Hinds receives ‘Hero of Faith’ award

By Haylee Pence

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PIQUA — The Piqua Commissioners met during their regularly scheduled time at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 7.

To begin the meeting, Paul Green with the Piqua Association of Churches presented the “Hero of Faith” award to Commissioner Kazy Hinds. Hinds was set to receive this award during 2020, but with the pandemic, they held off for a year.

“Whether it be their loving compassion or overseeing the shelter, they gave warmth and comfort to many people and families,” Green said about the recipient during his speech. Green also went on to say Hinds is an “exceptional leader.”

Commissioner Kazy Hinds, in response to receiving this award, said, “it’s truly an honor,” and “it’s an honor to add [her] name” to the list of incredible people who have helped serve the Piqua community.

The commissioners later tabled a resolution to consent to an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for an Intersection Improvement Project. This project would put in a roundabout at the intersection of County Road 25A and Looney Road. The project was presented to the commissioners by City Engineer Amy Havenar.

At their last meeting, they were waiting to hear about federal funding, which they received at about $1.45 million. Havenar approached the commissioners to pass consent legislation to begin programming with ODOT, which is the first step in this project. Additional funding is being sought after through the Ohio Public Works Commission. The local share of funding, which would be provided by the city of Piqua, is about $855,000. If they were to receive additional funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission, it could cut the local share of funding to approximately $400,000.

The federal funds can “only be used for this project,” Havenar clarified in response to Commissioner Chris Grissom after asking if the project could be on hold until funds are secured. Therefore, if the project is on hold, the funds will be lost, which according to Hinds, “can impact future funding.”

The design and environmental aspects of this project are already in the 2022 budget for $190,000.

The addition of a roundabout at this location is to help traffic flow, especially during busier times, like when the schools let out for the day. According to Havenar, “the schools have reached out and asked about this intersection,” specifically when the roundabout was put in at the Garbry and Looney roads intersection.

“Right now, this project is set to be constructed in the summer of 2025,” said Havenar.

With many questions still about funding and the need of this project, the commissioners voted to table the resolution until their first meeting in January with three votes to table, including Grissom, Mayor Kris Lee, and Commissioner Thomas Fogt, and two who didn’t vote, including Hinds and Commissioner Cindy Pearson.

The commissioners authorized a purchase of a Freightliner MT-55 with utilimaster body service truck to replace their 2006 service truck. The cost of this purchase is $164,000. This purchase was originally budgeted for 2021, and the funds will roll over to the 2022 year. The service truck will be used by construction crews, and it will have a built-in air compressor and generator, which will be useful for usage of tools and charging tools.

A resolution to authorize a contract with Kellermeyer Bergenson’s Service, LLC (KBS) was brought to the commissioners as well, which was approved. The contract allows employees of KBS to provide cleaning services to the city of Piqua’s buildings.

Another resolution was brought to the commissioners for a lease agreement with Enterprise FM Trust to lease vehicles for city usage.

The commissioners also heard a second reading on four ordinances involving city of Piqua employee wages and insurance, as well as the 2022 budget.

Following the resolutions and ordinances, the floor was opened to hear comments, questions, and concerns from Piqua residents. Only one individual approached the podium, Stephen Smitley. Smitley voiced his concerns about the Piqua DORA.

The commissioners then provided updates. Amy Welker, director of Health and Sanitation, informed the commissioners that the Sanitation Automation Project is moving forward and will begin in January. This project is to help increase the safety of employees and protect infrastructure, like alleyways. At some locations, collection will be moving to the streets. Welker also informed them of the Fall Prevention Program, which allows anyone over 65 or disabled to apply to have their trash cans moved by city employees if the trash cans are in a convenient place.

The commissioners wrapped up the meeting by encouraging Piqua residents to “stay safe driving” and to “check on your neighbors.”

The next commissioner meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 14.