PIQUA — Former Piqua City Schools Superintendent and longtime community member Duane Bachman was honored Tuesday evening at the Piqua City Commission meeting with a surprise resolution naming his upcoming 80th birthday — June 29, 2016 — as Duane Bachman Day in the city of Piqua.
“I told you we were coming here to do something for your grandson Colton, but it was really for you,” Mayor Kazy Hinds said.
“Dwayne’s passion for education has led him to receive countless awards,” Hinds said, commending Bachman’s support of education and his continued participation on boards and committees including the American Cancer Society, Piqua Arts Council, the Miami County YMCA, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, and others.
Following Bachman’s recognition, the conversation around how the mayor is to be elected continued. The commission heard the second reading of an ordinance that authorizes the submission of a proposed amendment to the Piqua Charter in regard to this issue.
The proposed amendment re-establishes how the mayor is chosen. Instead of the public electing someone to the position, city commissioners will elect the mayor every two years. Only commissioners will be eligible to be mayor.
Commissioner Joe Wilson explained, once again, that they are attempting to address the confusion surrounding the right way to elect the mayor as, to be elected mayor in Piqua, one must first be elected a city commissioner. In three recent elections, including the most recent election, the candidate who won the most votes for mayor did not receive the most votes for city commissioner. Residents neglected to vote for the same candidate twice, meaning that the candidate with the most votes for mayor did not get elected mayor.
The goal of the proposal would be to address that confusion. During this meeting, Wilson noted that the confusion seems to occur when the candidates running for mayor are both from the same ward. He specifically referenced the 2011 and 2015 mayoral elections, stating that the votes for the mayor and 5th ward commissioner seats should have been identical or nearly identical, but they were not.
“We really don’t know the will of the people because they’re telling us two different things,” Wilson said.
“Maybe they’re not confused,” Al Fledderman of Piqua said. “Maybe the people’s voices are being heard.”
Fledderman added, “You’re taking the vote away from people … Let the public vote, confused or not.”
Commissioner Bill Vogt reiterated that the mayor is not a tie-breaker seat and that the only thing that mayor can do that the city commissioners cannot is perform a wedding ceremony.
“Everybody has the same vote,” Vogt said.
Hinds said that the commission is doing their best to find a “reasonable solution” surrounding the mayor seat.
“I wish there was an easy way to make it all work,” Hinds said.
If approved after three readings, the proposed amendment will be submitted to the Miami County Board of Elections for Piqua residents to vote on during the November General Election. If approved by voters, the change will commence in 2018 and take place every two years after.
The commission also approved the improvements for the tennis courts at the Pitsenbarger Park and Sports Complex, giving the OK to a purchase order of $28,000 to Arrow Surface Engineering, Inc. for the resurfacing of those courts. They also authorized a purchase order of $19,800 to Western Ohio Fence and Supply for new fencing around the tennis courts.
Public Works Director Doug Harter said the last time the tennis courts had been resurfaced was in 1999. “It’s in pretty rough shape, so it’s in desperate need of this,” he said.
The fencing surrounding the courts also is the original fencing. “It’s rusted, it’s broken, the gates no longer work,” Harter said.
Ruth Koon of the Friends of the Piqua Park spoke during public comment, expressing the group’s support of this endeavor.
The work will begin in June and end in July.
The commission also heard the second reading of a new ordinance that will amend Chapter 152: Historic Preservation of the city of the Piqua Code of Ordinances and approved it after waiving the three-reading rule. It will amend the boundaries of the Downtown Historic District to include additional properties eligible to participate in and receive Community Development Block Grant Tier II Funds.
The commission heard an ordinance that will make curfew hours within city parks consistent. Residents will not be permitted to be in city parks between dusk and 7 a.m. unless they are at a sports game at a lighted field.
Following that, the commission tabled a resolution that would allow the city to take ownership of a sanitary sewer lift station located on Echo Lake Drive that is next to city property, i.e, the Echo Hills Golf Course.
The commission also awarded a contract for Walls Bros. Asphalt Co., Inc. for the resurfacing of Spiker Road. Approximately one mile of Spiker Road will be resurfaced between U.S. Route 36 and Piqua-Clayton Road in July. The contract is not to exceed $93,000.
Next, the commission awarded a contract to Finfrock Construction Co., Inc. for the installation of a new iron water main on Cedarbrook Drive. The installation also includes valves, hydrants, new water services, and other accessories. The contract is not to exceed $205,000.
Commissioners also authorized the city to submit Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding applications for the program year 2016. This year, the city will be applying for a CDBG Critical Infrastructure Grant for improvements to the storm water system in the Shawnee Neighborhood.
For their final resolution, the commission granted the Miami Valley Corvette Club use of Fountain Park for their annual car show between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. June 11.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall