ANIMATED DISCUSSION…Edon Village Council held some animated discussions about a number of topics during the July 6, 2021 Tuesday evening meeting. From left to right are Council members Brook Morris and Mike Lirot, Mayor Duane Thiel and Council member Lee Lawrence. At this moment, Mayor Thiel was reading the condominium ordinance. (PHOTO BY REBECCA MILLER, STAFF)
By: Rebecca Miller
Edon Village Council met for the second meeting of the month, for the first time since approval by a majority determined they should meet more than once a month.
The reasoning behind it is that business can be addressed more often and more quickly, according to Councilman Lee Lawrence.
Some of the other council members seemed to think the meeting was an “auxiliary meeting” or “Lee’s meeting”, but Fiscal Officer Heidi Bidwell explained that it would be a regular meeting just like the one they have held for years on the first Monday of each month.
Now they will be holding two regular meetings, instead of one per month. She plans to present her financial items for approval only at the second meetings, on the third Monday of the month.
There were no committee reports. It was noted that the village needs playground equipment. Village Administrator reported that the waterway is in and the pavement portion of the project still needs to be done.
Council voted on the second reading of “Ordinance 05-21 Amendments to Zoning Code.” It adopts amendments concerning Condominiums minimum lot area and yard set backs, location of detached garages, period of time temp structures are permitted, etc. In discussion it was asked by Councilman Brook Morris if it could be excluded from Rocky Addition.
With no lawyer present it was agreed that they would find out the answer to that and discuss it at the next meeting and that they want to have the lawyer present at that meeting. When the vote was taken for the second reading, two council members voted against and three in favor so it passed.
In New Business Mayor Duane Thiel presented “Resolution 04-21 Declaring it necessary to levy a tax in excess of the ten mill limitation.” (It needs to be passed to file with the election board by the August deadline to be placed on the November 2, 2021 ballot.).
Mayor Thiel clarified that this is just a renewal, not a new levy, and they are going for .5 a mill which is 5 cents of each one hundred dollars. Council voted to suspend the three reading rule and approve the resolution.
Council member Dave Loughborough brought up his concern that there is a need to “clean up or clarify the Codified Ordinances” about zoning especially.
He said he feels, “It comes down to what we have the stomach to do and who is in charge of doing it. How would you like us to proceed.”
He used the repair or laying of sidewalks as an example of how things change over time and that sometimes things are enforced and then other years they are not.
The council got caught up in a long discussion about sidewalks and the ordinances concerning them; whether people have had to pay for them or not and whether the town should just do it and assess the residents; what happens if a new council is voted in and they decide not to do that, so then it seems unfair; so what do we do to fix the inconsistencies.
The discussion kept coming back to what the real topic of concern was, and the statement was made that it needs to be determined who will enforce it if something is determined, like weeds have to be taken care of, or sidewalks have to be put in, etc.
It was also agreed that they need a lawyer present to help them determine the answers. It all came down to the question, “Who is in charge?” Is it the mayor, or the council, or the Fiscal officer or the Village Administrator?
Bidwell said that each council has different priorities and they should just choose what they want done and she would be willing to enforce it if they direct her to do so, which is the job of the council.
At that point someone also said that it needs to be written into future ordinances or amended ordinances, who is responsible for enforcement. The statement was made that there is so much confusion because, “at the end of the day no one is in charge.”
Other comments heard during the meeting included, “That’s politics!” “We want to focus on who’s in charge and get things done.” “It does need to be delegated by elected officials and then done by hired employees.” “It’s not really about sidewalks.” “We have stirred up a hornets nest.” “Council needs to have the backbone to stand behind the employees.”
Council decided to hold another Ordinance Committee meeting at 6 p.m. on August 2, 2021 after they have researched and studied the situation.
They also stated that they want the Mayor, lawyer and Village Administrator present for that meeting. The next Regular meeting is scheduled for July 19, 2021 at 7 p.m.
Rebecca can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org