At a reorganization meeting held recently, Washington Court House City Council members chose Dale Lynch as this year’s chairperson and Steve Shiltz as the vice chair.
“(I’m) just hoping for a great year and for everybody to work together,” said Lynch. “It’s challenging, but it’s exciting. You get to talk to everybody about every aspect. So, I look forward to working with the city manager and (new) finance director.”
The prior finance director for the city, Tom Riley, retired. According to Lynch, they are currently working on filling this position.
A meeting to set goals for the year will be held among council members later this month.
The only piece of legislation heard during the meeting was a resolution that, if passed, would allow the city to form an agreement with Fayette County to house prisoners. The resolution was placed on first reading. It must pass two more readings before it can be adopted.
City Manager Joe Denen provided information during the meeting, including where residents can dispose of previously live Christmas trees.
Formerly live Christmas trees can be placed in the parking lot of Eyman Park, off Eyman Park Drive, so they can be chipped. Decorations should be removed from the trees prior to drop-off, and artificial trees should not be disposed of in this way.
It was announced by Denen the Scarecrow Festival Committee has begun to make plans for this year’s festival. According to Kelley Ford, a member of the committee, the festival is planned for Sept. 16, 17 and 18. More information will be released soon.
Several council members acknowledged individuals present during the meeting and discussed this new year.
Council member Jim Blair took time to read a speech addressed to his fellow council members and the community. That speech was provided in writing to the Record-Herald:
”As we enter a new year, it is with high expectations and hope that this will be the best year yet for our community. While the COVID and its related offshoots have impacted, and still is impacting, many in our community, and we do have a responsibility to remain vigilant and protective of our families, friends and neighbors, we still must not live in fear.
“Just look around, and it won’t be long until you can sing the words to an old hymn — count your blessings, name them one by one. I am sure each of us can find more than one thing to be thankful for.
“I am both humbled and excitedly challenged by the trust placed in me to chair the finance personnel committee. I look forward to working with my fellow council persons on this committee (Jim Chrisman and Ted Hawk), our chairman of council Dale Lynch, co-chairman Steve Shiltz, each of the members of city council, and our city manager Joe Denen.
“Obviously, our goals as a city cannot be achieved by myself or by our committee exclusively, but will require each one of you council members and city administration officials to offer up support and input working together toward reaching those goals. I encourage each of you to reach out to me with any concerns or ideas you may have. I will value and respect every opinion.
“This being my first go around in this capacity, I ask for your support, patience and input as we strive together to meet the needs of our citizens. As in any business or enterprise, we won’t always have the same priorities or goals, but once the goals are set, let’s pledge to work together to achieve those goals. Let’s begin a new chapter in city politics by dismissing the attitude so prevalent in our nation — that of the sin of divisiveness. This current political climate is like a cancer rampaging through the body of our country, destroying families and relationships. Unchecked, it will destroy us. As one author titled his book, ‘America, you’re too young to die.’
“Let us strive toward unity by ‘agreeing to disagree’ amicably, while working to achieve our citizen directed goals. Let’s let our words be few and our actions many, showing our citizens and employees that we are not just another group throwing out empty promises without having any intention to really live up to what we say.
“I pledge to do my best to help make Washington Court House a safe, secure and transparent place for our employees to work. A place where they can offer up constructive ideas to their administration and feel they are really being heard, without any fear of reprisal. The fundamental freedom of speech is a high priority of mine. I only ask that the speech be constructive and respectfully carried out.
“Let’s pledge as a council that our goals will reflect the priorities of all of our citizens. Let’s listen to every voice from our community, not just those that are affluent or have a high standard of living. Many great ideas have come from those who traditionally stay in the background and are not given the chance to have their voices heard.
“Only when we can adhere to these principles can we truly say that we are servants of the people who elected us to this trusted position for such a time as this. Let’s live up to our calling. Let us go down as the council who changed Washington Court House. Then, we can focus on changing the world.
“In closing, I challenge us as council and you as citizens: lets be that ‘shining city on a hill’ that shines out to the community and the world as a beacon of hope in this dark world. Let’s make a positive difference. Thank you and God bless America.”
Following the public council meeting, executive session was entered into to discuss personnel.
Council meetings are held the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers — located on the second floor of the City Administration Building, 105 N. Main St. in Washington C.H.
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.