Piqua Commission OKs small business grants

PIQUA – The Piqua City Commission took two previously tabled resolutions off the table involving the Piqua small business grant program during their meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

The first resolution involved repealing and amending the program to add an additional $150,000 to bring the total to $500,000 being allotted to to provide for 25 small businesses. The scope of work ranges from parking lot reconstructions, new windows, new paint, signage and other repairs.

The second resolution authorizes the grants to be sent out to the small businesses.

The resolutions were previously tabled due to questions and concerns the commissioners had regarding the source of the additional $150,000 funds. According to Chris Schmiesing, economic and development director, the funds were made available due to the additional funds the city received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

“I think it’s going to be a good effective program that will help our downtown and our community,” said Commissioner Chris Grissom.

Commissioner Kazy Hinds commented, “We’re giving our small businesses half a million dollars. That’s huge. It shows our commitment and support. We back our small businesses and support them.”

The commissioners authorized a purchase order to Miami Valley Risk Management Association in order to purchase insurance for employees which updates the contract for 2023. The total cost of the purchase is $494,664.

Then, the city’s purchasing department was approved to advertise for bids for purchases over $25,000 in local papers and other resources.

The commissioners authorized an annexation of 1.246 acres of land from Springcreek Township to the city of Piqua along Looney Road filed by Thomas and Marsha Baker.

In other business:

• Nicholas Johnston was approved to be appointed as a member of the board of zoning appeals for a five-year term.

• Taylor Bowsher was approved to be appointed as a member of the Miami County community action council until a successor is confirmed.

Also Tuesday, the commissioners heard the second reading for four ordinances involving appropriations and repealing Chapter 33 and other parts of the chapter then adopting and enacting new sections. The chapter and sections of the chapter involve the wages of certain municipal employees.

The second ordinance involving repealing and enacting a new chapter 33 of the Piqua Code was requested to be tabled and the commission approved the table request.

The wages were increased to adjust the wages according to the cost of living. The change to the section of the chapter involving wages listed job categories instead of listing individual employee titles which will be available to the commission from the human resources department, in order to be “more efficient,” according to a representative from the department.

During a call for public comments on the legislation, Carol Drive resident Debbie Stein asked the commission about adding the employee titles to create more “transparency” between the city and the citizens.

At the end of the meeting, the floor was opened up to the public. Tom Hudson, of Downing Street, informed the commission he believes the commission deserves a pay raise for the work they put into the city. He also said he believes a pay raise would attract more citizens in running for the commission.

Paul Oberdorfer, Piqua city manager, provided an update on the launching of the city’s new web payment portal and mobile app called SmartHub and also about leaf removal. Leaf removal, Oberdorfer reminded citizens, is still happening and asked for sticks not to be placed in the leaf piles, as it damages the vehicles.

SmartHub launched on Monday, Dec. 5, for the Piqua utility business office which allows the citizens of Piqua to pay their utility bills through the mobile app or the website. Oberdorfer thanked the IT department and the financial department for their work. Citizens who need help with accessing the website or app are invited to come into the office to get that help.

Vice Mayor Kris Lee was not present at the meeting.