Monday, January 18, 2010

VC 1/19: Water Rates; Procedures for Calling Mtgs; Goals

Dear People: It's a busy night for Council tomorrow (Tues. 1/19) night, although the agenda of the public meeting is fairly focused--just two issues to be discussed.

First off, an update:
Council met in executive session on Sunday to discuss our hiring of a new Clerk of Council. We had a short list of 22 applicants to work from (narrowed from about 150 by John Weithofer and me), and we further narrowed that list to several we hope to interview and some alternates. I will be speaking to John Weithofer this week about helping us contact them for interviews, collect references from those we don't have, etc.


1) Special Meeting of Village Council: Executive Session 5 pm
  • Treasurer Interview
  • Evaluation of Village Manager
2) Regular meeting: 7 pm

LEGISLATION: Drafts of these legislation documents are posted online!

1) ORDINANCE: Second reading/ public hearing: Establishing procedures for calling meetings:
Our village lawyer, John Chambers, will be present to answer questions about the draft of this ordinance, which provides clear guidance about publishing all meetings properly, as well as special meetings and emergency meetings. Emergency meetings are and have been very rare: we have only called one since Judith/Karen have been on Council. Some citizens felt that we should specify the kinds of reasons we should have for calling meetings, in order to ensure that they are rarely called. I will be asking Mr. Chambers about that idea.

On this note, it should be noted that Mr. Chambers has issued a legal opinion about a conference call by members of the Visioning Task Force Steering Committee. His note does indicate that the conference call did constitute an illegal meeting. There are some fairly straightforward means by which the Steering Committee can respond to this problem. I suspect we will be discussing this issue at the meeting.

Let me be clear with all of you that 1) I support the Visioning effort and very much want it to succeed, and 2) Transparency in government is bedrock, in my opinion. You can't have democracy without transparency. My goal since being on Council has been to make the government's actions accessible to citizens to the widest degree possible, and to open myself to interactions with people so that I can seek to make the best possible decisions for the community. That's why I write these notes just about every week! So, although I was not a part of that committee or conference--I deeply regret that it happened.

However, at the same time, I do not believe that there was any nefarious intent: people felt an urgency to complete that stage of the Visioning in order to stay on the proposed schedule. The Committee reps were trying to do their best, and most of them clearly did not fully understand the rules under which we must operate. We must do a better job of educating each new committee that is created. While I do not know all the facts, it would seem, however, that our ACP representative, who has worked with many communities in the past, really should have known better, and I would like to hear more from him on this question.

2) ORDINANCE: First reading, public hearing: Water/Sewer Rates: Increases At our request, Woolpert's did an analysis of our water and sewer rates, which have not been increased for eight years (since 2001). The biggest problem right now is that our water system is losing money and we are eating into the surplus that had been built up over the years. So the plan is to increase the consumption rate charge by 10% this year and next (2010, 2011); 5% in 2012, and 3%, 2013, 2014. That means that while since 2001, we've all been paying $3.45 for a thousand gallons of water, as of April we will pay $3.80/ 1,000 gallons, and next year that will be $4.20/1,000 gal. For those living OUTSIDE The village limits, the surcharge will be increased from 10% to 50%. The memo by Mark Cundiff explains this and other issues in more detail.


2010 Council Goals: Please consider downloading/looking at the draft goals of Council members that have been posted online.


Mark's report is also included online. He reports that:
  • the village offices have been remodeled (this should help his ability to do the work we need him to do, without needless interruptions),
  • the CBE has 3 alternative roadway constructions;
  • the ETF needs more time for the street light replacement bids;
  • a proposal for a dog park by two YSHS seniors at Ellis Park;
  • his plan to attend a meeting sponsored by MVCC to help us improve our efficiency of service delivery;
  • he needs to clarify the meaning of "load factor," which doesn't mean the loss in power over long power lines but the average amount of energy production over a given period; a proposed buy out of a cell tower lease on the Sutton Farm.

Pending Litigation, with Village Solicitor

For the good of the order, I'd also like to pass along this note from Sean Creighton, newly elected school board president, asking for our help in locating an excellent school administrator:


The Yellow Springs School District is conducting searches for the following administrative positions: Superintendent, Treasurer, Elementary School Principal, and Middle School/High School Principal. We are looking for exceptional administrators that will be part of the leadership team that enables the district to mature from a nationally recognized School of Excellence into an exemplary 21st century model of public education.

Because you are a “connector,” I thought you could help our search by sharing this info with your networks (colleagues, friends, family, etc). Please help us search out highly qualified candidates that will succeed in our unique, highly educated, diverse, small Ohio community (2009 best hometown by Ohio Magazine and 2008 third coolest small town in America by Budget Travel).

Here is the link to the job postings:

[I can give Sean's contact info via email or phone]

Thanks much for all your help!

Cheers, Sean

Sean Creighton, Ph.D.
Executive Director, SOCHE

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