Council adopts changes to Vacant Property Registration


SIDNEY — Sidney City Council adopted several resolutions and ordinances, including an amendment to the Vacant Property Registration, Monday night.

Changes to the Vacant Property Registration ordinance was presented by Kyle Havenar, vacant property inspector. The changes to the ordinance were made by city staff upon council members’ suggestions during the July 22 meeting. At the July meeting, city staff brought forth an amendment to the existing ordinance to insert missing words, or correct misspellings to clarify the intended meaning.

Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan again expressed concern Monday about the section regarding exemptions.

In July, among other minor changes to the ordinance, staff recommended changing the word “shall” to “may” in the following section (e) under exemptions: “A building that is for sale or lease and listed with a Real Estate Agent (shall) ‘may’ be exempted no more than once per property, for a maximum period of 12 consecutive months from the start of vacancy, provided that the owner submits proof to the community development department of such listing and for sale status.”

During the July meeting, Law Director Jeffrey Amick explained some wording changes were made to allow the city flexibility when determining an action to be taken on a case by case basis, versus the mandatory action that was previously defined in the ordinance.

On Monday, Milligan said she still felt the language was not clear and that it reads like a building may only be exempted once, ever. Havenar said that with the word “may” instead of “shall,” it gives the city discretion.

Community Development Director Barbara Dulworth explained, after Mayor Mike Barhorst said the current City Council may interpret the ordinance one way, but a City Council in 20 years may not read it the same way, that the ordinance is written to avoid potential loop holes. She said it has been drafted as best possible for now, and although this version may not be the final solution, city staff will continue to look at it and make changes as needed in the future.

Council member Darryl Thurber reminded all that the document can be changed at anytime if they feel it is necessary. Council member Jenny VanMatre noted the property also must meet the definition of a vacant building to be considered, not simply because someone putting a home up for sale and needs to leave town for work.

In other business, council also adopted:

• An ordinance and to make supplemental appropriations for year 2019.

• A resolution authorizing the submission of proposals to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for 2020 Rural Transit operating and capital grant funds, and the execution of the grant upon proposal acceptance. A federal operating grant of $493,070, and a state operating grant $72,000 is being requested. In capital spending, the total grant request is $467,094. This is for vehicle maintenance and replacement and for a (natural gas) CNG fueling station engineering/design and land acquisition.

• A resolution authorizing City Manager Mark Cundiff enter into a contract with Ohio ODOT for the elderly and disabled fare assistance program. The program reimburses the city for half of the $2.50 general public rate for non-contract trips provided to passengers over the age of 65 and those with a disability who have certifications on file in transit office. ODOT will award Shelby Public Transit $30,220 to offset the reduced fare to 24,176 elderly and disabled passengers.

• A resolution authorizing Cundiff to enter into a seven-year agreement with the Shelby County Board of Commissioners for the delivery and processing of residential recyclable materials collected by the city’s contractor and delivered to the Shelby County Recycling Center. The price will remain at the .52 cents, which has been the same price since 2009.

A brief discussion ensued about recycling and if the recent education campaign launched this year to inform the public about what is acceptable recyclable material has made a difference yet in the amount of trash going into the recycling center. Gary Clough, assistant city manager/public works director, said he didn’t have the numbers right then, but did not think much of a change has been noticed yet.

He then spoke briefly about Recycle Coach, the free app re-launched earlier this year. He explained that it provides information about what can and cannot be recycled, as well as a calender schedule of subscribers’ recycling pick up dates. Clough encouraged residents to download the app to help track solid waste collection schedules. The app sends out notifications to a subscriber’s phone about any pick up changes occur. A link to the app is available on the city’s website at or it can be found at the app store on a smartphone.

• A resolution to consent to the participation in the Ohio ODOT funded municipal bridge inspection program for years 2020-2022, which is fully funded by ODOT. Thurber questioned why the resolution was necessary, to which Clough explained that ODOT will not come into a municipality to do work without permission to do so.

• A resolution to confirm the appointment of Susan Shaffer and Juanita McCrum to the Community Reinvestment Area Housing Council. Shaffer’s term will expire Oct. 31, 2020, and McCrum’s term will expire Oct. 31, 2022.

• A resolution to appoint Jackie Davis and Erik Edward to the Community Reinvestment Area Housing Council. Davis’s term will expire Oct. 31, 2022, and Edward’s term will expire Oct. 31, 2021.

By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

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