With 2020 in the rearview mirror, the focus of Greenfield’s first regular council meeting of 2021 was on the achievements of a challenging year, as well as what’s ahead.
In city manager Todd Wilkin’s report, he highlighted some of the things that have been accomplished despite all the obstacles that have come with life during a pandemic.
The long-awaited gateway water meter reading system was installed mid-year in 2020, and Wilkin said it has likely saved not only thousands of gallons of water, but also thousands of dollars to residents whose leaks have been detected early. The system reads meters twice a day, allowing for real-time observance of water usage, and therefore alerting to potential issues immediately rather than discovery after the once-a-month meter read is completed.
Also last year, and following completion of a much-needed project on Mill Street that saw the repair and replacement of sewer and water infrastructure as well as the addition of curbs, gutters, and sidewalks, was the paving of Mill Street. Also paved were portions of Spring, Lyndon and Sixth streets.
“This is just the start of many paving projects we want to get completed in 2021,” Wilkin said.
The City Building also got a needed new roof, and the clock tower was refurbished, the latter thanks to the Greenfield Foundation and private citizens.
Neglected properties have plagued the village and its residents, but last year three of those derelict homes were torn down. The village is currently working on several more blighted properties that will either be demolished or renovated in the coming year. The matter of blighted properties is currently in the hands of the village’s new law director, Hannah Bivens.
Wilkin noted that Bivens is currently working on legislation to come before council at its next regular session that will name Gary Lewis, Greenfield’s current public service director, as the new finance director for the village. Carolyn Snodgrass, the village’s current finance director, will become an assistant to the position. As Snograss plans to retire this year, she will help facilitate a smooth transition.
Lewis is a former auditor for the city of Hillsboro.
Despite the challenges of 2020, Greenfield’s general fund carryover into 2021 is more than $421,000. That is more than $132,000 above last year’s carryover, and more than $222,000 above the carryover from 2018 to 2019.
Wilkin attributed the positive financial position, especially with all financial matters being impacted by the pandemic, to the the village’s team of “great people working hard every day to protect the taxpayer dollars.”
“Finances are essential to the decisions we make for our community. With our fantastic team’s assistance, we have accomplished so much work and increased our financial standing,” he added. “I want to thank the village council, the village employees, all of our volunteers, and social groups that have worked hard throughout 2020 to make Greenfield a wonderful community. I believe we have much to build upon from last year’s successes.”
The city manager also announced in his report to council that Shawna McCoy will be joining the water department in mid-January. She will be taking over for Bev Giffin, who is retiring next month. Wilkin said that Snodgrass, who has years of experience in the water department, will assist the office as it transitions with Giffin’s retirement.
Other things coming up include the renovation of the former council chambers on the first floor of the City Building. Two offices will be built there, plus a new evidence room for the police department. Wilkin said the current evidence room is full, and because the police department “continues to do good work for the community, we are collecting more and more evidence that needs to be stored.”
Two proposals were submitted this week to Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission to help Greenfield with two traffic studies — one at the intersection of Mill Street and North Washington Street, and the other in front of the old Shopko building where the Highland County Community Action Organization’s new offices are located. Wilkin cited a concern for motorists in those areas and said the village would like to know if traffic lights or a change in traffic patterns are needed.
The yard waste site will be open Friday, Jan. 8 from noon to 4 p.m. and again on Saturday, Jan. 9 from 8 a.m. to noon to receive yard waste materials, especially dead Christmas trees. The yard waste site is located at the village’s wastewater treatment facility at 187 Lost Bridge Rd., which is off of Rapid Forge Road.
Due to COVID-19, the city offices on the third floor remain closed to the public. To reach the office by phone, call 937-981-3500, or reach the following by email: city manager Todd Wilkin, firstname.lastname@example.org; public service director Gary Lewis, email@example.com; finance director Carolyn Snodgrass, firstname.lastname@example.org; and for building and permits, cemetery, or council matters, email Sherry Parker at email@example.com. To reach the water and sewer department, call 937-981-2082, or email Bev Giffin at firstname.lastname@example.org or or Kathy Patton at email@example.com.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the village of Greenfield.