Council hears about new RTPO

By Sheryl Roadcap - [email protected]

SIDNEY — Sidney City Council heard a presentation on the formation of a new Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO) at its Monday evening meeting.

Brian Martin, executive director of the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC), talked to council members about the formation of a new RTPO. The RTPO began as a two-year pilot program created to “help spur better and more informed transportation decision making in Ohio.”

Currently there are six RTPO organizations in Ohio. Martin said the MVRPC is interested to include Sidney into a seventh organization, which they are looking to establish. He explained to members how the Ohio Department of Transportation is using federal funding to establish these organizations for long-range transportation planning.

A discussion ensued about the funding pools accessible to RTPO participants versus the city alone. Martin said in addition to the funding pool access, there would be technical expertise and other resources available. He anticipated the new RTPO to be established by July 2022.

Other than the packet of information Martin provided for council members, Vice Mayor Milligan said at the end of the meeting she would like more information from city staff about the proposal of the MVRPC. Council members then had a short conversation about perceived benefits.

In other business, council members were introduced to Pamela Butler Riggs MPH, the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department’s new commissioner. Riggs became the new health commissioner on June 7, 2021. During her visit to introduce herself to City Council, she encouraged all who had not received their COVID-19 vaccination to do so. Council members welcomed her to the community after she has served as health commissioner in other Ohio counties.

At the end of the meeting during the call for public comments, Foraker Avenue resident Nick Inman spoke to council about Sidney Code Enforcement Officer Arthur Franklin. Inman complained Franklin issued him several citations for violations and said Franklin was abusing his position with the city. He detailed an encounter with Franklin on May 26, 2021, where he was told to remove indoor furniture and other junk from what Inman called his recreational outdoor area. Inman said he started a petition for Franklin’s resignation and was seeking an investigation into his conduct. Inman also said he is seeking enough signatures to run for City Council. After Inman’s audio was lost, which had been fading in and out during the teleconference meeting, Mayor Mike Barhorst advised him to contact Barbara Dulworth, the city’s community development director, who is department director and Franklin’s supervisor about his concerns.

At the very end of the meeting, members had a discussion on the validity of the concerns raised by Inman. Council member Steve Wagner said he has been to Inman’s residence and saw first-hand the citations. Council members expressed support for Franklin’s work.

Next during public comments, Caleb Stauder, of South Ohio Avenue, an engineering co-op student working at Emerson, introduced himself and shared a short background about himself. He went on to speak for a while about pro-life issues.

In final business, City Council also held an executive session to discuss the employment of a public official/employee. No action was taken after member emerged from the session.

Council member Steven Klinger was absent Monday and was excused by council.

By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.