Clerk of Council Linda Cantrell announces retirement


By Matt Clevenger

For the Miami Valley Today

WEST MILTON — Members of the West Milton Village Council have announced the retirement of clerk of council Linda Cantrell, after more than 30 years of service.

“For the past 30 years, Ms. Cantrell has been our clerk,” Mayor Anthony Miller said. “She has been through a lot with us. She has been through many councils, and she has always done an excellent job.”

“I would like to say thank you for all the hard work you have always done,” he said.

Council members announced Cantrell’s retirement during their regularly scheduled work session on Tuesday, June 22. Cantrell plans to retire on August 31.

“Congratulations,” Vice-Mayor Scott Hurst said. “You’ve more than earned it. We’re going to miss you.”

“Being new, I’ve always felt welcomed by you when I come here,” Council Member Tim Dues said. “I’m sure that you will be missed.”

“We appreciate everything you’ve done,” Miller said.

In other business, council also discussed results from a recent survey of council members’ goals and priorities for the village in 2021. The survey was conducted by new Municipal Manager D. Jeffrey Sheridan in preparation for a formal resolution that will be read at council’s next meeting.

“There are no wrong answers,” Sheridan said of the survey. “It’s a tool that staff can use to allocate time and resources.”

Ranked from fewest responses to the most, council members’ top priorities and goals include Stillwater Crossings, economic development, code enforcement, the village’s water utility contract with the city of Troy, and creating an updated comprehensive plan.

“That ranked the highest for all of council,” Sheridan said. “I don’t think there’s any question, our number one priority from now until the end of the year should be starting to update our comprehensive plan.”

“In my experience, a comprehensive plan that’s done well will take anywhere from nine to 12 months,” he said.

In their survey responses, some council members suggested the creation of a “bark park” in the village, repair of the park retention wall, and upgrades to the village’s website.

“I would hope that this can be the catalyst for discussion going forward,” Sheridan said.

Council members also heard an update on the village’s new trash collection program.

“I think the village did a great job of initiating the service,” Sheridan said. “We’re still going through a process of fine-tuning and learning what works and what doesn’t work.”

Several council members reported complaints from residents regarding bulk pick-up items and yard waste.

“I know there were some questions about bulk pick-up,” Miller said.

The village is asking residents to bag all yard waste and put it out for collection on Fridays. Residents with other bulk items should call the municipal building at (937) 698-1500 to schedule pick-up.

“The key is if you’re not sure, call us,” Sheridan said.

“The problem is it fluctuates so much,” he said. “We’ve gone from unlimited bulk pick-ups to trying to do 30 per week.”

Village staff are currently working on stickers that would tell residents the reason why any specific item was not picked up. Council members discussed the possibility of creating a special web page on the village’s site devoted to trash collection services or opening the village dump on Saturday once per month.

“I think this will even out,” Service Director Ben Herron said. “It’s going to take a little while to really get this down.”

Council members also discussed the possibility of re-evaluating village water rates, and several reports of residents’ utility bills that have jumped up recently with no obvious explanation.

“A thorough review of village infrastructure conditions, along with the currently planned improvements in the next three to five years are crucial,” Sheridan said. “I would also include in this review a rate study, to confirm that adequate resources are being generated to fund the maintenance and re-investment in the system.”

“No one likes to have their rates raised,” he said. “Everybody thinks it’s too high, but you’ll do a disservice to your community if you don’t periodically examine your rates, determine if they are adequate or not and if necessary, make some slight adjustments.”

“It never makes sense to lower the rates,” Sheridan said. “At some point in the future, you’ll have to go back and raise it even more. If you get it in the right place, and you plan to do very small, typically annual increases to keep up with inflation and the costs of everything else, you won’t have any double-digit increases; that’s what really hits people the hardest.”

Council also heard several reports of residents with utility bills rising suddenly.

“There have been no changes in utility rates anytime recently,” Sheridan said. “That means it’s got to be usage.”

“If anyone has questions or concerns about a bill, please have them contact us and we’ll take a look at it,” he said.

Village council’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 13.

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