Saturday, August 13, 2011

Of rights-of-way, loans, raises, reorganization, and summer's end

<--This is a Jafabrit picture of the sunflowers at Whitehall Farm. Soon they will be blooming again, with that painful joy of the refulgence of the end of summer.
Dear People: It's a lovely day! Hope you're out enjoying it as those on a semester schedule face "The End of Summer" (see poem below!). Ok, so there's a lot going on in this meeting, even though the agenda looks pretty light at first glance. I've highlighted the major items for discussion that I think people may have thoughts about. Do feel free to read the whole or parts of the packet by clicking the blue link above. So here goes:


First Reading of Ordinance 2011-22
Authorizing Village Manager to Sign Addendum to the
Trailside Museum Inter-Agency Agreement: We entered into an agreement in 2009 with the Trailside/Glen Helen Ecology Inst. to help them get a grant from the Ohio DNR by serving as a "pass-through" for the money (money had to go through a governmental agency); the project is now complete but the ODNR wants to be sure that the museum and restrooms will be open to the public when the museum is open. I support this ordinance.

First Reading of Ordinance 2011-23
Supplemental Appropriation to Flatter Hereford Farms for Fertilizer applied to Farmland: This is a result of the solar farm proposal. That land had already been leased to a farmer who had already applied fertilizer for the upcoming season--which is standard practice in industrial farming. Per contract agreement, since we canceled the contract, we will pay them $2,951.39 in reimbursement costs for their receipted expenses.

Resolution 2011-39 Adopting a Statement of Services the Village Will Provide to Territory Proposed to be Annexed (Dayton-Yellow Springs Rd. ROW)
Resolution 2011-40 Consenting to the Annexation of Territory (Dayton-Yellow Springs Rd.ROW) These two resolutions are regarding the annexation of 1.77 acres of land which currently is the right of way for the Dayton-Yellow Springs Road west of the village, a peninsula of land that is surrounded by village property on three sides. This will allow for construction of a safe entrance to the CBE (Antioch Midwest, etc.) and allow us to extend the 35 mph speed limit to west. (If it stays at 55 mph there, a whole new and much more expensive and larger intersection would need to be designed.) I support these two resolutions.

Resolution 2011-41 Approving Annual Wage Increases for Certain Village Employees We directed the manager at our last meeting to bring forward a resolution raising the pay of all employees by 2% (except the village mgr., clerk of council, village treasurer, and law director), as their annual cost of living raise, retroactive to July 3. This is in keeping with (actually a hair less than) the average raises for public employees in Greene County. I support this resolution.

Resolution 2011-42 Approving a Loan to Antioch Company, LLC I am reluctantly in support of this loan. I do not think it was ideally constructed, I'm concerned that the terms could have been better, and the process was not good. It seems very important and valuable to keep the kinds of excellent jobs that eHDS provides, so I am voting yes. I have heard serious critiques of this from community members, and many of the critiques are valid. I will vote yes.


Discussion of Planning Commission Recommendation to Council to Approve a PUD-R for the Barr Property
In his memo re: this discussion item, Mark explains the revised process that he and Brad Schwab (our planning consultant) proposed, and Planning Commission endorsed at our meeting on Monday, for the Barr Property PUD-R approval request. Staff is alerting us to the Planning Commission's recommendation that we "require that the preliminary plan be reviewed again once project financing is obtained," which is different from our ordinary process. Staff also asks Council to schedule a Public Hearing on the approval request for the Sept. 9th meeting. I support this process and this schedule.
Discussion of Purchase of Pole Setter for Electrical Distribution In our budget this year we approved $100,000 to buy a new pole setter. Kelley Fox, Electrical Distribution Supervisor, feels it's needed to access rear yards, where many power poles are located, without having to bring in trucks, which do much more damage. He found one that has a taller reach and better features, including a bucket attachment so that it can be used for maintenance as well as power pole setting. But it costs more--$124,441. There are adequate funds in the Electric Utility to pay this additional expense, so I tentatively support this, but I'm fairly ignorant about this kind of purchase so I will be interested to hear more.
Discussion of Possible Reorganization of Village Operations This is the most contentious item I suspect. Even before Mark's arrival, the structure of the village operations has been a concern--both of our previous managers during my tenure argued that the manager position has too many demands on it and this makes it likely that some work is done poorly or never attended to, and makes it virtually impossible for the manager to leave for more than a day or two. He has 8 direct reports, and has to back up most of them when they are gone, but there's no one to back up the manager when he's gone. If we could just hire more staff, the solution would be simple. We cannot afford that--and our budget is about to be reduced. The Manager proposes, and I strongly endorse, that we eliminate the full-time planning assistant position and the 24 hour per week economic sustainability coordinator position and combine them into one assistant manager position with a focus on both of those areas. The full package for this one position should cost less than the two positions combined (with all the attendant costs of two positions). The two people in the positions have been contacted and have offered to be of assistance in the transition.

Lots of information in his report about the CBE, the vandalism at Ellis Park, deduct meters (rules have been set, you should be able to get the rules and a list of approved devices, which a plumber needs to install, at the village offices), tree trimming, and the delays to street paving. Take a look!

POEM: Feeling melancholy as I enter this last week before classes begin, when the meetings really kick in. But the ABBA rhyming in this modern poem is lovely, refreshingly old-fashioned. I am glad there's a formalist movement in modern poetry, bringing back the old structures with some nice resistances, such as the 5th stanza below:
Sweet smell of phlox drifting across the lawn—
an early warning of the end of summer.
August is fading fast, and by September
the little purple flowers will all be gone.

Season, project, and vacation done.
One more year in everybody’s life.
Add a notch to the old hunting knife
Time keeps testing with a horny thumb.

Over the summer months hung an unspoken
aura of urgency. In late July
galactic pulsings filled the midnight sky
like silent screaming, so that, strangely woken,

we looked at one another in the dark,
then at the milky magical debris
arcing across, dwarfing our meek mortality.
There were two ways to live: get on with work,

redeem the time, ignore the imminence
of cataclysm; or else take it slow,
be as tranquil as the neighbors’ cow
we love to tickle through the barbed wire fence
(she paces through her days in massive innocence,
or, seeing green pastures, we imagine so).

In fact, not being cows, we have no choice.
Summer or winter, country, city, we
are prisoners from the start and automatically,
hemmed in, harangued by the one clamorous voice.

Not light but language shocks us out of sleep
ideas of doom transformed to meteors
we translate back to portents of the wars
looming above the nervous watch we keep.

Rachel Hadas, “The End of Summer” from Halfway Down the Hall: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1998 by Rachel Hadas. Reprinted with the permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Source: Halfway Down the Hall: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 1998)

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