Category Archives: city services

Xenia Employee Conundrum and Issue 9

By Daniel Downs

City management claims the proposed income tax levy (Issue 9) will allow them to rehire six police and fire employees. The proposed levy also will be used for streets and other capital improvement projects. When looking at the 2009 State Audit Report, the employment data does not match the levy rhetoric.

Consider the following:

In 2009, the City of Xenia reported having 297 employees. The number of total city employees for 2007 was 290. That means the city had more not less employees last year than the past two years. If city officials laid off 6 police and fire employees, how can there more employees than in 2008?

The employment conundrum only gets more interesting.

In the same financial report for 2009, the total number of full time equivalent employees numbered 216.5, but in 2008 the total was 227.5 and 227.25 for 2007.

I have heard of “Two and a Half Men,” but a quarter!

The difference between the employment figures above shows the city actually laid off 11 full time employees, none of which adds up to 297 or 290.

By now, you smart readers have figured out that the large differences between 297 and 216.5 employees is probably due to volunteers who are considered employees. If the 60.5 employees are not volunteers, then who the heck are they?

Accounting for the 60.5 volunteers-employees does not solve the entire conundrum. According to the State audited report, Xenia laid off 9 full time and 2 part-time employees plus 2 employees retired. This adds up to 13. City management wants to rehire 6 laid off security personnel. So who were the other 5 employees the city let go?

Let’s look at a summary of changes in city employment for 2009:

– 3 full-time and 1 part-time finance department workers were laid off.
– 2 full-time and 1 part-time employees were added or transferred to the legal    department or court.
– 1 full-time administrator was laid off or transferred elsewhere.
– 2 full-time information technology positions were added and filled.
– 3 full-time police officers were laid off.
– 1 full-time fire fighter also was laid off.
– 7 full-time and 1 part-time street maintenance personnel were laid off.
– 2 full time of street maintenance workers were transfer to a new department    called garage.
– 4 full-time and 1 part-time recreation workers were laid off.
– 1 full-time and 1 part employee were transferred to newly formed positions    under Parks.
– 8 full-time service employees were transferred to (at least on paper) to the    following categories:
– 4 full-time positions were created under development and planning.
– 4 full-time positions transferred to engineering.
– 4 full-time and 1 part-time employees were added (or transferred) to the    water department, and finally,
– 1 full-time sewer worker was laid off–that job stunk anyway.
–  28 total full-time and 3 part-time workers laid off.
+ 17 total full-time and 3 part-time workers added (or transferred).

Out of all the lay-offs, transfers, and new positions, it is difficult to pinpoint who the 5 actually were. We know for certain that the number of police and fire personnel actually laid off were 4 and not six in 2009.

Did you notice only one fire fighter was laid off? Did the Second Street fire station (No. 2) employ only one fire fighter? He must have been one tired professional working 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Interestingly, closing fire state no.2 and laying one fire fighter did not decrease expenditures of the fire department. Instead of offsetting a $500,000 decrease in tax revenue, expenditures increased $26,000 in 2009.

Just when I was certain the conundrum was resolved, city council sent out a “Vote No on Issue 10” postcard claiming the passage of the 1/2% income tax levy will enable the city to bring 12 laid off public safety officers. Since when did the city lay off 12 fire and police officers? Not last year! It just so happens the city laid off 5 police officers and 2 fire fighters in 2004. Adding those laid off in 2009, the number of laid off safety personnel equals 11.

So what’s 1 lost employee anyway? Maybe he/she fell into the black hole of political rhetoric.

It is true the city had less revenue in 2009, which is actually part of a recurring trend in municipal finance. The 10-year history of the city’s revenue and expenditures shows this trend occurs every 2-3 years. This time around the decreased revenue stream is the result of government bureaucrats in Washington and their fellows in the state house as well as reckless lenders. In the financial report, city management reported a 12% unemployment rate for Xenia. Because of this, it is claimed city tax revenues have decreased. It is true some taxpayers are without jobs; some have moved away; and some small business owners who are still in business remain concerned about the possibility of a double-dip recession. Yet, if the number of tax filers is any indication, employment among residents actually increased in 2009. The number of tax filers increased by 76 among last year. The problem with more individual income tax filers was less income tax revenue. According to the financial report, their contribution to the city’s general revenues was down by $4,400. It is clear the nearly $500,000 decrease in tax revenues was not the result of unemployment. It was the result of both recessionary effects on business and property values.

Once the economy fully recovers, city tax revenue will exceed pre-recession levels. The lost employee might be found and 6-11 new safety personnel hired. That is as long most of the nearly 3,000 new residents remain and new businesses replace those the recession closed.

Because of all these factors, Xenia voters should say NO to the municipal tax levy (Issue 9); NO to the fire and police unions’ ordinance that will force Xenia taxpayers to hire previous or new employees and allow them to increase expenditures (Issue 10); and YES on Issue 11, which will enable the city to hire part-time employees until unemployment is reduced to post-recession levels and the economy is viable once again.

