s edition of the News.