PIQUA — The city of Piqua received the Auditor of State Award with Distinction during the Piqua City Commission meeting on Tuesday, honoring Finance Director Cynthia Holtzapple and other city officials for “accounting excellence.”
Ohio Auditor of State regional liaison Joe Braden presented the city of Piqua with the Auditor of State Award with Distinction.
“It’s important to note that this puts the city of Piqua in a very select group,” Braden said. “The Auditor of State’s Office audits nearly 5,900 entities, and only about 4 percent of the entities are even eligible for this award.”
Braden said these awards are given to local governments and school districts upon completion of a financial audit that complete the following criteria:
• The entity must file financial reports with the Auditor of State’s office by the statutory due date, without extension, via the Hinkle System, on a GAAP accounting basis and prepare a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
• The audit report does not contain any findings for recovery, material citations, material weaknesses, significant deficiencies, Uniform Guidance (Single Audit) findings, or questioned costs.
• The entity’s management letter contains no comments related to: ethics referrals, questioned costs less than the threshold per the Uniform Guidance, lack of timely annual financial report submission, bank reconciliation issues, failure to obtain a timely Single Audit in accordance with Uniform Guidance, findings for recovery less than $500, public meetings or public records issues.
• The entity has no other financial or other concerns.
“The award represents the hard work of all your city employees who strive each day to achieve accounting excellence,” Braden said. “I want to recognize all of the council members, the mayor, city manager, and everybody that’s done an excellent accounting for all of the dollars here in the city of Piqua. And I specifically want to recognize Cynthia Holtzapple, the finance director here, for her outstanding leadership, her professionalism, and her commitment to integrity.”
Zoning ordinance approved
Following that, the commission brought back an ordinance to the table to change the zoning code, waiving the three-reading rule by a majority vote of 4-1 and passing the ordinance by a majority vote of 4-1. Commissioner Bill Vogt voted against waiving the three-reading rule and passing the ordinance.
The ordinance amends the zoning code to modify code provisions pertaining to standards for demolition projects, which was tabled at the commission’s first meeting of the month by a vote of 3-1. Vogt voted against tabling the ordinance at the Oct. 1 meeting.
The ordinance included a change that will remove the requirement to demolish accessory structures to buildings if the structure to which they are an accessory is demolished. The Piqua Planning Commission, by a vote of 4-1, did not recommend the zoning change. The request to change the zoning code originally came from Commissioner John Martin.
The commission approved the ordinance without additional discussion during Tuesday’s meeting.
Previously, if a property owner demolished a principal structure on a property and sought to keep an accessory structure on the property, the property owner could seek a special use permit from the Planning Commission that would allow the structure to stay. Now that the proposed change will be adopted, the property owner will not need to seek that special use permit in order to keep the accessory structure.
Also during its upcoming meeting, the commission authorized City Manager Gary Huff to prepare and submit an application to participate in the Ohio Public Works Commission State Capital Improvement and/or Local Transportation Improvement programs and to execute contracts as required for the Sanitary Sewer Replacement project. The application is seeking $400,000 in funding to replace old sanitary sewer infrastructure with new sanitary sewer mains, manholes, and laterals. The estimated cost for the project is approximately $517,696.
At the end of the meeting, Bill Jaqua of Piqua referenced Huff’s previous position as the town manager in Fishers, Ind., where Huff worked between 2005-2011, prompting a response from Huff.
“I think you have done your job very well for what you’ve been paid to do,” Jaqua said. “But it should be recognized you’ve made a $1 million since you’ve been here. I think the citizens of this town have a right to expect more than they’re getting. I think it’s the exact reason you lost your job at the last place, and for the exact same reason … I’m introducing the statutory government is the same reason you lost your job where you were at.”
Huff later responded to Jaqua’s choice of words, clarifying he was not fired, and said, “I left the job willingly to move on.”
Mayor Kazy Hinds went over reports from the Indianapolis Star that stated the city council in Fishers, Ind. did not ask Huff to leave.
“I think what you’re saying is untrue,” Hinds said to Jaqua.
During his report, Huff asked Jaqua to say publicly what Huff did.
From a seat in the audience, Jaqua said he would respond, but Hinds said he was being out of order.
The year after Huff’s departure from Fishers, Ind., residents there passed a referendum to change the status of Fishers from a town to a city. Huff’s successor, Scott Fadness, served as Fishers’ town manager from 2011-2014. Fadness then became the city’s first mayor in 2014 and is still in office. Other news reports from that area quoted a member of the city council saying that council did not want Huff to leave.
On Wednesday, Huff explained that his decision to resign from his position in Fishers, Ind. “had nothing to do with” the change of government the city went through after his departure. Huff said that Fishers, Ind. was named one of the best places in the nation to live four times while he was the town manager there, receiving the 33rd, 24th, 10th, and eighth spots. The city also grew by over 20,000 people while he was the town manager, and Huff said the number of businesses that came to the area was “tremendously high.” Huff also said he has no issues with whatever direction the residents of Piqua may want to take in regard to the city of Piqua’s form of government.
Also during public comment at Tuesday’s meeting, residents spoke in support of the cones on Main Street, which are testing a solution to a traffic flow issue residents previously spoke about. Vogt said the cones appeared to be a hindrance to semi-trucks.
Vogt also commented on economic development within the city, going over a number of reasons he saw as deterrents for businesses. Those he mentioned included a lack of workforce, “negativity in the town,” and the city not being the county seat of Miami County.
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