Monday, December 21, 2009

VC: Hydro projects, Open Meetings, ACLU, Commissions--you?

Dear People: I went for a long walk with my dogs down the bike path Sat & Sun, enjoying the lovely snow... before I tire of the earth's iron hardness, and start longing for spring. There's a poem by Christina Rossetti at the end of this memo which provides the gorgeous words to my favorite Christmas carol. (If you want to hear/view the song, sung by the King's College Cambridge Choir, click here. You can listen while you read, if you wish!)

The wrong agenda was placed in our packets by mistake, so I've attached the electronic one that Karen Wintrow kindly made, just as an FYI, and used it to structure my typed comments in italics, below.

IN COUNCIL CHAMBERS December 21, 2009

Comments from the Public are welcomed at two different times during the course of the meeting: (1) Comments on items not on the Agenda will be heard under Citizens Concerns, and (2) Comments on all items listed on the Agenda will be heard during Council’s consideration of said item. A Sign-In sheet will be made available on the small table at the rear of the Council Chambers.


Personnel/Evaluation of Village Manager

This portion of the meeting is a "special meeting" because, in order to accommodate the schedules of the current Council and of former Council member Kathryn Van der Heiden, who will be participating in the Village Manager review, we decided on Thursday to schedule this prior to the meeting rather than afterwards, as would be our usual practice. We notified the YS News office of this change of schedule, and placed notices in the Bryan Center and the Library, and also posted information about the change on our Village website.

I would like to assure everyone that we do endeavor to avoid last minute schedule changes, and special emergency meetings, whenever possible. (And, to clarify: no public legislation will result from this special executive session, as it is strictly a personnel matter).

I would also like to
remind all citizens that they may still comment on the performance of Mark Cundiff during this first year; if you send your comments to me as soon as possible, but by this afternoon, at the latest, I will endeavor to forward them to our acting Clerk and all Council members prior to the meeting.



The Clerk will receive and file:
AMP Newsletter(s) re: December 7, 2009
Cities & Villages OML Magazine re: November/December Issue
Greene County Clerk of Courts re: Injunction Notice

[This is the official injunction regarding the improperly noticed meeting from last week. We are working to clarify our notification procedures for ourselves and for villagers so that these problems do not arise again.]

Time Warner re: Notice of Contract Expirations with Programmers & Broadcasters

Tecumseh Land Trust re: Fall 2009 Newsletter
OML re: Legislative Committees – Week of December 13
Greene County Public Library re: December Holiday Closings/January Programs
AMP OSHA re: Safety Training Schedule for 2010

Regional Planning & Coordinating Commission of Greene County (RPCCGC), re: request for representative designation for 2010

The new Council rep to RPCCGC for 2010 will be yours truly.


Second Reading and Public Hearing on Ordinance #2009-16 Participation in AMP Hydro Project : As I mentioned in my notes from the past couple of meetings, we have voted in our first round to support these two new AMP hydroelectric projects. We wanted clarification about the exact amount of megawatts that these two hydro projects will provide; Mark explains that at 1.7 MW total from these two new projects, they should provide up to 42.5% of our current baseload power needs.

When we add in the wattage from the other AMP hydro project we signed onto last year, that makes for a total of 2.120 MW of hydro powered energy total, or 53% of our total baseload needs. As Mark notes, "If through energy conservation we reduce our base load needs, we can achieve an even higher percentage of baseload energy from renewable resources."

While no energy investment is without risk, I believe this is a good way for us to serve our baseload power needs and seek to reduce our carbon footprint.

Second Reading and Public Hearing on Ordinance #2009-18 Two-Way Metering.

Staff suggests tabling this so we can get the needed feedback from the ETF on the questions we raised about the possible effects of increasing the allowable wattage on our current electric grid.

First Reading and Public Hearing on Ordinance #2009-19 2010 Temporary Budget as an Emergency

This looks like a normal minor budget reallocation, but I expect we'll have a brief presentation from Sharon Potter

First Reading on Ordinance #2009-20 Policy on Notification of Public Meetings

We're trying to establish clear rules for all bodies of Council--Committees, etc.--and to incorporate notification through our website, which probably didn't exist when these rules were last revised.

