Council discusses REVIVE program

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — Revisions to the REVIVE (REnoVate, InVest, Energize) program were discussed during Sidney City Council’s Monday evening workshop session.

City Manager Mark Cundiff led a discussion on the REVIVE program, which initially was introduced to City Council on June 28. The program is designed to incentivize the purchase and renovation of existing single family homes and homes originally constructed as single-family housing but had been converted to multiple-family housing. The homes are to be restored to single-family home status or existing duplexes originally constructed as duplexes provided the property owner lives in one of the units.

To provide such incentive, the city of Sidney, at its sole election and discretion, may agree to do some or all of the following:

• Forgive outstanding utility bills incurred by previous owner(s), vacant property registration fines, and junk and weed abatement costs/assessments.

• Forgive other liens placed on the property by the city or forgive other financial obligations owed to the city associated with the property.

• Depending on the location, Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) property tax abatement.

Program requirements/logistics:

• For houses that will be renovated and subsequently used as single-family housing units, regardless of the number of units into which the structure may have previously been divided, and structures originally constructed as duplexes being able to be renovated as a duplex provided the property owner lives in one of the units.

• Property owner shall enter into a binding agreement with the city agreeing to bring the house into compliance with all Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) requirements within a prescribed number of days.

• Register the property as a vacant property within 30 days of taking ownership or request an exemption from registering based on one of the approved exemptions.

• Pay for all utility costs from the time the owner assumes ownership of the property until the property is sold.

• Use the property only as a single family dwelling unit and, if sold, to place a restriction on any subsequent instrument of conveyance, indicating that the subject property may only be used as a single family dwelling unit, and structures originally constructed as duplexes being able to be renovated as a duplex provided the property owner lives in one of the units.

• Property owner must obtain all necessary building permits, pass all inspections and be issued a certificate of occupancy.

• No financial obligation related to the subject property shall be forgiven or waived by the city unless and until all obligations required to be performed or met by the owner of the property have been completed to satisfaction of the city of Sidney.

• All residential areas of the city eligible for the program.

Mayor Mike Barhorst said he thinks they should focus on a certain section of town at a time and to not allow the property to be transferred to family members or close business associates. Council members expressed excitement about the program. The topic will return to council for further consideration in the future for implementation in 2022.

Also discussed Monday was consideration of which projects to accomplish with America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The city of Sidney will receive ARPA funds one time in the amount of $2,146,024. A total $15,182,691 worth of requests were made by senior directors in capital projects or to fill vacant staff positions. Cundiff said upon reviewing all the requests, city staff feels the Hoewisher Road Bridge over the CSX railroad tracks, the automated weather observing system at the Sidney Airport, demolition of the Wagner Building, and the replacement of the roof at Fire Station 1 are the projects that should receive some portion of the ARPA funds.

After a brief discussion of council members’ various views of which projects they would like to see funded, city staff was directed to consider spreading the budget out to complete as many projects as possible. Cundiff said they would continue to work on the project.

A presentation reviewing Sidney code enforcement activity comparing years 2016 through 2020 and objectives for 2022 that was on Monday’s agenda was rescheduled for Monday, Aug. 6.

The West Ohio Food bank announced another drive through food distribution, made possible in coordination with several other local organizations, is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 23, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Sidney High School, Barhorst said.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.