My name is Duane Weber and I am a lifelong resident of Rutland. I am also a Rutland Village Council Member. In case you have not heard, Rutland Village has “New Management”. Most of the former Council and the Mayor resigned late last year leaving the town with no leadership and no direction. That plus other issues had caused Rutland to be on the verge of insolvency. The following residents have come forward to lead.
Current Council Members and Staff are:
- Cliff Kennedy — President of Council and also recently retired from Meigs Local Schools;
- Rick Bolin — lifelong resident of Rutland Village and also recently retired;
- Steve Jenkins — who has lived in Rutland for many years and has valuable previous experience on Council;
- Kimberly Willford — lifelong resident of the Village and active resident;
- Lowell Vance — former Mayor who has volunteered to stay on till the new council gets going;
- Duane Weber — lifelong resident and previous Council Member.
- Our new Mayor is Michael Biggs, who is retired military and brings a fresh perspective and “can do” attitude to Village issues.
- We have also hired Kim Dodd as our fiscal officer and thus far is doing a fine job of getting things in order.
- Our Village Police Officers are Brad Larsen and Ralph Groves.
Our Council Meetings are held the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month and invite the public to attend.
This new council, along with our Mayor, have all come together to put service above self and decided to serve. We are dedicated to turning things around in the town after years of neglect, mismanagement, apathy and theft by some former employees. Our goal is to make Rutland a great place to live…a place of community and families taking pride in their hometown.
But we recognize we have a long way to go to get there and ask for your help and patience. We are currently going through records(the ones we can find anyway) and trying to get organized and get a clearer picture of the many matters the Village is dealing with. We are determined that from this point forward, things will be done the correct way! We are also determined to be good stewards of the Village finances. With that being said, for various reasons leading up to this point, the town has very limited funds at present and limited income sources coming in to work with as well. Property taxes, a portion of the County Sales Tax, a permissive license plate fee and fines are about the only income revenues we have.
In short, we need your help. As they say, we are all in this together and we are a community. Volunteer, get involved, help your neighbor, etc. We welcome your ideas on ways to make Rutland a better place, especially ways to increase revenue. It could be as simple as paying your property taxes. There are many properties in the Village that are delinquent and our portion of those taxes could make a huge difference in us being able to provide services back to the town. We have talked about having a sponsorship program where we could have a framed board recognizing those that have given financially to the Village…possibly at different levels of giving. Another idea is to ask for “pledges” in which residents would agree to make a monthly dollar amount, such as $10 to $20 a month. Please let us know what you think. Any comments will be appreciated. There is a yellow “drop box” outside of the Civic Center where you can drop off any ideasyou may have (anonymously if you like) or you can contact any council member or village official.
One idea we have come up with is to have a Rutland Community Yard and Craft Sale June 1 and 2. The Civic Center will be for craft vendors and craft spaces are available for $25 each. The James Vennari Park will be featuring the yard sales and spaces there will be available for $10 each. There will also be four spaces available under the shelter house for $25 each. All spaces require sellers to furnish their own tables (with the exception of the shelter house) and chairs. We are also asking other residents who chose to have yard sales on their own to donate $10 to the Village as we will be promoting the event as “Community Wide” and it is for fundraising for the Village finances. Contact either Kim Dodd (740-508-7546) or Kimberly Willford (740-416-6918) for more information as they are co-chairing the event.
Also, keep in mind that there is a new organization called “Friends of Rutland” which has been doing great things and would be a good place for those of you wanting to get involved to get started.
I started this letter by saying, “I am a lifelong resident of Rutland.” That is something I am very proud of. My late father, Vernon, was the Clerk/Treasurer for years before his passing in 1983. There have been many, many others who have also served the town over the years. Rutland has a rich history we can all be proud of…from memories of Rutland High School’s “Red Devils” ball games to the Firemen’s annual 4th of July Ox Roast. We owe it to all of those who have served in our past to insure that those and other memories yet to be made will continue to endure for years to come.
Councilman Duane Weber authored this letter on behalf of the new Rutland Village of Council to inform the village residents. Letters will also be distributed in the village in the coming weeks.