Why Would City Council Even Consider Adding Fuoride to Xenia’s Drinking Water

By Daniel Downs

During the last meeting, Council President Dennis Propes proposed an ordinance that would authorize the city manager to fluoridate Xenia’s drinking water. Most council members still remember the community voting down this proposal three times in the past. So why reintroduce it?

In the past, city officials sold water fluoridation as a convenient way to lower the cost of treating water, prevent tooth decay, and build stronger bones. It also is true that fluoride is a natural trace element. Medical studies have supported the belief that consuming water supplemented with fluoride does result in increased bone density or stronger bones. Besides all of those benefits, most, if not all, of neighboring cities and regions fluoridate their water.

In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, J.V. Kumar of the New York Health Department reported that the state spent nearly $24 million on water fluoridation with no statistically significant reduction in the rate of tooth decay among children 7 to 17 years of age. His comparative study examined whether children in communities with different levels of water fluoridation demonstrated any differences in levels of cavities. At all levels, including no fluoridation and the optimal level of 1.2 milligrams/ Liter, there was a 2 percent or less difference All of which means the state of New York has been wasting millions of taxpayer dollars.

Wasting a taxpayers’ hard earned money is bad enough, but jeopardizing their health is unconscionable.

In 2005, a majority of EPA scientists by union proxy asked the head of the EPA to place fluoride on its list of carcinogenic chemicals.

In 2006, National Research Council (NRC) published the results of their study of fluoride in drinking water entitled “Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standard.” They reviewed all relevant research on the health impacts of fluoride on both animal and humans. At press conference, John Doull, chair of the research team, summarized the NRC’s findings. He began by identifying fluoride as an EPA regulated contaminate of drinking water and not as a beneficial trace element. He proceeded to define the EPA’s 40-year-old two-tier standard of acceptable fluoride levels. The EPA set tier one at a maximum of 4 milligrams of fluoride to 1 liter of water below which no adverse health risk was expected, and tier two level is a maximum of 2 milligrams of fluoride in 1 liter of drinking water below which no discoloration or other damage of tooth enamel (fluorosis) was expected. He continued by briefly summarizing several important conclusions of their 530-page review:

  1. Drinking water is the main source of fluoride. Seventy-two (72%) to ninety-four percent (94%) of fluoride intake is through drinking water fluoridated at EPA levels.
  2. Lifelong consumption of fluoride in drinking water results in increased bone fractures.


The study uncovered a number of other health risks resulting from fluoride consumption. One of risks includes skeletal fluorosis, which involves increased bone density and pitting of bones. It also causes joint stiffness, pain, and sometime impairment. Fluoride consumption also adversely affects thyroid function when the iodine levels are too low. Because fluoride consumption produces greater glucose intolerance, fluoridating drinking water will exacerbate the health problems of citizens with diabetes. Fluoride consumption is known to weaken the immune system thus putting citizens already with compromised immune systems at greater risk.

NRC also suspects fluoride is an important factor in liver, kidney, intestinal, and mental diseases, but previous research was inconclusive requiring more research.

Some of the research reviewed did show links between fluoride consumption and mental diseases like Alzheimer and dementia. Other studies conducted in China concluded that fluoride also diminishes intellectual abilities like problem solving.

Another study published in 2006 discovered strong links between water fluoridation and bone cancer in young boys. The findings of Harvard medical study led by Dr. Bassin, and referenced by the EPA scientists above, showed that with the consumption of fluoridated water, the risk of osteosarcoma in boys increased sevenfold. Some readers may remember hearing about this study from all of the mainstream news media.

According to some reports, osteosarcoma is the second most common type of bone cancer. It accounts for 20 percent of all bone malignancies, and 50 percent of all cases occur around the knee.

With the widely increasing knowledge about the harmful effects of treating water with fluoride, it is surprising that city officials could agree to further discussion let alone a vote, which they plan to do on December 10. Do they really want to jeopardize further the health of the community’s children and at-risk members? Maybe some do; but citizens have an opportunity to tell them to stop–stop placing our health and welfare at risk.

To do so, visit to the Council website at where each council member’s email address and telephone number may be obtain.

Xenia Leaf Pick Up Schedule

City workers will pick up leafs only once (not twice) this year. That’s the thanks taxpayers get for electing federal politicians who create recessions and for not voting to increase city taxes.

Be that as it may, if you want your leafs picked up by city workers, you must first rack them into piles along the curb. You must also keep vehicles a minimum of 10 feet away from your pile during the entire week of the scheduled pick up in your area (Monday-Friday). Last but not least, leaf piles must contain nothing but leafs–trees, tree limbs, old siding, appliances, furniture, bikes, cars, or any other objects.

