Council expresses opposition to State Issue 1

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — Sidney City Council was introduced to several ordinances dealing “panhandling,” appropriations and water during its meeting Monday night. Council also adopted several resolutions, including council’s opposition to State Issue 1.

The first order of business was the adoption of an ordinance amending a section regarding abatement orders for dangerous buildings.

Community Development Director Barbara Dulworth told council changing the words from the building inspector to a certified building inspector will improve the city’s ability to respond to dangerous buildings. She explained the change would give more than one inspector the ability to post orders if the person who typically responds to dangerous buildings would be unavailable.

Council member Steve Wagner asked for clarity, and was told the amendment would allow any certified building inspector to conduct the work as long as the person was under a contract with the city of Sidney.

In other business, three ordinances pertaining to panhandling, supplemental appropriations for 2018, and an amendment to a chapter of an ordinance relating to water were introduced.

In light of other communities recent actions, Law Director Jeff Amick presented council with an ordinance to repeal legislation regarding “panhandling.” Amick told council the move would follow the action of other Ohio communities that had previously enacted such legislation.

Amick said there are other methods Sidney could use similar to how Dayton and Cleveland are dealing with panhandling despite repealing the ordinance. He admitted he is still reviewing the material received from those cities, but pointed to other ordinances currently available to Sidney Police, such as disorderly conduct. It will return for further consideration on Oct. 22.

Finance Officer Ginger Adams recognized an error in the wording of the supplemental appropriations ordinance she introduced to council and vowed to present a corrected version during its second reading at the next council meeting on Oct. 22.

Adams told council water bills were higher than originally anticipated due to a leak found in the public swimming pool over the summer. Some conversation ensued about the amount water lost from the leak and the total cost for the water to the city. It was determined that about 28,000 gallons of water was used over the summer by the pool. Adams said $17,000 was originally budgeted for water usage at the pool at the beginning of the season, but the total amount to be paid for water over the course of the season is $172,000, due to the leak in the pool, Adams said.

Wagner asked for an update on the repairs to the swimming pool. Facilities Maintenance Supervisor Jim Heuing said concrete is being poured at the pool this week after repairs were completed to the leaky pipes. He said they do not anticipate other leaks, however, Sidney does have an aging pool.

Assistant City Manager/Public Works Director Gary Clough introduced the utility ordinance regarding water with modifications for a chapter which were suggested:

• Internal leaks within the building that requires the city to shut the water off at the curb stop or meter pit, shall require the repairs to be made and shall include the installation of a whole house shut off valve where the water service enters the building before water is turned back on. This will eliminate the city having to turn the water of at the curb every time there is an internal leak.

• All yard hydrants are prohibited after Jan. 1, 2019, due to lack of maintenance and leaks.

• A change of time from 5 p.m. to 4 p.m. to be consistent with city employee schedules regarding overtime hours for calls that come in after hours.

• Starting Jan. 1, 2019, all utility accounts established for tenant-occupied properties on the monthly payment program must first be secured by a deposit, which is proposed to be increased from $125 to $175.

• The date will be changed regarding the security deposit to become effective on Jan. 1, 2019.

Council members Darryl Thurber and Wagner questioned the prohibition of the yard hydrants and wasn’t sure they supported the change. Clough said no new requests have been made in over 10 years for a hydrant and the legislation would only prohibit requests for new ones. Clough told council he is waiting on a staff member to return to work to get information about the exact number of hydrants currently in place now and where they are located.

The utility ordinance will return to council for further discussion on Oct. 22.

Council also adopted the following resolutions:

• 2019 fire and EMS contracts with surrounding townships;

• Authorizing City Manager Mark Cundiff to enter into an agreement with Burges & Burges Strategists for conducting research to help advise for putting one or two levies on the May ballot for a third fire department and street repairs.

• Expressing council’s opposition to State Issue 1 to reduce penalties for crimes of obtaining, possessing, and using illegal drugs.”

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.