By AMANDA GRAY
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The Goshen City Council will hit the ground running at its first 2013 meeting Wednesday.
Agenda items include a presentation on the proposed Goshen Community Center by Bruce Stahly, an annual report presentation by Goshen Housing Authority Director Pam Kennedy and a special presentation to outgoing Goshen City Council president Tom Stump.
The agenda also includes the election of a new council president and a second reading of an ordinance to determine the boundaries of City Council districts in Goshen — something that’s already been discussed at two previous meetings.
Also included is an ordinance to establish an “airport manager” position on the city’s payroll. According to Mayor Allan Kauffman, the airport manager, Randy Sharkey, will stay the same, and the city will not pay any additional money to him. The funds will be worked out through a contract between the airport commission and the management company.
“This hasn’t been defined as a separate position under the city before,” Kauffman said.
Also at Wednesday’s meeting will be the appointments or reappointments to the Traffic Commission and the Tree Board.
The Tree Board appointment is contested. At the Dec. 27 meeting, Stump nominated Fred Buttell, as well as current appointee Ned Kauffman. A vote did not create a majority for either, so the decision was moved to Wednesday’s meeting.
Ned Kauffman, who has served on the Tree Board since its inception in 1992, said Sunday that he wants to remain on the board and continue the broad goal of education in the city.
“The Tree Board is very supportive of the urban forester (Aaron Sawatsky-Kingsley),” Ned Kauffman said of the board. “We’re also working on education for the citizens of Goshen, for them to understand the city’s trees as infrastructure.”
The Tree Board has more participation than just its members, Ned Kauffman said.
“(Tree Board member) Don Minter has been good about getting people other than members to the meetings,” Ned Kauffman said. “...Don was able to make it broader (than just members). It’s a very comfortable feeling to be a part of that group.”
Ned Kauffman said the opposite of his time on the Tree Board with Buttell. He called that time “difficult.”
“It was difficult for me (in the early beginning of the Tree Board),” Ned Kauffman said. “It was difficult to maintain true interest in it, but I stuck with it.”
Ned Kauffman said he has heard Buttell wants to eliminate the urban forester position, among other things.
“He would be directly undoing what we’ve accomplished,” Ned Kauffman said.
Buttell said Sunday that he doesn’t know what his exact goals would be on the Tree Board and that he had no opinion as of yet on the urban forester, and he wouldn’t until he is appointed. Transparency, Buttell said, is one thing he would want to encourage.
“I’m a strong believer in open meeting policy,” he said.
Buttell said he helped form the first Tree Board in 1992, but it was disbanded at the end of its first year.
“It was reinstituted two or three years later,” Buttell said, but he was not involved after the first year.
Buttell said he wants to be appointed because the Tree Board is currently “out of control.”
“I think it’s a little out of control, and I don’t think there is any Republican representation on the board, or none that I know of,” he said.
Buttell said he believes the Tree Board plants trees in any spot they can find, with no input from those it may affect, such as business owners.