City green space name submitted


Among the 13 pieces of legislation heard by Hillsboro City Council during its meeting last Thursday were several resolutions required to move forward with large infrastructure projects such as the Roberts Lane expansion.

At the onset of the meeting, council president Tom Eichinger voiced his intention to appoint city employee Lauren Walker to serve as clerk pro tempore in the event that the current clerk, Whitney Aliff, is unavailable for a council meeting. The city council unanimously approved the appointment.

During the communications portion of the meeting, Hillsboro Auditor Patty Day spoke about a letter she wrote to council concerning some cells on a spreadsheet that did not calculate correctly and have been corrected. Day said the city’s 2023 budget is correct, and there is no need for new legislation to correct the issue.

During the mayor’s communication portion of the meeting, Justin Harsha proposed officially naming the city’s West Main green space “Crossroads Park” because U.S. Routes 50 and 62 intersect near there and both cross the country. “Route 50 goes from Ocean City, Maryland all the way west to Sacramento, California, and Route 62 goes from Niagara Falls, New York all the way down to El Paso, Texas, so we are kind of considered the crossroads of America,” said Harsha.

“I think it fits the park, and we are going to present it to the planning commission next week, and we hope that that will be the name for the park.”

Harsha also spoke about raising the amount the city contributes to its senior scholarship fund. “It’s been really successful, and we’re going to match up to $5,000 this year, so we hope to help out some students this year,” he said.

Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Brianne Abbott said during her report that the city received five commercial building permits and nine residential permits for the month of January. She reported that the final report of the environmental review for the Marriott Hotel project in the city is expected to be received this week to allow the project to move to its final funding phase.

Abbott also said a dilapidated barn on the city’s newly purchased property off of Fenner Avenue has been demolished by the Highland County Land Bank at no cost to the city.

According to Abbott, the city is continuing to work with the private developers for the Public Patriot House, Marshall’s, Buckeye Eye Clinic and Fenner Ridge Apartments for a 2023 opening.

She said the North West street water line project is complete with paving to begin in the spring, the phase three storm sewer project is on schedule, and the Horizon fiber home project is slated to begin in April.

Abbott requested that funding packages for upcoming development projects within the city including Roberts Lane, the North High Street service line replacement, and the Beech and Railroad streets project be placed in council committee for review.

Eichinger moved the matter to council’s finance committee.

Finance committee chair Mary Stanforth reported about a committee meeting held Feb. 6 and a request from the Hillsboro Swim Organization for an annual refill of its swimming pool. The city has credited the pool for refills in 2019, 2021 and 2022 in amounts ranging from $2,036 to $3,000 each year. She reported that the committee voted 3-0 to deny the request because “it was not in the best interest of the city to grant this request.”

City law director Randalyn Worley requested that the city employee handbook be placed in the Civil Service-Employee Relations Committee to discuss issues related to health insurance and overtime, and Eichinger moved the matter to the committee.

Jo Sanborn, chair of the community enhancement committee, reported about a meeting to convert the tennis courts at the Railroad Street park into pickleball courts. Sanborn said a sample bid for the project estimated the cost at between $74,000 and $100,000. That cost did not include ongoing grounds maintenance or reopening the park bathrooms and would entail making half the tennis courts into pickleball courts.

Sanborn said a grant application is being also being submitted for the basketball courts at the former park site, and the city is working to secure funding for sidewalks and pavement on Railroad and Beech streets.

An ordinance and two resolutions were unanimously passed on their third readings during the meeting. The ordinance designated the zoning of an island off of Fenner Avenue that was annexed by the city to Business and Residential D. A resolution to amend the city of Hillsboro 2019 Comprehensive Plan “Imagine Hillsboro” will ensure the plan receives a detailed review twice a year, and a resolution to establish an Imagine Hillsboro Select Committee will provide a committee to perform the reviews as well as a five-year review and a 10-year update.

A resolution to transfer a parcel of land to the Hillsboro Community Improvement Corporation was moved to a third reading.

On its second reading before council, a resolution authorizing the city to prepare and submit an application to participate in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant program was unanimously approved. Funding from the grant program would be used for the Roberts Lane project.

An ordinance to make supplemental appropriations of $55,476 to the police department that was awarded from the Ohio Governor’s Office for body-worn cameras was unanimously approved on its first reading.

A resolution approving a “then and now” certification by the city auditor for a payment to United HealthCare for an increase in premium charges for four months totaling $81,028 was unanimously approved on its first reading.

A resolution approving a “then and now” certification by the city auditor for the payment to the state of Ohio for law enforcement automated data system (LEADS) annual access in the amount of $7,200 was unanimously approved on its first reading. Hillsboro Police Chief Eric Daniels said the system is critical as it provides the department with communication with other law enforcement agencies and warrant information.

An ordinance to move $20,000 within the city budget from the Special Wages to the Professional Services category to pay for the services of Tim Schlater, who serves as an armed security guard while Hillsboro Municipal Court is in session as well as other duties, was approved. Schlater is a former state wildlife officer and bailiff for the court.

A resolution authorizing the safety and service director to apply for, accept and enter into a water supply revolving loan fund account agreement on behalf of the city for construction of High Street lead service line replacement and designating a dedicated repayment source for the loan was moved to a second reading. Two related resolutions allowing the safety and service director to enter into water loan agreements were also moved to a second reading.

Abbott said the cost of the project is $1 million with 53 percent of the project paid for by principal forgiveness and 47 percent paid with a no-interest loan. She said it will cost the city about $15,000 annually.

A resolution authorizing the city to prepare and submit an application to participate in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and the Clean Ohio Trails Fund (COTF) for financial assistance for public recreation purposes was moved to a second reading. Abbott said the application for the grant is due April 15, so it will require passage by emergency at the March city council meeting.

An ordinance making supplemental appropriations of $4.3 million for storm sewer construction was unanimously approved.

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

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