Council adopts five year plan

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY —The city of Sidney’s plan for the next five years is officially set with the adoption of the comprehensive plan during Monday’s Sidney City Council meeting.

Council unanimously voted to adopt the resolution which Community Services Director Barbara Dulworth said is the city’s official set of development policies that guides council, the planning commission and city administration. She said it provides a basis for projects and funding in the city’s five year financial plan.

Mayor Mike Barhorst asked Dulworth what feedback had been received about the draft plan that was available on the city’s website since April 12, 2017. Dulworth said other than comments from city officials/staff, she received no feedback from the general public.

Barhorst expressed surprise. He noted that the comprehensive plan is “probably the important document adopted this year,” and “it just seems odd that nobody cares.”

City Manager Mark Cundiff said behind the city’s budget, it is the most important document council will adopt.

Council member Steve Wagner said he encouraged a great number of people to review the plan and give feedback, but heard nothing either.

Shelby County Historical Society Director Tilda Philpot gave council an update on the organization’s activities.

Philpot said the Shelby County Historical Society (SCHS) was honored 23 times in the last 20 years from the Ohio Association of Historical Societies & Museums. She SCHS helped bring thousands of people to the Sidney area through the Field of Flags and the Traveling Vietnam Wall in September 2010 and 2015, and with the The Civil War Living History Weekend in September 2016.

Philpot spoke about SCHS’s children’s programs, The Ross Historical Center’s rotating exhibits, the Barbara Adams Research Center and their 2017 community programs. She praised their strong volunteer base; noting last year the Historical Society had over 680 volunteers donate 5,225 hours.

“Our children’s programs, I don’t think can be topped by anyone in the state, whether you are speaking of the Ohio Historical Society or any other historical society. We offer our children the best programming that money can buy, and as most of you know, our budget is very small, so we put in a lot of hours in volunteers,” Philpot said.

She also said SCHS recently purchased a building located at 115 North St. with plans underway to design a Center for Industry, Innovation and Opportunity. The center intends to chronicle industrial legacy, display the importance of community relationships, achievements of the past and to embrace the innovative spirit of Shelby County. Philpot hopes the center will open in 2019.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, Sidney resident Tony Olivieri spoke on behalf of his elderly mother about a letter she received from the city threatening litigation if immediate action was not taken to have her property’s sewer lines inspected. Olivieri said his family was only aware of the one letter, which was received only days before the listed deadline. He expressed his family’s frustration and anger with the tone of the letter, and how his brother was handled when inquiring about it with Law Director Jeffrey Amick.

Amick said the city is unaware of people’s circumstances, but after previous sent letters and over a year of no response, that letter was intended to get action. He apologized to Olivieri’s brother through him. Amick said among the 120 calls he took about the same letter mailed to other residents, the only confrontational call was with his brother. Amick also said if given a chance, he would have informed his brother he only needs to contact one of the city’s inspectors and have them notify the city of the scheduled inspection date within the next week to 10 days.

Olivieri suggested such an important letter should be sent as a certified letter, as when he was informed by the city about necessary curb and gutter work for his property. He asked if he and his brothers could have additional time to correlate their schedules with an inspector. Amick said he just needs to have the inspector notify the city that the inspection is scheduled.

In other business, Sidney Transit Manager Ron Schalow introduced an ordinance establishing the 2017-2018 Shelby Public Transit System contract and non-contract rates. Transit contracts are with various Shelby County elderly care and human services’ agencies that have a funding source for clients’ transportation needs.

The ordinance proposed a 3 percent increase of contract rates for July 1 through June 30, 2018. The proposed rates would increase to $59.74 from $58 per hour, to $22.66 from $22 per trip, and to $4.89 from $4.75 per mile.

No increase of rates for non-contract fares, which is service for the general public, was recommended. The ordinance will be brought back to council for further consideration on June 12.

Other than the adoption of the city’s comprehensive plan, council also adopted five other resolutions, and they are:

• To authorize the appointment of Gary J. Carter, to the Airport Advisory Committee, which will expire on May 31, 2020. This was Carter’s first board appointment;

• To authorize the reappointment of Gary Heitmeyer for a second term on the Airport Advisory Committee, which will expire on May 31, 2020;

• To confirm the reappointment of Ernest Williams to the Shelby County Metropolitan Housing Authority (SMHA), which will expire on June 10, 2022. Williams has served on the SMHA since 2014. The SMHA administers public housing and the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program for Shelby County;

• To authorize the city manager to enter into a second amendment to the enterprise zone agreement regarding the name change of Energizer Personal Care to Edgewell Personal Care;

• To authorize the city manager to enter into an amended substitute development agreement regarding the American Legion subdivision with a new owner. The prospective buyer of the property requested the agreement be transferred to the new owner and amended to extend completion date out to 2021.

Barhorst invited the public to the Memorial Day Celebration on courtsquare at 9 a.m. on Monday. He also said following the celebration, there special unveiling of a Civil War veteran held at the Monumental Building on North Main Avenue.

Cundiff reminded the public city offices will be closed on Monday, in observation of Memorial Day, and trash/recycling pick-up will be delayed by a day next week.

In addition, council went into an executive session for pending or imminent court action, possible investment or expenditure of public funds made in connection with an economic development project and to consider the purchase of property for public purposes. There was no action taken when they emerged from the session.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.