Council considers potential City Hall renovations

By Sheryl Roadcap - [email protected]

SIDNEY — Future potential City Hall renovations were discussed Monday evening at the Sidney City Council teleconference meeting.

John Freytag, of Freytag & Associates Inc. Architects Engineers, presented council members with an evaluation of the existing municipal building and possible renovations. Renovations includes ideas for the underutilized areas of the building into usable office space. Freytag explained the process used to evaluate the existing building and its current occupancy, and then shared a final concept plan for the renovation of the building, including Council Chambers on the first floor in the former fire apparatus bays.

The study provided a cost comparison to renovate the existing building versus constructing a new facility. The total projected cost of a renovation would be $5.5 million. The cost to demolish the existing facility and a new construction is estimated at $6.9 million.

City Manager Mark Cundiff told council members the inspiration behind the review was security of the existing facility, especially for after-hours activities, such as public meetings. He noted there is not an immediate need, but the evaluation would be a launching point for potential city-wide building improvements in 2024 and beyond when the bonds for the existing police facility expires. He said city staff will add the project as an unfunded project into the city’s five year plan and annually update the cost.

A brief discussion ensued among council members on the pros and cons of each option presented. Members thanked Freytag and agreed to consider the information.

In other business, City Council adopted three resolutions, and they are:

• To approve the amended agreement and bylaws of the Miami Valley Risk Management Association (MVRMA).

The city of Sidney has participated in a joint insurance pool, MVRMA, since 1993 for its business insurance needs. MVRMA consists of 21-member cities that pool together their risks for property, crime, liability, boiler and machinery, and public officials’ liability. Each member city is represented on MVRMA’s Board of Trustees. Changes to MVRMA’s bylaws must be approved by the legislative bodies of at least 2/3 of the member cities.

• To authorize Cundiff to enter into a contract to purchase real property for the acquisition of the property situated at 1315 S. Main Ave.

The estate of Judy Jackson has agreed to sell to the city of Sidney the South Main Avenue property. Law Director Jeff Amick said the purchase is intended to further the city’s goal of protecting the natural resources along the Great Miami River and to otherwise provide recreational opportunities and uses. He noted a contract to finalize the purchase had been prepared, reviewed and been deemed acceptable.

• To oppose Ohio House Bill (HB) 157 amending the law regarding the withholding of municipal earned income tax for those working either virtually or at home.

(HB) 157 would repeal a provision which instructs municipalities to continue withholding municipal income tax at a taxpayer’s place of work, even if the taxpayer is currently working from home in a different local jurisdiction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the end of the meeting Mayor Mike Barhorst shared the following:

• A brief update on the David H. Morrison bow string bridge donation. He said the signed donation agreement has been received by the city, and pending a successful Transportation Alternatives Program funding application, the donated bridge will be rehabilitated and used to replace an aged footbridge on Tawawa Lake.

• Ohio Historic Bridge President David Simmons submitted an application to the Ohio History Connection to name the Zenas King Bridge to the National Register of Historic Places.

• Vectren is continuing its transition to CenterPoint Energy. Residents can expect to see increased identity changes to company assets and employee uniforms in the coming weeks. Completion of the name transition is planned for late April.

During City Manager comments, Cundiff shared:

• City Hall will be closed Friday, April 2, in observance of Good Friday. There will be no delay of trash collection.

• For now, the municipal income tax filing deadline remains April 15, 2021. The federal government moved the deadline to file federal tax returns to May 17, 2021, but city ordinances mandate that the city follow the state of Ohio deadline. As of Monday, the state had not extended the deadline to May 17.

City staff would be extending office hours on Saturday, April 10, to help residents complete city tax forms. If the state extends the filing deadline to May, a second round of extended office hours will also be offered.

• The Miami Conservancy District may have funds available to help the city demolish the structure at 1315 S. Main Ave. He noted the district has concerns about the private lift station associated with this property located near the river.

By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.