City to join Riverway coalition

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — The city of Sidney will be joining the Great Miami Riverway coalition in an effort to bring business into the city.

Sidney City Council adopted a resolution authorizing City Manager Mark Cundiff to enter into an agreement with the River Corridor Improvement Subdivision of the Miami Conservancy District to be a partner of the coalition on Monday night.

A goal, Cundiff said, of being part of the coalition is it will help secure funds to connect to the Piqua bikepath, which is part of the largest trail system in the United States.

He said hopefully the combined power of the 90-miles of bike and riverway trails will bring along grant opportunities for Sidney to connect to the bike path. Cundiff noted this is a draw for younger people.

He also said being the northern most entity of the water trail is ideal for marketing and will hopefully bring business to Sidney and revitalize downtown.

To become a voting member and support the coalition, Cundiff said the city will agree to pay $62,500 over the next five years. The money will come from the city lodging tax.

This year, Sidney will pay $14,500. Each of the remaining four years, the city will pay $12,000.

Parks and Recreation Director Duane Gaier said there are 16 entities, or parks districts, that will make up the coalition from Sidney to Hamilton. Cundiff said Sidney, Piqua and Troy will join as one entity of the coalition.

Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan asked what happens at the end the five-year period? Gaier said the coalition is currently seeking a director who will be responsible to raise funds.

In other business, council also adopted two other resolutions during Monday, and they are:

• Authorization to submit a proposal to the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) division of Aviation for 2018 funding from the Ohio Airport Matching Grant Program for pavement improvements at the Sidney City Airport.

Rehabilitation of Taxiway A and turnaround improvements on Runway 10/28 is estimated to cost $487,250. The grant would cover 95 percent, or $462,888. The city’s 5 percent cost is estimated at $24,362;

• Authorization to submit a proposal to ODOT for 2017 funding from the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, for transit system dispatching and scheduling software and associated maintenance costs for the three year life of the grant. It also authorizes the execution of a contract with ODOT upon grant application acceptance.

The expenses for the dispatching and scheduling software and associated maintenance costs would be fully covered from the grant projects after the city’s fixed local share of $1,000, has been met.

Council member Darryl Thurber asked Sidney Transit Manager Ron Schalow what the total expense will be. Schalow said the amount is yet to be determined by ODOT. Entities have a choice of three approved vendors. He said the amount is based upon the number of systems that use a particular vendor.

Milligan asked for confirmation Sidney must upgrade or the system or would lose funding? Schalow agreed. He said they are not unhappy with the current software, but if they do not upgrade, the city will lose funding for the software’s annual maintenance cost and for regular replacement of tablets and computers.

Schalow also led a discussion on Shelby public transit 2017-18 contract and non-contract rates. He proposed a 3 percent increase of contract rates for July 1 through June 30, 2018. Contracts are with various Shelby County elderly care and human services’ agencies that have a funding source for clients’ transportation needs.

The proposed rates would increase to $59.74 from $58 per hour, $22.66 from $22 per trip, and $4.89 from $4.75 per mile.

Schalow recommended no increase of rates for non-contract fares, which is service for the general public.

An ordinance will be brought back to council for a consideration on May 22.

Also, council voted to cancel the July 3 workshop session, as no business is scheduled for consideration.

In addition, council held an executive session to prepare for possible investment or expenditure of public funds to be made in connection with an economic development project and for pending or imminent court action. Council did not take action when thy emerged from the executive session.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.