Monday, May 4, 2009

VC tonight: Visioning and Economic Development

Dear People! I went to my daughter's graduation this weekend in Ann Arbor, and am a little behind in my normal routine. The main items on our agenda tonight are beginning the Visioning process by approving a contract with the firm and a second discussion on economic development.

Economic development strikes at the core of who we are; we are considering hiring a new person to help us support and cultivate local businesses, and attract new organizations, businesses. Judith Hempfling has a clear plan, articulated below. If you have concerns about these issues, please plan to attend!


  • 2nd reading & public hearing on an ORDINANCE that corrects some of the numbers in our budget.
    • Red Flag Rule/ Identity Theft prevention program: We are required by federal law to establish a program to protect sensitive information that we keep about our employees and ratepayers. This program, which will be largely implemented by our finance director, will help us to do that.
    • Authorize village manager to enter into a contract with ACP Visioning + Planning.
    • Amend village manager's employment contract to extend the six-month residency requirement, as he's having trouble selling their home in Troy.
During Citizens Concerns I believe Doug Bailey of the Environmental Commission will be presenting a request that Council approve the use of village-owned land for community gardens.

Special Report:
Cable Advisory will give its annual report from last year.

  • Schedule date for meeting with ACP, timeline.
  • Economic Development: Judith Hempfling presents the following:
"An important discussion on economic development will take place tomorrow, Monday eve, at the Village Council Meeting. Presentations will be made by
the Chamber, Community Resources and Mark, the Village Manager. It is likely to draw many citizens with varied views on how to go forward, and I hope you
will be a part of that discussion. I have lost my email list because of a computer difficulty, and ask that you forward to anyone you would like to
share this with.

My main hope, is that we take the time to clarify on three issues as outlined below. As I say in the proposal, I think we could have a discussion on each issue, (one at each of the next three Council meetings for example), and be ready to move forward by the end of June.

Sustainable Economic Development Proposal

Judith Hempfling

May 4, 2009

After the first Village Council discussion on economic development, I have continued to think about and discuss this important decision with citizens
in the village and propose that we prepare to pursue the hiring of an economic development staff person by the end of June after pubic discussion
and decisions by Council on the following three items:

1. Articulate community strengths and values which will guide Village
economic development work

2. Establish an ongoing Economic Development Committee of Council which will

a. Share information on a regular basis regarding economic development

b. Host relevant discussions on economic development.

These activities of the Committee will

a. provide transparency regarding economic development work

b. provide a venue for the incubating/ development of ideas and

c. be a resource to the ED person/Village Council

3. Establish the hiring process/ what we are hiring for.

I want to make three additional points:
  • The notion articulated at the last meeting, that we have talked this subject to death and therefore just need to act, is not accurate. Some members of Council have been discussing economic development in the context of other boards but this was the first public discussion at Council table.
  • During the discussion on the Visioning Process, a consultant described a community that was aging at an unprecedented rate? What was going on? When they looked closer, they realized they had unconsciously created a magnet for retirees by developing many services for an older population without a comparable focus on the needs of young families. The story is instructive. The kind of economic development we pursue will determine what we become as a community. What sort of magnet will we create through the economic development we pursue? Will it support Council's goal of being "a welcoming community of opportunity for diverse people of race, income, culture? Will it support Council Goal "To develop a comprehensive policy that addresses global warming and seeks to reduce the carbon footprint of our community?
  • Yellow Springs is a progressive community that should get beyond conventional approaches to economic development which is often based in conservative ideas not in alignment with our unique strengths and values. To do this we should network with municipalities and organizations such as Burlington VT, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies and the International Centre for Sustainable Cities. These networks are developing new approaches to economic development which fit nicely with our wish to address environmental issues and to create opportunity for people of diverse income/education. See links regarding BALLE and the ICSC."

Please plan to attend!

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