By Aimee Hancock
Miami Valley Today
PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission accepted questions from the public during its regular meeting Tuesday regarding multiple topics, including the ongoing issue of high utility estimates and prices.
Resident Jey Roman, who runs the Watch Piqua Facebook page, said he has been contacted by multiple fellow residents within the past month concerning utility estimates. Roman asked for an update regarding the implementation of additional software for utility meters to ensure the most accurate pricing for customers.
“Has there been any updates on when the software is going to be ready for the meters? I know that was something we were talking about probably around this time last year, as well,” Roman said.
Assistant City Manager Cynthia Holtzapple said discussion and planning for this software has been ongoing and implementation of this upgrade is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2021. Holtzapple noted COVID-19 has slowed this process.
Holtzapple added that estimates are used when a reading cannot be taken.
“If you have a meter that we can’t read, that’s inside a house, we have left doorknockers or cards (on which) you can give us the reads, but we’re not necessarily entering properties because of COVID,” she said. “So if our customers are not providing those reads, then the only alternative we have is to estimate it and it’s based on the previous year’s usage.”
Roman also addressed the commission regarding the possibility of bringing a Downtown Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) to Piqua. The commission’s response was that this idea may be considered a possibility for sometime in the future, though no specific timing was referenced.
Roman highlighted a “Save Our Children” rally that was held in Piqua recently, and noted that Ohio is number four in the nation for human trafficking.
“I really think the people who are doing these rallies really need to be recognized,” Roman said.
Roman also thanked the Piqua Police Department for their recent efforts to “support the community.”
A second question was submitted by a resident, inquiring about the efforts to fix the bike park bridge and intersection at Lock 9.
City Manager Gary Huff said the city is working with companies to get estimates for bridge fixes, and said connection point upgrades will come with a “future phase” of improvements.
In other business:
• Mayor Kris Lee gave a proclamation declaring September as Gastroparesis Awareness Month. Gastroparesis is a chronic digestive motility disorder that affects more than 5 million Americans, causing debilitating pain, nausea and vomiting.
• Lee also gave a proclamation for BrightView Treatment Center, which opened recently in Piqua. BrightView is an addiction treatment center.
• Trick-or-treat night in the city of Piqua is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 29, from 6-8 p.m., pending guidance and approval from the Ohio Department of Health.
• The commission approved the tax rates for the city of Piqua as determined by the Miami County Commission. This is an annual action.
• The commission authorized a contract with Fifth Third Bank, JP Morgan, Chase Bank, N.A., U.S. Bank, N.A., Park National Bank, and Mutual Federal to serve as a depository for public funds.
• The commission authorized the lease of city-owned real estate, at 122 W. High St., in the Fort Piqua Plaza, to Rosebud’s Real Food, at a price of $750 per month.
• The commission entered into executive session to prepare for and review negotiations on compensation or other terms and conditions of employment for city personnel.