Resolution #2009-48 Recognition of a Local Endeavour to Implement a YS Community Time Bank

I thought we were approving John Booth's writing of a letter, with the help of the HRC. So I think we will not focus on this Resolution, but on the letter he has composed.

Resolution #2009-49 Awarding Street Light Replacement Contract

Resolution #2009-50 Awarding Library Building Evaluation Contract

Both of these resolutions, for differing reasons, are being withdrawn. The Street Light contract because Mark feels he needs the ETF to review them, and the library conflict because of a conflict of interest concern, which Mark's memo does not go into great detail about. I imagine we will discuss both of these in a bit more detail at the meeting tonight.

III. CITIZENS CONCERNS (Clerk will collect Sign-Up Sheets)


Surveillance Cameras – Presentation by ACLU

WSU’s CUPA Retention & Expansion Study

We don't have any further information in our packets about these two items; we are asked to bring our copies of the CUPA Retention & Expansion survey which we received last October.

Greene Metropolitan Housing Assn. Continued Discussion re: Tax Exemption

The 'good' news, in a way, is that this isn't really our decision to make at some level: the GMHA was coming to us as an act of good will and good faith. The real story, to me, is that for over 30 years they have paid taxes to us that they were not required by law to pay, by not filing their tax-exemption papers. They cannot afford this any longer, to best serve their clients. They would like our understanding and support as they file for their tax-exempt status, allowed them by federal/state laws.

They offer in a letter to "make a payment in lieu of taxes" to the Village, "based on 10 per cent of rents collected from the tenants." It's my understanding that this is a fairly standard practice that they use in other places. (I will ask about whether that could be shared with the schools). At any rate, I support this move, and thank them for their generosity over the years.

Economic Sustainability Board

Judith is still working on this; I believe it will be tabled until our next meeting.

Update on Clerk of Council and Treasurer Positions

I am working on the Clerk applications with John Weithofer; the Treasurer application deadline is today!

Commissions, Committees and Boards - Terms of Office Discussion

There are terms ending, new possibilities. John Streuwing's term as head of the Planning Commission is up as of the end of this month (12/31/09); Ted Donnell's on the Board of Zoning Appeals also ends that date; And all three members of the board of Tax Appeals are actually on expired terms! (John Hart, Tony Bent, and Richard Zopf, terms expired on 7/31/09. We will obviously be speaking to each of these men about their interest in continuing--and it seems to me we need a better system of alerting us to the expiration of position. However, if you are interested in any of these positions, please let me know. Democracy requires that all positions be considered open to any qualified resident.

Codified Ordinances Update

This is one of those places where we miss Deborah's knowledge and long history--we missed a deadline a few weeks ago during her illness for American Legal, which is the publisher of our Codified Ordinances. We can work around this, using supplements. I believe Denise will explain the issues at our meeting.


No Rep. Community Council
Lori Askeland Environmental Commission
Lori Askeland Planning/Bike Com/N Gateway
Rick Walkey Village Mediation Program
John Booth Human Relations Commission
Judith Hempfling Energy Task Force
Judith Hempfling Community Resources
Rick Walkey Library Commission
Lori Askeland Reg. Planning Commission-Greene County
Karen Wintrow Cable Advisory Panel
Karen Wintrow Chamber of Commerce
Karen Wintrow Miami Valley Regional Planning
Karen Wintrow Visioning Steering Committee

The next meeting of the Council of the Village of Yellow Springs will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, January 4, 2009 in Council Chambers, John Bryan Community Center - 100 Dayton Street.

