XENIA — When she was elected to Xenia City Council, Jeanne Mills felt she was put there to accomplish some specific tasks.
Now 12 years later, Mills feels she has done that and has no regrets as she prepares for her final council meeting Dec. 28. Her spot was up for re-election this past November and she chose not to run.
“I feel that 12 years is a long time and three terms, to think of another fourth, I just didn’t think I was up to that,” she said. “I just thought that I’ve done a lot of good things for the community. I was placed in the opportunity to do those things. I didn’t feel I needed to be (on council) any longer to do the things I care about.”
Specifically, Mills was the chair of Xenia’s Board for Recreation, Arts & Cultural Activities (BRACA) for 11 of her 12 council years and had a hand in such activities as the annual Hometown Christmas and Easter egg hunt. The city’s parks and recreation department was shut down in her fourth year due to financial constraints and she instantly went to work.
“That was a time period that I was able to use my gift of being able to create and seek funds to be able to continue activities for our community,” Mills said. When the city had no money for sidewalk flowers, she helped create the Adopt-A-Spot program, where residents could have a specific spot downtown and place a flower planter to help beautify the city.
“It started out of the need, not a desire, but a need,” Mills said.
The popular movies in the park and music in the park programs were also started while Mills chaired BRACA.
“Those are the things that I’m happy I was able to accomplish in my 12 years,” she said. “I tried to enhance the quality of life in Xenia. I can say that I honestly did my homework. I could look myself in the mirror and go to sleep and sleep well at night because I feel I did the best I could. That’s always the best way to end your day and end your term.”
Mills is also convinced the city is heading in the right direction as one newly elected council member joins in January (Levi Dean) and another is appointed to replace Sarah Mays, who will become mayor.
“I believe the city is on very firm footing with our city manager and our law director and finance director, and that’s always a good time to leave when things are looking up and I feel things are looking up for the city of Xenia,” Mills said. “We just need to be able to build on what we have. I’m very proud of the way Xenia has grown. A lot of great things have come to council.”
Mills said she will miss “being in the know” the most. Not because she wants to be a know-it-all. But because she wants to be able to point out great things in the works when citizens complain about aspects of Xenia life.
She won’t miss the monthly BRACA and twice-monthly council meetings, that forced her to miss family time.
“I gave up a lot with my children growing up,” she said, adding that she was on council for almost every one of her son Alex’s years in school.
But she’s ready to make up for that and still be active in Xenia.
“It’s going to be a big change in my life,” she said. “The time will get filled. I will still be doing things in the community.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.
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