SYRACUSE — Syracuse Village Council held its regular meeting Wednesday as the council chambers overflowed with attendees.
“This is probably the most people that have been in here since 2002,” declared Mayor Eric Cunningham.
In addition to a representative of the village’s insurance company, a set of homeowners requesting assistance with lawn drainage, and residents cooperating on a property issue, around an additional half dozen residents attended the meeting as a group.
They voiced concerns about safety, and the general state and direction of the village.
The council hosted a two-hour discussion, which addressed visibility of local government proceedings, effectiveness of the police force, symptoms and causes of urban decay, financial perplexities of the village’s public swimming pool, the sets of legal codes applicable to the village, and methods by which residents could be more involved in governing.
Normal council business followed.
A resident, deemed the group’s unofficial spokesperson, summarized they wanted ways to “stay more informed, and improve the situation overall,” describing that “the town is just not what it used to be,” and concluding, “how do we become more involved?”
Councilperson Debbie Clay welcomed the active input, asserting “You just did.”
“It’s great to see this many people here. I’d like to see this many people more often,” Clay continued, which was echoed by other council members.
Syracuse officials in general disagreed with negative assessments of the town’s trajectory, but were frank about their decision making process and the revenue shortfalls they said hinder village operations.
The group departed the meeting having hammered out volunteer roles and setting small group sessions with village officials to give more direct feedback and identify solutions.
The village’s insurance was renewed through the Ohio Plan, an risk pool focusing on coverage for government entities, following a presentation by an Ohio Plan representative.
The council held a first reading of an ordinance to allow charging a fee for fire department services at car accidents. Council members indicated they would pursue automobile insurance companies rather than individuals.
Councilperson Scott Wolfe requested the session agenda be available prior to council meetings, to allow relevant information to be gathered in advance by village officials.
Councilperson Eber Pickens, Jr. outlined the status of pool repairs, and estimated opening day would be delayed less than a week. He also gave an overview of a variety of cost saving/revenue generating measures implemented recently regarding the pool, but asked for ideas and coordination from the public.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of Syracuse Village Council is June 8 at 7 p.m. in the Syracuse Village Hall.
Michael Hart is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing