Sidney Council completes 2019 budget review

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — Sidney City Council completed its review of the 2019 budget Monday night, including a look at the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

Fire Chief Brad Jones told council continued training and education is one of the department’s goals for administration, fire operations and fire prevention. The goal next year, he said, is to continue with the about 3.2 hours per week of training for members of the department, as was in 2018. The Nancy Adams Training Center, which is located at Station 1, is aiming to hold approximately 20 local/regional training events in 2019. The fire department hosted 17 regional training sessions so far this year at the training center.

Responding to emergency calls in a timely manner is a goal the department, Jones said. The department’s goal is to respond in 6.5 minutes, or less, 90 percent of the time. Currently, they are reaching the goal of arriving within 90 percent of the time in both the west and central sections of town, but only about 63 percent of the time in the northern area of Sidney.

Council member Ed Hamaker asked Jones if the response time will be quicker in the north with the addition of a third fire station. Jones agreed.

The department’s total budget for next year is about $5.3 million.

Parks and Recreation Department Director Duane Gaier said his department’s goals and objectives include improving the existing trail system, seeking grants to further develop the park system and programs, increasing participation in the Adopt-a-Park program in which groups do maintenance work at a park, and to provide community recreation services. He also outlined improvements at Graceland Cemetery and the Senior Center, as well as goals for the concession stand fund, which his department is responsible for maintaining.

A brief discussion ensued about the concession stand and its future after Council member Joe Ratermann asked about the subsidies it receives. City Manager Mark Cundiff said Gaier will be giving a presentation and lead a discussion in January about the stand and the water park improvements.

Ratermann also asked about any information Gaier gathered about the possibility of bringing a dog park to Tawawa Park. Gaier said he will look into it further. He admitted that he miss understood direction for the park. Gaier thought — because there would be no water fountain in that area of the park where the dog park was being considered — it was agreed it would not be a good location for development.

Community Development Director Barbara Dulworth outlined her department’s budget, which includes planning and zoning, building inspection, code enforcement and city hall. Among goals and objectives for 2019 includes a major rewrite of the zoning code, to manage the new vacant property registration program, to explore ways to reduce code violations and encourage voluntary compliance with property management compliance.

The administration budget’s goals, presented by Cundiff, include keeping the city in sound financial condition; expanding the tax base by keeping and attracting business, in part by working with the Sidney Shelby Economic Partnership and the Dayton Development Coalition and Jobs Ohio; to implement the annual budget and five-year financial plan; and monitoring income tax and other revenue sources.

Finance Officer Ginger Adams discussed her department’s budget, which consists of finance-accounting, purchasing, revenue collections and information technology. Among goals for the department are to maintain a high standard of financial reporting and to deal with state-mandated changes to the city income tax.

The IT Fund’s goals are to maintain the security and integrity of the city’s data, voice and wireless network infrastructure and the maintain the server virtualization technology. Another goal is to design and implement the next generation software solutions to provide an “efficient work-flow environment”.

Also outlined were the budgets, goals and objectives for the law director/prosecutor, City Council and the city’s human resources departments.

The 2019 appropriations ordinance will be introduced at the Nov. 26 council meeting and will be considered for adoption at the Dec. 10 meeting.

After Mayor Mike Barhorst shared council’s workshop session on Monday, April 1, conflicts with the opening ceremony for Shelby County’s bicentennial celebrations, council agreed to move the workshop session to Tuesday, April 2.

During council member’s comments, Ratermann asked for a cost benefit analysis on red light enforcement with cameras versus E-bikes, which the police department plans to add next year.

Council amended the agenda for the executive session by replacing the original topics for discussion with preparing for negotiations with public employees. No action was taken after members of council emerged from the session.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.