SIDNEY — Retiring City Manager Mark Cundiff was commended by the Sidney City Council for his service to the city during its Monday evening meeting. Council also discussed updating the city’s tree ordinance.
City council adopted a resolution commending Cundiff for his years of service working for the city and presented him with a copy of the legislation. Cundiff officially retires on Nov. 5 after 35 years of public service.
After going through Cundiff’s leadership role in numerous city accomplishments, Barhorst said his “commitment to the betterment of the Sidney community has been evident throughout his tenure resulting in his being the longest-serving city manager in the city’s history.”
In other business, Public Works Director Jon Crusey introduced City Council to an ordinance for changes to the city’s tree ordinance. When asked the reason for the changes, Crusey said after a recent inquiry about an issue with a property owner, he reviewed the city’s ordinance and realized the ordinance need to updated to come in line with city practices.
The city already trims trees that are on private property if it causes an imminent danger to the public. Crusey said this ordinance, if adopted, would clarify the city’s authority to cut, trim, prune, and/or remove trees/shrubs on private property without notice, under the following circumstances.
• The city’s arborist, or contracted city tree representative, determines the tree or shrub, or any portion thereof is dead, or otherwise so diseased or damaged such that it constitutes an immediate danger to the safety of persons or property;
• The tree or shrub interferes with the proper spread of light along the street from a street light;
• The tree or shrub interferes with the visibility of any traffic control device or sign;
• The tree or shrub obstructs the view of any street, alley or street-alley intersection;
• The tree or shrub does not provide a clear space of either eight feet above any surface of the sidewalk or 14 feet above the surface of a street, alley or other right-of-way;
• The tree or shrub harbors insects or disease which constitutes a potential health threat or safety hazard to other trees within the city.
Annually, Crusey said, the city hires a tree service to removed dead and/or dangerous street trees. The tree service also cuts, trims and prunes trees on private property that interfere with the visibility of traffic control devices and signs or that obstruct the view of any street, alley or street-alley intersection. The provision in the current tree ordinance authorizing the city to prune or remove trees that constitute a public hazard is located in the same section that requires notification to property owners and billing for such pruning and removal. The notification provision would be very detrimental to the city’s annual tree maintenance program, he noted.
Council members had several questions with some members expressing concern about the ordinance. A short discussion then ensued. Crusey said city staff would certainly make every attempt to contact property owners about the problem with their tree prior to cutting a dead or dangerous tree down. The topic will be considered further by City Council at its Nov. 8 meeting.
City Council also adopted the following three resolutions, and they are:
• To accept the earmarked $1 million in the state budget for the removal of hazardous materials at the Wagner property on Fair Road. The earmarked funds requires a 50/50 match. The city included $500,000 in the 2022 budget to provide half of the matched funds. Shelby County Commissioners have committed $250,000 for the match, as well. Community Service Director Barbara Dulworth said city staff is working on other sources to complete the remaining $250,000 match.
• To reappoint Erik Edwards to the Greater Downtown CRA Housing Council to a term expiring Oct. 31, 2024;
• To appoint David M. Busick as the city law director, who will assume the position after current Law Director Jeff Amick retires on Dec. 31. Until Amick retires, Busick will work along side Amick as the city’s assistant law director.