OXFORD – Oxford City Council met Tuesday, June 18, after a month-long break due to the July4, holiday.
The meeting began with Mayor Kate Rousmaniere reading a proclamation dedicating the week of July 29 to fraternity Phi Delta Theta. The fraternity will hold its annual Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute from July 30 to Aug. 2, bringing members into Oxford from across the country.
During the meeting, Dr. Mark Morris from Miami University introduced 19 “Summer Scholars” students who were in attendance. This program is one which brings academically gifted high school students to the university for an intensive two-week program.
The first item discussed was one to authorize the city manager to notify the Oxford Township Board of Trustees of the city’s intent to end the current revenue sharing agreement between the City of Oxford and Oxford Township, effective Feb. 7, 2017.
Over the last seven years the city has paid Oxford Township $107,483, but the city sees no notable benefit, officials said.
Council also discussed supporting the submission of a grant application for Ohio Public Works Commission Issue 1 funds. The application will be for $189,750 and the grant, if approved, will be used to reconstruct Sandra Drive Bridge over Collins Run.
Oxford Police Division submitted three different resolutions for approval:
• A resolution in support of the School Resource Officer Program agreement between Talawanda City School District and the City of Oxford. They entered into an agreement with the three schools in Oxford in the spring and this resolution would be a continuation of that agreement. The city would provide an officer in the schools for at least 24 hours per week.
• A resolution authorizing the city manager to accept a grant agreement of $225,000 with the Ohio Department of Public Safety to participate and coordinate as Lead Agency with the Countywide OVI Taskforce.
• A resolution allowing the city manager to purchase three Ford Fusion vehicles (at $53,721) and to dispose of two unneeded vehicles through auction. Police Chief John Jones noted, “For several years we’ve only purchased two vehicles and a report several years ago said we should be purchasing three vehicles every year to keep up with our fleet.”
The first ordinance on the agenda for an initial reading sought approval of the Planning Commission’s recommendation for preliminary plan approval of a new single-family housing development between Olde Farm Road and Country Club Drive. The plan would bring 50 new homes to the community, something that Oxford needs if it wants to continue to grow, officials said, however, current residents pointed out what they considered flaws in the preliminary plan.
Some of the arguments included:
• The plan only takes into consideration an insignificant amount of wetlands that exist on the land. Many citizens voiced their concerns that their backyards operated as wetlands and thus should be protected and not encroached upon.
• On Country Club Drive the sidewalk abruptly ends, but there are a growing amount of children who live in the neighborhood. With the increase in houses many people are worried about these children’s safety, as traffic is bound to increase.
• This new development will drive the property value down on many people’s houses, because it may make this neighborhood too dense.
In other business, a second ordinance up for initial reading was one which would make adjustments to the amended tax budget for health care reimbursements and to make appropriation for Fire & EMS training/equipment.
Council also held a second reading of an ordinance repealing the current one concerning taxi-cabs and replacing it with a new ordinance. Two issues with this ordinance were discussed during a previous meeting: operator (driver) qualifications and insurance requirements.
During the first reading, it was proposed if an applicant had a felony on his or her record, he or she could not be a licensed driver. A concerned member of the public pointed out ex-criminals already have a hard time finding legitimate work. City officials decided to mimic the taxi-cab standards of Akron. The ordinance will note ex-felons who have had sexual offense convictions and/or drug sale convictions can not operate as a cab driver. Also at issue during the first reading was the amount of insurance required, which was decreased for the revised ordinance.
The next meeting of Oxford City Council will be Aug. 2, at Oxford’s courthouse.