The [remaining] lead pick up schedule is as follows:

Nov 17-23
Neighbors west of US35 Bypass including New Arrowhead, Windsor Park, Reserve of Xenia, Sterling Green and Wright Cycles Estates. (Zone 2)

Nov 20-Dec 4
Southeast section from Church St. and continuing south to include East End, South End, South Hill and Old Arrowhead east of US 35 Bypass. (Zone 3)

Dec 7-11
All of Laynewood neighborhoods and the neighborhoods that include Charles, Maple and Center Streets. (Zone 4)

To see a map of zones and streets, see the city’s map or list.

This is a one-shot deal. So, leaf owners make the best of it.

Xenia City “No New Taxes” Levy Passes … Ha! Ha!

While discussing the levy yesterday, a fellow Xenian informed me that the operating levy was originally supposed to be temporary. You know he was 100 percent correct. The temporary operating levy lasted 5 years; and, like Arby’s 5-for-$5 deal, Xenia voters renewed the temporary levy for another five.

The 490,000 dollar question is this: Does the definition for temporary in tax levy terminology every mean permanently ended–as in no more? The traditional answer seems to be not on your life. In tax jargon, a temporary tax is synonymous for a permanent tradition. The federal goverment’s temporary wartime welfare program, Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA and now “No Child Left Behind”), and similar tax and spend programs are prime examples of permanently temporary tax programs. it was one of of those life-long career goals of politicians like Senator Edward Kennedy.

Anyway, as reported by Greene County Board of Election, 72 percent of Xenia voters said YES to a renewal of the city’s operating levy and 23 percent said NO way.

My vote counted for 5/100 of a percent, which means almost nothing.
The real troubling statistics is that only 7.4 percent of voters showed up at the polls. Out of 28,349 registered voters, only 2,103 voted. It is no wonder why the proponents of the levy–city and school employees and dummies like me–won by such a huge margin. Maybe, the other 92.6 thought it was not worth risking the possibility of being drowned or struck by lightening or some similar hazard. Or, maybe their fear or lackadaisical outlook was really just a silent way of supporting the levy. Some might even in a nose thumbing kind of way have been exclaiming who cares!

Well, I care because the good news for me is that the crappy turn out increased the political significance of my vote. Instead of my vote being of only 5/100 percent relevance, it rose to a statically significant 67/100 of a percent.

As you can see, my political ego has been boosted to a level of almost being significant in the bigger off-season special election scheme of things. But, at least, it was good for a few laughs…well, maybe, but you should have been there.

Landlord Friendly Water Bill Ordinance to be Proposed at City Council Meeting Thursday, Feb 12

By Daniel Downs

This coming Thursday evening at 6:30 PM Councilman Louderback will propose a new ordinance to the Council. The purpose of the ordinance is to revise current municipal law that holds landlords solely responsible for tenants will bills. The primary problem seems to be the lack of stringent requirements renter who apply for water service but who fail to pay. Because water billing is quarterly, hundreds of dollars of unpaid water bills may accumulate for landlords can get the water turned off. Even after it has been discontinued, landlords often continue receiving water bills.

Landlords complained to the Council being unable to get the city stop or correct water services or billings because the service is in their tenant’s name. Because of this, the city does not go after tenants for unpaid water bills because the bill is by law the responsibility of landlords. To add injury to insult, the legal process to evict delinquent or destructive tenants can take many six or more months to resolve.

There are probably many ways this problem could be solved, and I want to add to them a few suggestions. Council should seriously consider making tenants solely responsible for their water bills. Council should also seriously consider the costs to taxpayers for collections, court proceedings, write-offs, and any additional costs of billing tenants. While a collections supervisor for a national service company, we found that sending bi-monthly reminders increased the number payments made by delinquent customers. This might reduce unpaid bills. Probably, a better solution is to place customers who rent on a monthly billing cycle instead of quarterly. There again, the costs of billing would certainly increase. The key to reducing delinquency and write-offs is not letting customers go beyond 30 days before seeking payment from customers.

That is known by all in the continually bailed out national corporate banking system that keeps inflation moving progressively upward and our standard of living moving downward.

Another possible way to resolve landlord-tenant water bill issue is to make landlords fully responsible for the water service and its billing. Let the landlords, who supposedly screen their tenants for their ability to pay, sign their tenants up, bill them monthly for the service, and then pay the city quarterly. A running average on water usage could be used for landlords to calculate monthly costs. After each quarterly billing cycle, landlords could adjust cost in accordance with city billing. Why shouldn’t landlords be able recoup those costs? Of course, the potential for greed on the part of landlords is inherent in this solution.

New Downtown Parking Policies For 2009

In 2009, the City of Xenia will be enacting new Parking Policies affecting Municipal Parking Lots in the Downtown of Xenia.

The policy will allow visitors to park in municipal lots for up to 3 hours without a charge. In the event that employers, landlords, or individuals would like specific parking in increments of more than 3 hours, they may lease spaces in several of the downtown lots either for $10 a month (Placard Parking) or $20 a month (Premium Parking.)
Application for rental space is March 1, 2009.

For more information, visit the City of Xenia website or contact Jim Osburn, Parking Enforcement Officer 937 376-7215.