Council tables non-traditional vehicles ordinance

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — Sidney City Council tabled the issue concerning the use of non-traditional vehicles on Sidney public streets Monday evening at its hybrid-style teleconference meeting.

Council began considering the topic at its July 13 meeting after Police Chief Will Balling said the city received requests to allow golf carts, utility vehicles and low-speed vehicles on city streets. Currently Sidney does not have an ordinance allowing them on public streets.

Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan made the motion to table the issue until early April 2021 so council members could have more time to work on the ordinance for the use of non-traditional vehicles. Council members unanimously agreed and voted to table the issue until spring.

City Council was also introduced to an ordinance to assess the cost of the removal of litter or junk or weed cutting for outstanding invoices through Aug. 8, 2020, and remain outstanding as of Sept. 9. For weed mowing violations, the invoiced amount is the actual cost of the mowing plus $75 for the first weed cutting, $150 for the second cutting and $250 for each cutting thereafter. For junk removal violations, the invoiced amount is the actual cost of the junk removal plus 20 percent. A total of 28 properties will be assessed a total of $9,466.20 for junk removal and 47 properties will be assessed $14,720.050 for weed mowing.

Council also adopted the following three resolution, and they are:

• To accept the County Budget Commission’s estimate of the city’s share of the property tax levy inside the 10-mill limitation. The Ohio Revised Code requires City Council to annually accept these amounts as estimated revenue for the ensuing year’s budget, authorize the necessary tax levies and certify them to the Shelby County auditor.

• To authorize a cash advance, if needed, up to a maximum of $40,000, from the general fund to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) fund.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, FEMA is providing 75% reimbursement of expenses incurred to provide “emergency protective measures.” The reimbursable expenses for the city of Sidney includes purchases of personal protective equipment, such as masks, hazardous material suits, gloves, disinfectant sprays, wipes, thermometers and hand soap. Until the end of 2020, the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA) is utilizing CARES Act funding to provide the 25% match to all public applicants.

FEMA-eligible expenses, previously paid from other city operating funds, will be reclassified to the city’s FEMA Fund. Once FEMA reimbursement is received, the cash advance will be repaid from the FEMA fund to the general fund.

• To authorize Law Director Jeffrey Amick to initiate appropriate litigation on an as-deemed necessary basis against the owners of real property located within Sidney when such property has become a nuisance because it has been allowed to be used for an illicit purpose. The abatement sought could be a discontinuance of use for a specified period, or by way of demolition, depending upon relevant circumstances.

Milligan asked Amick for an example of a potential case of which this would be applicable. Amick said at least one such property currently exists where first responders have been repeatedly called to the property for illegal drug overdoses and a drug-related death. He noted litigation would not be the first step in the process, but would be a helpful tool after the property owner repeatedly ignored demands to deal with the problem. Amick said in this particular instance, city staff has been working to help solve problems at this nuisance property for over one year.

Mayor Mike Barhorst requested clarification that rental properties could also be addressed under these nuisance regulations. Amick said Ohio law has changed in the last several years and now rental properties are subject to the same regulations.

Monroe Street resident Roger Drummond spoke up about ongoing drug-related nuisance issues at a residence in the 700 block of Monroe Street. He noted frequent police visits to the property and requested something be done soon about the problem. Amick said city staff was working on the issue and he expected action to be taken in the next few weeks.

In other business at the end of the meeting, City Manager Mark Cundiff reported he received notification, from the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control, the city’s Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) application had been approved. He said he will be working with Sidney Alive on the logistics to roll-out the program.

Council members Darryl Thurber and Steve Wagner were absent Monday.

Council also went into an executive session to discuss the employment of a public employee. No action was taken by council when members came out of the meeting.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

By Sheryl Roadcap