Rate increase to aid infrastructure
By Bethany Royer
Bethany J. Royer
PIQUA — Given the number of former, current, and future projects, Piqua’s stormwater department made a request to amend service rates at Tuesday’s commission meeting.
Devon Alexander, stormwater coordinator, was at the helm to provide information related to the first reading ordinance that will see a fee increase of 50 cents per year over the next three years.
For example, in 2014, stormwater rates will go from $5.20 to $5.70, with the annual increase to provide an extra $70,000 in revenue each year until 2016, for a total of $210,000 into the stormwater utility fund. These monies will aid such infrastructure improvement projects as Echo Lake — the city’s main source of surface water and thus drinking water — at a cost of $225,000.
The department will also assess flooding in the Shawnee area going into 2014 as part of the stormwater master plan.
“They are consistently faced with flooding,” explained Alexander. “It’s obviously an issue we need to investigate more.”
Other projects include street rebuilds such as Main Street and Commercial Street at a cost of $130,000, and nearly 50 catch basins that were either repaired or replaced in thanks to two new employees brought on board for infrastructure improvements.
“We have costs annually going out, repairing,” continued Alexander, as he explained how the stormwater department is required to deal with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates on an annual basis and must maintain the infrastructure. Again, pointing out Shawnee neighborhood flooding as an example of impending improvements with other areas in the city tackling similar issues related to stormwater and likewise falling under the department’s stormwater master plan.
“Some of the areas we have, the deterioration of the infrastructure over the years is causing the flooding in the streets,” said Gary Huff, city manager, with those areas having been identified as a major priority. “As we identify these problems, we need to correct them.”
While raising fees on residents was not a popular choice expressed by commission, the need for infrastructure improvements was not one for debate. Instead, potentials such as grants and federal aid to assist in such projects will continually be sought by city leaders, as explained by Huff.
As this was only the first reading, commission continued with two second-reading ordinances that will see a minimum wage increase for some municipal employees to reflect the state of Ohio’s increase from $7.85 per hour to $7.95 per hour, and appropriations on the 2014 annual budget.
Commission also accepted a number of board member re-appointments with Commissioner John Martin on the Miami County Council and Piqua Energy boards for a term of two years, and Commissioner Bill Vogt serving a two year term on the Piqua Energy board.
Commission also adopted the following resolutions:
* A purchase order to Laguna Tools Inc. for a new CNC router sign machine for the Public Works department
* a purchase order to primary supplier Barrett Paving Materials Inc. and secondary supplier Valley Asphalt Corp. for hot mix for the 2014 street and alley maintenance program, followed by a purchase order to Piqua Materials Inc. for stone and cold patch for the same program
Commission concluded the evening’s agenda by adopting two resolutions related to the United States Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield Assessment Grant program, one with T&M Associates Inc. and a second with Burgess and Niple Inc.
As the recipient of two grants from the U.S. EPA, a total of $400,00 will be used for Phase I and Phase II environmental assessments to determine the best course of action for future rehabilitation of abandoned commercial areas. Such areas designated for assessment include the riverfront, the historic east Piqua area, the 25-A north corridor near Paul Sherry’s and the Clark Ave./25-A south corridor near Hartzell Industries.
Commission meetings are held at 7:30 p.m. every first and third Tuesday of the month, on the second floor of the Government Municipal Complex, in the commission chamber.
The public is invited and encouraged to attend.
For information on meetings, work sessions and more visit piquaoh.org.
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