Fayette council OKs cuts; mayor resigns 12.31.08

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Fayette village council members approved a budget change that will trim services to residents in 2009.

Council now has the task of getting a new mayor in place following the resignation of Anita Van Zile.

Village administrator Amy Metz heard that some citizens planned to attend the council meeting Dec. 23 to question the proposed cuts, but no one from the public was there. The budget adjustments were approved with no further discussion.

Council members intend to trim nearly $43,000 from next year’s spending plan because income tax revenue is falling short of projected levels. Cuts include the elimination of leaf and brush collection, a 50 percent reduction in water softening, and various reductions in personnel and hours worked.

A plan to save $5,000 from the pay that council members and the mayor receive ran into problems when it was learned that the change could not apply to those already serving. Council members would have to voluntarily donate their pay back to the village.

Mayor Van Zile presented a letter of resignation effective Dec. 31. She was elected to the council in 1997 and first elected mayor in 2003.

Her letter stated that she has been thinking about leaving village government due to time constraints. In addition to her job, she is earning a master’s degree and volunteers at her church.

When the village administrator position was reduced to part-time, Van Zile said her own busy schedule made it difficult to make connections with the administrator. Van Zile felt she was no longer “trying to be my best” serving as mayor.

She added, “while I recognized the diverse and controversial personalities of council while contemplating running for my second term as mayor, I was still unprepared for its affect on me. While trying to juggle the same schedule as stated above, the negative tone of council was taking its toll on me and affecting me in other areas.”

Van Zile values her experience with village government and urges other residents will step forward to serve.

“I would not trade my experiences of being elected as a council member and then running for mayor,” she said. “I would recommend to anyone to take advantage of the opportunity to serve the village, learn the system of village government, and grow deeper as a person and in commitment to the village.”

Metz was waiting to hear from the village attorney to learn about the next step in choosing a new mayor. Ordinarily, the village president (Paul Shaffer) would move into the mayor position, but his appointment as president also expires Dec. 31.

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