Piqua Commission, community reflects on Dayton tragedy

Officers, heroes, victims remembered

By Sam Wildow - Miami Valley Today

PIQUA — The recent mass shooting in Dayton’s Oregon District was not far from the community’s mind during the Piqua City Commission meeting on Tuesday

“I am so touched by these cops … that just rushed into the gunfire,” Bill Jaqua of Piqua said during public comment about the Dayton police officers who responded during the shooting. “That will forever change my mind on what you guys do.”

Jaqua asked Commissioner Kris Lee, who has worked in law enforcement for more than 20 years, to speak on the recent tragedy and the actions of the Dayton police officers who were patrolling the area and responded to the incident in under a minute.

“I lived in Dayton for five years, so Dayton’s always going to be special to me,” Lee said. “Five of those officers got on in 2016, and the other one was hired in 1997. They didn’t hesitate. They were on patrol in that area. They went straight to the threat, just like our officers here in Piqua do, each and every day, so we’re lucky to have professional officers that will do that, and Dayton’s very lucky.”

Lee asked the public later during the meeting to continue to keep Dayton and El Paso, Texas in their thoughts and prayers.

“Dayton is strong,” Lee said. “They’re resolute, and they’re strong, and those officers did a wonderful job. They went straight to the threat. It was amazing.”

Mayor Kazy Hinds also praised a local nurse, Kayla Miller, for performing CPR on wounded victims following the mass shooting. The commission honored Miller earlier this year with a proclamation for her efforts of performing CPR on a woman who was found face-down and unconscious in the Walmart parking lot on Dec. 20, 2018.

“A huge thank you to Kayla for providing that heroic, heroic response to that horrible tragedy in Dayton,” Hinds said. “Also just want to let our brothers and sisters know that we have been thinking about them. I know that everybody in this community has had them in our hearts and prayers. I reached out to Nan Whaley, who is the mayor there, to let her know that we have been thinking about her and her community. So continue to hold our brothers and sisters there in our thoughts and prayers. And, again, we do give thanks to those police officers and the ways they were able to respond so quickly.”

Also during public comment, Ruth Koon of the Friends of the Piqua Parks announced the Friends of the Piqua Parks raised approximately $80,000 for landscaping improvements to the slopes off of Ash Street/U.S. Route 36 near the railroad bridge.

“Be looking for great changes there at that entrance,” Koon said.

Koon also asked about a trailer park on the city’s entrance off of State Route 66, asking City Attorney Frank Patrizio if the city could use eminent domain to clean up the area.

Patrizio said the trailers were outside of the city’s limits and the city has been working on the county with the situation.

“It’s been going on for so long, and we really need to step it up,” Koon said. “We’ve been investing a lot in our community, downtown and around, but we need to really make sure that when people enter our community, it looks really well-maintained.”

In other news:

The commission approved its annual road salt contract. It authorized a purchase order to Cargill, Incorporated for the purchase of road salt for the Street Department at a rate of $89.69 per ton, which was the same cost the city paid last year. The budgeted total cost for the 2019 year is $179,380 based on purchasing 2,000 tons of salt. The city is not required to purchase that full amount. Public Works Director Brian Brookhart said the city used approximately 1,500 tons of salt last year and the city’s salt barn is currently full.

Following that, the commission approved the purchase of a crane truck for the Underground Utilities Department. The resolution included a purchase order to Lebanon Ford for the purchase of a Ford F-450 Cab & Chassis and a purchase order to Ace Truck Body, Inc. for the purchase of a crane body for the crane truck. The crane truck will be used for daily operations, including lifting pumps and materials at lift stations. The cost is $31,799 for the cab and chassis and $47,750 for the crane body.

The commission then authorized an amendment to the city’s lease of portions of 8620 N. County Road 25-A to continue to house the Underground Utilities Department and provide the department more space. This change will add 300 square feet of space and add one year to the contract with the option to terminate the lease by May 20, 2020. The monthly rent payment would be increased from $3,400 to $3,750.

The commission then approved the purchase of new playground equipment for Pitsenbarger Park and Sports Complex. The resolution authorized a purchase order to Gametime/DWA Recreation, Inc. for the purchase of a playground structure for Pitsenbarger Park at a cost of approximately $79,340. The playground structure will include a swing unit, and it will replace older equipment the city removed a few years ago.

Koon thanked local resident Edna Stiefel for advocating for this playground equipment.

“This is going to be wonderful for the children,” Koon said.

Next, the commission approved the purchase of two snow plow trucks and related equipment. The resolution was for a purchase order to Kenworth of Dayton/Palmer Trucks for the purchase of two Kenworth 2020 T370 municipal snow plow trucks, including snow removal equipment at a cost of $337,300. This purchase will replace two older trucks. Brookhart said the two older trucks will be used solely for leaf removal, replacing two even older trucks previously used for leaf removal.

The commission then approved a purchase order to Buckeye Ford for the purchase of three 2019 Ford F250 pickup trucks for the Street Department. The cost is approximately $84,070. These trucks will replace three older vehicles the city had to sell due to ongoing maintenance costs that exceeded the value of the vehicles, according to Brookhart.

The commission also voted to levy assessments to pay for the cost of nuisance abatements, such as grass and weed cutting, trash and debris removal, property maintenance, demolition of structures, and so on. This resolution will allow the city to charge back the cost of those abatements plus administrative fees onto the property taxes of the property owner. The city is seeking a reimbursement of approximately $30,205 from property owners.

Officers, heroes, victims remembered

By Sam Wildow

Miami Valley Today

Reach Sam Wildow at swildow@aimmediamidwest.com. ©2019 Miami Valley Today, all rights reserved.

Reach Sam Wildow at swildow@aimmediamidwest.com. ©2019 Miami Valley Today, all rights reserved.