City Council hears updates, meets new sergeant, passes legislation

By Charlotte Caldwell - [email protected]

New Police Sgt. Robert Hurd, left, shakes hands with Interim Police Chief Bill Shoemaker after being introduced to the Sidney City Council at a meeting on Oct. 24.

New Police Sgt. Robert Hurd, left, shakes hands with Interim Police Chief Bill Shoemaker after being introduced to the Sidney City Council at a meeting on Oct. 24.

Courtesy photo

SIDNEY – The Sidney City Council was introduced to the new police sergeant, heard the street levy update, adopted and was introduced to ordinances and resolutions, and discussed the rental registration program at a meeting on Oct. 24.

The council adopted an ordinance that assessed the cost of weed cutting or removal of litter or junk that the city completed for properties after it remained undone by the property owners. The outstanding invoices that were given to the property owners include weed mowing for 46 properties at a total of $13,693.97 and junk removal for 31 properties at a total of $9,630.16.

Parks Director Duane Gaier introduced the council to an ordinance that would rename Plum Ridge Park to Jannides Park in honor of Mary Jannides, who has been a member of the recreation board since Nov. 20, 1972. Gaier said Jannides is the second woman to serve on the board, and she has been involved in major changes and improvements in the parks and recreation department as well as a witness to the appointments of nine city managers and 11 mayors in Sidney. The recreation board approved the change at a meeting on Oct. 3. The ordinance will be discussed further at the Nov. 14 meeting.

Two resolutions were adopted at the meeting. The first resolution authorized the city manager to enter into fire protection and emergency ambulance service contracts with various townships. Fire Chief Chad Hollinger said he discussed increasing the contact amounts by 10% with three townships after it was discussed at a council meeting on Sept. 26, and two townships could handle the increase while one township could not.

The second resolution authorized the city manager to attempt to acquire property on Campbell Road. The property would be used for a new Fire Station 2. Hollinger said this is a good location for the station because it’s located near the city complex and the service center.

The council also approved the September 2022 summary financial report.

Public Works Director Jon Crusey presented the street levy update. Included in the update were the projected projects for 2023-2027, which included phases one and two of Fair Road resurfacing in 2025 and 2026 and Fourth Avenue, Russell Road and Campbell Road reconstructions. The Spruce Street bridge will go under construction in 2024, and the Chestnut Street bridge is also under consideration for construction. The costs of these projects will be $14.9 million for street work, $2.4 million for additional street projects, $0.7 million for traffic signals and $6.6 million for bridge work. The city anticipates less than $10.2 million from grants and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and they will need $14.4 million of additional funding for these projects over the next five years.

Kyle Havenar, the Sidney vacant property inspector, led the rental registration program discussion. A similar discussion was held at a council meeting on Aug. 22.

Havenar provided key features of the program in a slideshow presentation, including the requirement of an agent if the property owner does not live within 50 miles of the property; the requirement of interior and exterior inspections; the option of self-certification for property owners; distributing checklists listing the minimum standards; third party inspections; and registration with inspection results and an information packet posted in the rental. Certain properties are excluded from the program, like bed and breakfasts, hotels and mobile home parks. The proposed yearly registration fees are $75 for one to three units, $100 for four to 10 units, $150 for 11 to 50 units, and $250 for over 50 units with an inspection fee of $50 per unit. Havenar said the staff would like the program to be ready by Jan. 1, 2023.

Councilmembers Jenny VanMatre and Mike Barhorst expressed concerns about property owners being able to perform inspections themselves because property owners might have lower living condition standards, and Mayor Mardie Milligan and Councilmember Scott Roddy liked the self-certification idea, but Milligan questioned the agent requirement for property owners living over 50 miles away. Havenar said there will be certain parameters for property owners to perform self-inspections and the privilege can be revoked. Roddy asked if the staff has looked at other cities to see if they have similar programs, and Havenar said he presented a list of seven or eight cities with similar programs at the last meeting and the current plan is based on another Ohio city’s plan. Vice Mayor Steve Wagner asked why mobile home parks are exempt and expressed concern about the potential living conditions of people in rental mobile homes, and Havenar said mobile home parks are inspected by the state, so the city doesn’t have jurisdiction.

Interim Police Chief Bill Shoemaker introduced the new sergeant, Robert Hurd, to the council, who was in attendance with his wife and children. Shoemaker said Hurd was promoted after Sgt. James “Tony” Cunningham recently retired after 28 years of service. Hurd has been with the Sidney Police Department since July 2015 and has been a defensive tactics instructor, a field training officer, and a fitness specialist. He is also on the honor guard and the tactical response team. He is known for his dedication to defensive tactics as he teaches martial arts in the cardio room for staff members, and he teaches female self-defense classes.

“Sgt. Hurd has been a leader at the department prior to his promotion, and I expect that he will continue to excel and remain a valuable asset to the police department and the citizens of Sidney,” Shoemaker said.

The council also decided to cancel the second regular meeting in December, which would be Dec. 26, as they have done in previous years, and the workshop meeting on Monday, Dec. 5, is also canceled.

At the end of the meeting, Milligan said there will be a Business After Hours event for Express Employment Professionals and Shear Luxe on Oct. 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. Gaier reminded everyone that Tawawa Park will be closed to vehicular traffic from Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. to April 15, 2023, at 10 a.m. Hollinger said the fire department has responded to 3,308 calls so far this year, which is over 11 calls per day, and commended the staff for their responses to recent significant calls. He mentioned the retirement party for Lt. Greg Francis on Oct. 31 from 1 to 4 p.m. and the oath ceremony for Lt. Chance Guisinger on Nov. 7 at 4 p.m.

New Police Sgt. Robert Hurd, left, shakes hands with Interim Police Chief Bill Shoemaker after being introduced to the Sidney City Council at a meeting on Oct. 24. Police Sgt. Robert Hurd, left, shakes hands with Interim Police Chief Bill Shoemaker after being introduced to the Sidney City Council at a meeting on Oct. 24. Courtesy photo

By Charlotte Caldwell

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.