By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
The Oxford Village Council discussed plans for a memorial to the four Oxford High School students killed in the Nov. 30, 2021 shooting at a budget workshop on Wednesday, April 20.
The council set aside $7,000-8,000 in the parks budget for a memorial to be installed in Scripter Park. The memorial will consist of four trees along with benches, a boulder and a plaque.
Councilmember Maureen Helmuth suggested Scripter Park as the memorial’s location, saying “Every kid in Oxford eventually ends up in Scripter Park.” Helmuth imagined some materials like benches and the boulder could be donated and that the memorial would be dedicated in a small ceremony consisting of the affected families and police officers that responded to the shooting.
Councilmember Allison Kemp considered placing the memorial on village land alongside the Polly Ann Trail, though Scripter won out on the assumption it is the more active park among the two. Councilmember Ashley Ross argued to budget more funds so the village would not have to rely too much on donations; the original budgeted amount was in the $4,000-5,000 range.
No vote was held on the memorial idea, though work on the project could begin in the fall if approved.
The council voted 3-2 to maintain the operating millage at the rate of 11.12 mills. There was debate over raising the rate to pay for infrastructure projects like water line replacements and repairing roads, as well as lowering the rate due to incoming marijuana revenues and easing the burden from the general rise in prices. The decision to maintain the rate came down to it being an inopportune time to raise rates and that it would be too much of a hassle to raise the rate back to 11.12 mills if it was lowered now. Helmuth and Ross voted against maintaining the rate.
“We are not getting a lot done because our millage rate is low,” Helmuth said.
A truth in taxation hearing will occur at the May 10 regular council meeting.
The council considered adding a K-9 program for the Oxford Village Police, ultimately deciding not to pursue the training for one. A dog was made available to the village from Officer Tim Ellis, so long as the village funded the dog’s training. Reasons for rejecting the program included questions over the dog’s ability to pass training and the program’s cost. The Oxford Village Police uses dogs from other agencies when a search and rescue animal is required.
By Dean Vaglia