PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission heard the first readings of six new ordinances during their meeting on Tuesday evening before approving three resolutions.
The first two new ordinances covered adopting new pay schedules. The first ordinance was in regard to non-union employees.
“This ordinance would allow for a 2 percent increase for the non-union employees,” Cynthia Holtzapple, director of finance, said. Holtzapple stated that this increase would be for 2016 and that union employees are also going to receive a 2 percent increase for 2016.
The second ordinance discussed the wages of the city’s part-time workers, including lifeguards at the Piqua pool and employees at Echo Hills Golf Course.
“This relates to several of our part-time employees,” Holtzapple said. “It’s been difficult to recruit and retain lifeguards for the Piqua pool.”
Holtzapple later added, “The economy has changed, and there are a lot more summer jobs … We did this to hopefully become more competitive.”
The next ordinance on the agenda will update the city’s employees’ health insurance for 2016.
“The changes to the chapter reflect the new insurance benefit year,” Holtzapple said, stating that those were the only changes. “The health benefits are the same for all employees of the city.”
Next, the commission must adopt a new income tax ordinance after the passage of Ohio House Bill 5 (HB5), which was approved in December 2014. According to the staff report, the city needs “to update this ordinance with some housekeeping items to keep in conformity with the new tax code” that will begin on Jan. 1.
Following that ordinance, the commission heard about the 2016 Annual Budget. In addition to this ordinance receiving three readings, the commission will review the department budgets on Nov. 19.
The commission also heard the first reading of an ordinance declaring the city’s intent to vacate a public right-of-way at an alley located between Main and Wayne streets as it is not being used for public purposes. After going over the first reading of that ordinance, the commission approved a resolution with an intent to vacate a platted portion of a public right-of-way at an alley located west of Ford Drive and south of Young Street as it is not being used for public purposes.
Later in the meeting, the commission approved a resolution rezoning three property locations located on Covington Avenue from Multi-family Residential to General Business.
“There’s three houses,” Chris Schmiesing, city planner, said. “They’re across the street from the (Kroger station).”
Schmiesing stated that the zoning change is consistent and “more typical of what’s found in the corridor.”
Depending on the potential use for the properties, a developer may be required to construct a buffer between the properties and any residential areas.
The commission also approved a resolution purchasing excess liability insurance not to exceed $80,500.
“This resolution is for the renewal for the coverage of our dams,” Stacy Wall, city attorney, said.
This coverage is an 1.8 percent increase from last year. According to Wall, that amount is approximately $1,500. The age of the dams, conditions of the dams, and revenues created by the dams were taken into consideration.
Also on the agenda, commission appointed Jesse Dotson to the energy board, Eddie Harvey to the park board, and David Fishback to the park board and the board of zoning appeals.
During public comment, Paul Bubeck of Piqua expressed concerns about properties not being maintained properly. Bubeck also questioned if the city’s ordinance regarding property maintanence was being enforced.
“My biggest concern is rental properties,” Bubeck said.
Mayor Lucy Fess stated she believed everyone sitting before him agreed with him that properties needed to be maintained and that they needed to continue checking in on properties.
“The city is doing its best,” Fess said. “We sent out an enormous amount of letters.”
According to Fess, the city is planning on hiring someone whose job will be dedicated to checking on properties and making sure that ordinance is enforced next year.
“Landlords have to be forced … and threatened with fines,” Bubeck said.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall