Council wraps end of year business

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — Sidney City Council covered a variety of topics on the agenda as it wrapped up the city’s end of the year business on Monday.

An ordinance was adopted amending the traffic control map to close traffic for the southbound lane of Wilkinson Avenue. The ordinance was introduced and passed as an emergency so that it will take effect immediately.

The legislation was presented by Gary Clough, assistant city manager/public works director, following council’s direction at the Nov. 27 council meeting. It was decided at the November meeting that a temporary barrier will close the southbound lane and eliminate parking on the east side of Wilkinson Avenue from state Route 47, extending about 175 feet north of state Route 47.

Mayor Mike Barhorst said a resident asked him why the city is not making that section of the Wilkinson Avenue a one-way road,therefore not needing to spend any money. Clough said that option was not presented at the state Route 47 improvement project public meeting earlier in the year. The option could be instituted if the city meets with area property owners, and council chooses that method. However, Clough said, it would still cost the city several thousand dollars for signs, and the necessary materials for closing the southbound lane of Wilkinson Avenue were already purchased.

Council also adopted four other ordinances, and they are:

• To authorize appropriations for the 2018 city expenditures in the amount of $79.33 million. Total appropriations, excluding interfund transactions and agency funds, are 1.2 percent greater than 2017. Finance Officer Ginger Adams said the increase is due to anticipated debt service on the new water source and Phase 1 of the wastewater treatment plant and sewer system upgrades.

The operating portion of the budget is 1 percent more than the 2017 budget. This budget is based on staffing of approximately 223 full-time equivalents (FTE) which, while this is 3.45 FTE greater than 2017, represents an 8 percent decline, or 20 FTE in staffing, since 2008.

• To amend portions of a codified ordinance pertaining to personnel, policies, procedures and regulations;

• To amend certain city employees’ pay classification plan and pay tables for 2018 and to declare an emergency so that it would become effective upon passage of the ordinance;

• To assess the cost of the removal of litter or junk and/or weed cutting. Property owners were notified that their properties were not in compliance with the city code and were given an opportunity to do the work. When the owners failed to comply, the city paid to have the work performed. The property owners were then invoiced. For weed-mowing violations, the invoiced amount was the actual cost of the mowing plus $75 for the first weed cutting, $150 for the second cutting and $250 for each cutting thereafter. For junk-removal violations, the invoiced amount was the actual cost of the junk removal plus 20 percent. A total of 54 properties will be assessed a total of $18,823.50 for weed cutting and another five properties will be assessed a total of $515.40 for junk removal. The assessment will be collected with other property tax obligations.

An ordinance to levy special assessments for the construction and repairs of certain sidewalks in Sidney was introduced by Randy Magoto, engineering manager. Magoto said the city made the necessary repairs to certain sidewalks for property owners who did not complete the work on their own during 2017. A notice of assessments was published in the paper for three weeks, and city staff didn’t receive any objections to assessment amounts, Magoto said. Bills would be sent out two weeks after Monday’s adoption of the ordinance. Property owners would then have 60 days to pay the bill or have it placed on their property taxes over a five-year period.

Council member Darryl Thurber asked how much of the amount owed to the city, which was paid by the city to contractors, will likely be recovered. Thurber noted the outstanding amount, close to $43,000, is a lot. Adams responded that the city usually collects the majority of what is owed, but over a five-year period. Barhorst added that a lot of property owners find it convenient to pay over time versus in one lump sum.

Six resolutions were also adopted by council, and they are:

• To authorize the city manager to enter into a project agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation for the removal, renovation and relocation of an existing Zenas King Arch Bridge over Spring Creek into a pedestrian bridge over Amos Lake in Tawawa Park. Council questioned various details and costs involved. Clough told council the city should hear from the historical society within the next two weeks as to whether the bridge can be narrowed and used as a pedestrian bridge or not. He assured council the project would be canceled if it won’t meet Sidney’s needs before money is spent. City Manager Mark Cundiff said the resolution was necessary for allowing Sidney to move forward in a timely fashion if the bridge will meet the city’s needs.

• To reappoint Melissa Godwin as 4th Ward representative and Joyce Goubeaux as at-large representative to the Citizens Peer Review Board. Each of their terms will expire Dec. 31, 2020. Both have served on the Citizens Peer Review Board since November 2014.

• To reappoint James Lockwood to the Personnel Board of Appeals for a new three-year term. The new term will expire Dec. 31, 2020. Lockwood has served on this board since 1991.

• To appoint Jim Fortkamp to the Zoning Board of Zppeals to fill the unexpired term of David Fleming, who resigned on Oct. 25. The term will expire on June 30, 2020. This is his first appointment to serve on a city board or commission.

Fortkamp told council he “appreciated the opportunity and looked forward to working with everyone.”

• To appoint Michael Goubeaux to the Board of Building Code Appeals to replace Philip Freytag, who passed away. The term will expire May 19, 2022. This is Goubeaux’s first appointment.

• To authorize a cash advance, if needed, from the general fund to the law enforcement diversion program grant fund. Adams said once the grant reimbursement is received, that cash advance will be repaid to the general fund.

In addition, council move into executive session to consider the purchase of property for public purposes, for the employment/appointment of a public employee and pending or imminent court action. No action was taken when council emerged.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.