Council tables vacant property registration ordinance

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — After hearing changes made to an ordinance dealing with the registration of vacant property, a motion was made to table the issue until the Aug. 13 meeting. A resolution was also tabled until the Aug. 13 meeting also.

Councilman Ed Hamaker said he likes the concept of the ordinance but feels there are still gaps in it.

Kyle Havenor, vacant property inspector, explained the term “seasonally vacant” has been removed the exemptions originally listed in the ordinance.

The owner of a vacant building, said Havenar, is not required to register the building as long as it does not meet any of the 11 criteria in the definition of a vacant building.

The definition of a vacant building, according to the ordinance, is a commercial, industrial or residential detached building; or a semi-detached building, or attached building with ownership separated by a common wall which is unoccupied for a period of time over 90 days and one of the following items:

• Unoccupied and unsecured

• Unoccupied and secured by other than normal means

• Unoccupied and an unsafe building as determined by the building inspector or fire inspector

• Unoccupied and having utilities disconnected

• Unoccupied and has property maintenance of building code violations

• Illegally occupied, which shall include loitering and vagrancy

• Unoccupied with a mortgage status of abandonment

• Has taxes in arrears for a period of time exceeding 365 days

• Unoccupied and abandoned by the property owner

• Unoccupied and has one or more broken or boarded windows

• Used for other than a permitted use of zoning district in which it is located, unless owner provides documentation of legal nonconforming use.

Members of the public who attended the meeting to comment on the ordinance will have to attend the August meeting to share their views.

A resolution was also tabled which deals with waiving assessment and collections of fees for city-owned utilities at 715 Foraker Ave.

The Shelby County Land Revitalization Corp. (Land Bank) owns the property at 715 Foraker Ave. The Land Bank paid $5,621.66 for the property. They have the opportunity to sell it for $6,000 with the potential buyer planning to rehabilitate the house and sell it to a potential new owner.

However, there is currently $1,315.35 owed to the city for past due utility fees. This includes $1,937.53 for EPA mandated fees, $59.25 for late fees, $24.71 for sewer charges, $135.34 for water charges, $54.03 for stormwater utility fees and $4.50 for storm water capital fees.

Council recently approved a resolution allowing council to waive fees for past due city utilities on a property owned by the Land Bank on a case by case basis.

Councilman Steve Wagner made the motion to table the resolution since two councilmen — Joe Ratermann and Darryl Thurber — weren’t present for the meeting. He said he wanted input from all councilmen before a vote is taken.

Wagner, Hamaker and Janet Born all voted in favor of tabling the resolution. Mardie Milligan voted no while Mayor Mike Barhorst abstained as he is the vice chairman of the Land Bank committee.

Council adopted an ordinance dealing with the assessment of costs for the removal of junk for six properties in Sidney. All property owners were notified to remove the items and failed to do so. The city paid to have the junk removed and is now assessing property owners.

Property owners to be assessed include Angela R. Roser, owner of 329 Park, $157.20; Liette Realty, owner of 918 Park, $271.20; Chad D. Henry, owner of 633 Third, $60; Sharon A. Henderson, owner of 315 Charles, $69.60; Tony R. Blankenship, owner of 701 W. North, $52.80; and Earl Vance, owner of 339 S. Highland, $52.80. The total assessments are $663.60.

Two resolutions received council approval Monday night.

The first resolution adopted is for an information technology cooperation agreement with Shelby County Commissioners and Sidney-Shelby County General Health District. The resolution will extend the current contract through May 31, 2019 and renew automatically for an additional one-year period.

The agreement outlines the services provided by the city and specifies the cost for the services, assigns the cost of software, hardware, etc. to the county.

Rate increases, said Joel Glass, IT manager, are 11.7 percent from $105.39 to $117.69 per server; and from $12.65 per PC to $14.13 per PC. The new rates will be retroactive to June 1, 2018. The county, said Glass, is purchasing the use of the city’s IT staff.

The proposed agreement will cover approximately 28 percent of the department’s wages and benefits and provide nearly $96,500 revenue to the city, as compared to the approximately $86,400 currently billed.

The resolution approved deals with the annexation of 6.855 acres of land on the north side of Gearhart Road, east of Children’s Home Road. The land is the site for the new animal shelter.

The annexation, said Barbara Dulworth, community development director, will make the property available for development with city utilities and services.

The annexation agreement provides:

• The city consents to the annexation and agrees to provide services at the same cost to the annexation area as it provides to other residences of the city.

• Clinton township agrees to consent to the annexation.

• The city agrees not to detach the annexation area from Clinton Township.

• The township will continue to receive applicable real estate taxes levied on the annexation area.

• If the township receives less millage on the property creating lower real estate taxes for its general fund following the annexation, the city will pay the township annually, an amount which equals the total amount prior to annexation. The payments will continue for five years under the agreement. Dulworth said they estimate the city may owe the township less than $50 per year for the five-year period.

Sidney resident Tom Milligan questioned whether the waste from the animals at the shelter will create a problem at the wastewater treatment plant.

Gary Clough, assistant city manager and public works director, said the only waste going to the treatment plant will be when the workers wash down the tables. He said the animal waste will be transported to the landfill.

Two ordinances were also introduced and will considered further at the July 23 council meeting.

The first ordinance deals with levying street lighting assessments and the second deals with assessing the cost to raze or repair dangerous buildings within the city limits.

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.