City Council continues budget review

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — During the continued review of the 2019 budget, Monday night, Sidney City Council heard presentations on the public works department and other community service programs.

Assistant City Manager/Public Works Director Gary Clough reviewed goals and objectives for the many divisions that fall under public works; street lighting, engineering, urban forestry, streets, winter maintenance, water, underground utilities, sewer, stormwater, public transit, airport, service center, garage/fleet and solid waste.

Clough said in the engineering department, instead of adding a second intern as outlined in the five-year plan, the plan now is to increase the 2019 budget for outside engineering firm(s).

A goal for street lighting is to convert lights from high pressure sodium or mercury vapor to LED lighting. The street administration budget includes reinstating an equipment operator for the traffic division.

For street maintenance, Clough also said the city staff will work to improve the overall rating of Sidney’s roadways by annually completing the PCI survey, aggressive pothole patching and street crack sealing and rejuvenation of the roads.

Clough noted, in terms of street traffic, the city will continue with the traffic sign retro-reflective requirement by replacing 300 traffic signs next year. Also, traffic lights will be replaced with new LED traffic heads and the annual traffic pavement striping will continue, he said.

Clough reviewed the numerous ongoing goals for the city’s water and the treatment plants. He noted Sidney has been utilizing its new water source for a year, and a goal is to supply potable water in sufficient quantity to meet demand or exceed the required water quality. Another goal is to retain the option to utilize surface water from Miami River, and Tawawa Creek intakes, he said.

For underground utilities, the city aims to replace old water meters and associated equipment to ensure quick accurate readings. The goal is to upgrade 300 to 400 meters to E-coder meters next year.

It was noted that users’ solid waste bill will increase by 3.5 percent in 2019. This is changing according to the terms of the city’s new contract with the trash hauler.

Financial Officer Ginger Adams went over the utilities’ budget numbers, as well as the transportation, airport, service center, garage/fleet and solid waste funds numbers. She also noted there will be no changes to the 2019 budget from the five-year plan for years 2019-2023 that was presented to council in September.

Council will complete the budget review at its Nov. 12 meeting. The appropriations ordinance will have its first reading at the Nov. 26 meeting and will be up for adoption Dec. 10.

City Manager Mark Cundiff reviewed the upcoming Zoning Board/Planning Commission Agenda for Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, and reviewed the prospective City Council Agenda items for the next 30 days.

Council member Janet Born shared receiving a call from a Cumberland Avenue resident about loud “jake braking” noise on the Interstate 75 off ramp.

Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan requested a review of crosswalks timing downtown; she noted they seem to change too quickly.

Cundiff also said the city’s new aggregation contract with the lower rate of $0.371 per hundred cubic feet (CCF) of natural gas will go into effect May 2019. The new supplier is Volunteer Energy. He said anyone not currently enrolled may do so. Information to enroll will be available on the city’s website,

Monday’s agenda included for council to go into an executive session to consider pending or imminent court action and for the purchase of property for public purposes, however the agenda was amended to cancel the session.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.