In a nice bit of accidental timing, the next portion of the League of Women Voters-published Know Your Town has to do with those areas of village life in the forefront of many residents’ minds..
A lot has changed, in ways big and small, in the 50-plus years since this booklet was printed.
It was standard in the early 60’s to use masculine pronouns only in such publications, particularly ironic today, since the mayor, village manager and a majority of Council members are women.
The map of precincts has totally changed, and those who have lived here long enough will remember that the single-digit system of precinct identification was changed to a three-letter system before the current three-digit system. In addition, the polling places have been consolidated into one (currently Antioch University Midwest).
One of the advantages of living in a small town is that the citizen may be close to his government and play an active art in it. Meetings of the school board, Village Council and Planning Commission are open to the public. Public officials are always aware of the attitudes of the people.
An indication of the alertness of the town is the fact that it has a charter form of government—not copied from a textbook but developed by a commission of local people to fit the particular needs of Yellow Springs.
The Preamble to the Charter is:
“We, the people of the Village of Yellow Springs, Ohio, in order to secure maximum benefits of local self-government and to promote our common welfare by efficient organization for the management of our village affairs, adopt the following Charter”—November 7, 1950.
The government of Yellow Springs is the kind of representative democracy which makes it easy for any person to discuss a problem face-to-face with any of his representatives, and to make his opinion heard at official level. The diagram on the opposite page shows the close relationship of the voter to the elective bodies of the village.
The chief policy-making group is the five-member Village Council, elected every two years. The Council elects one of its members president and he presides at Council meetings and executes legal instruments for the village. Councilmen are paid $5.00 for each meeting attended.
THE COUNCIL has the power to:
- appoint and remove the Village Manager.
- establish, change, and abolish administrative departments and define their powers, duties and responsibilities.
- set pay for officers and employees of the village subject to right of appeal.
- adopt the budget of the village.
- borrow money and authorize the issuance of bonds and notes by ordinance.
- enter into contracts and franchises.
- inquire into the conduct of any agency of the village and make investigations as to municipal affairs.
- appoint the members of the Planning Commission and all other boards or commissions.
- appoint the Solicitor, Treasurer and Clerk of Council.
- adopt, modify, and carry out, map, play, zoning, and other plans proposed by the Planning Commission.
- provide for an independent audit.
- accept gifts and grants.
- publish an annual report to the electors prepared by the Manager.
THE MAYOR is elected and is the official head of the village for all ceremonial purposes, for military purposes and for serving civil process. He had jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases as provided by Ohio law. He is elected for a term of two years and is paid a yearly salary of $900 by the village. The Mayor’s court meets regularly to try violations of local ordinances and state law. A defendant in the Mayor’s court has the right to appeal his decision and request a jury trial.
THE VILLAGE MANAGER is the chief executive of the village. He is appointed and may be removed by a majority vote of the Village Council. He need not be a resident of the village or state at the time of his appointment, but must live within the township during his tenure of office. He is a full-time employee and is paid $9,750 a year. He has the direct responsibility to:
- enforce the laws and ordinances of the village.
- appoint and remove all subordinate officers and employees of the village on merit and fitness alone.
- make engineering and other assistance available to the planning commission.
- operate utility services of the village.
- attend all meetings of the Council and Planning Commission with the right to take part in discussions, but not to vote.
- recommend adoption or repeal of legislation.
- keep the Council advised of the financial condition and needs of the village, and submit an annual report on the state of the village and a budget. (These are always available to the public at the city building.
THE PLANNING COMMISSION, authorized by the Village Charter in 1950, consists of five members appointed for five years by Council, who serve without pay. This commission undertakes studies of the probable future growth and needs of the village, and administers the zoning and kindred ordinances. It also acts as an appeal board when rulings of the Village Manager in administering the zoning ordinances are disputed. The Planning Commission is the agent of the Village Council in approving annexations of areas contiguous to the village limits for which annexation to the village is desired, and in approving any subdivisions or plats of land areas within the corporation limits.
YELLOW SPRINGS PUBLIC SERVICE ENTERPRISES
The Village operates a number of public-service enterprises. The water supply is plentiful. In 1963 plans were placed in operation for removal of iron from the water at a water treatment plant. Six wells provide an adequate supply to meet the demands of normal growth. The water is now fluoridated. At the present the Village buys electricity from the Dayton Power and Light Co., and provides distribution and servicing. A new sewage disposal plant was completed in 1962 providing adequate treatment and service. Garbage is collected and disposed of by two village trucks. Streets are hard-surfaced and regularly maintained. The Village Manager has a complete topographic map of the town to assure proper road grades, curbs, gutters, and sidewalks.
