Monday, March 21, 2011

I will be better--somehow I just got out of the habit of posting here.

Dear People: Well, it's be a depressing and pretty scary week or so, with the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear breakdowns in Japan, the attack on Libya, and the Kasich budget announcement which proposes to cut the funding for local governments by 25% this coming year and 49% next year. This is a very significant drop in revenue. (The schools are also facing smaller but still significant cuts--and privatization measures. Here's the Dayton Daily News' story
.) On top of that, YSI is being sold.

These are serious times. I am gravely concerned, because I think it's a lot easier to tear something complex and valuable down, than it is to build it up. And I'm worried that that's exactly what's happening in the state of Ohio right now. Things are being torn down and blown up by "market forces" and cries for no new taxes on the extremely rich and on businesses that have been making record profits.

We will need the levy we are asking you to pass this Spring: it will not raise your taxes; it will hold them steady. We will still have to make cuts--probably serious ones--no matter what happens with this current budget proposal; without the levy they may need to be catastrophic. I can only urge you to talk to your friends and neighbors about this current situation.


1) ORDINANCE (1st reading): SIDEWALKS:
I have been supporting the plan for the village to take over sidewalk repairs, but in light of these most recent threats to our budget, I am considering delaying this decision, very, very reluctantly. It's not a huge expense, and not doing it ourselves is an expense, too, because we then need to track down owners. But I admit that the new budget pressures are deeply concerning to me. I am still pondering this at this time. $30,000 / year isn't a huge percentage of our total budget, but we may need to take a vacuum cleaner to the whole thing in order to weather this crisis.

Changing (lowering) the requirements for a quorum.

I was not at the last meeting, but have read the minutes, and I have heard from several constituents on both sides of this issue. No one I know has anything bad to say about YSKP as an entity, but some have grave concerns about opening up the application pool for this loan fund to non-profit organizations. I have thought about those positions. As I read the information, our primary concern with this fund is to try to create and retain jobs, particularly for low-income people. While some of the loans may be capital loans, for things that could be sold by us, the lender, should the entity default, they are not required to be capital loans that have this kind of collateral behind them. Indeed, one of the requirements of this loan is that the organization seeking the loan is supposed to prove that they have tried and been rejected for a loan from a traditional lending agency. They do, however, need to "secure the proceeds used for operating costs with business or personal liens."

A not-for-profit entity is as capable of repaying a loan as is a for-profit entity. Yes, there are many not-for-profits that might conceivably try to apply for this loan, but they would need to go through the process, and there would need to be loan funds available. They need to prove that they meet the guidelines: that the entity actually provides jobs for low-income people. Although I know that some of you will disagree with this policy stance, I support changing the guidelines to include non-profit organizations that can otherwise satisfy the requirements of the loan.

4) ORDINANCE (1st Reading): ANNUAL TRANSFER OF FUNDS: This is a boilerplate ordinance that gets our approved budget in operation. This ordinance needs to passed as an emergency to meet the state guidelines of having it in effect by March 31. This "emergency" language puts it in effect immediately, rather than one month from today.

This allows us to use unencumbered funds from the electrical funds, which is in good shape, to help pay for all the overtime, etc., caused by the ice/windstorm in February. The governor did not declare an emergency, so we will not get funding from federal sources.

The last 5-year lease expired in November 2010; this would renew until 2015.

Ed Amrhein worked with Dana Storrs of Greene County Solid Waste Mgmt and the Environmental Commission on this proposed RFP. A very small number of customers may have to reduce the tier of service to where the rest of us are--does anyone really produce more than 120 gallons of waste per week? (most businesses have their own contracts with providers)--which I think would be good.

I support this resolution. It will create low income housing with minimal investment, and some construction jobs to boot, which are few and far between in our region right now.

SPECIAL REPORTS: Annual reports from Environmental Comm. and Planning Comm.

OLD BUSINESS: Neighborhood gardens and Solar Farm. I generally support trying to build this, probably on the Fogg Farm, although I'd probably prefer the Glass Farm since we own that already, but we're on a short time frame. Again, it's a few new jobs and it would increase our renewable energy portfolio. Mark suggests we need some help evaluating this proposal because we lack expertise. It may be that the timeline is just too short for us to adequately deal with it.

We may also discuss briefly a natural gas plant that AMP, our energy co-op, is building.

Margaret Atwood is good for the soul--and funny, too. (Hey, my birthday is this Thursday and you can still give money to our local Planned Parenthood!
Even just a little bit means a lot!)


Backdrop addresses cowboy

by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood
Starspangled cowboy
sauntering out of the almost-
silly West, on your face
a porcelain grin,
tugging a papier-mâché cactus
on wheels behind you with a string,

you are innocent as a bathtub
full of bullets.

Your righteous eyes, your laconic
people the streets with villains:
as you move, the air in front of you
blossoms with targets

and you leave behind you a heroic
trail of desolation:
beer bottles
slaughtered by the side
of the road, bird-
skulls bleaching in the sunset.

I ought to be watching
from behind a cliff or a cardboard storefront
when the shooting starts, hands clasped
in admiration,
but I am elsewhere.

Then what about me

what about the I
confronting you on that border,
you are always trying to cross?

I am the horizon
you ride towards, the thing you can never lasso

I am also what surrounds you:
my brain
scattered with your
tincans, bones, empty shells,
the litter of your invasions.

I am the space you desecrate
as you pass through.

Margaret Atwood, “Backdrop addresses cowboy” from Selected Poems 1965-1975. Copyright © 1974, 1976 by Margaret Atwood. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Source: Selected Poems (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1976)

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