New businesses making plans

The Marriott Hotel project is still underway and new businesses including Marshall’s, Goodwill and Dunham Sports are in various stages of planning with the city, mayor Justin Harsha said while reading a report from safety and service director Brianne Abbott at Monday’s Hillsboro City Council meeting.

Abbott was out of town and was excused from the meeting, along with council member Claudia Klein.

Harsha also said there are, “new restaurants in the downtown area in the works,” without providing details.

In a report submitted prior to the meeting, Abbott said a promissory note for the Marriott project has been extended to Sept. 30, 2021.

Her report said North East Street and Northview Drive paving projects, as well as improvements to Springlake Avenue, are projected to begin in the upcoming weeks.

A new permit submission was received for a Goodwill store on Harry Sauner Road, the Marshall’s retail store is to meet with the building department to discuss the next steps in utilizing the former Orscheln site and plans for development, and Dunham Sports submitted a site plan to the Hillsboro Planning Commission, the report said.

“A movie production for the film ‘Bones and All’ took place in Hillsboro this past month,” the safety and service director’s report said. “It was necessary to close a portion of Danville Pike for the production and our street department, public works and police department helped to make it possible, along with Hillsboro City Schools helping accommodate the production crew as well. This was such a great opportunity to ensure Hillsboro some much deserved publicity. The production company also gave a donation to the city, which was generous and much appreciated.”

Harsha said he believed the donation was for $250.

“The farmer’s market continues to thrive in the downtown,” the report continued. “We have many great vendors this year and we are also really trying to highlight and promote local artists, musicians, writers, farmers, entrepreneurs and more. If you haven’t been downtown on a Saturday morning, I highly encourage you to check it out.”

The report said the city’s building department issued 24 permits in July.

Auditor Alex Butler said the city was originally told it would tentatively receive just shy of $1.3 million in American Rescue Plan funds from the U.S. Treasury, but that amount has been refigured to two payments of $343,269, one coming this year and the other next year.

He said the money could be allocated anytime until Dec. 31, 2024, and that it needs to be spent by Dec. 31, 2026.

Butler encouraged council and the city to start researching what the funds could be used for, “because everything is not as clear as we’d like it to be.”

He said income tax revenues have been mostly collected for the year and that they continue to be above what they were a year ago.

During the new business portion of the meeting, council member Patty Day said she spoke with Governor Mike DeWine’s office about the dollar value for administrative purchases that can be paid by the city without council’s approval. She said that Hillsboro’s current statues allow administrative spending of up to $50,000 per purchase, but that a governor’s aid told her that for most cities in the state, that figure is $25,000.

Day asked that the issue be placed with a council committee for further discussion and review.

Council president Tom Eichinger placed the issue with council’s finance committee and asked Day to share her input with the committee.

Council approved or heard the first reading of several new resolutions and ordinances.

Res. 21-38 deals with a 72-inch culvert that was washed out at the Hillsboro Plaza in June. Hillsboro Public Works Superintendent Shawn Adkins said he spoke recently with the property owner, who asked if the city would consider a couple options, including helping him with the $10,000 Adkins estimated it would cost to repair the culvert, or if the city would make the repairs and assess his taxes.

“I think there’s enough money in the general fund balance to do that if council would want to do that,” Adkins said. “He just said Covid’s been hard on him, and he doesn’t have the money to do it right now.”

“We’ve already lost two more feet toward 62, and if you go down and look now, there’s a big crack about four or five feet into the asphalt,” Adkins continued. “The next big rain will probably take another four or five feet out toward 62. If he doesn’t do anything pretty soon, we’re going to have to do it anyway, and it’s going to be at our expense because it is our waterway, but the driveway is his.”

Council voted unanimously to adopt the resolution.

Council also voted to adopt two ordinances to vacate alleys, one between the 200 blocks of West Main Street and West Beech Street and the other in the 400 block of North West Street.

Adkins asked council to pass both as emergencies because the The Porch restaurant is hoping to open in October and the other is for the former Highland Enterprise property that was recently donated to the city.

Both ordinances were approved unanimously.

Council also unanimously approved legislation from the Ohio Department of Transportation for the repaving North West Street (S.R. 73) from the city’s north corporation limit to Main Street. That paving would take place in 2023 and the project would likely be an 80/20 split between the city and the state with the state paying for the majority of the project, according to Adkins.

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.

Hillsboro Mayor Justin Harsha (center) gives a report at Monday’s city council meeting. Also pictured are Hillsboro Planning Commission Chair Rob Holt (left) and Hillsboro Police Chief Eric Daniels. Mayor Justin Harsha (center) gives a report at Monday’s city council meeting. Also pictured are Hillsboro Planning Commission Chair Rob Holt (left) and Hillsboro Police Chief Eric Daniels. Jeff Gilliland | The Times-Gazette
Hillsboro’s American Rescue Plan funds reduced

By Jeff Gilliland