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Windham Village Council Slashes the Budget

Windham - Windham Village Council met last Tuesday night with all council members, the mayor, fiscal officer and village solicitor in attendance. The meeting was called to order by Mayor Rob Donham. Council approved the agenda changes and the minutes from the last meeting.

The agenda contained many issues revolving around the budget and the cuts that need to be made to keep the village solvent.  The mayor told council members and those in attendance that due to the levy failure and the state funding cuts to local government, the village knew they would have to make concessions for the next year.  After looking at all avenues council members and the mayor agreed to take a 10% cut in pay, however the cuts didn’t stop there. Council then approved measures that would change the village’s healthcare plan to a P.P.O. plan and would increase their medical match from a 90 /10 to an 80/20. They also voted to have the employees contribute 10% of the premium costs as well.

The ax continued to fall as council decided not to fill the two vacant full-time police officer positions and have decided to outsource the dispatching for the police, fire and EMS. Mayor Rob Donham stated that outsourcing the dispatching could save the village as much as $80,000 a year. Other cost cutting measures council is considering are the repeal of tax reciprocity to residents, who work and pay taxes in other municipalities, the use of a debt collection agency for income tax collections, a reduction in street lighting and renegotiating the solicitor’s contract.  On the flipside, council is also considering adding a Mayor’s Court to generate more revenue.

The mayor, along with two clerks, will attend mayor’s court training in Columbus. The cost for the three to attend the training is $525.00 plus $173.94 for mileage if the three travel together. Council approved the measure. The village has been exploring having a mayor’s court for a few months and the village expects it to be up and running in the spring.

Council accepted the recommendation of Police Chief Fixler and promoted Neal Hilbruner to paid part-time police officer effective November 28, 2012. They also approved the hiring of Julie Kelly as part-time, as-needed dispatcher, but not without council members questioning why they would hire someone for the police dispatcher when they are considering outsourcing the dispatching. The mayor responded that she is only part-time and will be used on an as-needed basis.

In parks and recreation, Chairman Phil Snyder announced they would once again hold   a holiday decorating contest. Any house in the village that is decorated will be considered and all decorated houses will be judge by impartial outside judges. Prizes will be announced later.

Windham Village Council generally meets on the 4th Tuesday of each month at 7 pm in council chambers, however, due to the holiday the regular meeting date has been rescheduled for December 18, 2012 at 7pm. they will also hold a special meeting on December 12th at 6pm to have second reads on ordinances that need to be enacted by the year’s end.

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Denise Bly has been a correspondent for the Weekly Villager for five years. She also does the public relations for Garrettsville SummerFest and the Garrettsville Area Chamber. In her spare time, she can be found at most local events, especially J.A. Garfield’s, high school and middle school athletic and musical events. When not out and about in the community, she can be found at home reading, sewing, cooking and spending time with her family.