Windham – Windham Village Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting with all council members and the fiscal officer in attendance. The council approved the fiscal officer’s expenditures, and the September bank reconciliation. Items on the agenda were: the purchase of new cruisers, revisions to income tax filing requirements, mineral rights lease, water and sewer agreement with Portage County and questions from the public.
The board authorized $55,000 to purchase two new police cruisers from Ford Motor Company. The agreement will be a three-year lease to purchase.
An ordinance to revise and amend section 181.07b of the Village of Windham income tax code and filing was defeated. This would have required village residents to provide their 1040 federal when filing their village income taxes. Some council members stated that they objected to this because of privacy issues. They felt that the social security numbers of their children and other items on the 1040 form other than income was none of the village’s business. After a discussion was held on redacting private information the council decided they would review the ordinance during their committee meeting next month and revisions will be made before being brought to a vote again.
Council then approved a gas and oil lease with Kenyon Energy, LLC for the rights to explore oil and gas on village property. Part of the contract would require that the energy company do a water study before or after they start drilling to ensure the water quality remains as it was prior to the drilling. The energy company will pay $550 per acre for the exploration of minerals. The village owns approximately 100 acres that would be involved in this lease.
The board approved a resolution authorizing an agreement with Portage County, Ohio for water and sanitary sewer discharge. This agreement is part of the contract the village has with the arsenal. The contract is to sell water and sanitation services at the current rates residents pay. The tap-in fees for the arsenal are expected to generate approximately $250,000 for the village.
Residents asked questions about when they would name a new chief, inquiry on the ballot, and the library building. The mayor stated that the new chief should be announced in the next week or so. A resident and a council member questioned the ballot inquiry about moving the council offices to Renaissance Family Center (RFC) when the center is owned by the church. How can we enter into a lease with RFC when they do not own the building was asked? The mayor stated that the item on the ballot was an inquiry and if RFC doesn’t own the building then they would not be entering into a lease with them. (Council objects to entering into any lease agreement with a religious organization such as a church. Currently the church is the registered owner of the facility.) He said they were just trying to see what the public’s preference was prior to making a decision on the issue. Several residents and a council member thought the item on the ballot was deceptive, especially when they do not know who has the authority to enter into a lease agreement.
A resident asked what was going on with the library. The mayor responded by saying that after council toured the facility they have determined that a new facility would be needed. The council agreed to subsidize the cost for a new facility providing it was located within the village limits; however the library board would have to search for an acceptable facility. (Public libraries in communities rely on either community subsidy or the community providing a proper facility for the library) Other questions to council were: What happens to the current building if village offices and council chambers move to another facility? Does the village have a reserve set aside for emergencies? The response to the building move was that they will either rent it or demolish it. The resident stated that if it is good enough to rent why don’t they just stay there? The mayor stated that it would be a short term rental and ultimately the building would need to be demolished in the near future. The mayor responded to the question about reserves and stated that the village has a 10% carry over to pay for emergencies.
The village council meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 pm in council chambers.