OXFORD — Oxford City Council met on Tuesday, Dec. 20, for a final meeting for 2016.
During public comments resident Tom Hicks issued his complaints on Uptown’s holiday free parking. The Oxford Police Department waives parking meter fees during the holiday season to encourage people to shop local, but Hicks has noticed the cars parking Uptown are not moving. He believes it is employees taking advantage of the free parking and monopolizing it.
Hicks believes there should be a compromise. Free parking is a good thing, but his customers cannot get to his business. He urged council to consider a parking limit or limiting the free parking next year.
OPD Chief John Jones informed Hicks there is a limit, but he is going to look into whether it is being enforced appropriately.
Prue Dana took the podium to bring to council’s attention a correspondence she has gotten from Duke Energy asking her household if they would like to leave the city’s aggregation program.
Because Oxford deregulated electricity, Duke is allowed to send out these letters asking residents to change how they received their energy.
The city cannot prohibit these letters, but there has been confusion regarding what they mean. This will give the city an opportunity to explain the history behind these correspondents.
Council member Edna Southard suggested putting information regarding Duke and uptown parking prominently on the city’s website.
There were three resolutions approved during the meeting:
•A resolution authorizing the city manager to apply for the 2017 Local Government Safety Capital grant program. With this grant, officials will propose to remove the Oxford Township-owned tanker truck and the second line fire engine owned by the city. Once those are gone, they would purchase one vehicle that is capable of both or either tasks. The city would own the vehicle. The current tanker is 27 years old and the engine is 22 years old, and both are in dire need of replacement, according to city staff. This project will cost $540,000, and the grant will come in the amount of $200,000. It will cost the city, Miami University, and Oxford Township $113,334 each.
•A resolution approving a contract between the City of Oxford and Oxford Police Sergeants and Lieutenants, Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 38 and authorizing the city manager and the city law director to sign the contract on behalf of the city. The existing contract will expire on Dec. 31 and the current contract proposed is for 3 years, from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2019.
•A resolution addressing the wage reopener as part of the current contract between the City of Oxford and the Non-Commissioned Police Division employees and authorizing the city manager and the city law director. Non-Commissioned Police Division employees currently have a contract dated Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2018, but the contract allows a wage reopener suggesting an increase of 4 percent. The term of a side letter allowing for the wage reopener will be from January 2017 to Dec. 31, 2018.
In other business, council held second readings of:
•An ordinance allowing amendments to the Charter of the City of Oxford to be submitted to voters and placed on the ballot at the next general election. Oxford’s charter was adopted by voters in 1960 with a provision that the city council had to appoint a Charter Review Commission every 10 years. Commission members Steve Dana, Edna Southard, Richard Keebler, Steve Snyder, and Corey Watt recommended changes to the charter which will be placed on next year’s ballot and voted on by the electors of Oxford.
•An ordinance granting a zoning map amendment to establish a neighborhood conservation overlay district on Quail Ridge Drive.
•An ordinance amending Ordinance No. 3335 to make supplemental appropriations for Fiscal Year 2016.
City Manager Doug Elliott commented on the work session that had brought an update on Oxford’s upcoming Amtrak train station. They received an update on how that effort is coming along.
Chief Jones shared his concern with burglary issues over break. Over extended breaks, OPD tends to focus their efforts on burglary prevention. There have been a rash of burglaries over this winter break. There is a vacant house list residents can put themselves on, so while they are on vacation OPD will check the house for unlocked doors. OPD encourages landlords to check on their properties, not only for signs of break-ins, but for burst pipes or mechanical issues.
Community Development Director Jung-Han Chen shared they have received 16 inquires in three days on the Recreational Trail. The opening date for bids for this is Jan. 22, 2017 and following that Chen will be returning to council for discussion on Phase I construction.
Economic Development Director Alan Kyger shared various openings and closings of Oxford businesses. Scotty’s Brewhouse will open mid January, an Asian Market will be opening uptown, Mexican restaurant La Pinata has closed, and a karaoke bar has opened on Poplar Street.
Miami Coach Chuck Martin bought the last 19 of the Lion’s Club Christmas trees, helping the Lion’s Club to sell all of their trees again this year.
City offices will be closed on Jan. 2, 2017 due to the holiday. The next Oxford City Council meeting will be held Jan. 3, at 7:30 p.m.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH