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Windham Village Freezes Water Rates but Hikes Sewer Rates

Windham – Windham Village Council met for their regularly- scheduled meeting on January 27, 2014 with all council members present, along with fiscal officer Lloyd Billman, and solicitor Tom Reitz.

Council approved the minutes from the December 17, 2013 meeting and the minutes from the January 7, 2014 organizational meeting. They also approved the financial report, the dispatcher’s report for the month of December. 

Guest Charity Showalter from Community in Action of Windham (CIAW) was in attendance to make a proposal to council on the renovating the community center, however prior to the meeting the mayor and Showalter met and no proposal came forth. The mayor announced that CIAW is interested in seeing the community center renovated and opened for the community. The group is willing to help the village with the project. The mayor said he had renovation money set aside in the 2014 budget for the community center and is working on a proposal. He also stated that once the building was renovated, the operation monies for community center would come from the general fund.

Showalter then announced that CIAW is printing a monthly news letter and inquired about any village news that could be printed in the community news letter. Council approved electric rates offered through Alternative Energy Source by Dayton Power and Light for their electric supplier effective March 2014, through February 28, 2017.  The rates were accepted with the understanding that a written contract would follow.

Council approved a water rate freeze for 2014. Per village ordinance, the water rates are scheduled to increase 5% annually to reflect the cost of living. After review of the water fund, council chose to freeze the water rates at 2013 prices. February billing will reflect the rate change as the January bills were already mailed.

A long discussion on whether to freeze the sewer rates or not, left the council split on the decision. When they voted to suspend the rules the first time, the measure failed. After some persuasion from the mayor, two council members reluctantly changed their minds and a revote was taken to suspend the rules, which passed.  Council Member Linda Rininger questioned why they had two options on the agenda but were only addressing the one that raises the rates, not the one to freeze the rates. Rininger stated that the sewer fund had over $700,000 surplus in it and she thought the residents needed a break and could use a rate freeze. Other members of council were afraid that the upgrades being planned for the future to the sewer plant would deplete the fund and they would have to raise the rates in the near future. In the end, a vote was taken to raise the rates 2.5% with Rininger voting “NO.” Rininger stated that she was against the measure because the sewer fund was solvent and there was no need to raise the rates. Council then removed Ordinance O 2014-3 from the agenda. This would have frozen the sewer rates had council acted on it rather than removing it from the agenda. The vote to remove the item from the agenda had Rachel Barrett and Rininger voting against the measure.

The winners of the Holiday Lighting Contest were announced. Congratulations to Greg Jones for being declared the winner. There was a tie for second place and they were Bud and Rella Mullenax and Carl Angus

Council set March 25, 2014 at 6:45 for a public hearing on proposed amendments to the Village of Windham’s codified zoning ordinances to establish compensation and pay to the zoning inspector. The public hearing will take place prior to the regular meeting.

A resident asked about extension of sewers on North Main Street. Mayor Rob Donham stated that they have plans to extend it within the next 3-5 years to those resident and    the long-range plans are to extend the sewer to residents on State Route 303 east of the village. The same resident questioned when the Mayor was going to give his annual report for 2011- 2013. The mayor said he did give 2011 and orally gave the 2012. He will combine the 2012 and 2013 annual reports so they are in written form. Mayor Donham claims the 2011 annual report is on file and will get a copy of the measure. Those who were on council during 2011 claim they never received the annual report. Donham has plans to deliver a combination 2012 and 2013 Annual Report at the February 25th meeting.

Lastly, Charity Showalter wanted to make it perfectly clear that CIAW had no plan to take over the Community Center, they are just interested in seeing renovations so it can be used by the community. They will assist in any way they can.

The meeting was adjourned and the next village council meeting will be held on February 25, 2014 at 7pm in council chambers.

 

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