Council OKs new utility rates, sidewalk program assessments

By Sheryl Roadcap - [email protected]

SIDNEY — Sidney City Council adopted legislation Monday night to levy special assessments for the construction of certain sidewalks in Sidney and to establish utility and sanitation rates.

After the ordinance was passed by council, property owners will now be given 60 days to pay the bill for sidewalk construction or repairs, or will have it placed (assessed) on their property taxes over a five-year-period through the Shelby County Auditor’s Office.

The other ordinance adopted by City Council amends sections of the codified ordinances relating to water, sewer, stormwater and solid waste collection rates. It reflects increases of 4% for water flow rate, 3.5% for refuse, 1% for sewer flow rate, 1% for EPA compliance fee, 1% for the operating stormwater fee and 15% for the capital stormwater fee. Most users will see about a 3% rate increase, said Finance Officer Renee DuLaney. These rates are from the 2022 appropriation budget and the 2022-2026 five-year plan. The water, sewer, stormwater and trash pick-up rate change will increase the low volume user’s bill by $1.66 per month. The average family of four should see an increase of $3.43 per month.

In other business, City Council was also introduced to three ordinances to authorize appropriations for year 2022, to increase appropriations for the 2021 budget year, and to revise the 2022 pay classification plan for municipal employees.

The revised the pay classification plan changes the non-bargaining pay tables covering management employees, confidential employees, Sidney Municipal Court employees (except for the judge) to increase the scales by an additional 2.5%. Human Resource Manager Kelly Holthaus said the exceptions are the pay scales of the city manager, law director and city clerk, which are set by City Council. Due to state of Ohio minimum wage increase for 2022 to $9.30 per hour, pay table III reflects this increase for certain part time positions which have been adjusted accordingly. City staff also asked for this ordinance to be passed as an emergency action, so it will take effect immediately upon adoption.

All three of these ordinances will be brought back for further consideration at City Council’s Dec. 13 meeting.

After noting seeing an article in the Sidney Daily News, Mayor Mike Barhorst asked Police Chief Will Balling about the number of officers the police department intends to hire in 2022. Balling told Barhorst there is room in 2022 budget to hire one officer next year, but said the department is down by four compared to around year 2012. Currently the department is staffed with 36 officers. Balling said due to pending retirements or a medical retirement in 2022, they will need to fill four or five positions next year.

During comments at the end of the meeting, city manager Andrew Bowsher said the following:

• Upon Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan’s request for city staff to look at the time set to allow pedestrians to make it across the street on a walk signal downtown, staff determined the time is within ODOT’s parameters to cross the street. He said they can continue to look into it, but it would be require the re-syncing the times of all the downtown lights. Milligan continued to express her concern, especially for those in wheelchairs trying to get across the street in time. Staff members agreed to look into it further.

• Urged people to participate in the Community Foundation’s Match Day on Nov. 30. The Community Foundation of Shelby County holds its Match Day event annually on Giving Tuesday. Twenty-three local charities will ask supporters to make a gift to the Community Foundation that will be matched up to a total of $5,000 per charity.

• Residents wishing to remain in the city’s current electric aggregation program should disregard the three required form letters that have been sent out to households eligible to participate.

• Trash will not be picked up on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 25, and therefore it will be delayed by a day the remainder of the week.

By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.