Blanchester voters may see referendum after council’s BPA vote


By John Hamilton - jhamilton@wnewsj.com



BLANCHESTER — Emotions can run high regarding the outcome of a proposed village ordinance.

As the News Journal reported Friday, Blanchester Village Council on Thursday night met and passed the final reading to approve an ordinance abolishing Blanchester’s Board of Trustees of Public Affairs (BPA) by a 4-2 vote, with Council Members Chad Hollon and Reilly Hopkins voting no.

Hopkins said he felt the process was rushed and they should’ve only done it if they had no other option.

There is now a 30-day waiting period to see if a referendum is presented to put it on the November ballot. If no referendum is presented, the BPA wouldn’t dissolve until a village administrator is hired.

BPA Chairman James Bowling said the BPA’s initial plan is to seek such a referendum.

The BPA expressed their frustration and anger as James Bowling read an email he sent to BPA employees and read during a special meeting last Thursday.

Bowling told BPA members that, after the first reading, citizens had been reaching out in support of the BPA.

Bowling specifically referenced those who voted against a establishing the village administrator position when it was attached to a 1-percent income tax ballot issue in 2017.

After talking with Andrew McCoy, the village solicitor, Bowling said that if the village decides to give the position a different title, “then there’s no need to create a village administrator and there’s no need to abolish the Board of Public Affairs.”

BPA member Robert Haines expressed his frustration, saying ever since he joined, he wanted to work with the village council.

“We’ve worked so hard to do a good job and be a part of the village,” said Haines. “I think it’s sad that we’ve done so many good deals for this town … I don’t know what more we could do.”

On the other end, many local residents have expressed frustration with the BPA, particularly pertaining to their monthly bills showing a drastic increase compared to previous years and months, some residents shared on social media posts.

Some previously told the News Journal that their bills would go up several hundred dollars more than the previous month or two.

Former BPA Manager Jim Myers told the News Journal that the increase was due to the past winter being a particularly harsh one.

Some citizens were satisfied with some forming a petition to have the BPA disbanded and establish a BPA position.

Mayor John Carman told the News Journal that no one would be losing their job — only the BPA trustee position would be abolished. Carman also said the village administrator would help oversee things when Carman is unavailable.

“I’m able to attend the meetings and handle things in the evening, but my conflicting schedule gets in the way and a village administrator would fill those gaps,” he said previously.

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By John Hamilton

jhamilton@wnewsj.com