Items for discussion on Monday, January 4, 2009:

Bryan Center Guidelines

X. FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS: Let me know if you see anything you'd like more info on, or that you'd like to comment on, or whatever!
Village’s Investment Summary/EDRLF Report
Verizon Wireless Update
MVRPC/Going Places/Resolution
Electric /capacity, contracts, capital projects, equipment
Green Space Legislation
Personnel Policy Manual Update
Guidelines for Utility Resolution Dispute Commission
Marking State Route 68 Bikeway
Conservation Easement-Well Fields
Parks and Recreation Master Plan
Calamityville Presentation
Short Street – Park/Gathering Space
Update on Safe Routes to Schools
Budget Sessions
Council’s Goals Session
Council Retreat
Northern Gateway Decision to MVRPC

In the Bleak Mid-Winter, by Christina Rossetti

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

With my skeptical faith and all my heart, I do wish you all a wonderful holiday season, whatever your faith may be--


Monday, December 14, 2009

VC Update & PC Tonight: 2 Conditional Use Requests, PUD process; historic preservation

Dear People: Thanks to all those who turned out for the Visioning workshop on Saturday. I don't know the statistics, but there was a good sized crowd in the gym, and the smaller group I was in was actually fairly large--I didn't count, but I'd say 12-14?--and lively. Tonight (Mon 12/14) is the Planning Commission meeting, 7 pm in the Bryan Center. I'll discuss that in the majority of this note.

COUNCIL UPDATE: I have to provide a Council Update at every Planning Comm. meeting, and we've had so many meetings, I'll write it out here:

I. Last Friday afternoon (12/11) Village Council held a special meeting from 4:30-6:30, that was well attended by villagers, focused on the request to allow Community Solutions to partner with two regional, private firms in a bid for a federal "stimulus" grant for energy efficiency retrofitting. The grant had an extremely short turn-around time. While it was short notice, and I have many questions still, the opportunity seemed very good, and, if the group is selected for the grant, we will read it at that time and have been assured by our attorney that we will be able to say "this isn't what we thought we were signing up for" and decline to be a part of it. So I voted for it, and it passed on a 4-1 vote, with most Council members agreeing with my reasoning.

II. At last Monday's (12/7) Village Council meeting we:

1. passed an ORDINANCE: 2nd reading on AMP Hydroelectric projects--these look really good and will help supply our base load needs.
2. tabled ORDINANCE: 1st reading on 2-Way Metering: this would allow people who are generating power (e.g., via solar panels) to sell excess energy back to the grid. We want more information from the ETF about some of the details regarding the maximum wattage that could be produced under this revision to our ordinance.
3./4. passed RESOLUTIONS (2) renewing Staff health insurance & health savings accounts and Dental insurance
5. Discussed the hiring for Clerk of Council, Treasurer, and filing clerk. I will be working with John Weithofer to pre-sort and "tier" the over 150 applications for Clerk of Council; Treasurer applications are still being accepted!

We continue to mourn the passing of Deborah Benning, our beloved Clerk of Council, who served in that role for 17 years.

6. Discussed Stutzman's Property:
We're planning to write up a request for proposals for renting the property; Chris Roberts volunteered to help us get good maps for prospective renters.
7. Rejected Time Banking financial request, on the advice of our lawyer but most of us support the concept and the work of the creators
8. We have clarified (since our meeting) that the Greene County Metropolitan Housing exemption is available for them to take without our action. We have notified the school board, which will lose some tax revenues, some of which can be regained through applying for federal support. While it seems to now be a moot point, I support them in this action because the money they save will be reinvested in this property, rather than going to Washington DC for a second mortgage.
9. Approved Village Manager Evaluation Forms for staff and Council. Please feel free to give feedback (as a resident) about your experiences with and impressions of Mark Cundiff's work in the next week or so.
10. Discussed the Water/Sewer Rates: The bad news: our water rates are not keeping up with costs; The good news: our sewer rates are solidly in the black. We need to raise our water rates, which have not been raised for many years. We are contemplating raising water rates by 10% each of the next two years; 5% each of the following two, and then a simple 3% annually thereafter.

III. We also held a special meeting with the Township Trustees and ACP, on Nov. 30th, receiving an update of their "Visioning" work with us.
That information is summarized in the documents on our website. In short: strong turnout, reasonably equitable representation, and excellent feedback from participants.

IV. We also held our first meeting of the new Council since the last election on Nov. 16th, where new members were inaugurated and new committee assignments were made. I am continuing my work on Planning Commission and will now serve on the Greene County Planning Commission. (Karen Wintrow will continue on MVRPC). Rick Walkey will be serving on Environmental Commission and Library Commission.

V. Future: We will be holding a special meeting with Community Resources on January 13th.


1. REPORTS from Council, Bike Enhancement, Village Staff and Miami Township Zoning Commission.
Speaking of Bike Enhancement, have you noticed the new street markings for the "sweet spot" that marks a sensor that allows bikes to trip the traffic signals? Look for them, and please do use them when you're biking around town!

  1. 111 N. Winter Street (old Jail House). The owner of this property received a conditional use request for creating a low-impact, alternative veterinary practice for small animals on the first floor of this property earlier this year. In his new application letter, the owner notes that he did not realize that renting out the apartment on the second floor on a short term basis required a second permit. The second permit is not for bed and breakfast or hotel but "short term rental." One neighbor is concerned about the plan to create a parking lot behind the current garage and the effects on their adjacent property; a second neighbor is concerned about increased on-street parking and the general affect on the neighborhood as a whole of having two businesses there. I will listen carefully to this presentation. I support mixed use neighborhoods, and there seems to be a demonstrated need for this sort of housing, but need to have a better picture of overall neighborhood impact of this added business to the neighborhood.
  2. 234 Grinnell Road (Waste-Water Treatment Plant--WWTP): The upgrades to the WWTP in order to bring it into compliance with EPA regulations requires that 3 small buildings be constructed as part of the project: a "screen building"; a "phosphorus treatment building" and a covered "sludge storage building." The WWTP is located in a conservation zoning district, and requires conditional use permit for any new construction. Staff recommends we approve this request.
  1. PUD Subdivision regulations review: Woolpert's looked at our process; we are working through their recommendations, which I believe I have described in an earlier note. They were to be at our last meeting, but were not. They will be there tonight for this discussion.
  2. Historic Preservation: We are working through Mark's suggested revision. We may not get to this tonight, if the earlier business takes too much time, but we are not in a rush.
I hope this is useful!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Special Meeting Tomorrow Afternoon (4:30 pm), Visioning Saturday

Dear People: Tomorrow night (Friday, the 11th), Council will be holding a special meeting at 4:30 pm, in the Bryan Center, in order to discuss a proposal, from a local and a regional group, requiring the Village's participation, that might 1) bring in stimulus dollars and 2) help reduce our energy usage. We welcome your thoughts, input, and attendance at the meeting.

I would also remind everyone that the next round of Yellow Springs / Miami Township Vision is Saturday morning:

Goals and Values Workshop

Saturday, December 12 / 10:00am to 12:30pm / Yellow Springs High School Gym

Dreams were shared in the Round 1 Idea Gathering Workshops. Now Let’s build the ideas into goals for the future in Round 2.

(Obviously, I will be at this meeting, not in my normal office hours on Saturday!)

Here's Mark Cundiff's memo about the energy efficiency grant proposal, and below that is the agenda of the special meeting:

"One of the funding programs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (AARA or “Stimulus Program”) is a grant program called the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG). The EECBG program’s goal is to develop and implement projects to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions. An ETF member, Pat Murphy, who also is the Executive Director of Community Solutions, brought up the idea of the Village, in a partnership with Community Solutions and a private firm out of Miami County, submitting a grant application to the EECBG program at the ETF’s regular meeting on November 24th. At that meeting, several questions were raised about the program. Subsequently, it was arranged for a representative of the private firm to come to Yellow Springs to meet with the ETF at their next regular meeting that was held on December 7th.

The grant proposal, which is still being developed, calls for the development of a pilot program to make energy efficiency through retro-fits more affordable. The grant money would be used in the development of a replicable energy audit and retrofitting process that would efficiently evaluate a structure for energy inefficiencies and make the necessary retrofits in a very cost effective manner, and for some “on the ground” testing of the model. This system could then be transferred to communities all over the United States for implementation, providing opportunities for the start-up of new businesses to do the energy retrofits while reducing energy usage.

