Saturday, October 30, 2010

VC: 11/1 Sidewalks, Solar, Widows!, Green Space, Affordable Housing, Water, Ancestors,

{--A local widow who receives John Gaunt's flour and sugar bequest for her Christmas cookies, from an American Profile magazine article last year

Dear People: Ok, this is a pretty big agenda, and the packet is attached to this document.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: 1) DAVID SCOTT, new Director of Senior Center,
will introduce himself, offer brief explanation of his vision for the Senior Center's future. He has submitted a proposal for village funding of the Senior Center, but this proposal will not be discussed on Monday.

2 ) FLUORIDE FORUM November 13th, 2-4:30 pm, Bryan Center Gym. Kathleen Theissen (SENES labs, Oak Ridge TN, National Research Council scientist), Kevin Schlueter (YSI Labs, biochemist), Mary White (Director, Division of Medical Humanities). Moderator: Meg Carver (Village Mediation). This is a panel of scientists and a public health professor: these are not activists arguing for a cause, so much as scientists explaining their understanding of the water fluoridation issue. This is a forum for learning; come prepared to ask questions politely and respectfully.

Since I post this email to my blog, I am only here identifying residents who have current or recent positions connected to Village government, and leaving anonymous those who do not. Their names will be mentioned at the meeting and their signed letters are in the attached packet:

Resident: SIDEWALKS against new sidewalk policy;
Steve Conn (former EC): HOUSING use the Sustainable YS report, possibly avoid need for Housing Needs Assessment;
Tom Clevenger (EC): RECYCLING offers a power-point plan for real recycling options (and encouragement thereof) downtown, including clearly marked containers and ideas for placement and other signage
MTFR Annual Report (passed levy, bought a new engine, trained many EMTs/fire fighters, lessons from first life-threatening on-the-job injury).
2 Residents (1 household): AFFORDABLE HOUSING against Cemetary St. development


SIDEWALKS Amending sidewalk policy (2nd reading/public hearing). DIscussed earlier; this ordinance would make the village, rather than individual property owners, responsible for sidewalks.
ORDINANCE: SOLAR Approving the Form, Authorizing Execution of Solar Energy Schedule with AMP (1st Reading). The agreement with AMP last month has been approved; this is just the next step in the process.
RESOLUTION: COMP PLAN This would be the final adoption of the Comp Plan by this Council. Just in time to start revising again...
RESOLUTION: FLOUR/ SUGAR for WIDOWS. Everybody's favorite, annual, heart warming resolution, in honor of the bequest of our revered ancestor, John Gaunt, survivor of slavery, entrepreneur, public benefactor.
RESOLUTION: SIDEWALK REPAIR RFP This is a request for proposals from contractors who would repair village sidewalks next year.

Community Resources Presentation:
Lisa Abel, president of CR, will present the report CR gave some months ago to the community at large on their current activities and plans.
Water Testing Report: Resident Ellis Jacobs and Water Treatment Plant Manager Joe Bates will discuss the testing of YS water for commonly used herbicides, etc., conducted earlier this year. This test is not required by the EPA or other federal agencies, but probably should be (see this New York Times series on water quality in the US). (Agricultural chemical tends to be more of problem on water from surface sources rather than groundwater, as YS water is.) Our water passed with flying colors.

Housing Needs Assessment Discussion:
I believe we will here discuss what next steps we ought to take with regards to the Housing Needs Assessment, including the suggestion made by Steve Conn, above.
Affordable Housing Initiative: This is the plan that Judith and I are introducing to enter into a memorandum of understanding with Home, Inc., to develop a plan for a few permanently affordable houses on Cemetary Street.
Green Space Funding: We will be discussing a possible resolution to place $50,000 into the Green Space fund each year from the Estate Taxes (when such funds are available), to a cap of $250,000.
2011 Council Goals: We will discuss all 6 principals and the goals related to all six.

The next agenda will be very full, as we are starting to discuss the budget, levy renewal, public safety, etc.

Personnel--Clerk position and progress

POEM FOR THE ANCESTORS: I love singing this hard song, with its crazy key changes, and I love the words of this, the "Negro National Anthem," particularly the second verse.

Lift Every Voice and Sing

by James Weldon Johnson

Lift ev'ry voice and sing,
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list'ning skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,

Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chast'ning rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;

Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered.
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,

Out from the gloomy past,
Till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who hast by Thy might,

Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,

May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land.

Lori Askeland (lori.askeland@gmail....)
Yellow Springs Village Council
1640 Spillan Road // Yellow Springs OH 45387 (updated regularly with council news)

* TO UNSUBSCRIBE: If you wish to cease receiving regular Council updates from me, just send me a quick email; I won't be offended! *

"You may be certain that the world is heading for destruction, but it's a good thing, a moral thing, to behave as though there's still hope. Hope is as contagious as despair: your hope, or show of hope, is a gift you can give to your neighbour, and may even help to prevent or delay the destruction of his world,"- Primo Levi, 1985

Saturday, October 2, 2010

VOTE! VC Mon: Sidewalks, Affordable Housing, 2011 Goals, Comprehensive Plan

Dear People: I am so happy for the cool weather and the rain. I actually love a cold rainy fall day--although I'm kicking myself a little for not being more productive today; I was supposed to grade all day. Didn't. Ah well, I guess that's what Sundays are for.

But I did look through the Council packet (which I've attached the electronic version of) as I was downtown this afternoon, sans computer. Here's the agenda:

1. ANNOUNCEMENTS Greene County Combined Health District will make an announcement urging us to support the upcoming Levy, Issue 5.

Speaking of which: I want to urge you all to vote. You can still register as of this Monday (10/4), and you can start voting absentee as of last week, so get out and vote. I'll send you my choices, but basically I have to tell you I'm feeling more yellow-dog Democrat than ever this fall, perhaps grimly so--the behavior of the Republican party is simply not responsible government by any stretch of the imagination at this moment: it's demagoguery and we cannot afford it: they want to give still more useless tax breaks to the wealthiest of US citizens, who are richer than ever before, and they want to pay for it by cutting education. You may not be feeling "thrilled" or "enthusiastic" but you need to exercise this right.

I am enthusiastic, by the way, about Maryellen O'Shaunessy who is running for Secretary of State.
I have two words for you: Ken Blackwell. Remember him and the fouled up election of 2004? The Republicans are running a young man who is a perpetual candidate with no experience; Maryellen O'Shaunessy has long experience in municipal government and small business doing work that has well prepared her for this job. I heard her speak, and I was impressed. Support Maryellen!


ORDINANCE 2nd Reading and Public Hearing:
Amending, very slightly, the economic sustainability committee ordinance.


Mark has prepared a really good report about sidewalk repair, especially focused on how much it would likely cost if we were to decide to simply take on the costs of repair and replacement of sidewalks as a community, rather than having property owners in charge of this process--which does, actually, itself cost the village some considerable staff time and energy to try to enforce, and is, at this point, haphazard at best.

Over the course of wrestling with this for the past three years, I actually have come to believe that it's time for the Village, which aspires to being a walkable and bikeable town, that welcomes people of differing abilities, to take on this cost and treat it much as we do our streets, alleys, and the bike trail, which we pay to maintain. We are at a place in our street-repair plans that we are no longer needing to spend as much money doing complete street replacements, so I plan to support a plan to budget $50,000/year, which is a fraction of what we've annually spent on streets in the past several years, to begin repairing and replacing the sidewalks in town. (I would support reimbursement to property owners who have, at village behest, replaced faulty sidewalks in the past year, upon their provision of reasonable receipts for their costs.)

I understand the arguments on the other side of this issue, and I believe I have carefully considered them. I am open, of course, to hearing arguments on the other side of the issue.


Affordable Housing Initiative:
Our visioning process revealed that affordable housing was the top concern of those who participated. Judith and I propose to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with Home, Inc., to develop approximately one acre of land on Cemetary Street for affordable housing units.

2011 Council Goals: 1, 2, 3: We're going to look at our old goals and plans from 2010, as well as the Visioning Results, and try to determine what we hope to accomplish for next year. Overarching goals 1, 2, 3 were:
  • Deepen decision-making processes with active citizen participation and effective representative governance
  • Be an excellent employer and provider of services within a responsible fiscal framework
  • Be a welcoming community of opportunity for people of diverse races, ages, sexual orientations, cultures, and incomes.
Comprehensive Plan: At long last, the revisions and edits we made to the Comprehensive Plan last year, before the loss of our Council Clerk Deborah Benning's untimely death, have been completed. Before she died, Deborah had begun work on the final edits, which have now been completed by Village Manager Mark Cundiff and our new Clerk, Judy Kintner. Thanks go to both of them for their efforts.

5. Manager's Report: Mark will be reporting on the completion of the Bryan Center's roof repairs, the most recent works on the design of the CBE (the center for business and educaiton, where Antioch University Midwest is located), work to improve the drainage on the Ellis Park parking lot, and some water and sewer planning studies to help us think about how to best move forward to keep up our aging systems.


A Sunset of the City

by Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks

Kathleen Eileen

Already I am no longer looked at with lechery or love.
My daughters and sons have put me away with marbles and dolls,
Are gone from the house.
My husband and lovers are pleasant or somewhat polite
And night is night.

It is a real chill out,
The genuine thing.
I am not deceived, I do not think it is still summer
Because sun stays and birds continue to sing.

It is summer-gone that I see, it is summer-gone.
The sweet flowers indrying and dying down,
The grasses forgetting their blaze and consenting to brown.

It is a real chill out. The fall crisp comes.
I am aware there is winter to heed.
There is no warm house
That is fitted with my need.
I am cold in this cold house this house
Whose washed echoes are tremulous down lost halls.
I am a woman, and dusty, standing among new affairs.
I am a woman who hurries through her prayers.

Tin intimations of a quiet core to be my
Desert and my dear relief
Come: there shall be such islanding from grief,
And small communion with the master shore.
Twang they. And I incline this ear to tin,
Consult a dual dilemma. Whether to dry
In humming pallor or to leap and die.

Somebody muffed it? Somebody wanted to joke.

Lori Askeland (lori.askeland AT gmail....)
Yellow Springs Village Council
1640 Spillan Road // Yellow Springs OH 45387 (updated regularly with council news)

* TO UNSUBSCRIBE: If you wish to cease receiving regular Council updates from me, just send me a quick email; I won't be offended! *

"You may be certain that the world is heading for destruction, but it's a good thing, a moral thing, to behave as though there's still hope. Hope is as contagious as despair: your hope, or show of hope, is a gift you can give to your neighbour, and may even help to prevent or delay the destruction of his world,"- Primo Levi, 1985

Monday, September 6, 2010

VC 9/7: Meeting and a Labor Day Meditation

This is an image of walking beans, from an organic farm in Iowa!

Dear People: Tomorrow night we'll be meeting at 7 pm in the Bryan Center. I have attached the agenda and the entire packet if you're interested in knowing more about any of these points. I am feeling a bit rushed right now--but I'll try to give at least a quick overview here of the meeting.


Ordinance: Demolition Permit:
This will ensure that no buildings are demolished without turning off village utilities and ensuring for the village that the regional air pollution authority (RAPCA) has been notified and signed off on the demolition, etc. I support this legislation.

Resoulution: Accepting the rates as determined by the Budget Commission and Authorizing the Necessary Tax Levies and Certifying Them to the County Auditor. This is a pro forma thing we have to do every year.

Resolution: Appointing John Chambers of Coolidge Law as Village Solicitor. He's doing a fine job; we are very satisfied, across the boards.

First Reading of Ordinance: Solar Project with AMP

Resolution: Authorizing Application for the Ohio Public Works Commission Round 25 Issue One Grant for Construction of the CBE-Dayton Yellow Springs Street Intersection. This is a grant application for the construction of an entrance to the Center for Business and education, and the creation of a safe intersection with Dayton Street.

Resolution: Approving Train Station Lease with the Chamber of Commerce.

Ordinance: Revising the Economic Sustainability Board: This is a minor revision, having to do with clarifying the membership, I believe.


Update on Safe Routes to School--Ed Amrhein


Plan Fluoridation Meeting: I have worked on this with several villagers over the summer--Vickie Hennessy, Carl Hyde, Angela Brintlinger, and Steve Conn all provided helpful input. It's tentatively scheduled for Saturday, November 13th (or the 6th, as an alternative). An afternoon meeting, to begin at 1:30 pm and last no more than 2 hours. 3 speakers--one pro, one con, and one on ethics.

Review 2010 Goals. We will examine these to see what more needs to be completed.


Mental Health and Recovery Board Presentation (Greta Mayer)
Report on Annual Audit
Visioning Discussion
2011 Council Goals Initial Discussion: We hope that we can complete our goals discussion early so that we can have a Budget in place much earlier than in the past several years.

REPORTS from Manager and Clerk


FOR LABOR DAY, my own meditation on my first job, walking beans. I wrote this for my English 101 class this week (in response to my own assignment):

Scarred for Life

On my left leg is an old scar—a slash at about a forty-five degree angle to the ground. It marks the place where my oldest sister, Karla, sliced through a shock of volunteer corn in our father’s bean field with her trusty machete—and also through my six-year-old calf.

I will never forget that moment. The sky was blue, the dirt was black, the sun was hot, and the green of the fields stretched on and on between gravel roads. I think I was deliberately standing in the shade of the corn plants, avoiding the rising ripples of Iowa heat for a June moment. We were at the end of a round, drinking from a dusty, insulated plastic water jug and reapplying the pathetic 1970s suntan lotions that we used to try to avoid becoming burnt to a freckled, blistered crisp—even as we walked in cut offs, bikini tops, and seed-corn hats with our pony tails popping out the back.

I remember feeling just a strange jolt, not pain. I looked down to see the blood lips of skin and flesh splitting open. I was strongly aware of the odd lack of pain—it was a huge gash, but it didn’t hurt. This numbed sensation convinced me that I must be dying. For sure. How else could a huge wound not be painful, unless I already had one foot, maybe one whole leg, in the grave?

My sister tells me I looked at her with a doleful, reproachful gaze that only a wounded child can muster and said, “Oh, for Pete’s sake, Karla!” She was just thirteen years old, and I now know that she felt horrible. She’d just sliced through the leg of her little sister! But she didn’t realize that I believed I was mortally wounded, and those were possibly my last words on earth. Oh, for Pete’s sake. Karla.

The thing is, I hated “walking beans,” which is what we called the act of walking up and down the rows of beans, in the days before Round-Up Herbicide, TM, and Round-Up Ready, TM, beans, pulling and hoeing weeds or, if there was almost more volunteer corn from last year’s crop than there were beans, stalking the rows of green pimpled beans with machetes, slashing away below the growth line of the new shoots of corn, sprung up where whole ears had fallen off last year, before the John Deere combine had passed through the rows.

Now, I had started walking beans when I was four years old—it was how farm families avoided child care expenses. I got paid $.25 an hour, to get out to the fields with my family by 7 AM, and then walk up and down the half-mile rows, supposedly weeding the row on my left and my right, until 12 noon, when we’d break for lunch and then mom would let us go swimming up town at the local pool. (I suspect my mom and my sister, on either side, did most of the work when I was four.) My sisters and my mom would work 4 or 6 or even 8 rows at a time, if the field was pretty clean. I just had to take care of my two rows. Other families hired teams of Mexican workers, or high school student teams raising money for a church trip. But our family mostly just did the work ourselves, and my parents paid us for our efforts.

Admittedly, walking the beans was better than “picking rocks,” which is what we called going out in the back of the pick-up, in the early spring, driving catty-wampus across the empty fields, watching for the larger stones that had worked themselves up through the winter—gifts from the glaciers that had scraped across this land thousands of years before. We’d yell, “ROCK!” when we’d see one. The pick-up would stop, and we’d jump off, run over to the rock, dig it up with hands, a hoe, or a small shovel, and toss it in the back of the truck, readying ourselves for another bumpy ride across the blank field.

Of course, I didn’t die from my sister’s machete slice—my mother ran over, tied one of my white socks around my bleeding leg, and carried me to the pickup truck. She rushed me into the emergency room at the local hospital (which no longer exists), and they stitched me up then and there—ten stitches, under the hot white lights of a small operating room. In fact, only when they started to anesthetize my leg—a process that kind of fascinated me—did my mom quietly begin to faint. A nurse ran over, scrambling to find some smelling salts to revive her.

I carry that scar with me today, and I have come to value it, in a strange way. When I was a kid, it was a tool I could use to make my sister feel really bad, and it gave me this very story of an exciting event that mobilized our whole world around me and my well being. The third of four children, and one of dozens of grandchildren on both sides, I was a child who needed tangible proofs of my value: I was deeply impressed that my mother would drop everything, pay any price the hospital asked, to have me healthy and whole.

As I grew older, it became the sign that I was not a soft, city kid: I had worked hard all my life, and I had the scar to prove it. But I was, I knew, absolutely not about to stay in that life. It was also a sign that I had a “better” life to lead—away from the dust and grime of hot mornings in the field. Away from blowing my nose and having it come out black with dirt; or walking in muck so thick and deep that it sucked off our shoes, leaving us stranded in our socks.

Apparently, kids in my home county don’t really walk beans any more. There’s really no need, now that round-up can be sprayed on the crops, killing all the weeds whose names and leaves I learned to recognize on sight—cocklebur, thistle, ironweed, sunflower, choke cherry, deadly nightshade, and buttonweed. The crop lines are smooth, and the horizon is dotted by wind turbines, their massive blades spinning swiftly in the constant wind that has blown across those fields since the dawn of time, slicing it into fragments.

It would be weird to say that I’m glad that my sister slashed my leg open with her machete that day when I was just six years old. But, in a strange way, it’s true. Some how that wound opened up the world for me. It seems both to keep me grounded in my past and also striving toward a new and different life—suitably haunted by the loss of the old farm life that has been plowed over and sprayed down with chemicals that I don’t fully understand, or trust.

But mostly it assures me of my family’s love, faith, and integrity—the invisible ground that I’m still walking on and supported by; the garden I need to tend and guard, with sharpened hoe and machete.



Sunday, August 15, 2010

VC: Demolition permits; Solar Power & Efficiency Smart; Skate Park Improvements; School Board mtg.; MVRPC Sustainable Communities

Dear People! The agenda for this week looks fairly light. Monday, 8/16, 7 pm, Bryan Center.


Ordinance: 2nd Reading:
Approving Efficiency Smart Power Plant with AMP. I discussed this a couple of meetings back; it seems like a good deal for us.
Ordinance: 2nd Reading: Supplemental Appropriations. This, too, I have discussed two meetings back, and was covered in the YS News recently
Ordinance: First reading: Demolition permit.
Currently the village has no way to ensure that all the utilities are turned off on a property that is scheduled to be torn down. This permit process allows us to do so, and to ensure that the property is returned to acceptable conditions after demolition, and penalties for non-compliance.
Resolution: Property Insurance: This is our annual renewal with the public entity pool of Ohio (PEP). They propose a descrease from last year's rates by $2,371.93.
Resolution: Endorsing the Multi-County Advantage Sharing Program using state and federal funds, the ASP provides additional dollars to economic and workforce development projects that meet the needs of businesses that are locating, expanding or sustaining operations.


Solar Power Project Subscription with AMP Representative: AMP entered into a purchase poser agreement with Standard Energy for the purchase of up to 300 MW of solar energy. This is a 30 year agreement; the cost will be $85 /MWh; ($0.085/ KWh). It will increase 2% per year beginning in 2012. AMP suggests we buy 810 KWh. Manager Cundiff suggests this will diversify our power portfolio and poses no financial risk if the power output is less than the planned 300 MWh. While not dependable for base power needs, solar is an excelent peak power provider, esp. in summer.

Treasurer's Report Rachel McKinney, our new treasurer, will give a report on our investments.


Village Station Lease Update Since our lease with the Chamber had expired, we are taking the opportunity of renewing the lease and also re-writing it; the old lease was very short (1 page long) and informally written and our insurance provider strongly suggested we needed a more standard commercial lease. So our solicitor has provided a new lease for our consideration.
Skate Park Improvements We have budgeted $10,000 in this year's budget for the skate park, so John Booth, John Grote, Matt Housh and Mark did a visual inspection of the park, and they found things in ok shape, for now. Skaters in the park said they would like a concrete dish. They also met with Sam Young, an owner of Millworks about graffiti problems. And finally, Booth, Grote and Cundiff visted regional parks to compare and contrast. The main thing they learned is that input from skaters before making improvements/changes. There was a meeting with skaters scheduled for this past Fri, the 13th.
School Board Joint Meeting Agenda We're holding a joint meeting with the School Board on August 26th. Tentatively, we are scheduled to discuss:
  • Goals of Village Council / Visioning;
  • Class of 2020 Initiative Presentation by School Board;
  • Current shared activities: HRC "courageous conversations", Safe Routes to School, Economic Sustainability Commission; Energy Task Force; STEM grant.
  • Discussion of attracting young families to YS and Jobs
  • Conclusion: how to leverage current and future activities
MVRPC Sustainable Communities Application: MVRPC is impressed with our thinking about planned development with our urban service boundary map, and our thinking about sustainability. They are hoping to apply for a federal grant for sustainable communities, and Karen Wintrow, our rep, is hoping we will support this effort (not financially but with meeting space and limited staff involvement).

I believe we will meet with our solicitor in executive session about ongoing litigation and possibly real estate matters, but I could be mistaken as it's not specified on our current agenda.

POEM: I heard this poem on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac the other day, and it kind of haunts me:

Throwing Away the Alarm Clock

by Charles Bukowski

my father always said, "early to bed and
early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy
and wise."

it was lights out at 8 p.m. in our house
and we were up at dawn to the smell of
coffee, frying bacon and scrambled

my father followed this general routine
for a lifetime and died young, broke,
and, I think, not too

taking note, I rejected his advice and it
became, for me, late to bed and late
to rise.

now, I'm not saying that I've conquered
the world but I've avoided
numberless early traffic jams, bypassed some
common pitfalls
and have met some strange, wonderful

one of whom
myself—someone my father

"Throwing Away the Alarm Clock" by Charles Bukowski, from The Flash of Lighting Behind the Mountain. © Harper Collins, 2004. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

More vindication on coal

Dear People: A quick note to everyone regarding two of the most difficult but perhaps most important decisions we have made since I have been on Council: we rejected the proposed coal plant in Meigs County, Ohio, and we also rejected the "Prairie State" plant in Illinois, early in 2008--which would have meant signing a 50-year contract for the plants.

You are likely aware that AMP's Meigs plant was canceled last fall because construction costs were ballooning; the communities who signed on, however, are left paying very expensive bills for the significant development costs that have already been incurred, for a plant that will never exist. Yellow Springs has been spared those costs.

While the Prairie State plant has not been canceled as of this time, the Chicago Tribune is now reporting that the construction costs of the Prairie State plant are going to be so high that the costs of the power from that plant will likely be higher than the costs of power on the open market. They also note that "Though the company and its partners promote the plant as a national model for environmentally-friendly 'clean coal' technology, Prairie State will be the largest source of carbon dioxide built in the United Sates in a quarter century."

The Council at Martinsville, Ohio, is now consulting with Ohio Citizens Action Network and professional environmental consultants from New York on the decision they made to buy into the Prairie State plant, and I myself have been in conversation with a council person from another AMP municipality who was concerned about the ramifications of their decision to invest in coal.

Yellow Springs Council consulted with OCAN and local and regional environmental experts, and our own consciences, before making our decision, which was a difficult one, and I believe that helped us to make what has turned out to be a prudent decision.

Frankly, I do not believe that AMP deliberately misled us about the decision, as the second article seems to imply, but I do think that politically "conservative" positions, often advocated by corporate interests and smart people with great technical skills, are, actually, routinely more costly and less practical, and not actually "conservative" in the truest sense of that term, especially in the long run, than "liberal" ones. That definitely seems to be true in this case.


Monday, August 2, 2010

VC tonight (8/2): Budgets and Sidewalks

< -- YS sidewalk art, courtesy of Yellow Springs Arts blog

Dear People: The summer is winding down and I'm staring down the barrel of a new school year. I'll include a favorite poem about teaching poetry, at the end of the email, for those of you who read to the end. Village Council meets tonight (Mon, 8/2, 7pm, second floor Bryan Ctr.) Lots of hot button issues! Budgets and sidewalks; truly, it doesn't get any better than in village governance.

Petitions and Communications:
  • Community Resources will be having a meeting open to the public on August 11 on the progress being made at the CBE (the Antioch Midwest property). Lisa Abels will present a state-of-the-project report and there will be time for Q&A.
  • Detailed and helpful rejection letter from the Dept of Energy for the grant applied for (with village approval) by Community Service, Inc. The letter notes many strengths of the project but also specifies exactly what weaknesses the reviewers detected in the impact and methods of the project. This was the grant application that led to the emergency meetings (and clarificaiton of our sunshine law policies) of last December.
  • A citizen with a goal of enhancing our 'bike-friendliness' copied us in a note to Ed Amrhein regarding the MVRPC's (the regional planning board of the Miami Valley) "Complete Streets" draft policies. He is concerned that it does not follow evidence-based best safety practices that have been established for incorporating bike traffic in city streets.
  • A citizen and business owner writing with concern about cutting the public safety budget.
  • Email from Fire chief Colin Altman: additional asbestos tests found no asbestos on Rabbit Run farm: MTFR will burn the house and barn on August 7th.
  • New bus route through YS on TUESDAYS, starting tomorrow! Greene CATS route 49 will go from Xenia to Springfield and will stop in YS at both Friends Care and the John Bryan Ctr. It will come through in the morning and the afternoon. There should be more information at the Chamber and Village Offices now.
  • Sample "Biobased Product" resolution language was sent to us from Ohio state senator Karen Gillmor (R-Tiffin), who authored Senate Bill 131, which "requires the state of ohio to give purchasing preference to biobased products when they are readily available at a reasonable price." Gillmor urges us to pass a similar municipal resolution as a boost to local, Ohio-based industries. Here's a press release about the state bill--if any environmentally minded folks have thoughts, let me know!

ORDINANCE (2nd reading/Public Hearing):
AMP's Efficiency Smart Program, discussed in my last note. A way to pay our EPA fine for the old AMP Gorsuch plant that is being shut down, and, we hope, get some help improving our efficiency, including possibly coupons for discounts on energy smart appliances.
ORDINANCE (1st reading): Supplemental Appropriations. This is a fairly minor adjustment--expenses are slightly up from expected in our General Fund (by $15,635 in a more than $3.6million budget) and special revenue funds (Bryan Center especially, total up by $47,201 in our $1.5 million budget). The wastewater treatment plant upgrade costs, however, are running lower at this point than expected, DOWN by $1.24million dollars, which puts the overall budget DOWN by $1.15 million from the projected budget. See the State of the Budget discussion below for more info.
RESOLUTION of NECESSITY: SIDEWALKS: Notice being given to property owners along the east side of Xenia Ave. (from Corry to Herman) to repair the sidewalks on their property within 90 days, or the village will repair and bill the owners. (The sidewalks had been marked with paint earlier this summer and some property owners have already acted). The list of affected properties will also be posted with the Village Clerk and published in the local paper.
RESOLUTION: Extension of Agreement with Little Miami River Partnership: The cleaned "effluent" of our sewer system runs into the Little Miami River; as such, we have an agreement with the Little Miami River Partnership that basically gets grants to help preserve the river, such as the federal Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). To use the funds remaining in their accounts, the LMRP needs us to renew our agreement with them. This extension will have no financial cost to the village.

  • Tax Budget Discussion/ State of the Budget Presentation: Sharon Potter will report that we are seeing slight decreases of about 10% in our total income (real estate taxes are down by about 2%, Income Taxes are down by 5%, and shared revenues are down). Potter says we are looking at a reduction in our General Fund cash balance, which has been consistently growing for the past 4 years, from about $1.8 million last year to $1.13 million projected for this year. We do not believe this is a reason to panic, but that we are probably going to have to adjust our capital projects goals for the next several years.
  • Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund: We'll receive a report on our EDRLF, which currently has $377,327 in loans distributed to various entities (including interest owed), but most of which is comprised by an open-ended, 0% interest, $300,000 loan to Community Resources for the Center for Business and Education (CBE, the Antioch Midwest site). Most of the other businesses have small, relatively low interest loans (the biggest amount of prinicipal owed is about $20K), on which they are making regular payments. According to the worksheet, we have $28,022.08 available in this fund, but I'd like clarification on some of the numbers.
  • Sidewalk Policy Discussion: In some ways, this is very old business, but it's new to this current Council. We are looking to see if there is any way that sidewalk costs could be partially or wholly paid by the village--either through "caps" on costs or simply changing the ordinance so that sidewalks become publicly funded just like streets. Right now, we do not charge corner-lot residents with sidewalks on two sides for both sidewalks, by resolution. We also pay for the curb-cuts on corners. However, there are real complexities to making a change. I would appreciate citizens' input.
MANAGER'S REPORT: I've attached it--lots of good info. about Visioning, the water tower cleaning, AMP's solar projects, etc.

Executive Session:
Personnel (Village Manager's Evaluation) and Real Estate (Train Station lease)
Poem: This is probably my favorite Billie Collins poem--I think it was the first poem of his that I ever encountered, and I've taken it from the wonderful Poetry 180 website that he created, while serving as poet laureate of the US. (It's also a book you can check out from the public library):

Introduction to Poetry

Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

from The Apple that Astonished Paris, 1996
University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, Ark.
Permissions information.


Monday, July 19, 2010

VC: Budgets, Levy renewal, Energy Board & new AMP contract

Dear People: Well, it's summer time and I'm being slow! My apologies. Tonight's Village Council agenda is important as it will mainly focus on budget issues: the tax budget, the state of the current budget, and the planned vote on the levy renewal, that we've currently scheduled for May, 2011.

We are currently facing a decrease in our village income (the general fund), which is likely to mainly affect the capital projects we have been hoping to complete. We will also likely need to increase rates for garbage collection, as our costs are now exceeding our income.

LEGISLATION will include:

1. Resolution: Approving a Tax Budget. This is a form that we send to the county budget commission to make sure that our tax levies are properly collected by the county tax commissioner. It indicates what our tax levy is and how much we expect to collect from it.

2. Ordinance: Second reading/ Public Hearing: Establishing an Energy Board As I mentioned last month, this is renamining and slightly re-purposing the Energy Task Force into an on-going board that focuses on helping reduce our electricity consumption and to make decisions about power sources.

3. Ordinanc: First Reading: Approving an "Efficiency Smart Power Plant Schedule" with AMP: American Municipal Power (AMP) is a non-profit co-op of municipalities that own their own electrical systems; YS is a member of this co-op and a representative from AMP, Eric Lloyd, will be on hand . Through AMP, we've been an investor in the Gorsuch plant since 1988, from which we have drawn a significant poriton of our power needs over the past several years--and as such we are also responsible for the liabilities due to any pollution. AMP communities invested in Gorsuch are required to pay a portion of an EPA fine levied against Gorsuch plant: AMP was allowed to make $15 million of its fine be dedicated to improved energy efficiency for all investor communities. AMP has partnered with the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) to accomplish this task. This program will launch in 2011 and is expected to save more than the $15 million dollar cost. There are a few services that could be offered to residents, including possibly financial incentives for improving lighting and energy efficient appliances.


1. State of the Budget Discussion.
We have asked Sharon Potter to report as to the current state of our village budget. Her report, dated June 30 of this year, suggests that our income is coming in at about 10% less than we expected, which is a concern ($129,429 less than where we were in 2009 at this time). Looking at the current income/expenses sheet, the biggest number--accounting for about 3/4 of that loss--is an $87,677 lower than expected contribution from "State Shared Taxes and Permits" (which is essentially due to reduced income from estate taxes this year). Additionally, local income and real estate taxes are down by about $21K from 2009 levels. This means we will need to defer some capital expenditures planned for this year in order to avoid eating further into our reserve funds. We are focused on this and planning to be pro-active in our response to this issue.

We are also watching the "enterprise funds"--electric, water, sewer, solid waste. We will likely need to raise our solid waste rates in order to keep up with rising costs.

2. Levy Discussion: Last May we decided to hold a vote for the renewal of our current levy in May 2011. Here is Mark Cundiff's discussion of the numbers and what they mean, which I found helpful and succinct:

" REVENUE, OPERATING EXPENSES, AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT COST PROJECTIONS: The Village will be receiving revenue from the current levy through 2011, so we are looking at those years beyond 2011. Assuming that revenues will remain flat over this time period, here are projections for the years 2012-2016:

Year Revenue w/Levy Revenue w/out Levy

2012 $3,055,179 $2,178,806

2013 $3,055,179 $2,178,806

2014 $3,055,179 $2,178,806

2015 $3,055,179 $2,178,806

2016 $3,055,179 $2,178,806

Expenses vs. Revenues Without Levy Proceeds: If you compare the projected non-enterprise fund operating expenses (those non-capital or variable expenses associated with the general operation of the Village projected with a 3% growth rate) to the projected revenue without levy proceeds you get the following:

Year Revenue Operating Difference

Without Levy Expenses

2012 $2,178,806 $2,774,873 -$596,067

2013 $2,178,806 $2,858,119 -$679,313

2014 $2,178,806 $2,943,863 -$765,057

2015 $2,178,806 $3,032,178 -$853,372

2016 $2,178,806 $3,123,144 -$944,338

This indicates that without the levy revenue there would not be adequate revenue to cover the operating expenses. The loss of over $876,000 of revenue would make it very difficult to maintain services at their current level. Ability to finance non-enterprise fund capital improvements would also be negatively impacted, as indicated in the following table:

Year Revenue Op & Cap Difference

Without Levy Expenses

2012 $2,178,806 $3,097,873 -$ 919,067

2013 $2,178,806 $3,046,119 -$ 867,313

2014 $2,178,806 $3,126,863 -$ 948,057

2015 $2,178,806 $3,215,178 -$1,036,372

2016 Outside of 5-year CIP Timeframe (2011-2015)

Expenses vs. Revenues With Levy Proceeds: If you compare the projected non-enterprise fund operating expenses (those non-capital or variable expenses associated with the general operation of the Village projected with a 3% growth rate) to the projected revenue with levy proceeds you get the following:

Year Revenue Operating Difference

With Levy Expenses

2012 $3,055,179 $2,774,873 +$280,306

2013 $3,055,179 $2,858,119 +$197,060

2014 $3,055,179 $2,943,863 +$111,316

2015 $3,055,179 $3,032,178 +$ 23,001

2016 $3,055,179 $3,123,144 - $ 67,965

This indicates that even with the levy revenue there would not be adequate revenue to cover the operating expenses in 2016, resulting in having to use fund balances to cover all of the operational costs. Ability to finance non-enterprise fund capital improvements without using fund balances would also be negatively impacted, as indicated in the following table:

Year Revenue Op & Cap Difference

With Levy Expenses

2012 $3,055,179 $3,097,873 - $ 42,694

2013 $3,055,179 $3,046,119 +$ 9,060

2014 $3,055,179 $3,126,863 - $ 71,684

2015 $3,055,179 $3,215,178 - $ 159,999

2016 Outside of 5-year CIP Timeframe (2011-2015)

This table indicates that even with the levy proceeds, there will be years in which fund balances will need to be used in order to complete the Capital Items in the CIP. Council and Staff should reexamine the 5-Year CIP and determine if a less aggressive approach might make more sense fiscally in order to not have to use fund balances.

All of these tables indicate that the Village needs the levy revenues to continue to provide the current level of services and capital improvements. To help supplement these revenues, we also need to continue to seek out grants and other outside funding sources, look at ways to deliver these services in the most cost efficient manner, and increase revenue from other sources such as income tax through business expansion, start-up, and attraction.


Some members of Council and citizens have expressed an interest in examining the Public Safety budget since it is the largest “slice” of the General Fund “pie”. Staff has begun some preliminary data collection and would like to have this discussion scheduled sometime in August. Other non-enterprise fund operational areas mentioned to be examined included the Sidewalk Program. If there are other operational areas Council would like to discuss at this meeting (or I forgot one), please let me know.

Finally, Council needs to determine what millage they wish to ask the voters to approve. A table showing you the revenue generated at each millage should be included in your packet. Please note that this table was generated last year and levy proceeds have increased since that time."

