Thursday, May 25, 2000

Woodlawn's ways scrutinized

Leaders promise to change Family Days and finances

By Sara J. Bennett
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WOODLAWN — Village leaders are promising to change everything from the way Woodlawn handles its annual summer Family Days to the way officials handle finances.

        The promises came Wednesday when nearly 50 residents and village employees crowded council chambers with questions about how Woodlawn conducts business.

        Residents asked about the progress of a financial review leaders requested when they found the village's original 1999 budget overspent by several hundred thousand dollars.

        They asked about building a community center and getting a public safety levy on an upcoming election ballot.

        They also said they wanted Family Days to be less expensive and more community-service oriented.

        “Has it ever been addressed as to whether or not the community really wants (Family Days?)” resident Connie Brinker said. “My thought is, why not cut our losses and save some money?”

        Residents' questions came from surveys used to help Woodlawn review its charter. They come at a time when the village faces not just active economic growth but financial and personnel challenges as well as possible changes to the structure of its government.

        Woodlawn has several major developments along Springfield Pike (Ohio 4), and officials want to turn the corridor into a new downtown district.

        Meanwhile, Village Manager Carole Cornelison resigned this year amid complaints she did too much without consulting elected officials. A committee has been formed to find a replacement.

        Also leaving is Finance Director Roy Bornemann, who retires next week. A replacement is being sought, and Foxx & Co., the company doing Woodlawn's financial review, has agreed to help out.

        Issues discussed Wednesday include:

        „The financial review. It will be completed by Sept. 1, acting manager Marji Dogan said. It will tell village leaders exactly how much money Woodlawn has, as well as how much money has been spent without going through proper channels.

        „Family Days. The annual event, scheduled this year for Aug. 26 and 27, will continue, but it will have a different flavor, Mayor Susan Upton Farly said.

        This year, the village will seek sponsorships and donations of services.

        „Woodlawn's bathhouse and pool, which are scheduled to open June 12. Both have been plagued by delays and cost overruns. Just this month, council approved an additional $30,234 for unexpected pool safety expenses.

        „Residents asked council to consider asking for a tax increase to help fire and police services keep up with growth in the village.

        Woodlawn's Charter Review Commission will hold a public hearing in June to get more input from residents on changes they'd like to see in the village.

        The commission will present its recommendations in July, and residents will vote on them in November.


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- Woodlawn's ways scrutinized