The grant application needs to be submitted by a unit of local government or by a non-for-profit organization authorized by and on behalf of the unit of local government. I made it clear in the meeting that the Village did not have the administrative capacity at this time to submit the grant application, let alone administer the program should the project get funded. Pat Murphy indicated that Community Solutions could provide this administrative capacity and would be willing to do so.

The deadline for submitting applications to the EECBG Program is December 14, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. There is $63.68 million available under this grant program, which is open to all Formula ineligible local units of government (municipalities under 35,000 in population and counties under 200,000 in population) in the United States. The maximum grant award is $5.0 million, and the minimum grant award is $1.0 million. The program is being administered through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and they anticipate awarding 15-60 grants. Communities receiving EECBG grants will be notified around March 15, 2010, with the grants being awarded around May 15, 2010. The performance period for these grants will be 36 months, but funds will need to be obligated within 18 months of the effective date of the award.

After hearing about the grant proposal and having the opportunity to have questions answered and have a dialogue about the proposal, the ETF passed a motion to recommend that Village Council authorize Community Solutions to submit on behalf of the Village an EECBG application.

The Village’s participation is needed since a unit of local government is needed to apply for the grant. This authorization is only for the submittal of a grant application. Future authorizations from Village Council will be required to enter into any grant agreements. It is anticipated that any in-kind Village contributions of staff time will be minimal and there will be no expenditure of Village funds on the development and submittal of this grant application."

Stay warm!
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Clerk of Council <>
Date: Wed, Dec 9, 2009 at 11:42 AM
Subject: FW: Special Council Meeting Materials



IN COUNCIL CHAMBERS @ 4:30 pm December 11, 2009




Resolution #2009-47 Authorizing Community Solutions to Submit an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Application




“The Village of Yellow Springs is committed providing reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. The Council meeting is wheelchair accessible. Any person requiring a disability accommodation should contact the City Clerk’s Office at 767-9126 or via e-mail at for more information.”

Dec. 7 Meeting Agenda Posting

(Delayed--my apologies; I was scrambling between work and dinner and the meeting when I wrote this, and neglected to take the next step and post it. )

Dear People! Well, another big meeting, and I'm just scrambling to get a note out to everyone. It's going to have to be quick!

1. ORDINANCE: 2nd reading on AMP Hydroelectric projects--these look really good and will help supply our base load needs. By the way, you may have noticed in the YS News that by not participating in the failed AMP-Generating Station in Meigs County we saved the Village a bundle.
2. ORDINANCE: 1st reading on 2-Way Metering: this would allow people who are generating power (e.g., via solar panels) to sell excess energy back to the grid
3./4. RESOLUTIONS (2) renewing Staff health insurance & health savings accounts and Dental insurance
5. We were going to discuss a resolution regarding a request by Community Solutions to submit an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Application, but that has been put on hold due to a litigation regarding Open Meetings.

OLD BUSINESS will include:
Updates on our open positions (Clerk of Council, Treasurer, Filing Clerk). Deadlines have passed (for Clerk) or are about to pass for applications to these positions, and we are hoping to work with John Weithofer to deal with the onslaught of applications.
Stutzman's Property Discussion: What to do with the property?
Time Banking Discussion: Request for $1500 to start a time-banking program, $500 would go to an annual fee for a program that creates an online system of exchange for work. Our solicitor argues against this, due to potential legal issues.
Greene County Metropolitan Housing Request: I mentioned this earlier, but Greene Met is requesting that we waive their taxes on a property in town, which allies with what most communities have done; the exception made for this property in the early 1980s (I believe) makes it very difficult for them to maintain and improve the properties.
Village Manager Evaluation Forms Discussion: We're planning to do "360" evaluation this time, with staff participation.

NEW BUSINESS will include:
Calendar discussion for Budget meetings and Council Goals review
Water/Sewer Rates

Manager's Report & Agenda Planning

That's all I can manage tonight--I'll be speedier (and more interesting maybe?) next week, when classes will be done!

Stay warm!