PIQUA — WOTVC Piqua Channel 5 is in the midst of troubling financial times, according to Piqua City Manager Gary Huff, who gave the Piqua City Commission an update on the station during their meeting Tuesday evening.
“It is a concern,” Huff said.
Huff explained that they are looking into how the station operates in order to address budget concerns. Of their current budget, 60 percent of the funds come from the city, Piqua City Schools, Edison State Community College, the Upper Valley Career Center, and the Piqua Public Library. For the remaining 40 percent of their budget, video production and contributions make up that funding, but there have not been enough contributions to make up that portion of the budget.
Unless there are more contributions or the city is able to make changes within the station, WOTVC Piqua Channel 5 may stop productions.
“If we’re unsuccessful with doing this, we will have to cease operations,” Huff said. “There are issues, and we need to resolve them.”
Also during the meeting, Economic Development Director Justin Sommer gave the commission an update. Sommer started off by saying that the majority of the city’s economic growth comes from existing businesses. With that, he noted that Jackson Tube is expanding and Taco Bell is opening a second location in Piqua on Covington Avenue.
The city is also hosting a job fair specifically for veterans Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fort Piqua Plaza. There will be 60 employers at the job fair, including local businesses.
Sommer then went over how the city is working on recruiting businesses to come to Piqua. He recently attended the PacExpo, a trade show for food packaging businesses. Sommer explained how the majority of the businesses he met with were from outside of the United States, including Poland, Israel, Brazil, Spain, and other countries.
“Very excited that they are looking at investing in the U.S. and particularly Ohio,” Sommer said.
In terms of legislation, the commission had a light agenda as they went over routine items for the end of the year.
The commission heard the first reading of an ordinance to make appropriations for the city next year. The total budgeted amount for the appropriations is $149,664,980, including transfers.
The commission then approved purchasing excess liability insurance for coverage for the city’s dams, water, wastewater, and power utility. The contract will be with Associated Electric & Gas Insurance Services, which has been providing the city with excess liability coverage for over 20 years. The cost is not to exceed $77,895.
“We are in a slight decrease from last year,” City Attorney Stacy Wall said, noting that last year’s cost was $80,500.
For the last two resolutions, the commission will approved collective bargaining agreements. The first, with police officers of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) of the Ohio Labor Council, Inc., lasts from 2017-2019. The second agreement was with the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which includes the Piqua Police Department’s deputy chiefs and lieutenants. That agreement also lasts between 2017-2019.
Prior to approving theses resolutions, the commission went into executive session. During the public portion of the meeting, Wall explained that police officers, including the deputy chiefs and lieutenants, will be receiving a 2 percent annual wage increase.
There were no changes to health insurance in the bargaining agreements, but Wall did note that the insurance that they receive is the same as what non-union city employees receive. Wall also said that the officers are paying less in health insurance premiums due to the “great rates” that the city is receiving.
Wall also took a moment to express appreciation and thanks for how cooperative the collective bargaining went.
“We really had a cooperative spirit at the bargaining tables,” she said.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336