Council hears SSEP’s annual report

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership (SSEP)’s annual update on economic development efforts in Sidney was presented to Sidney City Council Monday evening.

Jim Hill, executive director of SSEP, presented the report about the organization’s work over the last year to City Council.

The five industrial expansions, Hill said, of Airstream, Everyday Technologies, Cargill, Botkins Spec. Building and Advanced Composites will again qualify the Sidney area to be named a micropolitan by Site Selection Magazine for the third year. It is a total investment of $55.8 million, his report showed.

Investments in 2018 in the partnership were received from the city of Sidney, $66,000, 38 percent; Shelby County, $40,000, 23 percent; private donations, $61,075, 36 percent; villages and townships, 3 percent, exact dollar amount not given; and zero grants dollars was given.

Hill reminded council Sidney is the home of two industrial sites that are classified as Ohio Certified Sites. Both of the sites — 237 acres in the Sidney Industrial Park and 177 acres in the Amos Industrial Park — are utility-ready acreage ready for development by a company or industry. Hill noted Sidney Industrial Park has been waiting to be certified under JobsOhio’s site authentication program, which a set above a certified site. He noted that it has been a slow process as JobsOhio have been slow to restart the program.

In 2018, Hill said SSEP had a typical year in business leads with a total of 44. He said about 18 leads, or about 50 percent, were viable leads they responded to. No major projects resulted from the leads.

Last year Hill said SSEP participated in a unique situation in which he accompanied the Dayton Development Coalition and other area communities to Japan to meet with companies to work to bring business to Shelby County.

SSEP has been working with CIC Restructuring to find redevelopment plan for the abandoned Wagner Building in Sidney, he said.

Last year was a very good year for commercial construction, Hill said. The increase in the activity numbers is probably due to the work at Emerson Technology, he noted.

Visioning priorities Hill identified in Shelby County include:

• Improving the overall availability of housing throughout the county.

• Enhancing the private/public partnerships to improve economic and business development in the county.

• Engaging in a marketing and branding effort to improve the overall perception of Shelby County.

• Attracting more amenities that align with the expectations of the younger workforce, “placemaking” that supports talent and businesses.

He noted the Sidney area on the website that connects jobseekers to local companies is now No. 5 in Ohio. Shelby County joined the site in 2017. He also informed council about SSEP’s upcoming business after hours will be on Oct. 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Historic Sidney Theatre.

Council was introduced to two ordinances to amend the city’s vacant property/building registration ordinance and to make supplemental appropriations for 2019.

The vacant property registration ordinance was initially adopted August 2018. Since adoption of the ordinance, city staff discovered several sections where adjustments were needed, said Vacant Property Inspector Kyle Havenar.

He went over several new, additional amendments staff made by insert missing words, or correcting misspellings in the existing ordinance to clarify the intended meaning.

A brief discussion ensued Monday night about proposed wording changes in several areas. Council member Darryl Thurber and Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan asked for clarification about some of the changes. Law Director Jeffrey Amick explained some wording changes were made to allow the city flexibility when determining an action to be taken by the city, on a case by case basis, versus a mandatory action that was previously defined in the ordinance.

Prior to council moving on to the introduction of the supplemental appropriations ordinance, a member of the public stood and began walking toward council members at the front of council chambers to bring up an issue she wished to talk about. Earlier in the meeting, during the designated public comments portion of the meeting set aside for issues not already scheduled during the meeting, Mayor Mike Barhorst invited members of the public to come forth to speak about anything on their mind. No person attending, including the woman who later approached council, spoke up. Then later on as council moved to the supplemental appropriations ordinance, the woman came forward and told council she wasn’t sure how things work at the meeting but wanted to talk about an issue she was having.

As she was walking toward the podium Barhorst told her that the public comments portion of the meeting was held earlier (during which time she did not speak.) The woman became upset and said she wasn’t going to get anything done and that her tax money will be going to wasted. Upset, she then left the meeting instead of engaging further.

In other business, City Manager Mark Cundiff led a discussion introducing council member to the #LoveMyCity campaign. The national campaign is intended to bring people together in this time of division in America and highlight the connection residents feel to their city.

In advance of Sidney’s 200th birthday, Cundiff said, he asked council members to write “love letters.” The letters should recall fond memories of what members love about the city of Sidney. Cundiff said they will be published online, in the newspaper and will also be read aloud at Sidney’s Bicentennial Celebration reflect Sidney.

The scheduled executive session for considering the purchase of property for public purposes was removed from council’s agenda at the top of the meeting.

Council members Janet Born, Ed Hamaker and Steve Wagner were absent Monday and were excused by council.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.