City discusses abatement assessments

By Sam Wildow -

PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission held the first reading of an ordinance that will levy special assessments to pay for the cost of nuisance abatement assessments during their meeting on Tuesday evening.

“The city abates nuisance conditions on properties including mowing high grass, removing trash, trimming trees, and demolishing structures according to city code,” said Amy Welker, director of the Health and Sanitation Department.

Property owners are notified of the conditions. If they fail to fix the issues presented, it results in the abatement. The city charges the property owner with the cost of the abatement and an administration fee of $35. According to Welker, the costs will become a part of their property taxes if they fail to pay the costs ahead of time. There are also added fees for repeat offenders. The county auditor accepts the abatement assessments once year, and they are due this year by Sept. 14.

This ordinance will allow for the city to collect a total of $82,760.36. That amount will pay for the contractors who completed the abatements and administrative costs in the past year.

“This is a bit higher than we have had in previous years,” Welker said. This was due to the amount including three demolitions.

“We will accept payment if anyone would like to pay them up until we send them to the auditor,” Welker said.

The ordinance spurred questions about who is behind these properties.

“How many of them are actually owner-occupied versus a rental?” Nick Alexander of Piqua asked.

Welker was unsure. Alexander stated he was curious if there was anyone “falling through the cracks” who may not have been able to mow the grass due to being a senior citizen.

“That’s typically not the case,” Welker said. “In that case, we try to find those people help if they let us know.”

“We have volunteers who will help them,” City Manager Gary Huff said. Huff said that information about that program can be found on the city’s website or by calling the city manager’s office.

Residence Pride Award winner Charity Kinnison also spoke about her concerns of people’s yards.

“People should have to take care of their property,” Kinnison said.

The commission also held the second reading of an ordinance that will remove “no right turn on red” rules from seven intersections for drivers in the city code. With schools being gone in those areas, there is no longer a need for the “no right turn on red” rules in those intersections.

The signs have already been removed from the following intersections, but the city code still needs to be updated:

  • Ash Street and College Street
  • Main Street and Garnsey Street
  • Main Street and South Street
  • North Street and College Street
  • South Street and Brice Avenue
  • South Street and Roosevelt Avenue
  • Wayne Street and South Street

As part of this same ordinance, the commission looked into the addition of a “right turn on red” prohibition to the intersection of Park Avenue and Broadway, preventing vehicles from making right turns on a red light from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on school days. This intersection will be part of a new walking route for kids to a new school.

For the next ordinance of old business on the agenda, the commission held the second reading about appropriations to be made for the city of Piqua for 2015. Finance Director Cynthia Holtzapple explained that this ordinance is necessary due to a requirement that they present the 2015 annual budget to the commission in early November 2014. That was before all of the timing or funding for projects was in place. Holtzapple explained that the city is seeing a reduction in costs of approximately $1.6 million.

The following resolutions were also approved:

  • Resolution No. R-111-15, which will allow American Electric Power to train personnel of the Piqua Power System with the cost not exceed $32,000
  • Resolution No. R-112-15, which will amend the agreement with OTC Services Inc. to provide professional field services, unit inspection, and refurbishment for the main power transformer for substation #3

Residence Pride Award winners were recognized Tuesday evening as well. The winners included:

  • Marilyn and Jan Hissong of 911 Broadway Ave.
  • Patricia and Ronald Hardin of 1801 New Haven Road
  • Charity and Thomas Kinnison of 903 Clark Ave.
  • Jean Maniaci of 126 Staunton St.
  • Fredia and Roy Summers of 1616 Washington Ave.

“We truly appreciate all the effort you put in to make our city a lovely place to live,” Mayor Lucy Fess said to Charity Kinnison and to the rest of the residence pride award winners. There will be signs posted in their yards distinguishing their homes as winners.

“It’s nice to be recognized,” Jean Maniaci of Piqua said.

Jacob Pleiman, city of Piqua intern, also gave a presentation during the meeting on his internship with the city this summer. Pleiman worked mainly with the engineering department.

“Though this opportunity, I have gained many experiences,” Pleiman said. He stated that he worked on several projects in the field, but his main project was to compile a presentation on Piqua’s new Water Treatment Plant.

By Sam Wildow

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

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