Sunday, February 28, 2010

VC: 2009 Review, Dog Park, Economic Sustainability, Green Space, New Clerk

<-- That's Marina Abramovic, a New York artist and self-described "grandmother of performance art," eating an onion in a short Dutch film called, "The Onion" (1996)

Dear People: The meeting tomorrow night (3/1, 7 pm, Council Chambers) should be fairly straightforward. We'll begin, however, with a quick reminder that our major budget workshop for the year is next Saturday, March 6, from 9:30 to 12:30 in Council Chambers.

As of this writing, the Council Packet is not online (it arrived later than usual so I suspect time simply ran out for our limited staff); however, I am hopeful that it will be put online before the meeting Monday evening, on the "Council Packet" page of the Village website.


To the Springfield City Mgr thanking him for his time at the last VC mtg, raising further questions re: jet noise
To VC, re: green space fund expenditures, supporting VC's use of the funds for the two projects on tonight's agenda.
(This is in addition to perhaps a dozen supportive letters received before the last meeting. Another citizen and former council person expressed general support for green space but caution about too much Green Space funding in a letter just prior to the last meeting.)
To VC: the Environmental Commission submits a report, recommending that we cease adding fluoride to the drinking water.
I will ask that this document be posted online and made publicly available. I believe that the EC has also written asking us to add this to our next Council agenda.
To V. Mgr: Thanks from a senior citizen who appreciated the help of three village employees who took the time to help push her car
out of a snow bank on Rice Rd.
NewsRelease: AMP is starting construction on the 2nd Hydroelectric Project, in which we are an investor,
at Smithland Locks and Dam in Kentucky.


Ordinance: First reading: Economic Sustainability Commission.
As a result of the last meeting's discussion, and in consultation with our village solicitor, this ordinance has been simplified and clarified in some ways from the most recent version of the proposal drafted by Judith Hempfling. The ordinance establishes a body of seven persons, including a designated rep from both the School Board and the Planning Commission, as well as ex-oficio representatives (one or two) from Council and the Economic Sustainability Coordinator (i.e., Sarah Wildman). Their first main task would be to serve as a sounding and development board for the Economic Development Plan that Sarah is tasked with creating. I support this board, with some reservations. I have asked that we carefully review its efforts, particularly after the first year, to see if this approach to our goal of improving the Village's economic health seem to be working.

Resolution: Authorizing the Village Manager to release Green Space Funds for the Purchase of Conservation Easements on the Semler and Fulton (aka Fogg) Farms. I support this release of funds.

Resolution: Appointing a new Clerk of Council. I am pleased to announce that Judith O. Kintner has accepted our offer of this position, and will begin work immediately upon the passage of this resolution. It was a very strong, competitive pool of candidates. We are very fortunate to have someone as capable, on so many levels, as Judy is, to take on this role, and with such a deep knowledge of the village as a whole.

THANKS, DENISE: Let me also take this moment to publicly thank Denise Swinger for her extraordinary efforts on our behalf in her service as acting Clerk during Deborah Benning's final illness and upon her passing. Denise had been helping out at the Village Clerk's office for quite some time, first as an unpaid volunteer and then as a part-time, minimally paid file clerk assisting Deborah; she stepped into this position at our request in our time of deepest need. It was not easy for her family to have her working so many hours, particularly so many evening hours. (And this past month alone has been a doozy--with a total of six Council meetings, a few extremely long ones, plus a Planning Commission meeting, in its four short weeks!) Additionally, she has generously agreed to help train our new Clerk, Judy; I know that her efforts will help ease the transition in a multitude of ways. Please extend your thanks to Denise (and her family) for her exceptional service to our Village.

2009 ANNUAL REPORT: Mark Cundiff


Dog Park Location Decision:
The proposal is now to put a dog park in on the western part of the Gaunt Park water tower site. There will be a small dog area and a large dog area, separated by rail fence and chicken wire. There's no water fountain in this area, and it's somewhat distant from existing parking. Mgr. Cundiff proposes that a future senior project might be fundraising for this purpose. I support this location for this park.
Home, Inc. Hook-Up Fee Waiver Request: Marianne MacQueen asks that we consider waiving "utility tap and zoning permit fees on all permanently affordable homes" that are built in the village. (MacQueen's memo only address's permanently affordable homes that Home, Inc., builds, but I believe any resolution to this effect would need to be applied to all organizations or individuals who create permanently affordable homes.)
Energy Task Force: Review and Revise ETF's Charge, Membership, & Duties: Mark Cundiff submits the following suggestions based on an ETF discussion dated Feb. 8: 1) Make the V. Mgr. a non-voting member; 2) Establish a membership limit of 5 but not more than 9. (Legally, however, we may have to choose a specific number); 3) 2 Council Members as voting members (currently 1); 4) Change the designation from "Task Force" to "Board" or "Commission." Because we own our electrical utility and energy concerns seem to be perpetual, the work is greater than a "task force." To avoid acronym confusion with the EC, Environmental Commission, they suggest "Board."
Appointments to Council's Commisisons/Committees/Boards & Task Forces: We have persons willing to fill six of the current openings on our supporting committees; there are still openings on the HRC (1), EC (1), ETF (the number depends on the decision, above); Library (1).
Council Goals 1-3: Review: We're doing a final honing of these goals, which I believe look pretty good.


