PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission approved joining with the Miami County Board of Commissioners, the city of Tipp City, and the city of Troy for the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) Community Housing Impact and Preservation (CHIP) Program during their meeting on Tuesday evening.
“The partnership will apply for $650,000 total program dollars with $276,000 being dedicated to Piqua-specific projects focusing on private owner rehabilitation and repair projects,” city of Piqua Development Program Manager Janel Ranly said. “We should find out in the fall if we have been funded, and we’ll start administering the new grant cycle in January 2020.”
Ranly previously explained in February that they will not be seeking any funds to be used for rental repairs or rehabilitation as the city had “very little interest” in the funds they were awarded in the last CHIP funding cycle.
Commissioner John Martin asked if the city had any leftover funds from the previous CHIP funding cycle. Ranly said that the city is low on those funds now and are currently finishing up their projects for that cycle.
In other news:
The commission also authorized use of public space for special events. The commission authorized entering into a lease agreement to permit the usage of a portion of the bike path waterfront behind the old power plant to Mainstreet Piqua for Down a River, Down a Beer on Aug. 10. The commission also authorized entering into a lease agreement to permit the usage of Piqua Veterans Memorial Park to the Piqua Veterans Association for the Piqua Veterans Association Memorial Day event on May 27.
Later during public comment, Dr. Jim Burkhardt, one of the organizers of Down a River, Down a Beer, said this will be the sixth annual season of that event, which is moving from its usual location at Lock 9 Park to the bike path waterfront area behind the old power plant due to construction at Lock 9 Park.
“The format will be very similar,” Burkhardt said. He added that the event has raised approximately $20,000 for river stewardship programs at Edison State Community College, the Upper Valley Career Center, and Protecting Our Waterways to purchase kayaks, personal flotation devices, water sampling equipment, and more.
The commission then approved an emergency ordinance enacting and adopting a supplement to the Code of Ordinances for the city of Piqua. This supplement includes all of the state legislation enacted between Jan. 1, 2018 and Aug. 2, 2018 and local legislation enacted through Sept. 4, 2018.
Following that, the commission held the first reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 51 of the Piqua Municipal Code in regard to sewers. The Piqua Wastewater Department completed an Ohio EPA Pretreatment Program Audit, which indicated that changes and additions to the language in this section were necessary for the municipal code to be consistent with the Ohio Administrative Code.
The commission later awarded a contract to FleetCor Technologies Operating Company, LLC, also known as Speedway, for the city’s fuel purchasing program for between July 2019 and June 2024. The city budgeted $300,000 for fuel costs for 2019.
The commission then authorized a purchase order to Finley Fire Equipment for the purchase of a fire engine for the Piqua Fire Department. The cost of the new fire engine, which will be replacing used equipment, is not to exceed $675,156. Fire Chief Brent Pohlschneider said the fire department will be removing a 1985 engine and a 1992 engine from their fleet.
Commissioner Kris Lee asked when the department anticipates having to purchase another new fire engine in the future. Pohlschneider estimated that it will be around 10 years before they evaluate purchasing another engine, saying that the department’s newest model, a 2009 engine, is reliable.
The commission also approved two zoning items, including a resolution affirming the street name Jean Street to clear up a discrepancy. The commission approved rezoning property referred to as Swift Run Farm, located off of State Route 66, from residential planned unit development to open space.
Also during the meeting, Jeff Lange of Protecting Our Waterways announced that the next river cleanup event will be on July 20. For more information, visit protectingourwaterways.org.
During public comment, Bill Jaqua of Piqua brought up the recent shooting outside of Lucky’s Bar on Main Street on April 5, saying that Main Street in Piqua “is much safer, much nicer” than in the past, but he would like “to see something more concrete done” in response to this event.
“This gun fire downtown is out of bounds,” Jaqua said.
Jaqua also criticized the commission for approving leases to the Fort Piqua Plaza restaurant rental spaces that they unanimously approved in March.
“The way you did it was wrong,” Jaqua said.
Commissioner Dave Short later responded to Jaqua’s comments about the downtown shooting, saying that multiple agencies responded to the emergency and that Piqua is “not immune” to incidents like that. Short said that when a 12-year-old girl was missing for four hours one evening last week and the community responded by going out to look for her, it “really showed the positive side of Piqua.”
The commission did not respond to Jaqua’s comments about the lease agreements.
At the end of the meeting during the commissioners’ comments portion of the meeting, commissioner Bill Vogt said, “If I commented on what I had on my mind, the chief would take me to jail, so I do not have anything at this time.”
Mayor Kazy Hinds was absent.