Please come and join in this important discussion!

After that, I need a funny poem, so I give you this one by Dorothy Parker, which I just discovered (and have already posted to facebook). I've been told by outsiders that they're convinced that everyone in YS is a psychotherapist or a massage therapist--this poem is at least good for a laugh from the psychotherapists and English majors who had to read at least a little Freud, or any of us who have read some pop psychology. The rhymes are fun, and it's worth reading all the way to the (pun-laden, groan-inducing) punchline at the end!


The Passionate Freudian to His Love

By Dorothy Parker

Only name the day, and we'll fly away
In the face of old traditions,
To a sheltered spot, by the world forgot,
Where we'll park our inhibitions.
Come and gaze in eyes where the lovelight lies
As it psychoanalyzes,
And when once you glean what your fantasies mean
Life will hold no more surprises.
When you've told your love what you're thinking of
Things will be much more informal;
Through a sunlit land we'll go hand-in-hand,
Drifting gently back to normal.

While the pale moon gleams, we will dream sweet dreams,
And I'll win your admiration,
For it's only fair to admit I'm there
With a mean interpretation.
In the sunrise glow we will whisper low
Of the scenes our dreams have painted,
And when you're advised what they symbolized
We'll begin to feel acquainted.
So we'll gaily float in a slumber boat
Where subconscious waves dash wildly;
In the stars' soft light, we will say good-night—
And "good-night!" will put it mildly.

Our desires shall be from repressions free—
As it's only right to treat them.
To your ego's whims I will sing sweet hymns,
And ad libido repeat them.
With your hand in mine, idly we'll recline
Amid bowers of neuroses,
While the sun seeks rest in the great red west
We will sit and match psychoses.
So come dwell a while on that distant isle
In the brilliant tropic weather;
Where a Freud in need is a Freud indeed,
We'll always be Jung together.



Monday, June 21, 2010

VC! Water Quality / System Assessment and Housing Needs

Dear People: I had a house guest this weekend and I left right after she did to see my daughter perform in A Midsummer Night's Dream, in the woods in Ann Arbor last night (the audience hiked through the woods to see the new scenes--9 different locations--it was wonderful). So I'm just now back in the loop--and late with my note. Please accept my apology.

The agenda tonight is fairly light, comparatively speaking but there are a few important things on it:


1) ORDINANCE: Parking: After consultation with some villagers and representatives of Antioch College, Chief Grote proposes that we amend our parking ordinances: 1) getting rid of angled parking on E. North College from Xenia to Livermore and 2) getting rid of the specific limitation on parking for more than 12 hours on Livermore Street around Antioch campus, and 3) changing our current parking limitation from 24 hours to 72 hours, so that if you have a weekend guest, they won't be penalized for not moving their cars at least once a day.


Streetlight Replacement: Mostly this will just be an announcement from Mark and the Energy Task Force, that, having researched the options, we need to re-bid the street light replacement project, but we are now ready to move forward without delay.


Water Quality and System Update: This is a report from Kelley Fox and Joe Bates about our current water distribution system (i.e., all the pipes in town) as well as our water treatment system, and the problems we face, particularly as regards "brown water," and what our options may be, based on what other communities in the region do, particularly as regards the treatment for manganese, which is the cause of the brown water (not old pipes, as some have speculated.)

Housing Needs Assessment: Affordable housing was the top concern arising out of our recent Visioning process, and we had a presentation by affordable housing consultant John Davis of Burlington, VT, on the issue at our last meeting (June 5). We have regularly discussed funding an assessment of our housing stocks in order to determine what changes are needed to fit our vision and goals. Marianne MacQueen, of Home Inc, has written a brief plan of action for Council and we have an email from the Center for Urban and Public Affairs (CUPA) from Wright State that the likely cost will be $8,840 for a survey of our housing and an assessment of needs. (Staff and student wages, mileage, telecom services to conduct data analysis, literature/document review, and a windshield survey of the village.

Council Rules/Procedures: Review and Revision: At our recent retreat (June 7) Council reviewed our current published rules and procedures (last updated in 2007, and agreed that some slight alterations are needed, primarily to make them fit with the newly revised rules for publication of meetings and a few other small changes. We will formally review these suggestions tonight.

Then we will have our standing reports from the Manager, our Clerk, all the committee reps and do our agenda planning. I believe there is no executive session planned.

No time for poetry this week! Maybe step outside and really look closely at one tree, top to bottom.


Monday, June 14, 2010

PC tonight! /VC Last week AMP solar power, Historic Pres., Demolition, PUD ordinance/affordable housing, Friends Care expansion

Argh! Once again, I'm realizing that I'm slipping on posting after I email. My apologies. I have put both last week's Village Council email and this week's PC email in this posting.

Dear People--Rain!
Everything is fecund and growing, and my CSA bundles are bulging, but I have gotten caught with my dogs twice in the past few weeks in some booming thunderstorms and sheeting rain. Ah, Ohio in the summer!

Good SUNNY news from AMP, our municipal energy co-op: AMP has signed a 30-year agreement with Standard Energy LLC (an afiliate of Standard Solar) to purchase up to 300 Megawatts of new solar energy generation capacity--making it one of the largest groups of solar electric facility development in the country. Construction will begin this year and be completed within 5 years. (You can read more about the plans here.) I am hopeful that we'll be able to purchase some of this energy, but I expect we may briefly discuss this at Planning Comm and at Village Council.

Planning Commission meets on Monday, 7 pm, Bryan Center. We'll discuss:


1) Historic Preservation: Mark has revised our earlier proposal which we hope is now simply saying that 1) we will create an inventory of historic properties and neighborhoods in Yellow Springs, and 2) any building within the historic area of Yellow Springs cannot be demolished without notification of the Planning Commission that no other course of action is feasible. BUT...see next item (which I've marked as item 3, because it comes after the PUD discussion on our

3) Demolition Forms: During our earlier discussions of historic preservation we realized/were made aware by Mark that currently there are no demolition forms that property owners have needed to fill out in Yellow Springs notifying the village of their plans, getting a demolition permit, AND, most importantly, ensuring that all utilities--water, sewer, electricity and natural gas--have been turned off prior to demolition. The permit form also asks the owner whether the building is within a historic district.

I am going to propose that we discuss this item prior to returning to the discussion of historic preservation, because our goals with historic preservation seem to be contingent on the existence of a demolition form, which we have not had, and because the issue of not being notified of someone's intention to demolish a building, as a utility provider, seems most pressing to me.

2) PUD Ordinance Review / Affordable Housing: Planning Commission has been working with Wolpert's for some time on revising our Planned Unit Development Ordinance. This is the one we use when any major new building project (with multiple housing units) is being proposed. The current draft has density bonuses for 1) increasing the open space over the required 20%, 2) for the inclusion of affordable housing, and 3) a comprehensive storm water management plan.

Given the discussion of affordable housing by John Davis last week, I have asked a few people who are focused on affordable housing to review this plan and give me their input. My understanding from some discussions with people interested in "smart growth" principals is that having a requirement for a variety of housing options, rather than a bonus for including them, is generally a good thing.

The ordinance will, of course, go to Council for approval and possible editing at that time, once approved by Planning Commission.


