Council wraps up review of financial plan

By Michael Seffrin -

SIDNEY — Sidney City Council wrapped up its review of the city’s five-year financial plan Monday night, with much of the discussion focusing on parking tickets.

Among the many items discussed when council began looking at the financial plan last week was parking enforcement. Parking enforcement currently is done by paying police officers overtime. City Manager Mark Cundiff told council Monday night that in order to support employing a parking enforcement officer, the current $5 parking ticket would have to be raised to about $12. He said the city staff believes the current system is a better way to handle it. Overtime pay amounts to $14,884 a year, compared to the $38,810 it would cost for a parking enforcement officer.

Cundiff said parking downtown is not the problem it used to be. The move of the Department of Job and Family Services out of the County Annex and the close of the Ohio Building have alleviated parking problems, he said.

Police Chief Will Balling said his department currently can handle parking violations with its officers. Regarding raising the ticket price, he said he receives complaints now about $5 tickets. He said the parking violators typically are downtown employees and are repeat offenders.

Councilman Steve Wagner wondered if the ticket price should be increased to deter repeat offenders. “If we have repeat offenders, why not jack it up?” he said.

Vice Mayor Margie Milligan said she wasn’t opposed to raising the price, but added, “If we don’t have a problem, it doesn’t seem effective.” She recommended waiting until a planned parking study is done before taking action. Mayor Mike Barhorst agreed and said council could revisit the issue after getting the study results.

Council will consider a resolution adopting the five-year financial plan at its Sept. 28 meeting.

In other business, Milligan asked about the lack of work recently on Port Jefferson Road, between Wells Drive and Russell Road. That section of the street has been undergoing reconstruction this summer.

Gary Clough, assistant city manager/public works director, said the delay was related to the location of an existing water main. The delay added $240,000 to the cost of the project; however, the state of Ohio, which already is funding much of the work, will pay 80 percent of the extra cost. Clough said the city may seek legal action against the contractor who put in the water main. The project still is expected to finish on time, he said.

Concerning other street work, Councilman Rick Sims asked about a sign posted on Main Avenue, near Parkwood Street, that indicates voters’ street-levy dollars are at work. Clough said paving of Main will begin about Oct. 1.

Councilman Darryl Thurber asked about the Harmon Field drainage project. He said the drain is clogged. Clough said the engineer is working on options for the problem.

Clough updated council on the West Avenue project. The street has been closed between Court and North streets this summer for reconstruction. He said paving of the street is set to begin Friday and should be done next week. He said some unstable conditions under the street caused delays. He did not have an estimate yet on the dollar cost of the delays.

By Michael Seffrin

The writer may be contacted at 937-538-4823 and on Twitter @MikeSeffrinSDN.

The writer may be contacted at 937-538-4823 and on Twitter @MikeSeffrinSDN.