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Proposed DDA budget includes $25K for part-time director

March 26, 2014 - The Oxford Downtown Development Authority (DDA) could be in a position to hire a part-time director should its proposed budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year be approved by the village council.

"I see the necessity of it," said DDA board member Rod Charles.

Included in the proposed budget is an allocation of $25,000 to hire a part-time DDA director.

The proposed budget originally contained $15,000 for the position. In order to bring it up to $25,000, council would have to agree to knock off a combined $10,000 from the police and public works fees that the village charges the DDA.

That $10,000 discount is in addition to the combined $21,750 that was already proposed to be cut from the police and public works payments, which currently total $123,250.

It's envisioned this director would work 25 hours per week.

"Hopefully, not all of it in the office," said DDA Chairman Bill Dunn.

Dunn would like to see the director spend two hours in the office each day and the rest of the time out in the field, talking to business and property owners "to see which way the wind is blowing" with regard to various issues concerning the downtown and reporting problems to the board.

He also envisions the director fostering greater cooperation between the DDA and downtown stakeholders, so "we're all working toward the same goal."

However, Dunn said the director should not solicit donations for DDA operations because it could appear as though they're trying to pay their wages as opposed to doing their job. The director could still solicit donations and sponsorships for events, just not contributions to help run the DDA itself, he noted.

Charles said the DDA needs to create a written job description before hiring anyone.

Dunn agreed, adding there should also be performance evaluations conducted once or twice a year.

"We have to start treating this like a true business," he said.

One of the reasons Oxford Village lost its national Main Street accreditation earlier this month was because the DDA lacks a director.

The DDA has been without a full or part-time director since July 2013.

Council previously voted to eliminate the position in order to save money and build up the authority's reserves. The DDA had zero cash reserves at the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year and had to rely on a transfer from the village's general fund in order to avoid ending with a deficit.

Village Manager Joe Young has served as the acting interim DDA director since September 2013 for no additional pay.

However, Young's participation didn't count in the annual Main Street evaluation because he is not a paid DDA employee who works exclusively for the authority for at least 25 hours per week.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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