A Chief of Police, 3 patrolmen, and 4 emergency helpers give Yellow Springs 24-hour protection. This is better than the national average of one policeman for every 1000 people. The departments in 1962, with the aid of Civil Defense, placed in operation 2 base stations and 12 mobile radio units. The police office is in the city building. Occasional prisoners are given lodging in the Greene County Jail in Xenia. Crime prevention is as important to the department as crime detection.
Being a fireman in Yellow Springs is a privilege, just as it was in the old days. The fire department, located on Corry Street, is operated with money derived from a tax levy and no charge is made to local residents for services. The 38 volunteer Miami Township Firemen, using the department’s five pieces of equipment, train themselves as intensively as any professionals. When necessary, the department, which is a member of the Greene County Fire Fighters Association, can get emergency help from neighboring departments or from fire fighters of Clark County. Antioch College also maintains two trucks manned by students on 24-hour call.
The Metropolitan Housing Authority, established in December 1961, is a political subdivision established by the State of Ohio having all political powers except taxation. It spreads across both village and Miami Township. Its purpose is to provide low rent housing for senior citizens where need is demonstrated. At present 20 units are authorized having a cooperation agreement with the Village for police and fire protection. The site is a four-acre plat on the west side of town currently owned by Senior Housing Corporation of Yellow Springs. The hope is to complete the housing units by 1964.
TO BE A VOTER YOU MUST:
be a citizen of the United States
be 21 years of age by November election day
have lived in Ohio one year
have lived in Greene County and your precinct 40 days
be registered with Greene County Board of Elections.
If you are a new resident of Ohio and were qualified to vote in the State from which you have moved, you may vote for the President and Vice President of the U.S., without having to meet the above residential requirements. Consult your local Board of Elections for procedure, and secure application form not earlier than one year, nor later than 40 days before the day of election.
Qualified citizens must register with the County Board of Elections, Court House, Xenia, at least 40 days prior to the election. The Board is open Monday through Saturday, 9:00-11:30 a.m., 12:30-4:00 p.m. (closed Wednesday and Saturday afternoons). This schedule is after Labor Day. In the summer the hours are Tuesday and Thursday, 1:00 to 4:00, and Saturday, 9:00 to 12:00.
Anyone who has changed his street address or name since the last voting must re-register.
CALENDAR OF ELECTIONS
Primary—first Tuesday after the first Monday in May.
General—first Tuesday after the first Monday in November
Special—to be announced by the Board of Elections.
POLLING PLACES open 6:30 a.m. To 6:30 p.m.
Precinct 1—City Building
Precinct 2—City Building
Precinct 3—Mills Lawn School Annexation
Precinct 4—Mills Lawn School Annex
Miami Township East—Clifton Fire House
Miami Township West—Yellow Springs Township Fire House
The constitution of Ohio was amended in 1949 to change the form of ballot for the General Election. Ohio now has the Office Type Ballot and each candidate must be voted for separately. This type of ballot is used in all instances in which the party column ballot was formerly used. At the Primary Election a separate primary ballot is provided for each political party.
Any qualified voter who will be unavoidably absent from the county and more than ten miles from his precinct, or who is physically unable to reach the polling place, may use an absent voter’s ballot. Written application for such a ballot must be made to the Clark of the Board of Elections on a form furnished by the Clerk. The application shall not be delivered to the Clerk prior to the 30th day before election, nor later than 12:00 noon of the fourth day before the election. Application of a disabled voter must be accompanied by a physician’s certificate. The Voters’ Service Chairman of the League of Women Voters will deliver proper application forms for disabled voters.
ARMED SERVICE VOTING
Any member of the armed services who will be 21 by election day, who is a citizen and has been a resident of Ohio prior to entering the armed forces for one year (or if the time he resided in Ohio before entering the service plus the time spent in service equals one year) may vote by armed service absent voter’s ballot. He may either make written application himself or a near relative may apply on his behalf. The application, having been marked in the presence of an officer or non-commissioned officer of the grade of sargeant, and may be mailed any time after January r1 of the year of election and must be received by the Clerk not later than 12:00 noon of election day.
SERVICES TO THE VOTERS by the LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS:
Voters’ service bulletins for primary and general elections containing the qualifications
of each candidate
absentee and disabled voting
registration information from other states
free taxi service to the polls
telephone reminders on registration and election eves