Greenfield council chooses newest member; status of youth league still unknown
Greenfield council members (l-r) pictured at The March 2 meeting are Kyle Barr, Eric Borsini, Phil Clyburn, and Brenda Losey. (Photo by Angela Shepherd)
By Angela Shepherd
Village of Greenfield
The Greenfield Council has chosen someone to fill a vacancy left when Mark Branham resigned at the end of January due to personal health reasons.
At the end of Tuesday’s regular meeting on March 2, council emerged from an executive session and voted to approve Amie Ernst as the newest council member.
According to council chair Phil Clyburn, two people applied for the spot and “both were excellent candidates.” He said that while in executive session council members discussed at length the merits of each of the candidates before voting on the matter once back in open session..
Clyburn said Ernst will be sworn in within the week and then will begin her service as a council member.
In other business, there have been a lot of questions lately regarding Greenfield’s youth leagues, and the status of kids playing ball at Mitchell Park this summer is still not known for certain.
City manager Todd Wilkin in his report noted that the Recreation Committee met last month to discuss the upcoming season, and is scheduled to meet again on March 11.
Last year, the season was cancelled due to the village not being able to ensure a safe environment amid a pandemic for the gatherings that the season brings, as well as meet all the new requirements put in place due to Covid-19.
Wilkin said the administration has not been able to answer all the questions coming in about the 2021 season as staff has been very busy working on an opportunity for Greenfield that could mean the creation of well-paying jobs.
“We have not had the chance to respond or even think about the baseball and softball leagues,” he said. “I apologize for this but feel our time is better spent on opportunities to grow our community.”
In a recent memo from Wilkin posted on the village’s Facebook page, Wilkin reiterated the administration’s request for the community to come together and “help re-establish a thriving and eventful summer youth baseball and softball program.”
The city manager echoed the sentiment Tuesday in his report when he said the government should not be running the programs, but instead the committee and volunteers running the programs can help them be successful and, not only thrive, but even grow.
He said when decisions are made about the season, that information will be shared. “Thank you for your patience and understanding.”
On the related matter of the Recreation Committee, council approved Donnie Ary to fill a vacant seat on that board.
In other business, reports from the various village departments were presented to council, with the water department and wastewater treatment department reports highlighting the massive inflow and infiltration issues the village is trying to get rectified.
From the wastewater treatment plant, the report shows that more than 34 million gallons of water were treated, however, according to the water department report, just over 9 million gallons were pumped.
While there was excessive precipitation in February with the snow and the subsequent melt overlapping with rain at the end of the month, the numbers clearly show the problems that the administration is trying to fix.
Wilkin said fixing the issues with the aged infrastructure will be a yearslong process, but the village will be strategic in the projects targeted to profoundly mitigate the inflow and infiltration.
Council members have passed legislation recently allowing the city manager to apply for grant funding for infrastructure projects.
Legislation passed on Tuesday opens another avenue for the village to recoup costs on blighted properties that it spends to make those properties safe, whether by simple measures or by demolition.
Wilkin said typically the costs would go through the county auditor as a special assessment, something that the village is unlikely to ever get back. The new legislation allows for costs to be certified to the village’s finance director, which would allow the village to move forward with foreclosure.
The legislation is part of the village’s ongoing efforts to remove blight from the community. There are several properties currently in the process, and several more that the village intends to take action on.
Other legislation passed at the meeting included an ordinance allowing village employees a 3% raise, which will be dependent on a merit-based evaluation by their respective department heads, and something that is reviewed and approved by the city manager.
“We have so many outstanding employees,” council member Eric Borsini said, adding he is grateful for all they do.
“Without the employees, Greenfield wouldn’t be what it is,” Wilkin said about his own gratitude for the level of dedication employees show every day.
Clyburn also joined in with his appreciation, saying the employees are “the first line in this community to making things better.”
In his report, finance director Gary Lewis presented February’s preliminary numbers. Those are: month-to-date revenue - $324,067; month-to-date expense - $411,957; year-to-date revenue - $649,451; year-to-date expense - $874,801; and a general fund balance as of Feb. 28, 2021 of $405,829.
Borsini reported that there will be a finance committee meeting on Friday at 10 a.m. in the council chambers on the third floor of the city building. The meeting is open to the public.
Gratitude was offered during the meeting to Grow Greater Greenfield for its successful Brews and Stews event held over the weekend. Additionally expressed was hope that the days when the community can be enjoyed together again are much closer.
For the safety of everyone, the city offices on the third floor remain closed to the public at this time. To reach the office by phone, call 937-981-3500, or reach the following by email: City Manager Todd Wilkin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Greenfield Village Council meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers on the third floor of the city building. The meetings are also live-streamed on the village’s Facebook page. For information and updates, go to greenfieldohio.net or the Village of Greenfield, Ohio Facebook page.