Piqua City Commission approves year-end items, 2022 budget

By Haylee Pence

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PIQUA – Following the private executive session, the Piqua Commissioners held their general meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 14.

To begin the meeting, the commissioners heard the third and final reading of four ordinances. The first two ordinances involved changing the wages of certain municipal employees in order to account for the minimum wage and the changing cost of living increases. The first ordinance applied to full-time, non-union employees, while the second applied to part-time, seasonal, or temporary employees. The third ordinance involved setting the health insurance benefits for certain municipal employees for the 2022 year, which saw no changes to previous health insurance plans. The final ordinance was to approve the 2022 budget. The commissioners approved all the ordinances.

Following the previously-read ordinances, a new ordinance was brought to the commissioners to make appropriations to the 2021 budget to reflect the actual spending from this year. Benjamin Goodin, acting finance director, presented the ordinance and requested that the commissioners waive the second and third reading of this ordinance, which was approved. The city spent more money than it originally planned for in 2021, and this ordinance reflected the changes spent.

Resolutions were presented next, which are voted on at the time of the meeting unless commissioners vote to wait. The first four resolutions involved the finance department getting approval to transfer and loan funds from the city’s general funds to other various funds for the 2022 year. One of these resolutions involved the loan of funds for the golf course and swimming pool. Goodin stated the funds for the pool are for “possible demolition of the pool.” The loan to the golf course changed to reflect the change in prices.

The next resolution was with the Miami County Risk Management Association for the purchase of their insurance for the 2022 year for a cost of $449,790.

The commissioners approved the resolution for the Underground Utilities Department in order to maintain their lease on County Road 25A for a cost of $5,411 per month, which increased because they acquired more area to a total of 10,913 square feet. The total cost per year is $64,932, and the lease is for two years.

Next, the commissioners approved the purchase for a bucket truck through State of Ohio Cooperative Purchase Program for the cost of $200,000. According to Ed Krieger, Power System director, the bucket trucks have a “lifespan of about 10 years, and the truck to be replaced will be about 12 years old” when the new truck is purchased. The old truck will be moved to the Public Works Department.

Another resolution involved retaining services provided by National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) involving software and professional services for an installation cost of $225,000 with monthly fees. From this contract with NISC, the Utility Business Office is hoping to utilize their technology to create an “online interface,” according to Utility Business Office Manager RJ Monnier, who has experience with NISC. They are also hoping to provide an app for residents in order provide mobile paying. The services will also include messaging solutions through the resident’s preference of text, email, or other means. This could lead to Piqua residents opting to choose paperless billing for their utilities. Residents who need assistance will be educated on the changes and how to operate the new site when it becomes available. The NISC can also provide kiosk systems that will be able to “take cash, checks, and cards.” These kiosks can be placed at “big chain stores, like Walmart, which will help people pay their bills outside of typical office hours.”

The commissioners want to remind residents that offices are closed Thursday, Dec. 23 and Friday, Dec. 24 for the holiday, as well as Friday, Dec. 31. This will cause trash collection to be a day later than normal.

The commissioners want to “wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Enjoy the Christmas spirit and spending time with family. Join us to watch the fireworks to ring in the New Year!”