During the Hillsboro City Council meeting Thursday the council approved and adopted an increase in the city’s overage water rate by 3 percent and an ordinance to increase the annual salary of the city auditor from $45,000 to $57,500 a year.
Current City Auditor Alex Butler is seeking election for Highland County Auditor, and the pay range for the city position was raised as an emergency during the first reading of the proposal in order to attract a quality replacement for Butler.
An ordinance to ban the use of consumer-grade fireworks in Hillsboro was given a second reading at the meeting and will be put to a vote at next month’s meeting. One other ordinance and three resolutions were passed at the meeting.
Hillsboro resident and Hillsboro Against Racism and Discrimination (HARD) member Patrick Shanahan made comments to council expressing his concern about racism in the wake of the May 14 mass shooting in Buffalo, New York.
“What we witnessed in Buffalo last month was an act of naked genocidal hatred, so I just wanted to come out here and reiterate my previous comment and explain that when I say racism is a problem still, I do not mean it’s a problem because people are getting offended or getting their feelings hurt,” said Shanahan. “It’s a problem because it’s literally killing people, and the reason I’m saying this to you all is because I think there is a version of that problem that exists here locally in Hillsboro.”
Shanahan extended an offer to the city council on behalf of HARD to “attend a sit-down for a civil dialogue on this issue.”
Hillsboro City Safety and Service Director Brianne Abbott turned the meeting over to Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins to bring attention to the success of the Highland County Task Force that was established at the end of 2019 to combat the drug epidemic through an effort called Operation Icebreaker. All of Highland County’s law enforcement agencies are members of the task force.
Collins said the initiative has resulted in 92 indictments so far.
“I know each of these people personally,” said Collins. “I can tell you they would do this work every day with no recognition, no thank you, and no one even knowing their name, but I want to say thank you to the city of Hillsboro for recognizing them for their hard work because you’ll not find a better group of people that work harder for what they do.”
On behalf of Hillsboro Mayor Justin Harsha, council president Tom Eichinger presented the task force with a proclamation expressing the city’s appreciation for “their work in helping to make the city of Hillsboro a drug-free community.”
Council member Dan Baucher reported about a joint meeting of the finance and civil service committees held June 28 to set the current pay scale for elected and appointed city officials. Baucher said a motion was made and approved to bring the following pay ranges to the council for approval: safety service director, $75,000 to 90,000; tax commissioner, $50,000 to $60,000; wastewater superintendent $65,000 to $70,000; utility office manager, $50,000 to $60,000.
Community Enhancement Committee Chair Patty Day updated council about a request from Horizon Telecom to set up a 20-foot by 20-foot space of city property near Beech Street for internet services equipment. Horizon would pay $20,000 for a 20-year term to use the site. Council is waiting to hear from Horizon to determine if the site will work.
An ordinance to rezone 850 W. Main St. from a residential home to a business and residential category was presented at the recommendation of the Hillsboro Planning Commission. Another ordinance to differentiate between hi-tech and light industrial zones was also recommended by the commission. Both will be forwarded to the zoning and annexation committee for review.
An ordinance to repeal all previous ordinances involving compensation for non-union city employees and to set the schedule of non-union city employees was read and set for a second reading at the next council meeting.
Council approved an ordinance to allow the transfer of $750,000 to the storm sewer fund to pay for the phase three storm sewer project that will be reimbursed through a grant.
An emergency resolution to approve a “then and now” certification by the city auditor for storm sewer construction costs was passed.
Another emergency resolution to enter into a $63,900 contract with DLZ Ohio Inc. for the North West Street Water Line Improvement project was approved.
Council also authorized a “then and now” certification by the city auditor to pay $4,522 to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for the North West Street paving project.
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.