Scouts take part in meeting
Boy Scouts from Oxford Troop 13 filled the Nov. 14 borough council meeting working toward their citizenship badges, and to make a presentation to council.
The troop showed council members a display case housing the two large hand axes that were used to hew the logs for the Oxford Youth Cabin over 100 years ago. The cabin off Lincoln Street is still used regularly by Boy and Girl Scouts.
The troop got to see how council works through discussion items and approvals of purchases, but there were few decisions made. Instead, many agenda items opened the way for things to come.
One of those topics is the proposal to put up kiosk style parking in the currently unmetered lots between Broad and Hodgeson and the former bank-owned lot opposite the Oxford Library. Along with creating more metered spaces, there is a proposal to double parking rates to 50 cents per hour.
“This is not necessarily the first step toward a parking garage,” council member Peggy Russell cautioned.
The 2017 budget will be discussed at the next meeting on Nov. 21, with starting time for that topic beginning at 6 p.m. At this point it does not appear that a tax increase will be needed.
Council has been asked by the Union Fire Company to increase contributions to the fire department and the ambulance company for the coming year. The contract sent to council requests $53,211.38 for the fire company and $22,471 for the ambulance.
Borough Manager Brian Hoover cautioned council that just because those amounts have been requested, they do not necessarily have to agree to those figures. “You have the prerogative to set the rate,” he said. “That is not a function they have. They don’t have a right to do it.”
Hoover came under fire from residents during the public comment portion of the meeting for the way property maintenance code violations are being addressed since he took over the position this year.
Hoover himself was credited with professionalism and courtesy, but the codes enforcement contractors were criticized for not having identification and for handing out tickets without explaining the violations or warning people that there were problems.
Council agreed that the first contact about a violation should be a warning, but after that there will be tickets. “This is going to be a new learning curve with enforcing the ordinances. We try to be diligent,” council President Ron Hershey said.