Southview to be focus of CDBG application

PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission approved new water meters for the Southview Neighborhood to be the focus of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Critical Infrastructure Program application during their meeting on Tuesday evening.

Piqua is expected to receive an allocation of $75,000 for 2015 from the Ohio Development Services Agency, Office of Community Development (ODSA, OCD) through the CDBG program. That is the bare minimum amount of allocation funds that qualifying cities can receive, according to Piqua’s Development Program Manager Nikki Reese.

The city is hoping to receive more money by submitting a CDBG Critical Infrastructure Program application along with the CDBG Community Development Allocation application. The maximum grant funding is $300,000.

“Now we’re talking about impact,” Reese said.

Southview Neighborhood will be the location of the project due to 51 percent of the households in that area having low to moderate income. That is a stipulation for receiving the funding, and Southview Neighborhood is the only section of Piqua that qualifies. All residents and businesses in the area will benefit whether they have a low to moderate income or not, according to Reese. According to Resolution 101-15, “the new water meters would be read by a radio receiver that the meter reader would hold outside their city vehicle.” This would eliminate the city estimating meter readings.

Reese explained that the meter readers will be able to collect several readings at once while sitting in one spot. Residents will be assigned unique identification numbers, though, to avoid confusion. Reese assured the commission and attendees that they will not be getting billed for their neighbor’s water usage.

The benefits include reducing the cost estimating and reducing the safety hazards for the meter readers. Meter readers will be able to cover the entire Southview Neighborhood in one day versus four, according to Reese.

The city will also easily be able to monitor usage, Reese said. There will also be a 24-hour leak detection. The city will be able to know right away that there is a leak instead of when the resident receives his or her water bill and “it is $200 higher than what it should be,” Reese said.

In regard to the only ordinance on the agenda, the commission held the first reading of the emergency ordinance to create consistent curfew hours throughout all of the city parks. In this new ordinance, no one would be allowed to enter or remain in the city parks between dusk and 7 a.m. the following day.

For parks with “lighted softball, baseball, football, or soccer fields,” no innings or equivalent game periods are to start after 10:30 p.m., according to Ordinance No. 7-15. The exception would be during tournament time. For the bike path, the curfew would be from dusk until dawn.

The commission held off on voting on this emergency ordinance in order to look more closely at the rules regarding smoking in the parks.

The commission then voted to adopt the Solid Waste Management Plan for the Miami County Solid Waste Management District. The discussion surrounding this resolution led to remarks about the new recycling system and recycling bins within the city of Piqua.

“So far, we’re seeing some really good numbers,” said Amy Welker, director of the city of Piqua’s Health and Sanitation Department said. “We had a lot of phone calls at the beginning…We’re not seeing as much confusion now.”

Commissioner Judy Terry asked if there was any way to include a provision or a note on residents’ utility bills that would state where to store their new recycling bins when it is not time for pick-up.

“We’ve heard… more than a couple complaints about the unsightliness,” Terry said about the tall bins. Terry requested that the tall bins not be left on the street, sidewalks, or out in front of the house. Terry questioned if the city could ask people to make the bins “a little bit less noticeable.”

Piqua City Manager Gary Huff suggested doing some education with the residents and seeing if they got any results.

“I’m not a fan of the recycling bins,” Piqua resident Al Fledderman said during public comment. “Now you’re wanting to tell me where to store it?” Fledderman added, “For a lot of people, apartments and things, that’s not really practical.”

Welker and Huff stated that residents who do not like the tall bin can use a smaller container designated as their recycling bin.

“We are also looking into the possibility of getting a smaller tote cart,” Welker said. The former red bins were not the property of the city, so they had to be returned to Rumpke.

For the next two resolutions, the commission adopted both of them. The commission established the public hearing for the proposed city tax Budget for Miami County for 2016 and draft appropriation ordinance for during the next commission meeting on July 7, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. The Piqua Fourth of July Association was also permitted to use Fountain Park, Hardman Field, and Hance Pavilion for July 4 and 5.

The commission then voted to amend their contract with J&J Schlaegel, Inc. to the amount of $211,680 for the offsite pipeline project in connection with the new Water Treatment Plant. The offsite pipeline project will construct “new raw water lines, finished water line, and a new sludge line along” State Route 66, according to Resolution 98-15.

The amendment to the contract will allow for one lane of traffic on State Route 66 to stay open during the 20 months of construction. A loan through the Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA) will be funding the project. The amended contract will be taken from the original loan contingency.

The commission also authorized the purchase and installation of a new gate for the hydraulic canal at Swift Run Lake. The purchase order for the gate will be for $17,940 to RW Gate Company. Then there will be a purchase order $13,200 for Peterson Construction Company for the installation. The current gate reportedly does not work or seal accurately.

NOTE: There will be a follow-up article covering the special presentations held during the June 16 Piqua City Commission meeting in the Thursday edition of the Piqua Daily Call.