4) Friends Care Community (FCC) Expansion: Mark informs planning comm. that the FCC is planning to renovate and build an addition which would create 16 private rooms and an attached rehabilitation center. However, while this change will increase the footprint of the FCC, it will not actually increase the number of beds, because other existing rooms are being combined and remodeled to make them private and include bathrooms, which will reduce the number of existing rooms. Additionally, the proposed location of the new unit does not pose any setback or other zoning concern issues.

It's not clear from our current zoning code if an expansion of an existing approved conditional use triggers the need for conditional use approval again, so we are being asked to decide if we need a new Conditional Use approval or if staff can simply administratively review and approve plans if they are in compliance with Village ordinances.


July: 5-year Capital Improvement Plan presentation by Mark--this is basically the same plan presented last Spring to Council, on the plans to regularly improve our infrastructure--water, sewer, streets, etc.


Community Blood Drive: Bryan Center . Thursday, June 17 3-6:30 pm. Must be 17 or older (or 16 with CBC parental consent form), weigh at least 110 lbs. and be in generally good health. Bring a photo ID and donor ID card if you have one. Appointments can be made in advance! or 1800-388-4483. Free golf towel and register to win one of two $500 Dick's Sporting Goods gift cards.


Live Teleconference with Michael Hardt . Thursday, June 17 - 7:00 p.m. Nonstop Institute — 305 N. Walnut St, Yellow Springs Free admission - Donations Welcome

Internationally acclaimed political philosopher Michael Hardt (Professor of Literature at Duke and author, with Antonio Negri, of Empire, Multitude, Commonwealth and other books) joins Nonstop for a live teleconference discussion drawing upon key insights from his work concerning the contemporary social, cultural and political fields of possibility.


The Morgan Fellows Present: The Gegner Barbershop Incident: Fighting for Civil Rights in Yellow Springs Friday, June 18 . 12:00-1:00 Herndon Gallery . One Morgan Place, Antioch College

Stories From Activists Who Fought to Desegregate Yellow Springs

In 1961 Yellow Springs residents filed a lawsuit against local barber Lewis Gegner for his refusal to cut the hair of black townspeople and students. Gegner's continued intransigence, and the consistent lack of action on the part of the Greene County Court of Appeals, led to years of litigation, protests, and sit-ins, culminating in the dramatic civil rights demonstration of 1964 that resulted in over 100 arrests and national media coverage. While Lewis Gegner ultimately closed his barbershop rather than desegregate his business, the demonstration and its aftermath marked the end of de facto segregation in Yellow Springs.


Prexy Nesbitt, Antioch College Class of 1967; Board of Trustees, Antioch College

Paul Graham, Antioch College Class of 1952; Former Chemist, Vernay Laboratories

Hardy Trolander, Antioch College Class of 1947; Co-Founder and Former President, Yellow Springs Instruments; Former Trustee, Antioch College

Joni Rabinowitz, Antioch College Class of 1964; Founder and Former Director, Just Harvest

For more information, contact anne bohlen (937) 286-8455 or



Dear People: Thanks to all who came out for my band's relatively impromptu concert and burrito giveaway last night! The Village Manager tells us that the pool is opening today, so, enjoy, and hope for some sun this afternoon. As the subject says, the village Council is meeting on Monday and then retreating on Tuesday.

Tuesday's retreating will mostly be about process, managing our/ our staff's workloads, and issues with moving to an electronic packet.

Monday's meeting will focus on these major issues:
* Streets Sealing,
* Affordable Housing,
* Economic Development Committee,
* RFP for the Village property, North Hwy 68 (formerly Stutzman's)
* Fireworks in Gaunt Park

LEGISLATION: 2 resolutions
1) approving the contract for this summer's street seal coating,
which will be awarded to Pavement Technology, Inc. (of Westlake, Ohio) if this resolution is successful. They propose to seal sections of 8 village streets for $50,625. The sealant should help preserve the newly re-done streets, and the particular product they propose using, Reclamite (trademark) is available for purchase from the state of Ohio's cooperative purchasing program, which makes it less expensive than it would be at market rates.

2) approving the release for sale of surplus property (mostly equipment) and using Internet auction to do so. I did not find the list of items for sale, but I will ask for it--it's possible mine was misplaced in my packet and I just couldn't find it in all the paperwork.


John Davis is coming to our meeting to present on Affordable Housing.
Davis is a national expert in permanently affordable housing and community land stewardship. At the forum, he will discuss the history of the Community Land Trust model and its historic connections with the Village of Yellow Springs. He will also discuss his new book, The Community Land Trust Reader, which was published on May 17. For more information about The Community Land Trust Reader, visit:


Economic Sustainability Committee.
I am very excited by the names that have come forward for the new Economic Sustainability Committee. They are all excellent people from a variety of backgrounds:

Ex-officio: from Council, Judith H. & Karen W., and Sarah Wildman, our econ. sustainability coordinator.

Ellen Hoover
Roy Qualls (Comm Resources Board)
Jacki Mayer (pres. of Chamber of Commerce)
Cynthia Sanford (YSCU manager)
Tom Brookey (CFO Antioch College)
Megan Bachman
Susan Stiles (Greene Met Housing)
Enshane Nomoto
Lisa Hunt (arts community)

Plan for Stutzman's property: We're hoping to issue a "request for proposals" to use the former Stutzman property on north highway 68. We have a draft proposal that we'll be discussing, with our village solicitor present (as he drafted the document).

We will need to discuss / decide:
--A proposed committee/task force to review proposals (including 2 residents--you?)
--The exact amount of land we plan to rent and the deadline for responses
--What to do with all the "stuff" left on the property (possibly encourage a "walk through" for prospective buyers, some of whom may want some of that stuff.)

Villagers will be glad to know that all the feral animals have been removed to sanctuaries, with the exception of two pigs, with health problems that precluded moving them (i.e., they were dangerously obese), and some impossible to catch feral cats.


Authorizing the use of the Gaunt Park for July 4th (July 5th as rain date) fireworks by Lion's Club

includes a CBE update, info about gypsy moth traps that are up around town (the green cartons you see on trees), senior staff evaluations having been completed, looking into a housing needs assessment by Wright State, AMP hydro plant groundbreaking on 29th June to which Council / Staff are invited as investors, temporary community garden fencing, and

Community Blood Drive! June 17th, 3-6:30 pm. Bryan Center. Appointments strongly encouraged!

Also, Mark will be out of office on 6/11, 6/25 (morning), afternoon 7/1, 7/2, afternoon 7/9.


P.S. ok A poem about swimming...from The Poetry Foundation website, a treasure trove...

Learning to swim

by Bob Hicok

At forty-eight, to be given water,
which is most of the world, given life
in water, which is most of me, given ease,

which is most of what I lack, here, where walls
don’t part to my hands, is to be born
as of three weeks ago. Taking nothing

from you, mother, or you, sky, or you,
mountain, that you wouldn’t take
if offered by the sea, any sea, or river,

any river, or the pool, beside which
a woman sits who would save me
if I needed saving, in a red suit, as if flame

is the color of emergency, as I do,
need saving, from solid things,
most of all, their dissolve.



Saturday, May 29, 2010

Joint Meeting: Visioning, on Wednesday, and roundup of May emails, with apologies...

Dear People: On Wednesday June 2, at 7 pm in Council Chambers (second floor John Bryan) Village Council and the Miami Township Trustees will be hearing a presentation by the steering committee and consultants on the Visioning Process:
  • status of the overall project,
  • results of the third public meeting on May 19-20, and
  • review of the next steps: implementation and the final report.
Please come! And now a poem about visions, of politicians and poets.

