WEST MILTON — The West Milton village council swore in its new mayor, vice mayor and council member Tuesday night, its first action of the new year.
Mayor Anthony Miller, Vice Mayor Scott Hurst and council member Jason Land took their new seats on council. Councilwoman Sarah Copp was appointed council chairperson.
“I would just like to express my thanks to everybody for their support and for all the well wishes I’ve received throughout this process,” Miller said. “I’m following a couple of very good leaders.”
Outgoing mayor Scott Fogle wished his successor well and said he was looking forward to “sitting in a regular council seat.”
Council also declared an opening on council, which was created when Councilwoman Karen Grudich’s petition to run was rejected by the Miami County Board of Elections. The village will be taking applications for the seat until Friday, Jan. 19.
“Those applications can be turned into the city offices. At that point, we would be contacting anybody that applies for that and we would hold interviews for that position,” Miller said. “We encourage all members of the public that would be interested in joining council to apply for that position and we look forward to hearing from everybody that applies.”
Council heard the first reading of an ordinance amending the village’s community reinvestment area (CRA).
A CRA is an incentive program that abates property taxes for improved properties for a period of time. The CRA program provides property tax exemptions to property owners who renovate or construct new buildings in a certain area; in West Milton’s case, that area is the entire village and any future annexations.
A few months ago, staff realized that the village did not actually have a CRA program for residential properties, Municipal Manager Matt Kline said.
“We found an error that in 2006, council actually removed residential, but when it went to the printer, it wasn’t printed that way and we misread the codified,” Kline said.
The ordinance would restore a four year abatement for residential properties, which is what village staff “honestly thought we had,” Kline said.
“This does have an affect on Stillwater Crossing development. Stillwater Crossing cannot go to what is called the bond market until this legislation is actually passed,” Kline said.
Council is anticipating having a special meeting on Jan. 23 to vote on the ordinance, Kline added.
Hurst called for more discussion of the ordinance, pointing out that the village can only amend to expand the ordinance twice.
“I just want to make sure we don’t miss something,” he said. “At the end of the day, I want to be able to sit down with anyone in the community and say, ‘We explored everything.’”
Council also announced the winners of the Christmas pride awards. This year’s awards went to the Stonemont Court neighborhood, where neighbors coordinated on decorations including luminaries.
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