Couple bring education campaign to council

Fight against prostate cancer

By Michael Seffrin -

SIDNEY — A couple from Canal Winchester brought their campaign against prostate cancer to Sidney Monday night when Mayor Mike Barhorst issued a proclamation recognizing September as National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in Sidney.

Barhorst presented the proclamation to Ray and Linda Hoetger at the City Council meeting. The Hoetgers told council of their efforts to educate people about prostate cancer and the importance of men getting medical checkups to detect the cancer early.

Ray Hoetger, a six-year survivor of prostate cancer, credited his wife with taking the campaign to many people. He estimated the campaign has “touched approximately 200,000 Ohioans.”

Linda Hoetger said because the prostate is the size of a walnut, she created a mascot out of a walnut and called it Petey the Prostate Crusader. The mascot has drawn attention to the campaign and made numerous appearances.

According to the proclamation, “prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed nonskin cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men in the United States … this year, approximately 220,800 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer … and approximately 27,540 men will die this year from the disease.

Council and the audience applauded after the proclamation was presented.

In other business, council introduced an ordinance that would assess property owners the cost of weed mowing, junk removal or tree maintenance/removal. Each property owner was notified that their property was not in compliance with the city code and was given an opportunity to mow the weeds or remove the junk, Karen Berning, revenue collections manager, said in her report to council. When the owners failed to comply, the city paid to have the work performed. The property owners were then invoiced for the cost of the work plus the applicable fee. For weed-mowing violations, the fee is $50 for the first weed cutting, $75 for the second cutting, and $100 for each cutting thereafter. For junk removal violations, the fee is 20 percent of the cost.

Approximately 16 percent of the properties billed paid the invoices. The remaining 84 percent are being assessed to property taxes. This special assessment will be collected with other property tax obligations. A total of 61 properties would be assessed a total of $15,590.34 for weed cutting and another 32 properties would be assessed a total of $2,736.57 for junk removal.

Councilman Ed Hamaker wondered if 20 percent covers the city’s costs. Barhorst said perhaps the city should consider increasing the fee.

Council passed a resolution to appoint 14 representatives to the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee. The comprehensive plan is the city’s long-range (20-year) plan which creates a framework for the development of future public policy, especially in regard to land use, transportation, community facilities, utilities and economic development, Community Services Director Barbara Dulworth said.

The committee represents a cross-section of the community and assists in the planning process for the update of the comprehensive plan. The committee will work with staff and the selected consultant to review and direct the planning process and host public events.

Named to the committee were Jeff Raible, Chamber of Commerce; Dianna Reisinger, Shelby County Regional Planning Commission; Scott Barr, United Way; Eric Finke, Sidney City Schools; Kaitlyn Davis, youth; Eileen Wiseman, seniors; Dan Freytag, engineers/architects; Steve Baker, 2nd Ward; Sarah Barr, 4th Ward; Thomas Godwin, 4th Ward; Mike Dodds, Sidney Shelby Economic Partnership; Amy Breinich, Downtown Sidney; Steve Klingler, Planning Commission; and Bob Eck, at large.

Dulworth said four to six more representatives will be appointed to the committee later, but she wanted to present these names now so that the planning process can begin.

Council passed two resolutions related to Shelby Public Transit. The first one authorizes the city to submit an application to the Ohio Department of Transportation for 2016 funding from the Rural Transit Operating and Capital grant programs. The second one authorizes the city to execute a contract with ODOT for Elderly and Disabled Transit Fare Assistance.

Concerning the Rural Transit Operating and Capital grant programs, ODOT has approved a federal operating grant of $358,494 and a state operating grant $99,333. In capital spending, the total grant is $202,909. This is for vehicle maintenance and replacement and other equipment.

The Elderly and Disabled Transit Fare Assistance Program reimburses the city for half of the $2.50 general public rate for noncontract trips provided to passengers over the age of 65 and those with a disability who have certifications on file in transit office. ODOT will award Shelby Public Transit $28,179 to offset the reduced fare to 22,543 elderly and disabled passengers.

Also at the meeting:

• Council passed a resolution accepting the amounts and rates as determined by the Budget Commission, authorizing the necessary tax levies and certifying them to the County Auditor. This accepts the County Budget Commission’s estimate of the city’s share of the property tax levy inside the 10-mill limitation. The Ohio Revised Code requires that City Council annually accept these amounts as estimated revenue for the ensuing year’s budget, authorize the necessary tax levies, and certify them to the County Auditor. For 2016, the operating mills are 3.2 and the operating amount is $1,119,731.

• Council passed a resolution to establish a new fund, the 27th Pay Fund. Finance Officer Ginger Adams said the fund will account for the collection of resources to pay the 27th pay period, which occurs every 11 years or so, due to having a biweekly pay schedule.

• Council adopted an ordinance to make supplemental appropriations for the 2015 budget year. The net effect of these changes increases 2015 appropriations by $54,600. The largest single change is an increase of $33,600 in the general fund. This reflects money to pay for 2015 classroom updates that will be reimbursed by the Nancy Adams Training Center Fund, held in trust by the Community Foundation of Shelby County. Earlier this year, Dick Adams donated $100,000 to establish this fund in memory of his daughter, Nancy Adams. The goal of the trust is to provide a state-of-the-art training center for local first responders.

• Council adopted an ordinance to codify ordinances passed over the past year by council. Codification means placing the ordinances in proper sequence in the city code book.

• Barhorst recognized several high school students attending the meeting at part of a government class.

• Council went into an executive session to discuss purchase of property for public purposes and to discuss discipline of a public employee.
Fight against prostate cancer

By Michael Seffrin