As Miami University quieted down for its winter break lull, the City of Oxford conducted business as usual during its Dec. 18 and Jan. 15 meetings.
During the public participation portion of the Dec. 18 meeting, Oxford Farmers Market manager Larry Slocum delivered the start of his presentation to the tune of Simon and Garfunkel. “We’re All Foodies” became an instant hit among the meeting’s attendees.
Slocum announced that the Winter Farmers Market will expand, from being held once a month to the first and third Saturdays of each month. Slocum also introduced Tuesday Night Mini-Markets, which will begin in the spring.
The Oxford Farmers Market plans to formalize its internship program with Miami University. Slocum is looking for a Miami professor to oversee the program, which would potentially offer credit hours to students.
Council passed a new contract for the Oxford Police Employees Association at its Dec. 18 meeting. Under the new contract, all OPD employees will receive a 3 percent pay increase in 2019.
The contract also allows employees who do not wish to be a part of the union to opt out of paying union dues. However, those employees will still be represented by the union, reflecting the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Janus v. AFSCME.
Also at the meeting, Amelia Blankenship, a lawyer at Coolidge & Wall Co., was named the city attorney of Oxford for 2019. She will not be formally employed by the city, as former Oxford law director Steve McHugh was, but will instead work on by-project basis.
The Dec. 18 council meeting was McHugh’s last as the city’s law director after nearly 30 years of service.
The meeting concluded with an open discussion on potential legislation to regulate short-term rental properties in Oxford, specifically in response to the rise in number of Airbnb’s across Oxford. The legislation was written by the planning commission and revised by community development director Sam Perry.
Seemingly the only consensus reached was that the legislation needs to be reworked. Only a few of the potential revisions, such as requiring short-term rentals take place in the owner’s primary residence, were viable to be further developed.
At the Jan. 15 meeting, council approved the Oxford Fire Department’s purchase of a new ambulance. Miami University will pay one-third of the cost, as it has since 1996. The total cost of the new ambulance must not exceed $230,000, according to the department’s contract.
City manager Doug Elliott announced that the 45 East property has completed its internal restructuring and is beginning to plan renovations.
Elliott said the property owners will submit renovation plans for the Feb. 13 meeting of Oxford’s Historical and Architectural Preservation Committee.
Elliott said the Follett’s Co-Op Bookstore property owners are taking steps to environmentally clean up and remove oil tanks before moving forward with renovations.
Elliott said he is very optimistic about the future of the 45 East and Follett’s properties and their potential impact on the future of Uptown Oxford.