Mayor’s Report: May 24th, 2021
GOLF MANOR (5/24/21) — Submitted by Mayor Stefan Densmore
COVID-19 Update: As most people are aware, the Governor issued a statement that the STATE OF EMERGENCY in Ohio will be lifted at the beginning of next month. For the past 6 months he has been stating that he would only lift the state of emergency when the rate of infection fell below 50 new cases every two weeks per 100k residents. So in Hamilton County which has approximately 800k residents, that would be if we fell below 840 new cases every two weeks. We are currently about 2x higher than that, having about 16 hundred new cases every two weeks in Hamilton County– but it is argued that we no longer need to be worried about that because the number of hospitalizations has significantly decreased. The reason for the decrease in hospitalizations is that most of our elderly population is vaccinated. This elderly population is our most vulnerable population –where 99 percent of deaths from COVID-19 occur. So while we continue to have a lot of people getting COVID, there are significantly less hospitalizations and deaths now in Ohio.
- Last week the Ohio Department of Health lifted the mask requirement for individuals that are fully vaccinated.
- It has also been announced that the State will no longer collect any pandemic related data after June 2nd.
- Concerning Ohio’s Vax A Million Campaign– While it was originally announced that Ohioans would be automatically entered into the pool, it was announced last week that to be eligible for the drawing you must go to the website ohiovaxamillion.com to register.
- Speaking of that campaign, Golf Manor will host its second free vaccination clinic here in the municipal building on June 3rd from 3-6pm. So if you haven’t got your shot, get it here and register for the Ohio Vax A Million Lottery.
- The mask mandate I ordered in Golf Manor specific to public gatherings such as bus stops and summer yard sales was worded such that it would expire as soon as the State of Emergency issued by the Governor was lifted. COVID-19 and its variants are still here, and still very dangerous to people over 50 and especially as well to anybody who has pre-existing health conditions. Please be respectful to people you see wearing masks– they are not sheeple, they are not idiots. In most cases these individuals have either been told by their health care provider to wear one, or they are wearing one out of concern and protection for a vulnerable friend or family member. This is probably going to be the new normal in our society, seeing people wearing masks, as it has been for decades in other urban centers around the world. So again please be respectful. AND even though there won’t be a mandate for social distance after June 2nd, if you are in a vulnerable population or needing to protect those who are, you can still bring a mask with you to public events, and for awhile I’ll still try to make sure free masks are available for those that want them at all our Village sponsored events.
Cost of Living and Merit Bonus for Village Administrator. I made my formal recommendation at this evening’s finance committee meeting that our Village Administrator receive a cost of living increase as well as a merit bonus for his past 2 years of service to the village. Our Village Administrator, Mr. Hirth, has overseen the operations of the village these past two years with excellence. In addition to his role in securing a significant budget surplus for the village, we have seen permanent speed humps added through the village, in addition to overdue road and sidewalk improvements. Mr. Hirth has implemented employee policies that make for a better work environment for all our village staff. He has recommended and overseen significant additions to the staffing of the village, as well as implemented a $15 minimum wage for all village staff. He has engaged county and regional partners and resources for the betterment of the village, and has made customer service a priority in the goals of all our employees. And there is a lot more I could list here, I apologize that this is not a comprehensive list of his excellent service to the village. I know I am not alone in recognizing Mr. Hirth’s significant contributions to the Village as former mayor, and current village administrator. So please join me in saying “Thank you, Mr. Hirth, for all your excellent service to the Village of Golf Manor.”
Taxes Via Rita. Like many others in Ohio and across the nation, I took advantage of the extension of the tax deadline and waited until this past week to file my taxes. I was very pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to file my local Golf Manor taxes using the online portal of the RITA (regional income tax agency)– which is our new tax collection partner. It was very easy to file, and I was finished very quickly. I’m bringing this up in case you or someone watching this hasn’t yet filed your local Golf Manor taxes — go check it out, and see how easy it is. Even if you are late filing, it is still is easy to file. You can find the online portal by doing a google search for rita, as in lovely rita– RITA, or www.ritaohio.com
Peace Officers’ Day Proclamation. The Saturday before last was National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day and I issued a proclamation honoring that, which was additionally posted on the village blog that day, and can be read here: https://www.golfmanoroh.gov/peace-officers-memorial-day/
Also this past week I instructed our police chief to coordinate with the village administration in developing an official policy around the lowering of the flag to half staff and raising it again– specifying who is in charge of getting the physical act done, the process of how it will be authorized within the village, and how we will make sure that our residents know that the flag has been lowered and why.
The purpose for making an official policy is twofold: 1) we want to make sure that it is done correctly, in accordance with the laws of Ohio regardless of whether any individual is absent due to illness, for instance, and 2) we want make sure that there is proper notice to insure that all our residents are aware of the observance, and can join us in honoring the observance. I myself or the Village Administrator will keep Council posted on the progress of the public notification component of this policy.
Little Library Opening Event in the Village. I was invited to do the official ribbon cutting ceremony this past Saturday for the grand opening of the Little Free Libraries in Golf Manor. We had two former mayors and 3 council persons present, as well as the members of the little library committee, and Michele Guenther from the Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati. Our local Piece & Love Bakery provided very popular cheesecake bites for celebratory refreshment. Everyone agreed it was a fun time, lots of good connections made. We have 9 little libraries distributed throughout the village, and you can view a map of these locations here: https://littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap/.
Our variance allows for 3 more little libraries to be placed in the community, and several residents have approached me about how to get one. The north western portion of the village doesn’t have any little libraries yet, and in keeping with the ideal of having these libraries evenly distributed across the village, my recommendation is that we state a preference that the three remaining authorizations be in that portion of the village.
Q&A with Senator Cecil Thomas and Representative Jean Schmidt. I will be moderating a Q&A with Senator Cecil Thomas and Representative Jean Schmidt, who are co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation to end the death penalty in Ohio. The event is this Wednesday at 7pm–its an online event, and one of the panelists is Derrick Jamison who was on death row for 2 decades before an inquiry fortunately found out that he was actually innocent and released him. Research has shown that the death penalty is unfairly implemented and that people of color are far more likely to be executed than white people, especially if the victim is white. I’m honored to have been asked to be the moderator of the Q&A section of this event, and to participate in the effort to end the death penalty in Ohio. The event will be recorded, and I’ll make sure to update this post with a link to the recording when it becomes available. If you want to watch Wednesday, you can register for free here: https://bit.ly/NODPMAY26.
This report is respectfully submitted to the Village residents of Golf Manor. Thank you for the honor of being your Mayor.
Stefan Densmore, Mayor, Village of Golf Manor