SIDNEY — The city of Sidney has again received Ohio Auditor of State Award with Distinction for the audit of year ending on Dec. 31, 2018. The city has consecutively received the award since 2004.
Joe Braden, western regional liaison with the Ohio Auditor of State’s office, presented the Ohio Auditor of State Award to Finance Officer Ginger Adams and Assistant Finance Officer Renee DuLaney during Sidney City Council’s Monday night meeting.
He noted the award has a very stringent criteria of which only about 4 percent of those audited receive. Entities that receive the award meet the following criteria of a “clean” audit report:
• The entity must file timely financial reports with the Auditor of State’s office in the form of a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).
• The audit report does not contain any findings for recovery, material citations, material weaknesses, significant deficiencies, single audit findings or questioned costs.
• The entity’s management letter contains no comments related to:
— Ethics referrals;
— Questioned costs less than $10,000;
— Lack of timely report submission;
— Failure to obtain a timely single audit;
— Findings for recovery less than $100;
— Public meetings or public records.
Braden recognized City Council and city staff, but specifically Adams and DuLaney who work with all departments to prepare for the audit, coordinates the auditors’ work and prepares the CAFR.
In other business, council adopted two ordinances, are they are:
• To amend certain sections of an ordinances regarding water, sewer, stormwater and solid waste collection rates, sewer tap fees and the reconnection charge.
— Low volume users will see an increase in their monthly utility bill from $56.50 in 2019 to $58.15 in 2020. An average family of four can expect to see an increase in their monthly bill from $113.77 in 2019 to $117.37 in 2020.
The water and sewer rates change will become effective Jan. 1, 2020, and refuse and stormwater rates change will become effective April 1, 2020.
— The after-hours reconnection fee will increase from $100 to $145, in order to cover staffing cost for the late call. The reconnect fee is charged when water service has previously been disconnected due to non-payment, violation of finance department regulations or where the water meter has been removed for a period of time to eliminate minimum charges. The fee charged during the work hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday remains $25.
— Increased sewer tap fees to cover the costs associated with the following size of taps:
a) $100 to $125 for meter size of 5/8-inch;
b) $125 to $150 for meter size of ¾-inch;
c) $175 to $200 for meter size of 1-inch
— Removal of the $25 fee for existing building sewer and/or building drain repair, modification or replacement. Given the fees involved with the inflow & infiltration program, Adams said this fee is not necessary.
• To revise an ordinance to add the 0.15 percent tax, passed by voters on Nov. 5, for purposes of providing funds for the construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, and maintenance of streets, alleys, bridges, curbs and gutters in the city for the period from Jan. 1, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2024.
Council was also introduced to five ordinances, and they are:
• To assess the cost of weed cutting and removal of junk on private property. It is the last quarterly assessment of the year, Adams said, for outstanding invoices through Aug. 12, 2019, which remain outstanding as of Nov. 21, 2019.
A total of six properties will be assessed a total of $11,897.80 for junk removal, 93 properties will be assessed $32,838 for weed cutting.
Mayor Mike Barhorst noted $11,000 sounds high for the removal of junk from six properties. Community Development Director Barbara Dulworth said several properties had several thousand dollars in costs to have a lot of junk removed.
• To authorize supplemental appropriations for year 2019;
• To authorize an appropriation for city expenditures during the year ending Dec. 31, 2020;
• To amend sections of an ordinance regarding city employees’ policies, procedures and regulations;
• To amend the pay classification plan and pay tables for city employees, except for the city manager, law director and city clerk. City Council establishes the pay scales for those positions.
Also Monday, council also adopted three resolutions, and they are:
• To accept the replat request of Darrell and Diane Bender to transfer ownership of two lots to an adjacent property owner at to 504 Johnston St. The replat will result in a lot with 6,185.5-square-feet and a lot with 5,401.4-square-feet.
• To accept the replat request of Tom and Angela Martin to create two new lots from three lots at 901 and 917 Fair Road. The replat will result in a lot with 10,846.4-square-feet and a lot with 12,850.6-square-feet.
Council members Jenny VanMatre and Janet Born both said they received calls from those who were concerned with a potential garage being built on the Martin’s property, as it could cause issues blocking site of the road. Dulworth said passage of the replat would allow the garage to be able to be built much further back from the site-line than was originally proposed.
• Commending Born for her service as a council member for the city of Sidney since 2012. After Barhorst read the resolution praising Born’s commitment, collaboration and dedicated service, all present gave her a standing ovation. Both Barhorst and Council member Steve Wagner told her she will be missed.
At the end of the meeting Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan asked if there was a limited time frame for political signs to remain in yards. City Manager Mark Cundiff said there is not because of cases taken to the Supreme Court which established it could infringe upon freedom of speech to demand removal.
Fire Chief Brad Jones thanked Ron and Nita’s for including the Sidney Fire Department in their annual Christmas window display this year.
Council member Ed Hamaker commended city staff for the new, “refreshing” look of the city of Sidney’s home page on its website. He also noted the new drive at Northwood School has been completed. It will be opened after Thanksgiving break. He then asked when the city’s Christmas lights will be turned on downtown. Cundiff said they only have control of the tree lights on city streets, not courtsquare. The street tree lights will be turned on Friday. It was noted lights on courtsquare will not be on until the Christmas parade.
Cundiff reminded all: public city offices will be closed on Thursday in observance of Thanksgiving; trash collection will be delayed on Thursday and Friday; and to “Shop at Small” at local businesses on Saturday, Nov. 30.
Barhorst reminded the public about the Turkey Trot 5K run on Thanksgiving beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Sidney. He also noted the Bicentennial Coins will be delivered in time to give as Christmas gifts.
Council also went into an executive session to prepare for negotiations or bargaining sessions with public employees. No action was taken after members of council emerged from the session.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.