Piqua Commission enacts citizen-led utility board


By Aimee Hancock

[email protected]

PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission voted Tuesday to establish a city-wide utilities board.

According to Health and Sanitation Director Amy Welker, this will be a citizen board that will serve as an advisory board to the city commission. The board will hear items related to all of the city utility departments, including water, wastewater, stormwater, and sanitation.

“What we’re trying to do here is create a forum that would be a little more transparent with the community, present items to this board at public meetings, and give citizens the opportunity to provide some feedback before items would be presented to the city commission for final approval,” Welker said.

The board will consist of two city commissioners and six citizen representatives. The board will hear items related to budgets, capital improvements, and rate structures.

“We’re hopeful that this will provide some more dialogue and information to the community related to those utility departments,” Welker said.

There are no requirements, educational or other, for citizens who wish to join the board, Welker said.

“I’m excited for a new board, myself, especially one that has been the topic of a lot of talk over the last several years, so getting citizens involved and letting them have a say and having representation on that board is quite exciting,” said Mayor Kris Lee.

The following items were also approved:

• Authorization for the city manager to submit the Commission Community Development Block Grant-Coronavirus Target of Opportunity Grant application to the Ohio Development Services Agency Office of Community Development.

“This is a program made available through the Ohio Department of Development by way of some of the federal dollars received, which are now being made available to communities for projects that include public facility projects with longterm benefits for the community in terms of providing public spaces and outdoor open spaces that benefit the wellbeing of the citizenry,” said Piqua Community and Economic Development Director Chris Schmiesing.”

The funds being applied for will go toward the east half of the Lock 9 Park project. Schmiesing presented a visual of the project area, which can be viewed in the recording of Tuesday’s meeting, which is available on the city’s YouTube channel.

• Approval for the purchase of part of inlot 38, property located on the corner of Main and Water streets. The purpose of the purchase is to facilitate an economic development project at that location in the Piqua riverfront area, Schmiesing said, adding that it will facilitate the Lock 9 Park improvements, which will extend out into the intersection and help create an entryway from Main Street and downtown into the park. The city would be acquiring a portion of the property and a developer, Crooked Handle, would acquire the remaining, to include the building on the property. Crooked Handle’s part of the acquisition is set to be turned into a micro-brewery and beer garden, and Schmiesing said the developers will be investing around $2 million into that project. The purchase amount on behalf of the city is around $82,000, Schiemsing said.

• Authorization for the purchase of two LifePak-15 heart monitors for the fire department. This purchase is necessary due to the fact that some of the components used in the heart monitors, which are used by Piqua Fire Department, are no longer available on the market place.

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