City Council adopts resolutions, discusses township contracts

By Charlotte Caldwell - [email protected]

SIDNEY – The Sidney City Council adopted six resolutions during a regular session on Sept. 26.

These resolutions addressed the following:

• To approve amendments to the Sidney financial policy. This policy was created in 1999 and includes topics like budgeting, capital improvements, financial reporting, auditing, asset management, debt management and financial performance targets. The changes include updated language in the annual comprehensive financial report and debt management sections, specifically the debt limit being changed from 3% to 5.5%.

• To adopt the five-year financial plan from 2023 to 2027. The capital projects, service priorities and staffing portions detailed in the plan will be incorporated into the 2023 budget which will be discussed by the council in November, according to Finance Officer Renee Dulaney.

• To authorize and adopt a cooperative agreement between Sidney, the Dayton-Montgomery Port Authority, and SEMCORP Manufacturing USA, LLC. “In connection with and in support of economic development opportunities in the city, the Port Authority is statutorily empowered to provide economic development support in ways unavailable to the city. However, to provide this support outside of Montgomery County, there needs to be a cooperative agreement between the city, the Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority, and the business who will receive the support,” City Manager Andrew Bowsher said.

• To authorize and adopt an infrastructure contribution and development agreement between Sidney and SEMCORP Manufacturing USA, LLC. Infrastructure improvement will include water main and sewer line extensions along Mill Creek and Kuther Roads. The city will be responsible for the road improvements portion and will receive a $275,000 jobs and commerce grant and a $1,956,906 grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for this project. SEMCORP will also donate $500,000 to the city for additional infrastructure improvements which will be put toward fire station improvements, according to Bowsher.

• To confirm the appointment of Terry Pellman and reappointment of Mary Paulus to the compensation commission. Pellman was appointed by Mayor Mardie Milligan for a five-year term, which will expire on Oct. 1, 2027. Paulus was first appointed on Oct. 22, 2012. This commission determines the annual salary of the mayor, according to Bowsher.

• To appoint Petra Sloan to the Sidney zoning board of appeals. Sloan’s term will expire on June 30, 2026. This will be Sloan’s first city board appointment, and she just became an American citizen this month, according to Bowsher.

The council also approved the August 2022 summary financial report and was introduced to an ordinance that would assess the cost of inspection chambers, fittings and/or lateral transfer agreement filing fees for property owners. There are invoices included in the ordinance for 60 properties totaling $8,592, according to Bowsher. This ordinance will be discussed further at the Oct. 10 council meeting.

The council held a discussion regarding a liquor permit transfer for The Bridge restaurant on West Poplar Street. The restaurant holds three permits for beer, wine and mixed beverages, and spirituous liquor consumption until 1 a.m. A background report from the police department indicated that there is no reason to oppose the transfer, according to Bowsher. The council was silent on the issue, which meant that consent was given for the transfer.

Sidney Fire Chief Chad Hollinger discussed the township fire and EMS contract that the city has with Clinton, Orange, Franklin and Washington townships that are reviewed annually. Hollinger said most of these contracts have been in place since the 1970s and have been good for the city and the townships. Fire contracts provide one fire apparatus and three personnel for structural fires and one fire apparatus and two personnel for non-structural fires. EMS contracts provide for one ambulance and a minimum of two personnel.

The issue of whether the city is receiving enough money from the contracts to cover all the costs was discussed. This is not the first time this topic has been discussed by members of the council, as a special meeting was held in March with staff direction to increase the contract amounts by 10%. The standard increase has been 3% over the years. Councilmembers expressed support for a 10% increase Monday night.

“I don’t know what is a good percentage. I believe we asked for 10% last year. That still doesn’t get us up to snuff, but it gets us better than the 3% that we’ve been doing throughout the years,” Vice Mayor Steve Wagner said.

“I think we have to find a way to catch up so that we’re no longer asking Sidney’s taxpayers to subsidize fire service for the townships,” Councilmember Mike Barhorst said.

At the end of the meeting, Milligan said that Sidney’s trick-or-treat will occur on Oct. 31 from 6 to 7:30 p.m., and Hollinger mentioned that Lt. Greg Francis will be retiring on Oct. 31 and an open house will be held for him in the afternoon that day. Chance Guisinger will be promoted to lieutenant with a swearing-in ceremony on Nov. 7 at 4 p.m. at Fire Station 1. Hollinger also mentioned that he has been credentialed by the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, citizen Frederick Barnes discussed the harassment he and his family have received from some of the Sidney community after an incident that occurred almost 15 years ago where he was a suspect in a case. He believes some of the departments in Sidney are racist, the prosecutor has a vendetta against him, and mistakes were made in the public records.

“I’m glad for that mistake because it has opened the eyes to the attempted extortion. This is corrupt, and it’s gotta stop,” Barnes said about the public records. “I don’t want anybody to have this horrible picture that was painted by them. It wasn’t me. I didn’t deserve what has happened to me, and I’m not asking this council to cater to me at all, but what I will ask you to do is cater to the law. They broke the law.”

Milligan responded, saying, “As far as whatever happened in the past, I can’t speak to that, I was not here. I’m hoping that going forward that you will have resolution and be able to be at peace. I think we probably all have things in our past that, if we could go back and turn the clock and get the person that did it to them, we would be there. So, I thank you for bringing this to our attention and we’ve heard you.”

By Charlotte Caldwell

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.