SIDNEY — The city of Sidney may soon be providing emergency ambulance service to the Houston Ambulance District for six months to help with its need due to lack of staffing, starting Jan. 1.
The Sidney City Council adopted legislation Monday evening for the city of Sidney to enter into a contract with the Houston Ambulance District after Fire Chief Chad Hollinger recommended to not extend Sidney’s mutual aid agreement with Houston past Dec. 31, 2020. The agreement is no longer effective because Houston has significant staffing issues and is unable to reciprocate mutual aid to Sidney.
The topic to terminate Sidney’s mutual aid agreement with Houston Rescue was originally scheduled as an item of discussion on Monday’s agenda, but Mayor Mike Barhorst replaced the discussion with a resolution on the issue at the top of the meeting.
Hollinger provided council members with a PowerPoint presentation illustrating the proposed coverage area and statistics of aid given and received by the Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Services. Currently Houston Rescue is manned by a volunteer crew. Hollinger told council he understands the difficulty of maintaining a volunteer crew and is willing to help out a neighbor, but would not want to extend the contract past July 1, 2020. Taking on up to four potential extra calls per day would stretch SFD members thin, but knowing there is an end date set will help. Only Sidney Fire will respond to Houston’s calls over the next six months, not Houston Rescue. The next six months will give Houston time to reset and get a crew together, Hollinger said.
Chad DeLaet, board member of the Houston Ambulance District and Loramie Township trustee, spoke during the meeting and said he is very appreciative of Sidney’s help. He also said they plan to try to get a paid crew lined up to take over the Houston Ambulance District.
The resolution was passed as an emergency, as Monday was City Council’s last meeting of the year.
The Houston Ambulance District’s board will meet on Dec. 22, 2020, to review the contract submitted by the city of Sidney.
City Council also adopted three other resolutions, and they are:
• To authorize City Manager Mark Cundiff to enter into an agreement with the Shelby County Public Defender Commission to provide legal counsel to indigent persons charged with criminal violations in the Sidney Municipal Court. The 2021 contract will remain substantially the same in content as in the recent past, except only for a few minor technical revisions, Law Director Jeffrey Amick said. The amount to paid to the commission by the city will remain at $55,000 per year;
• To authorize Cundiff to enter into a collective bargaining agreement with AFSCME Ohio Council 8, Local 2429;
• To authorize the drawing of payment to Ecolane, provider of Shelby Public Transit’s scheduling and dispatching software, for two years of annual software maintenance, totaling $20,800. The Ohio Department of Transportation will reimburse the city for 100% of costs from grant funds after the invoice is paid.
In other business, a public hearing was held for the request of Brent Wright, on behalf of the North Broadway Church of Christ, for the rezoning of the property at 2655 N. Broadway Ave. The property is located on the west side of Broadway Avenue and north of Hoewisher Road. The request is to change the zoning from an R-3, multi-family residence district, to B-1, local business district. No members of the public spoke.
The property is currently developed and used as a religious institution, which is a principally permitted use in the district, said Community Service Director Barbara Dulworth.
Dulworth told Council member Darryl Thurber, when asked, the reason for the rezoning is the church wants to build a storage building, which is not allowed in an R-3, multi-family residence district, but would be allowed in a B-1, local business district.
The item will return for further consideration at council’s Jan. 11, regular meeting.
Council also went into an executive session to discuss the purchase of property for public purposes.No action was taken after member emerged from the session.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.