SIDNEY — The city of Sidney plans to improve 8.24 miles of streets this summer as it continues its annual paving program.
Sidney City Council discussed the program at a work session Monday night and also received the annual report of the Department of Fire & Emergency Services.
The street program was made possible by voter passage in 2014 of a 0.25 percent addition to the city income tax for five years. Proceeds from the addition are to be used exclusively for the construction, reconstruction, resurfacing and maintenance of streets, alleys, bridges, and related curbs and gutters.
This is the second year of the program, which will extend into six years, City Manager Mark Cundiff said.
Assistant City Manager/Public Works Director Gary Clough said curb and gutter work would be done on the streets before paving.
Among the streets on this year’s program is North Main Avenue, from Parkwood Street north, and several streets that intersect with Main.
Chief Brad Jones presented the 2015 annual report of the Department of Fire & Emergency Services that detailed activities last year and looks to what’s ahead in 2016.
Training was again emphasized last year. “I’m super-excited about our training hours,” Jones said.
Firefighters put in a total of 5,520 hours in training in 2015, which averaged to 157 hours per man.
Training will be important this year, too, as retirements and promotions move personnel into different duties. Jones said the department will use the Lexipol system, which police have employed for some time. Lexipol is a company that provides policies and training for public safety organizations.
A major training event will occur in April when the Local Emergency Planning Committee will partner with CSX Railroad for a one-week program. This “classroom-in-a-boxcar” event will be held at Trupointe Cooperative, Jones said. “There are only two of these trains in the United States. We’re excited about it.” There will be no charge to the city for the program, he said.
In fire prevention activities last year, there were 648 inspections, 17 fire investigations, four youths were helped in the juvenile fire-setter program, and 150 programs involving 2,300 children were conducted for preschool to fifth grade.
Firefighters responded to 3,855 calls for services in 2015. Jones said this is the highest number of calls in the department’s history. These consisted of 2,977 emergency medical service calls and 878 fires. Fire loss totaled $843,650. The same figures for 2014 were 3,594 calls (2,784 EMS/809 fire) and $1,112,705. Calls to townships last year were 316 EMS and 97 fire.
Jones listed six “significant incidents” last year in terms of fire loss: 1249 Wapakoneta Ave., $200,000; 232 Pike St., $70,000; 899 Hayes St., $65,000; 520 Grenelefe Court, $120,000; 2400 St. Marys Ave., $80,000; and 1300 S. Main Ave., $120,000.
All these were building fires, except the St. Marys Avenue incident, which was classified as “road freight.” Jones said this was a semi-rig fire.
Jones said the department averages 10 to 14 calls per day; most of them EMS. He said studies nationwide have found call volume is “socioeconomic-driven.”
Jones reviewed incident density and response time based on areas of the city. Sixty-one percent of incidents last year were in what is called the “central” area, located roughly east of Fourth Avenue and south of Russell Road.
Response times of 6.5 minutes or less were recorded for more than 92 percent for all calls in two of the three sections of the city. Response times were 58.3 percent for the north section (roughly north of Russell Road and east of St. Marys Avenue). For areas outside the city, it was 86.7 percent.
For EMS calls, response times of 6 minutes or less were recorded for 86.9 and 88.9 percent for the west and central areas, respectively, and 44.9 percent for the north section. It was 29.8 percent outside the city.
The 6-minute EMS time is an American Heart Association standard based on cardiac events. The 6.5-minute fire-call time is recommended by the International Association of Fire Chiefs.
The city has long discussed adding a new fire station to serve the north end of the city, but lack of funding has prevented that project from proceeding.
In other business:
• Councilman Joe Ratermann said five people contacted him about council’s discussion at an earlier meeting of setting time limits on how long trash cans could be left at the curb. He said the consensus was that something should be done “sooner rather than later.”
• Councilman Darryl Thurber asked if the post office had ever been approached about building a handicap-access ramp. Mayor Mike Barhorst told of unsuccessful efforts over the years to accomplish that. He said its status as a federal, historic building has been used to argue against the ramp. “Unless they get lots of pressure,” Barhorst said, postal officials won’t add a ramp.
• City Manager Mark Cundiff said the second floor on the west side of the municipal building will be closed for part of the day Friday as an air conditioner chiller is placed on the roof. The work is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. He said the northeast door of the building will be unlocked to allow the public to enter.
• Council went into an executive session to discuss pending or imminent court action.
The writer may be contacted at 937-538-4823.