SIDNEY — Sidney City Council wrapped up its discussion on the city’s five-year-plan Monday evening meeting.
The five-year financial plan, which proposes capital and operational expenditures for years 2022-2026, was introduced at City Council’s Sept. 7 workshop. Monday evening, City Manager Mark Cundiff asked council members if they had any further questions or suggestions on the plan. Council members Darryl Thurber and Steve Wagner said they wished there was a way to fund some of the vacant city staff postions; they also praised their work on the plan. Mayor Mike Barhorst noted there are projects he would like to see funded but without the extra money, he was satisfied with the plan presented. Members thanked Cundiff and city staff for all their hard work on the plan and directed them to prepare legislation.
City Council adopted three resolutions, and they are:
• To accept the county budget commission’s estimate of the city share of the property tax levy inside the 10-mill limitation. The Ohio Revised Code requires that the City Council annually accept these amounts as estimated revenue for the ensuing year’s budget, authorize the necessary tax levies and certify them to the Shelby County auditor.
• To authorize city staff to waive past due city utility fees from 342, 344, 346, 348 and 352 E. Court St. There is $1,917.67 due to the city for this property for past due utility fees, primarily sewer inflow and infiltration (I&I) fees, dating back to 2017. These parcels were owned by the Shelby County Land Reutilization Corporation (Land Bank) until Aug. 16, 2021. The Land Bank donated the properties to the Alpha Community Center, a local non-profit organization.
In 2018, City Council adopted a resolution allowing council to waive fees for past due city utilities on a property owned by the Land Bank on a case-by-case basis upon review of the circumstances involved.
• To authorize an application with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for an Urban Canopy Restoration Grant.
Available grant funds, supplied by the USDA Forest Service Urban & Community Forestry Program through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, were recently announced. The program is intended to address the critical need to restore and improve urban forests due to catastrophic losses from emerald ash borer (EAB) pest, while building resiliency through tree planting in urban communities.
At the height of Ohio’s EAB infestation, the state lost over 10,000 acres of urban tree canopy each year, totaling an estimated $9.3 million net loss in benefits per year, said Brian Green, ISA certified arborist/Sidney street superintendent. Sidney has lost approximately 1,100 street and parks trees since 2011 and 90% of those were ash trees, he said.
As a part of this program, funding requests may be made in the range of $2,500 to $25,000 per eligible organization. This is a 50/50 match grant program based on reimbursable costs. The application deadline is Oct. 29, 2021.
Barhorst has been soliciting donations for the city’s 50% match, Green said. Presently, there are $15,000 in donations earmarked (either on deposit or invoiced) for the city’s cash match. The dollar amount of the final grant application will be dependent upon the final donations accumulated for the required cash match.
During council comments at the end of the meeting, Barhorst said the Ohio Historical Marker for the Zenas King Bridge will be dedicated Saturday, Sept. 18, at 2:30 p.m. He also thanked the Sidney Civic Band for their performance on Sept. 11. Barhorst commented on the schedule for the Vietnam Traveling Wall in Sidney, which arrived Wednesday, Sept. 15, and also on the city’s tree sale. The tree sale ends on Oct. 8, with delivery for pick up at the service center on Oct. 30.
Cundiff said city staff is closely monitoring the president’s executive order from the previous week (regarding vacinnes/testing requirements for employers). He noted city fire hydrant flushing is ongoing through Oct. 1. and Sidney’s free mulch giveaway continues this Saturday. Cundiff also shared the Historic Sidney Theatre is starting up a Community Choir that is open to all in the area to join.
At the end of the meeting, Ricki Mooney, of South Walnut Avenue, requested the city look into the procedures to notify property owners of grass height violations after he had shared an incident at his property with the city code enforcement officer.
In final business, City Council went into an executive session to discuss the employment of a public employee/official and also to discuss to sale of public property. No action was taken by council after they emerged from the session.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.