SIDNEY — Sidney City Council Monday night welcomed a new member and congratulated the city’s finance department for receiving yet another state award for its work.
Council passed a resolution appointing Darryl Thurber to fill an unexpired term as 2nd Ward councilman. This position became open when Chuck Craynon resigned May 26 because of a conflict with another position he holds on the Shelby County Board of Elections. The term expires Nov. 30, 2017.
Council informally chose Thurber earlier this month after interviewing three candidates. A fourth candidate had withdrawn his name earlier.
After the resolution was passed, City Clerk Kari Egbert swore Thurber in as a new council member. Thurber’s wife, Danielle, held the Bible during the ceremony.
“I thank council for this opportunity,” Thurber said later during the “council comments” portion of the meeting.
Mayor Mike Barhorst jokingly responded, “If you’re still feeling this way in a couple of years, we’ll be happy.”
The city’s finance staff was recognized again for its work by receiving the Ohio Auditor of State Award with Distinction. Joe Braden, western regional liaison with the Ohio Auditor of State’s office, presented the award to Finance Officer Ginger Adams. Adams also recognized Assistant Finance Officer Renee Dulaney.
“This puts the city of Sidney in a very select group,” Braden said.
The city has received the award every year since 2004.
Criteria for the award include timely financial reports filed with the Auditor of State’s office; no findings for recovery, material citations or other problems; and the entity’s management letter contains no comments related to ethics referrals or other problems.
In other business, Barhorst directed Gary Clough, assistant city manager/public works director, to develop options to deal with a potentially dangerous situation at a new drainage ditch in Harmon Field.
The city recently completed a drainage improvement project adjacent to Harmon. The project was designed to eliminate an open channel that was difficult to maintain and was causing erosion problems to the channel banks and adjacent hillside, Clough said in his report to council. During heavy rains, water flows over the pipe in the overflow channel above the pipe. This type of design is very common around the country, he said.
The city experienced heavy rain around the time the project was being completed, Clough said. A resident of the area contacted the city about safety, particularly of children who gathered at the transition between the road culverts and the new drainage pipe. The resident provided photos of children standing near the drainage structures during heavy water flows.
Clough said the city could post warning signs or install fencing; could monitor the situation to see if residents become more familiar with the new structures; or could search for a more extensive solution.
Councilman Ed Hamaker said he went to the area Monday morning after a heavy rain and saw there is a safety hazard. “There is a whirlpool effect,” he said. He asked if a steel grate could be placed over the area.
Councilwoman Janet Born questioned whether signs would be effective because kids would not read them.
Clough said a cover could be placed there, but it would have to be on the down side so that debris would not collect there.
Council adopted an ordinance removing no-parking zones on the north and south sides of Michigan Street, between the CSX Railroad and Oak Avenue. This action is appropriate as a result of previous changes to the layout of the Ring Can facility and the elimination of a truck loading dock on Michigan Street, city Engineering Manager Randy Magoto told council. Additional parking would help the parking needs of the residential area along the south side of Michigan Street, he said.
At its previous meeting, council had discussed whether there would be adequate room for large vehicles to make the turn onto Michigan if cars were parked near the intersection. Magoto said Monday night that city regulations require no parking 15 feet back from the intersection. Responding to a question from council, he said the city stopped painting curbs yellow when the staff was reduced in 2007-08 because that work was too labor-intensive. The city puts up no-parking signs.
Council passed a resolution authorizing the city manager to sign a collective bargaining agreement with the police sergeants union. The previous agreement expired on June 30. The new three-year contract includes a 2 percent wage increase each year of the contract and reinstatement of the 1 percent senior sergeant pay. Among other provisions is to allow residency to include adjacent counties.
Also at the meeting:
• Council authorized the Downtown Revitalization Task Force to obtain membership in Heritage Ohio, a statewide community revitalization organization. The annual fee for an affiliate membership is about $950. The city will use funds from the lodging tax to pay the fee.
• Council passed a resolution appointing John Schmitt to fill the remaining unexpired portion of Bill Lang’s six-year term on the Civil Service Commission. This term will expire Jan. 31, 2018. The commission is responsible for all initial appointments, promotions and appeals from the police and fire departments.
• Born said she received a comment from a citizen who felt the trash-collection issue should have been placed on the ballot for voters to decide. Earlier this year, council decided to switch to an automated-pickup system.
• Barhorst said it appears demolition of the old railroad freight station on North Street is underway. Community Services Director Barbara Dulworth confirmed that, saying a demolition permit had been issued.
• City Manager Mark Cundiff told council about recent problems at the parks, including a door being kicked in at Custenborder Field and a leak that forced water slides to be shut down at the municipal pool. Cundiff also congratulated Police Capt. Bill Shoemaker, who attended the council meeting, for his recent graduation from the FBI’s National Academy Program.
• Barhorst recognized Sidney High School students attending the meeting as part of an advanced placement government class.
• Council went into an executive session to discuss preparing for negotiations or bargaining sessions with public employees and to consider the purchase of property for public purposes.