Council OKs new utility, refuse rates

By Sheryl Roadcap - [email protected]

SIDNEY — The Sidney City Council OK’d new utility and refuse rates and was introduced to numerous end of year ordinances during its Monday evening hybrid-style teleconference meeting.

City Council first adopted an ordinance Monday to amend sections pertaining to water, sewer, stormwater and solid waste collection rates.

The new water, sewer, stormwater and trash pick-up rates will increase the low volume user’s bill by $1.72 per month, Finance Officer Ginger Adams said. The average family of four will see an increase of $3.72 per month. The change in water and sewer rates will become effective Jan. 1, 2021. The new refuse and stormwater rates will become effective April 1, 2021.

Council was also introduced to the following seven ordinances:

• To make supplemental appropriations for the year 2020;

• To make an appropriation for expenditures of the city of Sidney, Ohio, during the year ending Dec. 31, 2021;

• To assess the cost of the removal of litter or junk or weed cutting for outstanding invoices through Oct. 14, which remain outstanding as of Nov. 17. 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 $150 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 67 properties will be assessed a total of $16,528 for weed cutting, and another 18 properties will be assessed a total of $5,856.40 for junk removal.

• To amend a section and a subsection of the codified ordinances regarding the organization chart and salary increments of city employees;

• To repeal a section of the codified ordinances pertaining to “mandatory retirement for police and firemen,” which Human Resource Manager Vickie Allen said is outdated and does not comply with state and federal laws on age discrimination. The upper age limit was removed from all ordinances from 1978 and 1981 after it was discovered earlier this year that it also needed to be repealed.

• To enact a section of the codified ordinances by adopting city employees’ pay table II, schedules A, B, C and D, and pay table III for 2021 and to confirm the classification plan set forth in a section of the codified ordinances;

• To amend a section of the codified ordinances pertaining to an “administrative fee for excessive alarms.” Deputy Fire Chief Dallas Davis said the current ordinance regarding the administrative fee for excessive alarms does not appear to be sufficient motivation for property owners to make the necessary repairs to faulty alarm systems. One location was responsible for 12 overlapping false alarm call occurrences in 2019. Also, he noted the imposed fees do not fully recover current costs related to responding to excessive alarms.

“In short, the response to excessive false alarms drains resources and causes delays in responding to other emergencies,” Davis said.

The current fee is $125 for more than eight false alarms per year calendar year. The proposed change is $350 for more than eight false alarms in a calendar year. This proposed fee was calculated based on the cost of about $291.50 for a 30 minute false alarm response.

He explained the typical equipment and personnel costs for false alarm calls are as follows:

• Quint 3 — $178 per hour or $89 each half hour;

• Quint 2 — $121 per hour or $60.50 each half hour;

• Medic — $41 per hour or $20.50 each half hour;

• Shift commander — $40/hour or $20 each half hour;

• Lieutenant and six firefighters — $29/hour or $14.50 each half hour equals $101.50.

Fire staff proposed the tally of false alarms to be converted to a 12 month “rolling experience period,” if a customer exceeds the eight alarm allowance in any two consecutive calendar years, until false alarms reduce below eight.

All of the introduced ordinances will return for further consideration at council’s Dec. 14 regular meeting.

Council members Darryl Thurber and Jenny VanMatre were both absent Monday and were excused by council.

City Manager Mark Cundiff reminded all city offices will be closed for Thanksgiving and there will be a delay in trash pick up the rest of the week.

By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.