SIDNEY — Information on the proposed 0.15 percent earned income tax street levy was reviewed at Sidney City Council’s Monday night meeting.
If approved by voters on Nov. 5, Assistant City Manager/Public Works Director Gary Clough said the 0.15 percent would run from Jan. 2020 to December 2024. The current .025 percent street levy expires Dec. 31, 2019.
Clough reminded council collected funds only used for streets, alleys, curbs and gutter construction began in 2015 after being approved in the November 2014 election.
The first street projects were completed during the summer 2015. During his update, Clough gave an overview of completed street projects accomplished over the last four years. The city’s pavement condition rating (PCR) at the end of 2019 is 72; the goal is between 75 and 80. Clough noted in 2015, some streets were in such terrible condition when construction began, they were rated in the 30s.
The presentation also included comparison maps, charts and an overview of projected projects yet to be completed in years 2020-2024.
A total of $16.95 million is needed over the next five years for streets’, bridge and traffic signal work. Clough said $5.7 million in revenue is anticipated to be received without funds from the street replacement levy. With passage of the street levy, $15.1 million is anticipated for the streets’ projects. Clough noted although funds will still be short for needed projected projects, even with the levy passing, he anticipates Sidney’s PCI to probably receive an 80-82 rating after the work with levy funds in 2024.
The street levy presentation can be found by clicking the Oct. 14 City Council agenda packets link on the city of Sidney’s documents webpage at https://sidneycityoh.documents-on-demand.com
During the public comments portion of the meeting, Bon Air Circle resident John Adams, who first approached City Council on Feb. 25 with questions about the levy that was on the May ballot, again asked questions Monday. Some of the questions he asked Monday, and answers he received, were:
• What is the percent of the general fund spent on roads before the current levy went into effect, and what is that amount spent today? Clough pointed to the charts included in his presentation and told Adams said the expenditure on the revenue for roads goes up 2 or 3 percent a year.
• Will the city receive gas tax funds annually, and what is the amount? Clough said they expect to receive about $450,000 annually from the gas tax, which he included in the $5.7 million calculation listed in his presentation.
• Of the 4,000 calls for services annually, how many are EMS and how many are fire calls? Sidney Fire Chief Brad Jones told Adams 3,000 of the 4,000 calls received last year were EMS calls, and the remaining 1,000 received were fire calls.
• Of those 4,000 calls, how do they cluster between fire and EMS calls as to the location of calls in the city? Jones said currently 22 percent of both EMS and fire calls are on the west side of town, and are handled by Station No. 2. He said 78 percent are handled by Station 1, and of the 78 percent, 18 percent derives from north of Russell Road.
Adams said Jones answered his third fire levy question, and he believes a significant percent of the clustered fire and EMS calls would not be coming from the north side of the city. Adams said it is “just 18 percent,” and asked again for the percentage of calls Station 1 responds to from downtown.
Jones said 18 percent of calls Station 1 currently responds to comes from the north. Jones pointed out the word “just” was Adams’ word, not his. He said it is a 78 percent total call volume of both the north and south sections of town. He also noted those percentages are based on the current stations’ locations. Jones said the proposed fire station at 2401 Wapakoneta Ave., if proper staffing is obtained, could potentially handle a greater call volume because staff at Station 3 may go further south of Russell Road because it could be closer than Station 1.
Near the end of the meeting, during staff comments, Jones said he wished to clarify a point to Adams, who had departed the meeting earlier, about the “just 18 percent.” Jones said he wanted to clarify Adams’ use of the word “just.” Jones said when Sidney Fire responds to over 11 calls per day, 18 percent of those 11 calls equals about two calls a day in which a Sidney citizen dials 911 for help. “Two times a day — you can not use the word ‘just.’”
Jones shared the following upcoming events the fire levy committee is conducting to educate the public about the fire levy:
• Levy campaign yard signs are now available to be placed in yards around town. Signs are to be placed on the house side of the right of way in residents’ yards.
• An open house at Station 1 on Poplar Street on Oct. 20 from 1 to 4 p.m.
• A town hall meeting at a Grace Baptist Church on West Edgewood Street on Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.
• A newly created Facebook page named SidneyFireLevy.
• Canvassing the neighborhoods of registered Sidney voters soon to hand out levy information.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.