WA Council talks schedule, increases

By Nathan Hoskins - [email protected]

WEST ALEXANDRIA — West Alexandria Village Council held its final meeting for 2022 on Monday, Dec. 19, and deliberated for several hours on topics including the 2023 meeting schedule, previously tabled business, water rate increases, and departmental reports.

Council received reports from members of West Alexandria Fire and EMS, and the Police Department, concerning staffing and payroll issues. Currently, due to the size and income of the village, all departments are struggling to fill empty positions and fund their current employees with the growing rate of inflation. According to members of West Alexandria EMS, departments across Preble County are losing employees for similar reasons, stating, “The days of volunteer departments are over.”

EMS requested payroll raises in the form of $1.50 per hour to retain those already working with the department, wishing to reward employees for their “loyalty” to the village, when more lucrative positions exist within the county.

Council members Geoff Justice and Ashley Myers voted against the raise, while members Zach Shafer, Dan Utsinger, Holly Robbins and Candace Moore voted in favor.

Council moved to executive session to discuss a number of personnel issues concerning fire, EMS and police, including pay increases, department promotions, and policy updates.

In other business:

•Council established its meeting schedule for as well as times and location.

Monday, Jan. 9, 7 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m.

Monday, March 20, 7 p.m.

Monday, April 17, 7 p.m.

Monday, May 15, 7 p.m.

Monday, June 19, 7 p.m.

Monday, July 17, 7 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 21, 7 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 18, 7 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 16, 7 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 20, 7 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 18, 7 p.m.

Location: West Alexandria EMS

•Council approved a membership bill for OML in the amount of $470.

•Council reimbursed Police Chief Eric Stevens $316.64, spent on a trip on behalf of the village.

•Council voted to table a new ordinance to establish the utility billing clerk as a full-time position with benefits.

“I personally don’t think we should vote on that until the water rate increase – I mean, there’s a lot of other things we’re working on, to get finalized. Just my personal opinion,” said council member Dan Utsinger. “Whether it be next meeting, or February or March.” Council members Geoff Justice and Ashley Myers voted in opposition to tabling the motion, but were out-voted.

•Council voted in full solidarity to approve the second reading of an ordinance providing a rate increase for water system services.

•Council voted on and approved an increase in cost of bulk water tokens, with only councilmember Zach Shafer voting against.

By Nathan Hoskins

[email protected]

Reach Nathan Hoskins at 937-683-4057

Reach Nathan Hoskins at 937-683-4057