Council approves lodging tax distribution changes


By Melanie Speicher - mspeicher@aimmedianetwork.com



SIDNEY — Two resolutions dealing with the lodging tax for the city of Sidney were approved during Monday’s City Council meeting.

The first resolution deals with the distribution of the lodging tax, which the city receives from hotels and motels in the city. By state law, 75 percent of the lodging tax collection goes into the city’s general fund. The remaining 25 percent goes into a separate fund, which is used for the support of a local convention and visitor’s bureau.

The city’s Lodging Tax Subcommittee decided to revise the existing policy to change eligibility requirements, evaluation criteria and process for evaluating requests for the use of the 75 percent of lodging tax collections that go into the general fund.

The committee requested the following changes:

• Policy statement: Funding for activities and grants to organizations that meet the grant eligibility criteria outlined in the policy.

• Grant eligibility criteria: Seek to improve the quality of life for Sidney’s residents, including but not limited to its senior residents.

• Contingency funds: Any contingency funds originally appropriated but not encumbered or expended will be transferred from the general fund to the community service program fund to be later appropriated and used to provide for activities and fund grants in accordance with the criteria and budget process outlined in the policy.

• If actual lodging tax receipts exceed budgeted tax receipts during any calendar year, the difference will be transferred from the general fund to the community service program fund.

• If the actual lodging tax receipts are less than budgeted tax receipts, the difference will be transferred from the community service program fund to the general fund.

The second resolution deals with the establishment of the community service program fund. The special revenue fund will account for the portion of the 75 percent lodging tax receipts that are not spent or encumbered.

The request for the establishment of the fund will now be sent to the Ohio Auditor.

In other business, council:

• Heard the first reading of an ordinance assessing the cost of weed cutting or removal of litter or junk. Ginger Adams, finance officer, told council the city paid to have work done and the property owners haven’t reimbursed the city for the costs. A total of 15 properties would be assessed a total of $2,209 for weed cutting and another 14 properties would be assessed a total of $1,351.03 for junk removal. The ordinance will be brought back to the table at the March 28 council meeting.

• Adopted a resolution authorizing the city manager to advertise for bids for the land application and disposal of biosolids.

• Discussed naming the A-diamond at Custenborder Fields “Veterans Memorial Field.” American Legion Post 217 had requested the name change for the diamond. The Legion’s baseball team plays all its home games on the diamond. The city’s Parks and Recreation Board approved the recommendation to city council. An ordinance will be introduced at the March 28 meeting to change the diamond’s name.

• Discussed the 2016 municipal pool rates. Duane Gaier, parks and recreation director, said the only change this year will be a 50 cent increase for the admission of preschool children from $2 to $2.50 and to increase pool rentals to $250 per two hour rental. An ordinance will be introduced at the March 28 meeting.

• Learned Police Chief Will Balling is applying for an Ohio Community Police relations grant, which would be used for the re-establishment of the Citizen Patrol Academy. If the city receives the grant, a part time coordinator for the Citizen Patrol Academy will be hired.

• Learned the trap and release program of feral cats conducted with SCARF was held. Because of the weather, not a lot of cats were trapped, but a raccoon was captured. A pot bellied pig was also found in the traps. Another trap and release will be held April 9.

Councilman Steve Wagner asked if residents could keep pot bellied pigs in their homes. Barbara Dulworth, community services director, said pot-bellied pigs are considered household pets.

• Went into executive session to discuss negotiations or bargaining sessions with public employees; considered the purchase of property for public purposes; and discussed pending or imminent court action.

Council’s next meeting will be March 28 at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers.

By Melanie Speicher

mspeicher@aimmedianetwork.com

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook, www.facebook.com/SidneyDailyNews.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook, www.facebook.com/SidneyDailyNews.