PIQUA — Finance Director Cynthia Holtzapple on Tuesday said the city of Piqua has curtailed nearly $2.5 million in expenses from the city’s 2020 budget in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As far as the 2020 budget, we’ve already identified almost $2.5 million of capital projects and expenditures that are now either on hold, delayed, or actually cut from the 2020 budget,” Holtzapple said during the Piqua City Commission meeting on Tuesday evening.
Further changes are also expected as department administrators are continuing to review their budgets.
“In addition, all departments are further reviewing areas to cut or reduce. The recommendations are expected and will be considered in the near future,” Holtzapple said. She explained the departments are looking at where their budgets are year to date as they try to project out where their budgets are going to be in the next few months with regular expenses versus some expenses that could potentially be delayed to put off to the new year.
“We’ve asked them to take some time and closely review all of those,” Holtzapple said. “In addition to that, we’re also reviewing where the revenue sources are, and so once we can better match up those revenue sources and where they’ll be coming in at, and then we’ll again look at where our expenses are.”
Holtzapple added the commission may have to approve reappropriations for the 2020 budget in the late summer or early fall due to some these changes.
Also on Tuesday, Mayor Kris Lee announced two proclamations for the city of Piqua. Lee presented a proclamation for Police Week, which will be held in Piqua between May 10-16, to Officer Kiersten Boggs, the Piqua Police Officer of the Year. Lee recognized the physical sacrifices of police officers, saying there were almost 62,000 assaults against law enforcement officers recorded in 2018, and since 1786, there have been more than 21,000 law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty, including three from the city of Piqua. Lee also commended the officers at the Piqua Police Department.
“All you guys are hardworking,” Lee said.
Lee also held a proclamation recognizing the month of May as Bike Month.
“Dust off your bike and get out and enjoy your beautiful bike path,” commissioner Cindy Pearson said.
In other news:
The commission approved entering into an agreement with TEC Engineering, Inc. for engineering design services for the U.S. Route 36 safety improvement project. The cost is not to exceed $64,207, of which $55,000 will be funded by a Highway Safety Improvement Fund grant. The city’s local portion will be $9,207. The construction cost of these improvements, which is currently estimated at $148,278, will also be covered 100 percent by this federal grant.
The project will consist of traffic signal upgrades at U.S. Route 36/Ash Street and the Taco Bell signal, as well as the U.S. Route 36 and Kienle Drive intersection. The upgrades will include polycarbonate signal heads, backplates, pedestrian features, and improved pavement markings, according to City Engineer Amy Havenar. The upgrades will also include ADA accommodations at both intersections, as well as signal retiming on U.S. Route 36 between Scott Drive and Kienle Drive.
The commission also awarded a contract to Milligan Construction Company for the Scarbrough Drive extension project. The cost is not to exceed $241,800, which includes a 10 percent contingency. The street improvements will be funded through an Ohio Jobs and Commerce Grant and tax increment financing (TIF), both of which the commission has already approved.
The project includes the extension of Scarbrough Drive by approximately 400 lineal feet, including the installation of curbs, a storm sewer, and a water main, Havenar said.
During public comment, Bill Jaqua of Piqua, in a statement provided prior to the meeting, said, “We pay a lot of money to have our own health department.” He requested “please have our health department enforce masks” at stores.
City Manager Gary Huff said the Piqua Health Department has investigated over 80 complaints in regard to compliance with mandates from the state. Huff said the department can investigate complaints against specific stores. Lee later noted that face masks are not mandated for customers or clients of businesses. The Piqua Health Department has previously advised business owners that they can make face masks mandatory for customers at their businesses, but the state is only recommending, but not requiring, face masks for customers to businesses.
Huff also added that it is cheaper for the city of Piqua to provide its own health department versus what it would cost to pay Miami County to provide those services. He also commended the health department.
“They’ve been working around the clock,” Huff said.