City Council adopts two ordinances and eight resolutions

By Charlotte Caldwell - [email protected]

SIDNEY – The Sidney City Council adopted two ordinances and eight resolutions at a regular session on Sept. 12.

The first ordinance adopted was to enact and adopt a supplement to the city’s code of ordinances. This topic is introduced on a regular basis and is used to codify the ordinances in the Sidney City Code Book, or to put the ordinances in order.

The second ordinance adopted was to make supplemental appropriations for the year 2022. This will decrease the city’s appropriations by $2,115,936 in 2022, according to Finance Officer Renee Dulaney. Councilmember Barhorst inquired about the projects that lead to the decrease in the capital improvement fund, and Dulaney said $1,750,000 is for the Wagner manufacturing site, $170,000 is for the new archway downtown, and $850,000 is for the Canal Feeder Trail.

The eight resolutions adopted included the following:

• To authorize the city manager to advertise for bids for the replacement of public water supply wells PW-9, PW-10 and PW-7. Appropriations are available in the water reserve fund, and City Council was updated by Ground Water Science at the Aug. 1 meeting on the results of the wellfield study. The anticipated number of bids that will come in is two to three.

• To authorize and adopt a transit title VI non-discrimination plan. There are no major changes proposed, but there are updates to statistical information and items that were in the appendix that are now incorporated in the plan according to Federal Transit Administration (FTA) guidelines.

• To authorize and adopt a Shelby Public Transit Americans with Disabilities Act plan. The plan is recommended by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) because it meets the FTA requirements.

• To authorize and adopt a Shelby Public Transit procurement policy.

• To reappoint Aditya Sakhalkar and David Gross and appoint Ken Jensen to the city planning commission. Sakhalkar and Gross will be reappointed for six years with the terms ending Oct. 1, 2028, and Jensen will be appointed until Oct. 1, 2024. Jensen is also a member of the zoning board of appeals according to City Manager Andrew Bowsher.

• To authorize the city manager to enter into a contract to purchase a property at 301 N. Ohio Ave. The owner has agreed to sell the property for $65,000.

• To accept the amounts and rates as determined by the budget commission and authorize the necessary tax levies and certify them to the county auditor. The Ohio Revised Code requires that the City Council annually accept the amounts as estimated revenue for the upcoming year’s budget, according to Dulaney.

• To consent to participation in the ODOT-funded municipal bridge inspection program. ODOT’s bridge maintenance system showed 20 bridges in Sidney that would be applicable to this program.

City Council also wrapped up the discussion about the 2023-2027 five-year financial plan. There was a previous question at the Sept. 6 council meeting about whether the city’s debt ceiling of 3% has been exceeded with the projects mentioned in the financial plan, which Dulaney said it hasn’t because the proposed fire department updates would be exempt from the debt and only the city hall debt would be included, making the total debt 2.1%.

Staff did a survey of other communities and a majority relied on the state-mandated debt ceiling, which is 5.5%, according to Dulaney. “There is a value in a more conservative debt ceiling. There is also some concern that it may limit the city’s ability to continue to grow,” Dulaney said.

Bowsher said he thinks City Council should consider raising the debt ceiling to 5.5%. “It’s up to us all sitting here today on how much debt we expend, and that’s all really based upon how much dollars of income tax we have coming in,” Bowsher said.

Barhorst said he was concerned about changing to 5.5% if the decision had to be made at the Sept. 26 meeting when the financial plan resolution will be voted on because he thought it would not be enough time to review and wanted to see the language as soon as possible. Mayor Mardie Milligan asked the other council members about their thoughts on the change, and they all said they were comfortable with it as long as they see the language beforehand and have time to think about it.

During council comments, visits to the wellfield, the meeting with Ohio Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik, the unveiling of the Gen. Shelby statue, the Civil War Living History weekend, and the United Way campaign kickoff were mentioned. Brooklyn Avenue, Main Avenue and Ohio Avenue will also experience closures for repairs to the Big Four Bridge, and it will take a couple of weeks to complete.

Bowsher mentioned that ODOT announced Friday that the city was awarded transportation alternative program funding for the D.H. Morrison bowstring bridge removal, renovation and relocation, and the funds will be available in the fiscal year 2025.

By Charlotte Caldwell

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.