Council approves right-of-way vacation


SIDNEY — Some property owners will see the size of their yards increase thanks to action by Sidney City Council Monday night.

Council adopted an ordinance that vacates a portion of the Wapakoneta Avenue/Dixie Drive right of way north of Russell Road. Community Services Director Barbara Dulworth said this is the final step in the Wapakoneta Avenue improvements that have taken place over the last several years. There currently are two parallel, adjacent rights of way: Wapakoneta Avenue and Dixie Drive. The Dixie Drive right of way is no longer needed for public purposes, so the city is returning this land to private use.

The Dixie Drive right of way previously was improved as an access lane for the adjacent properties. With the reconstruction of Wapakoneta Avenue, Dixie Drive was removed and driveways to each property were extended to Wapakoneta Avenue, Dulworth said.

The vacation affects 19 properties. Eighteen of the property owners have signed vacation petitions indicating their desire to vacate the right of way. One property was sold during the process of getting the petitions, and while the seller had signed the petition prior to sale, city staff has been unsuccessful in speaking with the new owners, Dulworth said. Because all of the owners had not assented to the vacation, a public hearing was held at a Planning Commission meeting in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code. The commission recommended approval of the vacation.

Council also adopted an ordinance increasing Shelby Public Transit contract service rates 3 percent, effective July 1. This affects contract service only; noncontract fares for the general public will not increase.

Transit Manager Deb Grogean said contract rates are used when providing transportation service to various Shelby County care facilities and human services agencies that have a funding source for their clients’ transportation needs. She said the new rates, which were recommended by the Transit Advisory Committee, are $56.23 per hour; $21.22 per passenger; and $4.51 per mile.

In other business, council introduced an ordinance that would authorize supplemental appropriations totaling $163,945 for two funds for the 2015 budget year.

The largest of these is $132,600 to pay for the replacement of the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department Building’s roof. Finance Officer Ginger Adams said the roof was scheduled to be replaced 2016, but city Building Inspector Dave Brulport reported last month that the approximately 22-year-old roof did not fare well after last year’s harsh winter. Contractors have been patching the existing leaks, but considering the age and deteriorated condition, there is concern the roof may not survive another winter.

Councilman Steve Wagner asked how long the roof should have lasted.

“It lasted far longer than expected,” Adams said. She said the new one has a 20-year warranty.

“We’ve been patching that thing for years,” said Wagner, who referred to the problems with flat roofs. He said he hoped the new roof is designed to prevent leaks.

A second provision in the ordinance would give the city manager the authority to accept bids and award a contract for the roof replacement.

The other budget adjustment would add $31,345 to the fire loss security fund. Since the last supplemental appropriations ordinance, the city has received on deposit insurance proceeds for two properties totaling $31,345. This ordinance would permit the reimbursement of insurance proceeds to the property owners after repair requirements are satisfied, Adams said.

Council passed a resolution renewing the designation of 114 acres of land owned by Ron Helman, 1550 Dingman-Slagle Road, as an agricultural district. Dulworth said Helman previously had received an agricultural district designation from the city for property near Tawawa Park. The agricultural district certification expired at the beginning of 2015. Helman reapplied in February to the county Auditor. For reasons not understood, the owner and the county auditor failed to pass along the application to the city, Dulworth said.

As the city has no municipal plans for the area, it would be appropriate to renew the ag district certification, Dulworth said, with the condition that the property is used for raising crops; not livestock.

Dulworth said an ag district entitles the owner to benefits, including real estate tax advantages; exemption from utility assessments; and a defense against nuisance actions that may be filed regarding agricultural activities.

Near the end of the meeting, Gary Clough, assistant city manager/public works director, informed council that the city had received a permit to install from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regarding the city’s planned wastewater treatment plant improvements. Council applauded news of the approval, which represents an important step in the long process to move the the project forward.

In final business, council moved into an executive session to discuss preparing for negotiations or bargaining sessions with public employees, the purchase of property, and pending or imminent court action.