SIDNEY — The Auditor of State Award with Distinction award was presented to the city of Sidney’s Finance Department Monday evening during the Sidney City Council meeting.
Joe Braden, western regional liaison with the Ohio Auditor of State’s office, presented Finance Officer Renee DuLaney with the Ohio Auditor of State Award with Distinction for the finance department’s audit of year ended Dec. 31, 2020. The city has received the Ohio Auditor of State award since 2004.
“All senior directors, department heads as well as the entire City organization are to be congratulated for maintaining a system of good internal controls,” Braden said, noting the city of Sidney has earned this award so many times that he annually puts it on his calendar to visit Sidney, in expectation of presenting the award.
Braden pointed out entities that receive this award meet the following criteria of a “clean” audit report upon the following conditions:
• The entity must file timely financial reports with the Auditor of State’s office in the form of a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR);
• The audit report does not contain any findings for recovery, material citations, material weaknesses, significant deficiencies, single audit findings or questioned costs;
• The entity’s management letter contains no comments related to ethics referrals, questioned costs less than $10,000, lack of timely report submission, reconciliation, failure to obtain a timely single audit, findings for recovery less than $100, public meetings or public records.
In other business, City Council adopted an ordinance that makes changes to the city’s tree ordinance. The purpose of the changes to the ordinance, city staff members noted, was to bring it update and come in line with city practices.
The city already trims trees on private property if it causes an immediate danger to the public. The ordinance changes 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, Public Works Director Jon 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 previous 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 Darryl Thurber and Steve Wagner voiced concern about the ordinance, especially regarding the fact that homeowners may be unable to be notified prior to a tree being trimmed or cut down. Public Works Director Jon Crusey and Law Director Jeff Amick said these changes in the ordinance authorizes nothing different than what the city already practices. Crusey previously 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 ordinance passed with a 4 to 2 vote, with Thurber and Wagner voting no. Klinger was absent Monday.
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