City manager sends message of community and hope; council meetings to continue as usual unless directed otherwise
Village of Greenfield
“We are meeting in a very strange time,” Greenfield City Manager Todd Wilkin said as he began his report to the village council at its regular meeting Tuesday, March 17.
But he continued with a sentiment of community and hope. “As I have said before, we are a strong community, and as long as we continue to express our care for one another, and pray for one another, we’re going to be okay,” the city manager said.
It was a message Wilkin had stated earlier in the day in a post on the village’s Facebook page. In part, that message, titled “Greenfield Community Strong!” reads: “Let's remember to pray for our community and each citizen. We have youth who are quarantined, businesses struggling to stay open, and rumors swirling. The best advice we can offer to everyone is to pray for our current situations.
“We pray every morning for the wisdom to make the correct decisions on matters of village business, and we would recommend this for everyone. We're directed from the Bible in 1 Timothy 2:1-3 (KJV), ‘I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.’
“We may not know all the details surrounding this virus. We may not understand or agree with every mandate issued from our leaders, be it federal, state, or local. However, we should follow the guidance and instruction given in the Bible and pray for them ...”
As has happened across the state, the country, and the globe, restaurants and local businesses have been forced to change their operations or close altogether, Wilkin said in his report to council. People are concerned about the spread of the virus, he noted. “Much attention is being diverted toward COVID-19. I can honestly say this issue has consumed more of my energy and efforts than is possible to admit.”
Part of that has been communicating with business leaders who are struggling to understand what all of the mandates and quarantines mean.
He noted there is a tremendous amount of information that is being sought, but is oftentimes hard to obtain. Even so, the village is trying to keep up with the changes in the state government, but more importantly to the local governments.
The village has shared an immense amount of information on the Village of Greenfield, Ohio Facebook page from the Highland County Health Department, Paint Creek Fire District, and also Adena’s Facebook page. Like and follow these pages for the most up-to-date information for our community, he said.
Every morning the village has started the day with an update from local EMA (Emergency Management Agency) Director David Bushelman and the associated members of the EMA officers. As of Thursday, the meetings are moving to a teleconference call in order to adhere to the state guidelines of maintaining social distancing and keeping the meeting to under 50 people.
Wilkin encouraged those who may have concerns about their health to call their healthcare provider and explain the situation. If people go to the emergency room, they could be exposing others to illness and he said the hospital will not test a person without them meeting the COVID-19 criteria. There are numbers available for people to contact to ask questions and seek out guidance if they are sick. Those are: the Ohio Department of Health, 833-427-5634; the Highland County Health Department, 937-393-1941; and the Adena COVID-19 hotline, 740-542-7233.
After Tuesday morning’s meeting with the EMA office, Wilkin met with Hillsboro Mayor Justin Harsha, Safety Service Director Brianne Abbot, and Public Works Director Shawn Adkins to talk about mutual aid.
“This mutual aid extends beyond police mutual aid, and ensures we will assist each other in times of need, Wilkin said. “This is not a new thing, but rather solidifies what has been in place for years.”
As an example of how assistance might be provided, Wilkin brought up the municipalites’ wastewater treatment plants and the exchange of qualified operators should operators at either plant become ill.
“We want to thank Mayor Harsha for extending the offer to assist if necessary,” the city manager said.
CRISI grant will help railroad
In a bit of excellent news for Greenfield, the village was recently notified that it was awarded a CRISI (Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements) grant for much-needed improvements on Greenfield’s 29-mile rail spur. The total amount is more than $3.4 million and will cover improvements like tie replacement, the replacement of a couple crossings that are in poor shape, and several bridge replacements.
“We are extremely excited about this grant and the positive impact this will have on our railroad,” Wilkin said. “We will learn more about this grant and the execution thereof in the next few weeks, for example, when we can get started and the necessary criteria.”
Greenfield contact information
As a reminder, currently the police department’s lobby is closed, as are the city offices on the third floor of the city building. Residents can pay their water and sewer bills by phone by calling 937-981-2082, online through a link on the village’s website at greenfieldohio.net, by dropping off your payment in either the drop box on the first floor of the city building or in the drop box in the alley behind the city building, or by setting up a recurring payment from a bank account with the water department. If there is other business to be handled with the village offices, call at 937-981-3500. Also, youth league registration forms and payments may be dropped in the water/sewer department drop boxes mentioned above. For building department correspondence, email Holly Ellinger at email@example.com. For questions about council meetings and/or committee meetings, email Roberta Karnes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Forms for things like youth league, permit applications, ACH forms, and contractor registrations may be picked up in the lobby of the third floor.
Additional contact information includes Wilkin, email@example.com; public service director, firstname.lastname@example.org; finance office, email@example.com; and the water and sewer department, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The Greenfield Village Council meets in regular session the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers on the first floor of the city building. Updates and information are available on the Village of Greenfield, Ohio Facebook page and at greenfieldohio.net. The public meetings will continue unless mandated otherwise.