WEST ALEXANDRIA — Village Council followed through on several initiatives discussed during previous sessions at its second bi-monthly meeting Tuesday night, including voting to fill the position of a terminated employee and posting an updated job description for a village administrator.
Council voted to place a job posting for a part-time administrator at its Jan. 21 meeting. Newly appointed mayor Jeff Hickey had previously given council an ultimatum involving the hiring of a new administrator. The post has remained vacant since May 2019.
Mayor Hickey indicated he had received only two resumes since the position was posted, and that both had been withdrawn once the candidates learned that it was a part-time position offering no benefits.
Hickey suggested placing an updated ad calling for a full-time administrator who would also possess the skills needed to assume the duties of a street department service worker.
Council members Dan Utsinger and Shannon Smith agreed that a full-time position with benefits would be more attractive to potential applicants.
“It’s got to improve our chances,” Smith said. Council voted unanimously to create and post a description for the updated position.
Council also voted to post an ad for a new village fiscal officer. Mayor Hickey requested that former Fiscal Officer Wendy Chesney be removed from her position at a special meeting held Feb. 12, citing bills not being paid on time, minutes from previous meetings being submitted late, and a “general lack of ability to perform her duties in a proper and timely manner.”
Council president Ashley Myers made a motion at that time to remove Chesney, which was seconded by council member Holly Robbins. Chesney objected, arguing that a lack of help and being expected to perform duties not outlined in her job description had prevented her from performing adequately. Council ultimately voted 4-2 to remove Chesney, with Utsinger and Smith voting against the measure.
In other business:
•Councilmen Utsinger and Zach Shafer introduced a motion to cash in a $50,000 certificate of deposit held by the village. The funds would be used to purchase and demolish a blighted property located at 10 N. Main St., with approximately $7,500 going toward the purchase of the property and the remainder to be put toward demolition.
Shafer and Utsinger had been authorized to negotiate a purchase agreement with the property’s owner and secure quotes for the cost of its demolition during council’s Jan. 21 meeting, with Myers and councilman Geoff Justice voting against.
•A village resident raised concerns about flooding taking place on Marty Lane in West Alex, saying she’d contacted the village and the Preble County Engineer’s Office about the issue, which is apparently caused by drainage problems related to the construction of two nearby cul-de-sacs.
“Last year our house was almost flooded several times, and we do not live in a flood zone,” she said. “It keeps getting worse year after year. Our lawn gets lower and lower and the water gets higher and higher.”
Utsinger indicated council was looking for grant funds to help address the issue, saying it was expected to be an approximately $100,000 project.
Finally, council voted to return the village to a schedule of one meeting per month. Utsinger suggested the move during the Jan. 14 work session, drawing agreement from most council members. The village began holding two meetings per month approximately a year and a half previously, according to Mayor Hickey.
“Ninety-five percent of our work should be done outside the meetings anyway,” Utsinger said in January. “I think this is a case of more is not always better.”
West Alexandria Village Council meetings will now take place the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Twin Valley South Middle School Media Center.