City of Hillsboro presents scholarships to graduating HHS seniors; amusement license fee ordinance passes, overage water rate increase proposed

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Accompanied by members of the city council, Hillsboro Mayor Justin Harsha awarded scholarships to three graduating Hillsboro High School seniors and issued a proclamation for “High School Senior Recognition Week” during the Thursday, May 12 Hillsboro City Council meeting.

In the city’s third straight year of their senior recognition program, Harsha announced that $ 2,000 scholarships are being awarded this year to HHS seniors Eden Edenfield, KaleyJo Myers and Sara Newsome. Myers and Newsome were present Thursday to accept their scholarships and to be recognized by the city.

“They did great on their essays,” Harsha said of the scholarship winners.

Harsha thanked the following businesses and individuals for donating to the scholarship program: Chad Abbott Signs LLC, David Collins / Collins CPA, David Mayer, Edgington Funeral Homes, Gibbs Insurance Agency, The Harsha Monument Company, Highland District Hospital, Horne Law Office, Peters Heating and Air Conditioning, Shabby Moose, Shafer Heating and Cooling, Shawn & Cassie Adkins and Tom Eichinger.

“I’d like to thank them for their contributions,” Harsha said. “It means a lot.

“The city received $ 3,000 this year, and we matched dollar for dollar, so each of the three students are receiving a $ 2,000 scholarship.”

This year marks the largest annual scholarships to date. As previously reported, in 2020 – during the pandemic – the city established a scholarship program as part of an effort to partner with Hillsboro City Schools. Administrators made an announcement in April seeking participation from businesses or individuals, including offering perks for seniors or accepting donations for the scholarship fund. Three $ 1,000 scholarships were presented to graduating Hillsboro High School seniors. The program continued in 2021, where two $ 1,000 scholarships and one $ 500 scholarship were awarded.

Harsha also read a proclamation designating the week of May 9-13 as High School Senior Recognition Week in the city of Hillsboro.

“Throughout the city of Hillsboro, we urge and encourage all citizens to take time to get to know a graduating senior, recognize their aspirations and contributions and honor them and their journey of education,” Harsha read in the proclamation.

As part of Senior Recognition Week, Harsha said several area businesses offered discounts or free gifts to seniors. