Saturday, December 13, 2008

Budgets, Bold Energy Planning, Historic Preservation, Rock Salt shortage!

Dear People! Well, things are really swinging into holiday mode, even as we are all feeling the economic downturn directly affecting our own families and friends, neighbors in our village, and people in our state, nation, and around the world. Please know that I am aware of your concerns about our village's fiscal health, and I am hoping that I will have something more specific to say about the Village's situation in the next few weeks--in fact we're scheduled to plan out the Budget workshop at our upcoming Village Council meeting on Monday, December 15, 7 pm, Council Chambers up on the second floor of the Bryan Ctr. And I'll be in my office hours from 12-1 today.

So! two little warm spots in this cold world to start us off: the annual Wheeling Gaunt flour and sugar donation to the widows of Yellow Springs has been happening this week, with a small spate of outside news coverage--in Wednesday's Columbus Dispatch and in an online magazine called American (nice pictures!). And our manager, Mark Cundiff notes that although a driver hit a street sign pole on the corner of Dayton and Corry Street Wednesday night, "By noon Thursday, Dave Conley and his crew had replaced the pole, including its custom knitted sweater that was on the old pole." My, we have wonderful village workers.

Ok, so on to Monday's meeting:

COMMUNICATION: First, one piece of communication we may discuss is that a drug arrest resulted in the confiscation of a large flat-screen TV which Chief Grote would like to donate to the youth rec. room in the Bryan Center. Additionally, Luwanna Delaney wrote a letter regarding our support of Home, Inc.'s request that their homes be properly valued at their actual resale potential in accordance with their leases.


1) One ORDINANCE: We'll have a first reading and a public hearing regarding Ordinance #2008-12 Supplemental Appropriations as an Emergency. While "emergency" sounds scary, this is actually a normal procedure, and from my quick perusal of the numbers, things look ok: we have appropriated less than we budgeted for by $552,814. I think this is because we have not begun the Northern Gateway work ($308,000) and because we haven't spent economic development monies ($102,500) or appropriated the Green Space Funds ($137,900). However, I will ask for clarification. The numbers do not look too bad yet; the big question mark is what will next year look like?

(FYI:Here's a rather sobering power point report on Ohio's projected budgetary problems over the next three fiscal years, from the Ohio Office of Budget and Management. Governor Strickland has written a strong letter to leaders in Washington , including president-elect Obama about this ongoing crisis, making a request for block grants and increases in TANF--money for needy families--funds from the feds, etc.)

2) Three RESOLUTIONS regarding * Employee Health Insurance coverage renewal, * Dental coverage, and * the Michael Shuman event on local economic growth, scheduled for the weekend of Jan. 16-18. (If you want background on this event or Shuman himself, I've covered it in greater depth in previous emails, including last week's, which are always posted on my blog:

SPECIAL REPORT: The Electric System Task Force: Phase 2. The ESTF recommends that council "begin funding a long-term (2025) phased in project to
  • minimize our dependence on coal,
  • provide as much of our electricity from renewable resources as possible,
  • reduce our average per meter consumption by 50% and
  • create 100 new conservation, efficiency, and/or renewable energy related jobs in the village."
The ESTF have specific suggested methods for achieving this goal--including
  • funding a study to size &cost an energy plan,
  • increase our electric rates, use the funds for conservation/education/renewable generation,
  • allocate funds to increase conservation in village-owned properties, and
  • implement a plan to incentivize job creation around these goals.
Please come hear this presentation!

  • Historic Preservation Update: Many of you came out for Glenn Harper's talk on Monday, and I have the text of his presentation, entitled "Preserving Your Sense Of Place: Historic Preservation Planning / Strategies For Saving Local Landmarks." (email me if you'd like a copy!) I strongly urge you to read it--it's not long!--and again to check out the State Historic Preservation Office website for more details. He argued that there are many benefits to creating a plan, that the plans can be tailored to fit our community's values (e.g., preserving the "funkiness" of 1960s barnboards on the front of downtown stores, including lots of latitude for energy efficiency when remodeling historic structures.) And there are funds available for some of the consultant help we might need to create an inventory of historic structures and really develop a good historic preservation ordinance. He's a wonderful resource! We'd love feedback on this talk, so please come if you can!
  • Center For Business and Education update: Mark says he'll be able to announce the firm that won the contract for the work that needs to be done to develop the infrastructure at the CBE at this Monday's meeting.
  • Library Grant (I think we briefly discussed this last time, an ICMA public library innovation grant, but I don't recall the exact details.)
NEW BUSINESS: Will include discussions of appointments to the EC, Goals Session schedule; a budget workshop schedule, and the HRC's budget request for a grant to the AACW for the Blues Fest.

MANAGER'S REPORT: We're releasing a bond for the Standcliff properties, and we're having to cut back on some of the salting we normally do in order to deal with shortages and rising costs for rock salt statewide. Only main arteries will be salted.

We'll then end with standing reports from the commissions, and agenda planning for next time. I'll report on the Library alleyway plans discussed at Planning Commission (i.e., that we have decided to take minimal action mostly related to clearer signage and I think maybe speed bumps (?) at this point--have to check my notes--to see if that doesn't mitigate the problems), and the EC is planning a home insulation forum for early February.

Peace be with you all,

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