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Council signed bikeshare service contract, briefly debated the minimum wage for city employees

The City of Oxford has finalized and signed a contract for a bikeshare service that will be rolled out in the next few months.

"We hope to have it by the end of the school year, but more realistically it will be this summer," Doug Elliot, Oxford city manager, said during the April 17 city council meeting.

Miami University President Gregory Crawford received a letter from Elliot notifying the university of the bikeshare contract.

Candi Fyffe, HR director for the city, presented an ordinance to city council that would set the minimum pay rates for part-time and seasonal city employees.

Debate ensued as to whether or not the $8.50 per hour minimum is a reasonable standard.

"I have a problem with the $8.50 minimum pay rate," councilmember Chantel Raghu said. "When the average rent here in Oxford is around $750, you're expecting these unskilled laborers to pay 80 percent of their wages in rent."

While Fyffe originally said the minimum applied mostly to students and unskilled laborers, she reiterated that many of those people who take the part-time employment are not solely relying on their wages from the city.

"Yeah, but for those unskilled laborers that's still a poverty wage," Raghu said.

Councilmember David Prytherch suggested looking into the issue more deeply when the 2019 budget and salary negotiations come up later in the year, around mid-October through November.

Council also discussed the lack of LEED (Leadership in Environmental Energy and Design) certification for the recently approved Municipal building renovations which was brought to their attention by Raghu.

The renovations will not be LEED certified due to the cost of acquiring the certification. However, the city plans to aim for the same standards in their construction.

"While it's not specifically LEED certified, it's designed with LEED principles," Michael Dreisbach, the city's service director, said.

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Council approved Melanie McDaniel's requested use of Oxford Memorial Park to teach a free PiYo (Pilates and Yoga) class on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 6 p.m. May 1 through Aug. 21.

As a Miami alumna, McDaniel previously owned a local studio until the university recreation center was built and her business "was no more," McDaniel said.

Now that she has time outside of her work schedule, McDaniel said she wants to give back to the community and offer the classes free of charge, and no equipment is necessary for participation.

Other highlights of the meeting included a contract renewal with University of Cincinnati Physicians Company, LLC for continuing education and EMS medical direction, the introduction of the Public Arts Commission that has been over a year in the making and the approval of culvert construction on the corner of state Route 73 and Oxford Milford Road.

The construction will close part of Oxford Milford Road, but 73 will remain open. The work is planned for the early summer as to avoid the hassle of rerouting extra traffic.

Mayor Kate Rousmaniere issued proclamations of Genocide and Holocaust Education and Prevention Month, Earth Day and Arbor Day. A tree will be planted in Leonard Howell park on April 28 to commemorate Arbor Day.

Council approved Butler County United Way's request for a craft beer booth at their kickoff event which will be held on June 26 in Oxford Memorial park. The event will celebrate the new partnership between the Butler County and Oxford branches.

The city contract with Rumpke recycling is up in 2019, and Raghu said there is an opportunity for the city to find new avenues for composting capability.

There are no class 2 composting companies in the vicinity, but Raghu believes there is an opportunity to work with some outside sources to make curbside composting a reality in Oxford.Council's next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m.