As I Walk These Broad Majestic Days
by Walt Whitman

As I walk these broad majestic days of peace,
(For the war, the struggle of blood finish'd, wherein, O terrific Ideal,
Against vast odds erewhile having gloriously won,
Now thou stridest on, yet perhaps in time toward denser wars,

Perhaps to engage in time in still more dreadful contests, dangers,
Longer campaigns and crises, labors beyond all others,)
Around me I hear that eclat of the world, politics, produce,
The announcements of recognized things, science,

The approved growth of cities and the spread of inventions.

I see the ships, (they will last a few years,)
The vast factories with their foremen and workmen,
And hear the indorsement of all, and do not object to it.

But I too announce solid things,
Science, ships, politics, cities, factories, are not nothing,
Like a grand procession to music of distant bugles pouring,
triumphantly moving, and grander heaving in sight,

They stand for realities—all is as it should be.

Then my realities;
What else is so real as mine?
Libertad and the divine average, freedom to every slave on the face of the earth,
The rapt promises and luminé of seers, the spiritual world, these centuries-lasting songs,

And our visions, the visions of poets, the most solid announcements of any.


PS: I just noticed that I neglected to post a few recent emails to constituents--negligence, not malicious intent. I will post them now:

VC from Monday May 24 (5 minutes before the meeting!):

Dear People, I'm really getting slow, but the biggest things tonight are going to be

1) Roof replacement on the Bryan Center
2) Energy purchasing agreement with AMP (our electricity co-op)
3) Franklin Foundation (a non-profit organization from I believe Columbus) on affordable senior housing construction
4) Council Retreat plans (for June 8th): discussing process for difficult community issues, manager/clerk reviews and workloads, technology issues (electronic packet--next steps?)
5) Levy Timeline: we need to renew the levy, probably at this fall's election
6) Housing needs assesment: discussion with
7) ICMA Performance Measurement program: a practical way to determine if we are keeping our basic costs/performance in line with other municipalities and ideas for improvement

Lori is out the door...


PC from Monday May 17:
Dear People: On Monday at 7 pm the Planning Commission will meet. The agenda includes:

1) Discussion of the historic preservation ordinance we've been looking at. Our goal is to give us a mechanism to intervene in instances of neglect or demolition of a historic building; we don't want to make life much harder for responsible property owners who are making creative use of historic buildings.

2) We're continuing examining the PUD (planned unit development) rules--trying to make the process useful and fair for the community, and to include some density perks for affordability, useable open space, and best management practices for storm water.

3) Mark will be presenting an overview of his 5-year capital improvement plan, which he presented to Council during our Budget process in February. This is an important step for us as a village--when Mark came, we really had no plan in place for maintaining and replacing the infrastructure of our Village.

That's the main plan--let me know if you have questions.

Ok, someone complained that I haven't included a poem since my inclusion of Whitman somehow created an EXPLOSION of poetry at the end of one of my last emails. (I blame my malfunctioning work PC--I don't seem to have these problems on my trusty Mac.)

Here's a poem for busy, passionate people. (I feel a little mocked by its lovely decadence, which is good):

First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay

My candle burns at both ends;

It will not last the night;

But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—

It gives a lovely light!


VC on May 3:

Dear People: I should have mentioned in my last email that I would also urge everyone to support our schools in tomorrow's election, which includes a vote on a levy request from the schools. We'll be voting as Council on a resolution of support tonight.

It's our last week of school and I'm swamped, so I'm just going to give a quick update and include, below, our agenda (all documents from the packet can be found at

1. We're voting tonight on:

  • Ordinance for Pool rates--including a small increase for seniors and students daily rates and a $5 across-the-boards increase for season passes, to cover picture id's. (Please be aware that help is available for low income residents, so don't be afraid to ask for assistance from the village office. We want all residents to have use of this valuable recreation resource!)
  • Ordinance for AMP energy purchases 2012-13: Most of you are probably aware that we are a part of an energy co-op called "AMP" (formerly AMP-Ohio). We co-own many production facilities with other cities and towns, and we are a collective purchaser of energy through AMP. Tonight we'll be considering, to quote from Mark, "Ordinance #2010-09, which would authorize the Village Manager to execute a non-pool power sales schedule with American Municipal Power (AMP) for calendar years 2012 and 2013. ....

    The 2012 and 2013 needs are necessitated by the expiration of other power agreements (Cinergy and landfill gas) and the closing of the Gorsuch plant. We have new sources coming on line in 2013, but this will allow us to avoid purchasing of power on the open market. AMP has made a recommendation as to the amount of power we need to purchase in 2012 and 2013 and this is reflected in the ordinance and the sales schedule."

  • A resolution Supporting the school levy. I will be voting to support the levy, as I mentioned
2. We'll be hearing special reports on the neighborhood gardens and the library.

3. And then we'll be discussing:
  • The great fluoridation debate. We will not be voting on this issue this evening; we're planning next steps and thinking about a panel discussion.
  • Northern Gateway: this time with clearer pictures, we hope.
  • Council Retreat: currently scheduled for June 8.
  • Street closings for bike races May 21 & 22.



Monday, April 12, 2010

PC: Village Station permit; Historic Pres; CBE & North'n Gateway Updates

Dear People: First, I want to say that Village Council was not at our best last week in our meeting. I was tired and went home with a splitting headache, and our interactions between ourselves and the citizens was not always ideal. I still stand by the decisions we reached, but our processes are not, by any means, perfect. We will try to do better.

Tonight we have Planning Commission--7 pm, Council Chambers, 2nd floor, Bryan Center.

PUBLIC HEARING: Conditional Use Permit: 102 Dayton Street / 150 Railroad St., also known as "Village Station." Ted Donnell is asking us to renew a conditional use permit for this site, originally approved Oct. 8, 2007, which has expired. The plan currently submitted is identical to that approved in 2007, with the exception of minor re-routing of utilities.

OLD BUSINESS: A continued discussion of our Historic Preservation plans--which we have received a lot of good, helpful input on in our last discussion. My focus is always on public education--making sure people know what their property is and has been--and on anything we might be able to do to discourage or slow down "demolition by neglect." This is typically the biggest issue we face.


* Election of Officers
* Center for Business and Education Project Update: Should be similar to the update Council received last month.
* Northern Gateway Project Update: Should be similar to the update Council received at our last meeting, but hopefully with better visual aids and a working projector.


* PUD chapter review: scheduled for our May 10th meeting.
* 5-year Capital Improvement Project (CIP) Presentation: should be similar to the CIP presentation Mark gave to Council in February, in preparation for the new budget.


kitchenette building by Gwendolyn Brooks

We are things of dry hours and the involuntary plan,
Grayed in, and gray. “Dream” makes a giddy sound, not strong
Like “rent,” “feeding a wife,” “satisfying a man.”

But could a dream send up through onion fumes
Its white and violet, fight with fried potatoes
And yesterday’s garbage ripening in the hall,
Flutter, or sing an aria down these rooms

Even if we were willing to let it in,
Had time to warm it, keep it very clean,
Anticipate a message, let it begin?

We wonder. But not well! not for a minute!
Since Number Five is out of the bathroom now,
We think of lukewarm water, hope to get in it.

Gwendolyn Brooks, “kitchenette building” from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1963 by Gwendolyn Brooks. Reprinted with the permission of the Estate of Gwendolyn Brooks.