Council OKs increase of Shelby Public Transit rates

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — Council approved an increase of Shelby Public Transit rates during Monday evening’s Sidney City Council meeting.

The adopted ordinance is for a 3 percent increase of the 2017-18 contract rates only. Non-contract rates for the general public will not go up.

Sidney Transit Manager Ron Schalow explained that transit contracts are with various Shelby County elderly care and human services’ agencies that have funding sources for clients’ transportation needs.

Rates, from July 1 through June 30, 2018, will increase to $59.74 from $58 per hour, to $22.66 from $22 per trip, and to $4.89 from $4.75 per mile. Schalow said rates per-hour and per-trip are used for contract services within the city, and the per-mile rate is used for outside of the city.

Council was also introduced to an ordinance on weed/junk assessments for outstanding invoices from May 7 through June 7, 2017.

Karen Berning, Sidney revenue collections manager, said property owners who were not in-compliance with the city code for the removal of litter or junk was invoiced the cost of the work plus 20 percent. For weed cutting prior to March 1, 2017, property owners were invoiced the cost of the work plus $50 for the first cutting, $75 for the second and $100 for each cutting afterward.

For weed cutting violations after March 1, property owners were invoiced the cost of the work plus $75 for the first cutting, $150 for the second and $250 for each cutting afterward.

She said a total of $2,017 of special assessment will be collected with other tax property obligations from 18 properties for weed cutting, and $6,875.12 for the junk removal of 14 properties.

This ordinance will return to council for further consideration on June 26.

Council also adopted six resolutions, and they are:

• For authorization of the city manager to enter into a contract with Mike Chappie to serve as the Sidney Airport manager for three years.

Schalow said Chappie previously served as the interim airport manager in February 2011. The current manager’s contract expires June 30, 2017, and Chappie’s terms will be the same. The salary is $38,688, with a 1 percent increase each year. In addition, he also will receive an annual payment of $7,500 for mowing airport grounds.

Council member Steve Wagner commented that he would have liked to have seen Chappie attend Monday’s meeting.

• To oppose House Bill 49, which Gov. John Kasich proposes for the centralized collection of municipal income taxes that will be distributed later to Sidney.

Sidney’s Income Tax Administrator Jeffrey Wical said using 2016 results, having to pay the state’s 1 percent collection fee of $51,000, that would have been derived from the $5.1 million of the $19.8 million collected, normally is applied to the city’s permanent 1.5 percent income tax levy and any special tax levies, such as the 0.25 percent street tax levy.

Wical said to keep in mind the 1 percent fee could change at any time. He said after the state’s “slashing” of the local government fund, estate tax, and reimbursement of tangible personal property tax, Sidney is now more dependent upon municipal income tax for revenue. Wical said the proposal is contradictory to the idea of smaller government.

At this time, he said the collections are not extended to taxes withheld by employers, but the remainder of the city’s tax collections, including special tax levies, could be at risk if the state is successful with this collection endeavor.

Council member Joe Ratermann asked how many other cities are taking similar action. Mayor Mike Barhorst said every city with Sidney’s senatorial and house district made a similar move.

Wagner asked Law Director Jeffrey Amick if he heard talk of a law suit against the state of Ohio opposing the legislation for encroaching on the home rule powers. Amick said he had not heard anything, but it would take a large group of municipalities coming together to take such action.

• To authorize the city manager to enter into a cooperative agreement with the Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority and Emerson Climate Technologies for economic development opportunities in Sidney;

• For approval and authorization of Sidney’s job retention tax credit policy which is designed to “incentivize businesses to invest in Sidney.” It will permit a non-refundable tax credit against a company’s Sidney income tax liability on business profits.

To be eligible, companies must retain at least 250 jobs and achieve a minimum annual payroll of at least $10,000,000, make a substantial fixed asset investment in land, building, machinery/equipment and/or infrastructure and maintain operations for at least twice the number of years of the tax credit.

The annual credit must not exceed 25 percent of the Sidney income tax withheld by the company and is capped at $125,000 annually. The agreement may not exceed 10 years.

• To authorize the reappointment of Dan Heitmeyer and Mark Schmitmeyer for a new three-year term to the revolving loan committee. Their terms will expire July 1, 2020. Heitmeyer had served on the committee since 2006 and Schmitmeyer has served since 2014.

• To authorize the reappointment of Richard Sommer for a new five-year term to the Zoning Board of Appeals. His term will expire June 30, 2022. Sommer had served on the board since 2004.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.