The newly formed Oak Dale Cemetery Board will hold its first meeting on June 16 after Urbana City Council confirmed the appointments of the board’s six inaugural members on Tuesday.
The five voting members of the board, all of whom were appointed by Mayor Bill Bean, include William Edwards Jr., an engineer; Gloria Malone, a genealogist; Lynn Reich, a county historian; Wayne Smith, a retired funeral director; and Tonya Barrett, a member of VFW Post 5451.
Council member Pat Thackery will be on the board as the lone nonvoting member.
“Each individual has their own expertise in a different area,” Bean said. “Eventually, we will probably look at expanding the board to get more people involved in it.”
In March, after conducting a review of procedures at the city-owned cemetery, Director of Administration Kerry Brugger told council he believed the cemetery would benefit from the oversight of a cemetery board. On April 19, council voted to establish the Oak Dale Cemetery Board to oversee operations and help the city put together a strategy for the long-term future of the cemetery.
Brugger said the board will meet initially to establish its officers and bylaws, while also ironing out a meeting schedule.
“There are a lot of things that need to be worked on (at the city-owned cemetery), but it’s an opportunity to prioritize and work with the administration to establish a budget and validate where the priorities are and how we are going to go about getting those issues addressed,” Brugger said. “I think we have a good core group starting.”
The new members will serve staggered three-year terms with no compensation.
“We will do the best we can do to make it work,” Thackery said.
Concerns about annexation, lifeguards’ pay
Urbana Township residents Bob Smith and Linda Erwin, both of whom live on Campground Road, addressed council with concerns over the possibility of their properties being annexed into the city if Urbana City Schools decides to build a school just outside city limits on South U.S. Route 68.
“We don’t want to be annexed into the city,” Smith said. “That is why we moved out there.”
Council President Marty Hess said if the school were to be built in the proposed location, the city has no authority to force anyone to be annexed into the city. He told the Campground Road residents that in this particular situation, “It takes the majority of you guys to be annexed in.”
In a separate matter, Kris Hamilton, a seasonal city employee, said lifeguards at the city pool are not paid a fair wage for the service they provide to the city.
Currently, city lifeguards are paid minimum wage, which stands at $8.10 an hour.
Hamilton said there are other city employees who make at least $10 an hour who don’t have the same liability that lifeguards at the city pool have.
“Lifeguards ought to be paid, I think, $10 an hour,” he said.
Based on his own estimates, Hamilton added, if the city were to increase lifeguard pay to $10 an hour, it would cost the city an additional $8,000 per year.
“I think an $8,000 increase in the budget … is a fair trade,” he said.
Brugger responded to Hamilton’s request by saying, “The challenge is we subsidize the pool out of the General Fund an additional $30,000 to $40,000 a year because it doesn’t bring in the revenue in order to keep things rolling.”
Administration agreed to look over the information provided by Hamilton and respond to his request in a timely manner.
In other business:
•Champaign County Municipal Court Judge Gil S. Weithman swore in Shawn Schmidt as the newest sergeant with the Urbana Police Division.
•Council agreed to pay $17,465 to Tree Care Inc., Dayton, for the removal of 11 trees and to grind 15 stumps at various locations throughout the city as part of the 2016 Tree Maintenance Program.
“Over the last few years, the (Urbana Shade) Tree Commission along with the city have put a priority on removing hazardous trees from our streets along the right of way areas of the city,” Community Development Manager Doug Crabill said. “We’ve made a big dent in removing a lot of the poor trees that need to be removed.”
Crabill added there are still some 50 to 100 trees citywide that need to come down, all of which lie within city right of way. Trees on private property will not be taken down by the city, he said.
•Council voted to move forward with the city’s long-term study of Dugan Run/Dugan Ditch by hiring EMH&T, Columbus, at a cost of $44,500 to complete phase two of the floodplain study by revising hydraulic and hydrologic analyses of the ditch.
“This next phase is basically taking the data that has been collected (during phase one) and doing modeling of the ditch that would then allow us in a future phase to go to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and update our floodplain maps within the city,” Crabill said. He added the hope is that improvements the city has made to the ditch over the years will result in changes to the floodplain maps that will result in properties being removed from the floodplain. In turn, that would allow property owners to save money on flood insurance.
•Council authorized the purchase of $40,000 worth of various maintenance supplies from EJP for use by the Water Division.
•A resolution authorizing Brugger to participate in the Ohio Department of Transportation’s annual winter road salt bid was passed on first reading following the suspension of the three-readings rule.
Brugger said the city will be requesting 700 tons of salt with delivery taking place next June.
•In response to council member Tony Pena’s concerns over juveniles reportedly participating in acts of vandalism throughout the city, Police Chief Matt Lingrell reminded residents there is a citywide curfew of 10 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends for individuals under the age of 18.
In a given year, Lingrell said, his department hands out 20 warnings and between six to 10 citations for violating the curfew.
•The Urbana Compost Facility is currently out of mulch, but the city is working to get more prepared, Brugger said.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.