Recycling program expanding

By Sam Wildow -

PIQUA —The Piqua Health and Sanitation Department is expanding its recycling program to include additional sizes of recycling carts. The Piqua City Commission approved a contract not to exceed $18,000 with Cascade Engineering for the purchase of 32-gallon recycling carts during their meeting on Tuesday evening.

“We’ve had multiple customers ask for smaller carts, so we’re looking at the 32-gallon cart,” Amy Welker, director of the Health and Sanitation Department, said. The Health and Sanitation Department has a list of approximately 50 residents interested in the smaller cart, Welker said.

“They can call our office to get on our list,” Welker said. “We’ll order quite a bit more than that.”

With Cascade Engineering supplying the carts within three to four weeks after the order is made, the department will also be able to place multiple orders in case they run out of small carts.

Nick Alexander of Piqua inquired about which recycling cart will be the main one that the city orders when these current carts are no longer usable.

“Will the small [cart] be the new default for ordering?” Alexander asked.

City Manager Gary Huff said that people will probably still have a choice between the 54-gallon or 32-gallon cart.

“I would say we would stick with the larger one,” Welker said. According to Welker, the majority of their customers have been satisfied. The price difference between the two carts is approximately $7.

For the only item on the order of old business, the commission approved an ordinance that will levy special assessments to pay for the cost of nuisance abatement assessments with the county auditor during their meeting on Tuesday evening. This ordinance will allow for the city to collect a total of $82,760.36 to be applied to the property taxes of the properties that were in violation with the city code. That amount will pay for the contractors who completed the abatements and administrative costs in the past year.

“The city abates nuisance conditions on properties including mowing high grass, removing trash, trimming trees, demolishing structures … things that were in violation with the city’s nuisance code,” Welker said.

Property owners were notified of the conditions, and their failure to amend the situtation resulted in the abatement. These costs will now become a part of the owner’s property taxes if they have failed to pay the costs ahead of time.

Welker stated that some people had come forward and paid for the cost of the abatements done on their property.

Commissioner John Martin asked about Hope Chapel, a church on the list located at 624 Broadway St.

“The church is defunct,” Welker said. According to Welker, there has been no one to step forward to take responsibility for or claim ownership of the property. Welker stated that it is one of those situations that is in “limbo.”

Commissioner Joe Wilson then asked about the height that grass has to reach in order to be in violation of the city code. Welker stated it was eight inches.

Back on the order of new business, the commission approved an emergency resolution for the Underground Utilities Department, which will increase their allotted expenditure amount from $35,000 to $60,000 in order to pay to for an unforeseen repair.

“This will allow us to repair the vacuum compressor assembly unit on the VacCon,” Shane Johnson, superintendent of the Undergound Utilities Department, said.

The work will be completed by Best Equipment.

“We use Best Equipment for the repairs to the VacCon, EnviroSight, and Single Axle Jet trucks,” Johnson said. “All of these pieces of equipment are very specialized, and Best Equipment is the sole source for parts and repairs.”

The warranties on the equipment have also expired due to the age of the vehicles, according to Johnson.

Next on the agenda, the commission approved the reappropriation of funds to Prograde Excavation & Demolition, LLC for the storm water repair they completed on East Water Street for the Underground Utilities Department. There was a major storm water pipe collapse resulting in a sinkhole on East Water Street on June 15.

Devon Alexander, storm water coordinator, stated that the damage was severe and beyond the scope of the department’s ability to repair in that area. Prograde Excavation & Demolition, LLC completed the work, and the cost of the repair was $62,317.23.

The commission also approved an increase of funds for the Public Works Department. Their annual purchase order with Kirk NationaLease will increase from $21,000 to $45,000 for heavy equipment repair. Their annual purchase order with Dick Lumpkin’s Auto Body will also increase, changing from $22,000 to $40,000 for small truck repair.

Both of these increases are in order to pay for “any additional repairs that may be needed in the upcoming months,” according to Brian Brookhart, assistant director of the Public Works Department.

Huff stated that the increase in the purchase orders allows for the work to be done right away rather than having to wait until the next commission meeting in order to get approval.

The following resolutions were also approved:

  • A resolution of appreciation for city employee William J. Liddy, a Journeyman Line Crew Leader with the Piqua Power System who is retiring after over 30 years with the city
  • A contract that will authorize Fifth Third Bank, JP Morgan Chase, U.S. Bank, Unity National Bank, and Mainsource Bank to serve as depositories for public funds
  • A contract with the Miami County Public Defender Commission for the year 2016 for the amount of $20,341.13 to be paid in three installments

The commission also held a brief public hearing during the meeting regarding the DP&L and Vectren franchise agreement with the city. The charter has not been updated since 1887, with the exception of its name. An ordinance with three readings regarding an updated version of the franchise agreement will follow this public hearing.

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