Commission to vote on tennis court upgrades

Discussion of mayoral election process to continue

By Sam Wildow -

PIQUA — The tennis courts at the Pitsenbarger Park and Sports Complex may get a facelift after the next Piqua City Commission meeting on Tuesday evening.

The commission will be voting on a purchase order of $28,000 to Arrow Surface Engineering, Inc. for the resurfacing of those tennis courts. They will also vote on a purchase order of $19,800 to Western Ohio Fence and Supply for new fencing around the tennis courts. If approved, the work will begin in June and end in July.

The conversation around how the mayor is elected is also expected to continue at the next commission meeting. The commission will be hearing the second reading of an ordinance that authorizes the submission of a proposed amendment to the Piqua Charter in regard to how the mayor is elected. The proposed amendment re-establishes how the mayor is chosen. Instead of the public electing someone to the position, the city commissioners will elect the mayor every two years. The city commissioners will also elect a vice mayor every two years. Only commissioners will be eligible to be mayor or vice mayor.

The commission received mixed responses from the public during their last meeting on May 17, with two residents coming forward to say that this proposed amendment would restrict residents’ right to vote.

City commissioners responded, stating that the role of mayor is ceremonial. At the previous meeting, City Commissioner Bill Vogt noted that the mayor is not a tie-breaker and that the only thing that mayor can do that the city commissioners cannot is perform a wedding ceremony.

City Attorney Stacy Wall also noted that this proposed amendment would revert the Piqua City Charter back to the way it was before 1975. The city decided to change the charter after the commission chose a mayor that the residents did not agree with in 1975.

City Commissioner Joe Wilson explained that they are attempting to address the confusion surrounding the right way to elect the mayor as, to be elected mayor in Piqua, one must first be elected a city commissioner. In three recent elections, including the most recent election, the candidate who won the most votes for mayor did not receive the most votes for city commissioner. Residents neglected to vote for the same candidate twice, meaning that the candidate with the most votes for mayor did not get elected mayor.

Wilson said that the commission has tried to get the information out to the public about the correct way to elect the mayor, but the information is not sticking with some of the residents. The goal of the proposal would be to address that confusion.

If approved after three readings, the proposed amendment will be submitted to the Miami County Board of Elections for Piqua residents to vote on during the November General Election. If approved by voters, the change will commence in 2018 and take place every two years after.

The commission will also hear the second reading of a new ordinance that will amend Chapter 152: Historic Preservation of the city of the Piqua Code of Ordinances. It will amend the boundaries of the Downtown Historic District to include additional properties eligible to participate in and receive Community Development Block Grant Tier II Funds.

Also on the agenda, the commission will hear an ordinance that will make curfew hours within city parks consistent. Residents will not be permitted to be in city parks between dusk and 7 a.m. unless they are at a sports game at a lighted field.

Following that, the commission will vote on taking ownership of a sanitary sewer lift station located on Echo Lake Drive that is next to city property, i.e, the Echo Hills Golf Course. According to the resolution, the current owner is looking to donate the lift station to the city for the city to maintain. The owner is also seeking to grant a perpetual easement to the land for the purpose of accessing that lift station.

The commission is also expected to award a contract for Walls Bros. Asphalt Co., Inc. for the resurfacing of Spiker Road. Approximately one mile of Spiker Road will be resurfaced between U.S. Route 36 and Piqua-Clayton Road. The contract is not to exceed $93,000. If approved, the work will take place in July.

Next on the agenda, the commission will vote on awarding a contract to Finfrock Construction Co., Inc. for the installation of a new iron water main on Cedarbrook Drive. The installation also includes valves, hydrants, new water services, and other accessories. The contract is not to exceed $205,000.

Following that, the commission will consider a resolution approving Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding applications for the program year 2016. The maximum amount of grant funding is $300,000. This year, the city will be applying for a CDBG Critical Infrastructure Grant for improvements to the storm water system in the Shawnee Neighborhood.

The commission will finish the evening with granting the Miami Valley Corvette Club use of Fountain Park for their annual car show between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. June 11.
Discussion of mayoral election process to continue

By Sam Wildow

Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall

Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall