PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission brought in the new year by welcoming two new faces to the table during their meeting Tuesday evening.
Kris Lee and David Short took their oaths of office for the third ward and fourth ward seats of the commission, respectively.
Kazy Hinds was also nominated and appointed to continue in her role as the mayor.
Commissioners Bill Vogt and John Martin were then each nominated for the vice mayor role by Hinds and Lee, respectively. Vogt was appointed to the vice mayor position by a vote of 3-2, with Lee and Martin voting against the motion.
Hinds and Vogt also swore oaths of office during the meeting. During the commissioner comments at the end of the meeting, Vogt welcomed Lee and Short, saying, “I’m sure we’ll make a good team.”
Martin also welcomed the new commissioners and congratulated Hinds and Vogt on being named the mayor and vice mayor.
Lee and Short shared similar sentiments during their turns speaking.
“I look forward to working with everybody that’s up here,” Lee said.
Short thanked all of the people who attended Tuesday’s meeting for showing up, and he also thanked everybody who voted during the last election.
Proposed changes to garbage collection came before the commission again. The city brought a new ordinance before the commission in order to start fresh with having two new commissioners on the commission, but City Manager Gary Huff said that the new ordinance reflected changes discussed in reference to the previously tabled ordinance in regard to garbage collection.
The ordinance is seeking to provide residents with 96-gallon trash carts and combine both trash and recycling collection fees into one rate. Changes were made to the ordinance to allow households with five or more members to receive a second trash cart at no cost to them.
The previous ordinance was tabled after a discussion about the total gallon amount of trash that is currently allowed before customers incur additional fees.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Martin suggested allowing any household that requests a second trash cart to receive one with no fee. After a discussion, the commission appeared to agree, but nothing was formally decided Tuesday evening.
Vogt said that he thought people would find that the 64-gallon containers would be fine and that the 96-gallon containers “would really be fine” in regard to accommodating customers’ needs for trash collection. “You people don’t realize and I think we as commissioners don’t realize how much you can really get into one of those containers,” he said.
Vogt went on to say that recycling more would also bring down the amount of solid waste residents would be throwing out.
A number of the commissioners, including Vogt, Short, and Martin, said that they had been unaware until recently that they could recycle pizza boxes when they had been going by old rules from Rumpke that stated the opposite. Martin suggested sending out additional information for residents to learn about what else they can recycle.
“We have to educate ourselves to make this work really well,” Vogt said.
Short agreed with Vogt, saying, “I think you’re right. I think citizens will realize with the 96-gallon and then you got 64-gallon for recycling, I think that will take care of most all of your needs for most people.”
Lee said that he conducted an informal poll of residents in regard to their concerns about the trash carts.
“Most of the people on there said that they wanted a 96 (gallon container), just a 96 (gallon container),” Lee said, adding that “very few people” would need two 96-gallon containers.
The commission did not take a vote on the ordinance, as it is expected to undergo two more readings, but they seemed to be in agreement at having the total amount of solid waste that can be collected before facing additional fees at 192 gallons, the amount of two 96-gallon containers. The same would be applicable to yard waste.
Huff said earlier in the discussion that the standard would be for the city to issue only one 96-gallon container per customer unless the resident requested an additional container.
Martin also gave additional suggestions of changes to the ordinance, including lowering the proposed commercial rate for recycling from approximately $16.80 to $11, which would include the residential recycling-only rate amount of $9.67 plus five percent in order to accommodate the extra weight of items that businesses may recycle, particularly the extra weight of cardboard.
A member of the public also suggested adding a weight limit to how much the garbage can weigh in their containers in order to protect the workers from injuries.
Also during their meeting, the commission approved emergency repairs to the bike path at Upper Fountain Park.
The resolution was written as a moral obligation to pay Brumbaugh Construction, Inc., as they already have completed the work.
The city reported finding excessive erosion underneath the bike path adjacent to the walk bridge behind the Fountain Park dining hall as well as down the adjacent embankment. The erosion was causing the asphalt path to fail.
Brumbaugh Construction, Inc. completed the repairs at a cost of $42,976 after the city determined that their proposed costs were in line with what the repair work should cost.
The commission also approved changing their meeting times from their previous time of 7:30 p.m. to earlier in the evening at 6 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.
The commission also approved a resolution authorize the city purchasing analyst to advertise for bids for purchases throughout 2018 in the Piqua Daily Call.
Also during their meeting, the commission held their annual joint meeting with the Washington Township trustees to reappoint Kazy Hinds to the board of trustees for the Forest Hill Union Cemetery.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336