August 14, 2013 - I experience a lot of different feelings as I'm forced to sit through Oxford Village Council meetings twice a month – sometimes it's more often if there's a particular topic they're trying to talk to death.
Shame. Embarrassment. Anger. Frustration. Sleepiness. Hopelessness. Depression. Boredom. Nausea. Acid reflux.
These feelings have only worsened lately because the two council members that I actually put some faith in to fix this very broken little village are leaving.
Village President Tony Albensi submitted his letter of resignation at the Aug. 13 council meeting. He's moving.
Councilman Elgin Nichols has told just about everyone that he has no intention of running in the November 2014 election.
Let's see, who does that leave us with?
First, there's Councilman Dave Bailey. Words cannot describe the Dave Bailey experience. One must attend a meeting or watch one on OCTV to fully understand. As you're listening to his befuddling stream of consciousness, keep in mind he's the next village president. Scary.
Then there's Councilwoman Maureen Helmuth. She violated the public's trust by covering up an alleged embezzlement of tax dollars for four years. Enough said. If you think that's no big deal, then your integrity and ethics are as nonexistent as hers.
As for Councilwoman Sue Bossardet, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, she's frustrated and upset about many of the same issues I am, which is good. It shows that she's paying attention and truly cares.
On the other hand, she's far too emotionally attached to her sentimental notions of "the village" to ever do what really needs to be done. Bossardet's "village" – cue the sound of a tinny piano in the sepia-tone background – belongs in the historical museum, right between the chamber pot and the stereopticon.
The truth is there's absolutely no reason for the Village of Oxford to exist anymore. The village form of government used to provide a higher level of service than a rural township, but less than an urban city. However, over the years, the state's granted many of the same powers to townships, villages and cities, diminishing their differences and thus eliminating the need for villages.
Oxford Village is a redundant, antiquated layer of government that overtaxes its residents in order to keep a small group of people employed and maintain its illusions (or delusions) of local control. An unhealthy mix of apathy and prejudice keeps this village going.
Village residents supply the apathy in spades by not voting in elections, running for council or even giving a damn when $20,000 in public funds goes missing. Heck, an elected official aided in an alleged crime and there wasn't even a whiff of a recall. We might as well be Detroiters.
Unfortunately, those who aren't apathetic about the village are prejudiced. They ignorantly believe that neither the township nor the county can be trusted to adequately provide citizens with the services they need.
They seem to think that unless they have their very own police department, dispatch center, DPW, council, manager, clerk and excessive tax bill to support it all, Oxford will lose its identity, the streets will become crime-ridden, people will die because ambulances won't know where to go and the water will be filled with raw sewage.
Their fears are about as silly and irrational as paying 10.62 mills every year to support a useless relic masquerading as a relevant unit of government.
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.