Pilot program issues

Chuck Starrett

December 17, 2013

The city leaders are going to employ an outside service “National Inspection Corp” (NIC) for code enforcement maintenance and zoning because the city reports “their departments can’t handle the work load.” Where is the operation money for the NIC coming from? Why are we paying salaries and benefits to our permanent city employees in this capacity for a duplication of services? Our present code enforcement officers willhandle current tall grass and trash problems. This is duplication of services of the zoning & building code departments’ positions that should be eliminated. Additionally, zoning regulations could be monitored by the county, as provided for many Miami County municipalities, which would lead to even more savings by the City of Piqua. Piqua city officials also want to let NIC regulate junk vehicle codes, a job performed by the police. These additional savings to the community could be obtained through fewer enforcement officers and less city office space and equipment.

City operations, staff, wages, and benefits could be reduced. Thus, a savings could be rendered to Piqua tax payers and NIC will not receive residents’ tax money.

I have met with NIC representatives. They are reasonable to deal with but they have no interest in Piqua’s problems or commitment to our city other than the job they perform. They go back home to their towns of residence and forget about what issues they leave behind. Thus, we have another job growth to outside business not local.

Furthermore, why do we have city council meetings? Citizens are simply told what they, as the town’s representatives, have already decided regardless of whether citizens agree or not. City officials make decisions before meetings regardless of what questions are asked, concerns voiced, or alternate solutions presented.

I would like for the citizens of Piqua to look at the city’s charter organizational structure. The citizens and their committees (not appointed by the commissioners or officers) are the top authorities. Then Commissioners, boards, and commissions, followed by the city manager, department heads etc. If “we the people” are a majority on issues; city officials must listen. www.piquaoh.org (city’s chart located under city government heading; see organizational chart).

Where are the jobs Piqua needs and why is our town not getting them? Do our regulations and building codes reflect a friendly business environment? We are told that regulations and existing buildings don’t consistently conform. Yet, our city representatives cannot find any solutions to our problems without the expense, time, and effort of hiring an outside consultant? Why are our leaders and departments not qualified and paid to handle? They should be qualified; we have even paid for the college degrees of some employees. These are a few issues that need to be addressed by our city commission and manager. Income and growth generated by new business and expansion of existing business will create the financial solutions to most of the maintenance issues and revenue for city operations included with better budgeting. Remember who is paying for their mistakes. It is you the citizens ….

Charles Starrett is an officer with Property Owners Improving Neighborhoods Together.