The Urbana City Council will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. today in the council chambers to discuss a proposed additional six-tenths of one percent tax on income to the current additional four-tenths rate, establishing a new additional tax rate at one percent. According to the ordinance, which will have its second reading in the council meeting immediately following the hearing, safety services no longer can be adequately funded by the four-tenths rate due to reductions made at the state level of government.
Urbana voters rejected similar ballot measures during the last November and May elections. If this ordinance is passed after three readings, council will next consider a resolution putting the issue on the ballot in spring of 2019. If passed by voters, the tax will take effect on July 1.
“We’ve met several times since the last defeat of this particular ordinance and feel that it’s probably still the best way for us to go to try to get a balance to the budget, and to get security for the funds for the EMS, police and fire departments, so we decided to put that back on the ballot,” said council member Pat Thackery at a meeting on Dec. 18, 2018. “I think we gained a lot the second time, I think the third time there will be even better communications and a little bit more understanding. We’ve continued to look at other ways of funding that and there are none that we could find, so we’re back out and saying let’s do it again.”
At the Dec. 18 meeting city Law Director Mark Feinstein asked whether there was council sponsorship of this ordinance, prompting council member Dwight Paul to say that he was involved with the campaign and willing to have his name associated with the ballot issue.
Council is expected to vote today on five collective bargaining agreements between the city and various entities, including the Urbana Firefighters Association, the Urbana service divisions public employees of Ohio teamsters, and the Fraternal Order of Police/Ohio Labor Council, Inc. City administrator Kerry Brugger said this is the first time that all five agreements happened simultaneously, as they are usually discussed throughout the year.
All five agreements eliminated “fair share” language in compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus decision that ended compelled union dues for public employees.
The city agreed to a 2.25 percent or 2.5 percent base wage increase for firefighters and police officers during each contract year, depending on their union affiliation and length of service.
Zoning map update
Council will also vote on a zoning map update revoking the Scioto Street Plaza Planned Unit Development zoning and rezoning two parcels from PUD to B-2 General Business District. No members of the public spoke at a public hearing on this issue before the Dec. 18 meeting.
According to Zoning Officer Adam Moore, there has been no development within the PUD containing Taco Bell, Goodwill and Tim Hortons for five years, and a person interested in the property says B-2 zoning would be most appropriate for his intentions. Rezoning would not negatively affect any of the businesses currently in that area, Moore said.
Thackery said he believes the rezoning will encourage development. Following passage of the rezoning ordinance, there will be an additional process of subdividing the B-2 zone into four sections.
Also at this meeting:
– Council will hear an ordinance authorizing the director of administration to enter into an indigent defense agreement with the Champaign County commissioners to allow the city to receive partial reimbursements from the Ohio Public Defender Commission for indigent defense expense in the Champaign County Municipal Court, which may be passed on the first reading.
– Council will hear a resolution requesting that the director of the Ohio Department of Transportation establish a speed limit for a portion of south U.S. Route 68, which may be passed on the first reading.
– Champaign Economic Partnership Director Marcia Bailey will give an update on the processing of the Enterprise Zone application.
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304