By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
The Village of Oxford Council held a combined special meeting and budget workshop on Tuesday, March 29. Topics discussed included art projects, grants and a draft version of the 2022-2023 budget. All votes were unanimous.
Village Manager Joe Madore presented the council with a draft budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, going through it over several hours. The budget forecasted a $14,000 deficit due to requests from the Department of Public Works and Oxford Village Police to each add one full-time position, but did not include the income that would come from dispensaries. The village will receive $5,000 from businesses renewing licenses and a payment per dispensary from the state.
The budget also worked through a variety of upcoming costs, such as paying for water main replacements and a new sign for Scripter Lake Park.
Several ideas were brought up by council members including raising wages and publishing fundraising opportunities on the village website to help with expenses like buying a new police car.
An updated version of the budget will be presented at the April 12 meeting, and a workshop will be held later in April.
The council discussed an email from an aea resident asking to replace the blue and gold ribbons along M-24 with new ones. The email included a poll showing support for replacing ribbons, but no information regarding where the poll came from and who responded.
The council was mixed on the issue, its primary concern being what students want. Some council members spoke with students before the meeting, though students did not provide a clear answer.
Oxford Fire Department Chief Pete Scholz recommended not replacing the ribbons as they tend to get dirty and neglected, and mentioned students and teachers he spoke with do not want ribbons back up. Oxford Public Library Director Bryan Cloutier mentioned whatever the council chooses to do should be different from the ribbons, which he says have recently been misinterpreted by visitors as Ukrainian flags.
The council will revisit the ribbons in the fall.
Stars of Hope
The council is pursuing a $7,050 Four County Community Foundation (4CCF) grant to install a Stars of Hope art display at 15 N. Washington St. Stars of Hope USA is an art therapy organization that allows communities affected by tragedies to paint and display wooden stars in the community. The grant will cover building and installing a wooden frame for the stars, digitization to preserve the stars and opening and closing ceremonies for the project.
The project was originally going to use the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) or the library as a fiduciary partner, but the DDA chose to not take the project on and Cloutier decided not to pursue the grant for the library since he would be on the 4CCF committee awarding the grant.
Water main and street project
The council accepted a $652,834.75 bid from Waldorf and Sons, Inc. for the 2022 water main and street paving project. The project will upgrade water mains in the village in accordance with Michigan’s lead and copper pipe rules.
The council submitted a request for $2 million in federal funds to the office of U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) to help pay for the projects. Slotkin is looking for projects for the Community Project Funding program.
DDA vacancy filled
The council appointed Angie Green of Evergreens Coffee and Bakeshop to replace Justin Wilcox on the DDA board. Wilcox resigned at the board’s last meeting, the remainder of his term to be finished by Green. She will be reappointed at the end of Wilcox’s