Washingtonville councilwoman calls it quits

WASHINGTONVILLE — Citing disrectful treatment from residents attending village council meetings opposing the income tax that was enacted a year ago and repealed last month, Councilwoman Becky Vignon waited until the end of Monday’s meeting to announce her resignation.

Vignon was appointed to council prior to winning the seat in 2013 and was reelected in 2017.

Her resignation is effective on Dec. 31.

She has three years remaining on her four-year term which expires on Dec. 31, 2021.

Council has been under heavy criticism by a few residents after enacting a 0.50 percent income tax that it has been collecting since January. The tax is on people who work and not on people with fixed incomes.

While she enjoyed serving on council Vignon said, “I can’t accept the disrespect of those in opposition.”

The last two regular meetings were heated and contentious, even after the income tax was repealed. The village was threatened with dissolution and each council member with recall.

Council has 30 days from her resignation to fill the opening and if it is unable to, the appointment will be made by Mayor Herman Frank after Jan. 30. Any resident interested in filling the opening can apply to Council President Ron Stevens, P.O. Box 307, Washingtoville, OH 44490.

At the outset, Frank opened the meeting to public input and Jason Santini criticized the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) that collects and administers and the tax for village. Along with calling it unfair, he said, “they data mine you.”

Frank suggested he contact RITA and Santini then took issue with the water bills saying they’re the highest in the state, along with a 20 percent late fee.

“I feel like this is a predatory thing,” he said, “I’m not being confrontational.”

Frank advised him to take up the water rates with the city of Salem which sells the water to the village and Santini said there are poor people everywhere and the 20 percent (late fee) should be changed to 5 percent.

He also said police officers make $13 an hour and “should make $15 an hour” while noting “there’s money in the budget.”

Frank said he was glad he brought that up, was then interupted by Santini, but noted council will hold a financial workshop after its second meeting in January to inform the public regarding village funding and expenditures.

Sanitini said “specific levies” should be tried. “I don’t want to be confrontational,” he repeated and Frank advised that council will put “a couple of levies on.” Santini said he would vote for specific levies and Frank ended the converation.

“All right, that’s it,” Frank said, “I let you have your say.”

In other business, council discussed purchasing bullet-proof vests for the police department with matching funds.

Frank said, “We’re working on vests for the officers. I think we need to update.”

Some of the older vests are five years old.

“With the older ones, I wouldn’t want to have to stop a round,” Frank said and Police Chief Ken Faust agreed, “Neither would I.”

The vests cost about $900 apiece and with matching money would be half that price.

“I don’t think all our officer’s vest are that old,” Frank said.

In other business, during the street department report, Frank advised Street Supervisor Ed Garrett to “make sure you keep the bends and hills salted and the stops. Just get the bad spots and the stop signs.”

Garrett said, “We have a bin-and-a-half (road salt) right now and we should be good.

“For the winter?” Frank asked.

“We should be good,” Garrett said.