2010 Employee Wage Increase:
Our current formula for determining staff wage increases calculates inflation in such a way that, in the current climate, it underestimates the increased cost of living and results in very small cost of living increases--this year's would be 0.675% (last year's would have been 0.25%). Mark Cundiff has submitted a report on a survey of Greene County public employers' and municipalities' employee wages, union and non-union, to determine what would be a more fair cost of living increase. He suggests that we raise it to the average of all those employee wage increases, i.e., 2.15%. This would follow our practice from last year, so I support this change. We are planning to update our employee manual and compensation system this year, and are very fortunate to have Mark's experience in Human Resources to guide and inform this task.



In honor of Women's History Month, I give you a poem by Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate of England, the first open lesbian to hold the post. The poem is perhaps a couple weeks late, but it's so awesome, and the sentiment so ...unsentimental!
Valentine  by Carol Ann Duffy

Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.

It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,

if you like.

Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

VC: Mon Visioning, Tuesday Budgeting, Jets and Snow Removal

Dear People: On Monday (2/22) there will be a joint meeting of the Council and the Miami Township Trustees about the Visioning process so far. On Tuesday (2/23)there will be a second special meeting focused on the budget.

Monday: Together with the Miami Township Trustees, we'll be getting a presentation on the Visioning process so far, and hearing their recommendations for draft goals, organizing themes and principals. So far I like what I am seeing, although I know that the process has not been easy or perfect.

This Tuesday's meeting is the second of three Budget meetings:

  • the first, which was earlier this month, was focused on projected capital expenses (estimated for the next five years),
  • the second, this Tuesday, focusing on Enterprise funds (all the rate-paying funds, etc.), and the
  • third focused will be focused on the General Fund (3/6) and any revisions to the first two that may have been made as a result of our earlier two meetings.

Follow up on Jet-Noise and Snow Removal

At our meeting last Tuesday (2/16) we had a presentation by the officers at the Springfield-Beckley Airfield. I believe they were quite responsive to villagers' concerns, and I'm glad they came. They showed us the flight patterns that all pilots are supposed to follow, which do go well outside the villages of Yellow Springs and Clifton, and are designed to avoid direct overflight.

However, if that pattern is not followed...How to make a complaint about planes flying outside of the required pattern:

"Noise Information Line: 937-525-2780

To learn more about Flight Operation & Noise at the 178th Fighter Wing please visit our website at: . On the right side near the bottom of the page you will see the section ‘Noise Complaint’. Click on the tab ‘Flight Operations & Noise’.

If people feel their calls are not being handled properly, please have them email Col Mike Roberts at"

Snow removal: We are a small village, and our crews are small. There are only so many workers who are qualified to drive the snowplows, and they can only work so long before they are required to take breaks, for safety. And there are only so many places that we can pile up snow, and then, if necessary, it takes another step to remove the piles that are obstructive. So we ask your patience when we experience repeated and unusually heavy snows as we have so far this month.

HOWEVER, you may be able to help village staff and your fellow villagers:

1) Scoop your sidewalks, regularly and as soon as possible after a storm.
2) Most important: Scoop out any fire hydrants on or near your property! This is critical for your own household's safety as well as the safety of your neighbors.

I was saddened to hear of the death of Lucille Clifton on February 13th. Here's a poem of hers about the passage of time on this tired earth:

the mississippi river empties into the gulf

and the gulf enters the sea and so forth,
none of them emptying anything,
all of them carrying yesterday
forever on their white tipped backs,
all of them dragging forward tomorrow.
it is the great circulation
of the earth's body, like the blood
of the gods, this river in which the past
is always flowing. every water
is the same water coming round.
everyday someone is standing on the edge
of this river, staring into time,
whispering mistakenly:
only here. only now.

© Lucille Clifton. Online Source


Monday, February 15, 2010

VC on TUES: EPA fine, Jet Noise, Dog Park, TLT request Green Space $, Econ. Sustainability, Goals

Dear People: Thanks to so many of you who came out for my band's official debut on Friday at the Emporium. It was nice to see so many friendly faces and gratifying that we managed to "bring out the boogie" in many of you!

Council Meeting is on TUESDAY (2/16) this week; heavy agenda! I strongly encourage you to look at the packet as posted online, but here are the highlights.

