By Eamon Baird
PIQUA — During the Piqua City Commission meeting, Ward Four Commissioner Tom Hohman introduced a motion to remove public comments from appearing on the Piqua City Commission meeting minutes from the consent agenda.
“So just to clarify, the motion is to strike the public comments section from the minutes and replace it with the sentence ‘Public comments were made,’” Hohman said.
Frank Patrizio, law director for Piqua, said he was uncertain if the motion would be allowed.
“You have to have some summary of the public comments,” Patrizio said.
“The recommendation that we received from the city was that was not required,” Hohman said.
Mayor Kris Lee said the commission works under Robert’s Rule of Order.
“The minutes are the official record of what was done, not what was said,” Lee said. “So, you could make mention that comments were heard, but it should just be a brief sentence to that effect.”
The motion to strike the public comments section from the minutes carried 4-1, with Ward One Commissioner Jim Vetter as the dissenting vote.
When Miami Valley Today reached out to Hohman about the reason for this change issued the following statement:
“A resident requested that the content of the Public Comments section of the meeting minutes from the January 16, 2024, commission meeting be amended in a specific way. Our options were:
• Amend the minutes as requested
• Append the request to amend the minutes to the minutes, while leaving the original minutes intact
• Strike the Public Comment section entirely
• Ignore the request
Striking the Public Comments section and replacing it with the phrase “Public comments were made.” struck a balance between acting on the request from the resident, and not setting the precedent that Commission will accept word by word editorial revisions to the minutes of every meeting.
I know there was some question as to the legality of the motion. I did a thorough review of the relevant sections of Roberts Rules of Order and the Piqua Charter prior to making it and concluded that the motion was in order and legal to make. After the meeting, the Commission’s legal advisor Frank Patrizio, again reviewed the relevant legal frameworks and came to the same conclusion.”
In other business, the commissioners heard the second reading of an ordinance to amend Title XV about land usage, establishing standards for a hotel, and proposing the local economy support it.
Chris Schmiesing, Piqua director of development, said this ordinance would amend zoning regulations to establish use standards for a newly created hotel and create a “Special-Use” standard where permitted.
“I don’t think the city should be involved in the real estate business,” resident Jeff Grimes said.
There will be a third reading of the ordinance at the next commission meeting.
In new business, the commissioners unanimously approved a resolution for Phase Three Sanitary Smoke Testing services with Fishbeck Engineers for an estimated cost of $88,500.
According to the commission agenda staff report, this testing will identify failing sewer lines and cross-connection points.
The commissioners also approved a resolution authorizing the city manager to sign an ISO Partnership Agreement between the Miami County Board of Commissioners, the city of Piqua, and the City of Troy for the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) Lead Safe Ohio Program.
The total amount allocated to the city of Piqua from the Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds is $ 204,150, which will run from December 2023 to April 2026.
Rebecca Sousek, of the Power Project presented to the Piqua Commission on Tuesday, Feb. 6.
“I first want to share with you the mission of the Power Project,” Sousek said. “It is to create a safe and inviting youth center for all teens at the Mote Park Community Building. The center will provide teens access to basic needs resources and use fitness and education to give teens power over their physical, mental and social health.”
Sousek added that the foundation has already raised nearly $200,000 in funding for the center and is seeking roughly $100,000 from Piqua. She added that
She also added that when the center opens, one paid employee will administer the site.
The Piqua Community Foundation Power Project originally intended to open in 2023 but hopes to be able to open sometime this year.