A resolution was approved to authorize Hillsboro Auditor Alex Butler to “advance from unencumbered general funds” the amount of $200,000 for the agreed upon payment for infrastructure on the SR 73/Harry Sauner Road Marriott Hotel property during Monday’s Hillsboro City Council meeting.
The resolution withdrew prior authorization to use TIF funds for the project.
Safety and service director Brianne Abbott said that the legislation would allow the money promised to developers in 2019 to be disbursed, and that they had also signed a promissory note insuring that if the bonds didn’t sell in six months, the $200,000 would be repaid back to TIF funds.
She added that in the current climate of COVID-19, an attorney for the city recommended a promissory note be included to protect the city from loss in the event the Marriott Hotel project didn’t go through, although she didn’t foresee any problems moving forward.
Abbott also updated council on the status of a pedestrian bridge, which will connect the downtown area with Liberty Park and a trail system.
“Construction should begin this month and possibly this week,” she said. “In addition to that, we received an additional $150,000 in grant money, so that will help us to get even more done.”
Preparations are underway to draw up a purchase agreement between the city and Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District for the old fire house at the corner of Governor Trimble Place and North Street, and Abbott said there is still much interest in that location.
“The Parker Hotel lot on Main Street is listed for sale, with bids being accepted at a minimum of $50,000 for development at that location,” she said. “And the temporary meeting space in the upstairs of City Hall has been permitted, and construction is ongoing, so we look for that to be done in a few months.”
She said a scholarship program for Hillsboro High School students that was initiated in 2020 will continue in the coming year, with planning and solicitation of donations starting earlier with the hope of doubling the number of scholarships.
In her update to city council on the various economic development projects in progress throughout the city, Abbott noted that White’s Bakery finally closed on an old BP property in the 100 block of West Main Street and was looking into permitting and the Design Review Board manual for uptown historic district compliance.
Hillsboro City Council member-at-large member Dane Allard’s letter of resignation was formally accepted by council president Tom Eichinger at Monday’s meeting, which was held virtually via ZOOM. Allard stated his resignation would be effective immediately due to health concerns.
Eichinger said he was hopeful an appointee to replace Allard would be seated before the next city council meeting.
Allard was formerly a member of the Hillsboro Planning Commission, having been appointed to that position by former Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings and served as chair of council’s utilities committee.
In his report to council, mayor Justin Harsha, looked back on his first year in office and the accomplishments of 2020.
“It’s been an honor to serve the citizens of Hillsboro on my first full year as mayor,” Harsha said. “Without the support, I would never have had this opportunity, and thanks to all of you for entrusting me to build upon such an amazing city. Our team is second to none and I couldn’t ask for more.”
In other business, an Economical Development Transfer Form (TREX) from Speedway LLC was submitted and approved by council, requesting approval from the state to transfer the C1, C2 and D6 alcoholic beverage permits from a real estate transaction in Springboro to the Hillsboro Speedway at 247 W. Main St., which the company said currently only had a D2 permit.
A total of 11 ordinances and resolutions came before council Monday night:
• Resolution 20-45: Approval of application forms and fees for residential and commercial site plans. It was approved and adopted following its third reading.
• Ordinance 2020-19: Establishment of an appeals fee in the city of Hillsboro. It was forwarded for a third reading in February.
• Ordinance 2020-21: Approval of application forms and fees specified therein associated with building and land use control in Hillsboro. It was forwarded for a third reading in February.
• Ordinance 2020-24: Authorizes a change in the zoning classification of certain parcels, and to modify the zoning map. It was forwarded for a third reading in February.
Six resolutions and one ordinance had the three-reading rule suspended, and were all approved and adopted:
• Resolution 21-01: Ratified the effectiveness of Ordinance 2014-10, and the termination of Ordinance 2018-03 with regards to pay, and to declared an emergency. Abbott described this as a “clearing of the air resolution,” since it dealt with legislation passed in 2008 that was later stayed for 60 days, and since the city didn’t budget for the ordinance at the time, the city reverted back to the 2014 measure which has been in effect since that time. She added that an updated ordinance was working its way through committee.
• Resolution 21-02: Authorized the city auditor to pay the city’s share of agreed infrastructure for proposed property (Marriott Hotel parcel) from the general fund and not from TIF funds as was prior authorized. Auditor Alex Butler said that when originally agreed upon, the $200,000 was to be disbursed from TIF funds and at that time, all of the money was in the account. However, he said that last summer the paving project in front of Walmart on Harry Sauner Road was paid for from those TIF funds. He said passage of the legislation would allow the city to pay $50,000 from the remaining TIF funds and $150,000 from the general fund. He reassured council that the city budget wouldn’t be compromised since the monies would be coming from unappropriated funds within the budget.
• Resolution 21-03: Ordered that Ordinance 2020-20 be made retroactive through December 2020. Butler explained that in last month’s meeting, an ordinance was passed changing where the pay for certain positions came from, and that this ordinance corrected language missing from the previous ordinance to include December 2020.
• Resolution 21-04: Allowed the increase of appropriations within the city’s general fund. Butler said this stemmed from a $100 donation made to the Hillsboro Police Department in the closing days of December, and the resolution would enable the money to be available in the 2021 budget.
• Resolution 21-05: Allowed the increase of appropriations within the city’s recreation fund. Butler described the resolution as similar to 21-04, but involved unspent insurance money concerning Shaffer Park and storm damage it suffered last spring. It would make those funds available in the coming year to use on any other storm-related issues arising at the baseball/softball complex.
• Resolution 21-06: Authorized the transfer of various funds for fiscal year 2021, in the words of Butler, “up to certain dollar amounts,” adding that “throughout the year, it’s necessary to move money around since the general fund supplements other funds.”
• Ordinance 2021-01: Established a community improvement corporation (CIC) for the city of Hillsboro. Harsha said it would consist of Eichinger, a member of the city economic development department, members of his administration and several individuals from the community.
It wasn’t immediately known if council’s next meeting would be held virtually or at Hillsboro Municipal Court.
The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.