  • Two annual, housekeeping Resolutions regarding a) our bank account (and who is eligible to sign documents, etc.) and b) our membership in the Regional Planning & Coordinating Commission of Green County
  • A Resolution Approving findings/orders from the Ohio EPA regarding the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP). Our attorney, Tim Hoffman, negotiated the original fine of $79K (announced last year) down to $22.5K. We are allowed to donate $10K to the Glen Helen Ecology Institute to restore a wetland and $2.5K to the OEPA's clean diesel school bus fund. So only $10K will be actual penalty dollars paid to the OEPA.
SPECIAL REPORT: Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport Presentation the goal is to address concerns regarding jet noise. I have received an additional communication from one township resident about this concern. Please let me know your thoughts!

  • Dog Park Discussion: Mark has laid out the pros and cons of a variety of sites, including Ellis Park (as proposed by the students); Stutzman property; Glass Farm; Gaunt Park; Old WWTP site (Corner of Allen and Corry).
  • TLT Request for Green Space Funds: There are two farms just to the NW of the village, one containing the headwaters of the Jacoby, that are good candidates for our green space funds, according to the Tecumseh Land Trust (TLT). The two farm projects would amount to $211,950 in local matching funds, taken from our Green Space Funds, which currently stand at $275K. Protecting the Jacoby green space is a long-term goal of Council and the Village. I support this request. (But of course always remain open to hearing from villagers on all sides of the question).
Krista Magaw, Exec. Director of the TLT will present on this topic and answer questions. Krista also has written a letter asking us to consider putting into place a standard policy regarding the Green Space Fund, as the Miami Township has. She suggests allocating a set amount from our estate taxes (e.g., the first $50,000 or $100,000 of these funds, each year; the funds have typically been yielding from $250K-$300K/ year for the past several years).
  • Economic Sustainability Task Force: Judith has revised her plan, and I am hoping that we will vote on it.
  • Commission Openings! Denise Swinger has done a very thorough review of the Commissions and Boards, looking back to the Charter in some cases, to get a very clear picture of what terms have expired when--some of these were off, according to the terms of the Charter (e.g., Planning Commission). We appreciate her work!
Many of these boards/commissions don't actually require a huge commitment of time but do important work--consider putting your name in? Here's the story:
    • Planning Commission: 2 Expired Terms. Bill Bebko and John Streuwing would like to be reappointed.
    • Board of Zoning Appeals: 1 expired term. Ted Donnell would like to be reappointed
    • Board of Tax Appeals: 3 expired terms. Richard Zopf would like to be reappointed; the other two members have not been in contact with the Clerk.
    • Human Relations: 2 expired terms. Joan Chappelle would like to be reappointed, but not Don Wallis. We need another person!
    • Environmental Commission: 1 opening for a village resident, 1 for a township resident. One person has indicated interest in serving. We need another!
    • Library Commission: 1 term expiring soon.
    • Cable Advisory Panel: We have a request that Michael Cannon be appointed.
  • Goals! We have a new draft of our goals for this year--they are clearer and more streamlined, I believe, than in years past.
NO New Business.

FYI: Citizen Communications:
Paul A commented on a proto version of the HRC website.
Three citizens thanked the street dept for their efforts to clear snow from the streets and asked if the curbs and gutters could be cleared too.
Rick D expressed concerns about the CBE design
Lloyd K expressed concerns about a dog park at Ellis Park
Lisa A wrote on behalf of Community Resources about our meeting in January and future steps. And we received a DVD of Gudge's comments to the McKee Group in January.

Another poem? Why not!

When You Are Old

by William Butler Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

Source: The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (1989)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tonight: "Local Government: The Musical"?

Dear People--Miami Township Trustee Mark Crockett and I are in a band together with other fine people--Ona Harshaw, a drum repairman and design professor named LB, and a fabulous guitarist named Ed from Springfield, and other special guests. We call ourselves "Revolving Door" and we'll be playing blues, folk, country, old time rock and roll, and other assorted covers tonight at the Emporium, from about 7-10. See you there, maybe?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

PC tonight, VC (Budget!) tomorrow night

Dear People: What a week, already! We met yesterday with five candidates for the Village Clerk position from 12 noon- 5 pm. We will be calling references this week and meeting in executive session after our next regular meeting, next Monday, to discuss the candidates and, we hope, make a decision. The remaining candidates are all very strong, so our decision will not be easy. (The current economy is so hurtful to good's frustrating to see that first hand.)

Two meetings this week:

1) Planning Commission, tonight (Mon 2/8) 7 pm: We will be continuing our discussion of Historic Preservation Legislation and have our goals review. We will review the PUD Chapter at our March 8th meeting.

2) Village Council, special budget meeting (1st of 3), tomorrow night (Tue 2/9) 7 pm: We will discussing the overall budget plan. Attached are some documents from Mark, that will be relevant to our discussion. Please read Mark's cover letter, the list of out year projects, and the (incomplete) budget worksheet for capital projects. (This will almost certainly be updated for our meeting tomorrow night).

I'd very much welcome your feedback.