Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Todd Wilkin told city council Tuesday that he hopes to present the 2016 budget to council at the November meeting, a budget that would include $300,000 for new paving.
Wilkin said the paving totals do not include grants for which the city is applying. Wilkin said the budget will also include funding for the hiring of another police officer, more funding toward parks, funding to tear down dilapidated structures, the creation of a revamped zoning map, and money to start the sidewalk pilot program introduced previously by the planning commission.
Wilkin said the new pedestrian bridge near Walgreens will be set in the next few weeks, and will cause the temporary closing of North High while the bridge is placed.
Also Tuesday, Mayor Drew Hastings recognized four exchange students who were in attendance and who are attending Hillsboro High School. Principal Jason Snively was on hand with the youngsters, and described them as “quality students.”
“The four people here make us better,” said Snively, describing the positive impact of having exchange students in the school system.
The students are:
• Eli Rebekka Haugen, 17, from Trondheim, Norway, with the CETUSA/Explorius exchange program.
• Jaime Carmona Sanchez, 17, from Madrid, Spain, with the Rotary exchange program.
• Chollatee “Bright” Sanguanlertruthai, 17, from Thailand, with the CETUSA exchange program.
• Moises Carrillo, Colima, Mexico, with the AFS exchange program.
Hastings joked about his struggle to pronounce some of the students’ names, and presented them with plaques honoring their presence here. He invited them to visit city offices to learn more about Hillsboro.
Prior to Tuesday’s council meeting, a Zoning & Annexation Committee meeting was held to discuss the city’s desire to annex a number of locations around Hillsboro that are not part of the city but are surrounded by property that is in the city limits. A number of property owners showed up to question the effort and express their concerns and, in some cases, opposition to the plan.
During the council meeting, committee chair Tracy Aranyos said the city is continuing to take suggestions and come up with an agreement “to address everyone’s concerns.”
Law Director Fred Beery said Wednesday he is preparing a letter designed to reach an agreement and to be sent to the township trustees and the property owners. He said if the city, trustees and property owners all sign on to the agreement, it will be presented to the county commissioners.
In other matters, council:
• Passed participatory legislation for an ODOT FY 17 Small City Grant project to widen a portion of High Street to improve traffic flow.
• Passed a resolution for consent legislation for an ODOT FY 16 grant to add sidewalks to Hobart/Carl Smith Drive with the city corporation limits.
• Passed a resolution to increase appropriations in the 209 CHIP-Rehab Fund.
• Heard Hastings report that AEP is sending letters to homeowners asking to inject trees with a hormone to slow their growth, and urged people to be aware that it is an “opt out” program.
• Heard the mayor report that Adena is planning a primary care facility on Roberts Drive.
• Heard council member Ann Morris report on the results of a Property, Maintenance & Restoration Committee meeting that addressed and defined various signage.
• Heard Hastings report on a planning commission meeting that resolved an issue involving the sale of a multi-unit home on South High Street, as previously reported by The Times-Gazette.
• Heard Wilkin report that Heather Collins, an administrative assistant in the mayor’s office, is the employee of the month.
• Heard Hastings report on the recent Under the Radar music festival, which he said drew a small crowd but featured quality acts, adding that the city learned not to schedule an event opposite a home high school football game.
• And heard local resident Richard Stiffler ask council if the city has a back-up plan for fire and EMS coverage, with Koogler responding that he is sure the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District will “honor its obligation” to fulfill its three-year contract with the city.
The council meeting was held on Tuesday rather than Monday due to the Columbus Day holiday. All council members were present.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.