By Linda Collins
For the Fairborn Herald
ENON — As Enon Mayor Tim Howard looks ahead to the challenges the Village of Enon faces in the New Year, he took time to reflect on some of the highlights of 2016.
The year started out with a change in local government. Newly-elected Jeremy Whitacre, 31, officially took his seat on the Enon Village Council on Jan. 12, filling the vacancy left by retiring Councilman Jerry Crane.
“Jeremy Whitacre has been a good addition to the Enon Village Council. He is very level headed and brings a different perspective to local government,” Howard said. “We all enjoy working with Jeremy, and he truly cares about the Enon community.”
In February, village council members unanimously approved a proposed ordinance replacing the elected clerk/treasurer position with the appointed position of village fiscal officer. Diana McCubbin, whose term as clerk/treasure expired at the end of March, was sworn in as fiscal officer by Mayor Howard on Apr. 12.
“Changing the elected position of village clerk/treasurer to an appointed position of village fiscal officer was long overdue. The transition was seamless, and the new position is working very well for the village. Diana McCubbin does a good job as the village’s first employee in that position,” Howard noted.
Village officials honored, Tim DeVore and Rachel Stute, as the Enon Community Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year for 2015 during a recognition ceremony at the Knob Prairie United Church of Christ on May 1. Howard said the annual event has been a tradition in the village since 1992.
In July, the Enon Village Council approved placing an additional five-year, 5-mill tax levy on the Nov. 8 ballot that village officials said was essential to maintaining police services in the village. However, voters rejected the proposal that would have generated an additional $226,205 annually.
“The village council will need to make a decision about placing another tax levy on the ballot for the operation of the police department and will need to take a close look at its options in 2017,” said Howard.
This year, Enon saw new development in the center of the village’s business district as Enon-based Speedway LLC expanded the Enon Speedway gas station, to accommodate nine self-service islands with 18 gas pumps and a 4,600-square-foot convenience store.
“The construction of the new Speedway store was a major project for the village in 2016. The zoning approval process, plan review, and development agreement required a lot of staff time. Village Administrator Ben Ross did a good job of overseeing that project,” Howard said. “We are fortunate to have a new store with plenty of space that provides a service to the residents of the Enon community.”
The Enon Police Department officially signed on with the Clark County Vice and Organized Crime Task Force in October and will be conducting joint investigations with other Clark County agencies and on occasion, the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.
“Enon Police Chief Lew Wilcox and Police Lieutenant Mike Holler continued to operate a professional, well trained police department with a tight budget in 2016. Funds will be even more limited in 2017, but the village will maintain 24 hour police protection and will continue to emphasize community policing and officer training,” said Howard.
Howard also pointed out that the Enon Mayor’s Court saw a significant increase in activity in 2016.
“Kristy Thome, Clerk of Court, does a good job of overseeing the daily operations of the court. Much of the increase in court cases can be attributed to the police department’s efforts to enforce laws associated with persons driving under suspension or driving with no insurance,” Howard explained.
The village was successful in obtaining Ohio Public Works Commission grant and loan funding for the Speedway Drive Water Loop Project in 2016, and village officials anticipate construction will begin early next year.
Village officials moved forward with their ongoing quest to replace 1,330 existing, individually-read water meters with new, radio-read water meters, and Howard noted that new leak detection devises would also be installed at various locations throughout the distribution system in 2017.
“Once this project is completed next spring, village employees will be able to read all 1,330 meters remotely in about four hours,” said Howard.
Engineering on the Main Street Upgrade Project continued in 2016, and village officials are expecting to receive additional funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission for the project in 2017. Construction will begin sometime next year and will include infill sidewalks on the north side of Main Street, new handicap accessible sidewalk ramps on both the north and south sides of the street, and decorative street lighting.
The mayor stated that the village remained very active with the Western Clark County Business Coalition in 2016, and both Howard and Thome currently hold positions on the Executive Board.
“The village is committed to promoting economic development, especially small businesses, in the Enon community, Mad River Township, and Western Clark County. The village will continue its efforts in 2017 as well,” Howard said.
The mayor also noted that all of the elected officials in the village worked very well together throughout 2016, especially when they were faced with making tough decisions about the village.
“We are dedicated to doing the best job we can and take our elected positions very seriously,” said Howard.
Linda Collins is a freelance writer for Greene County News.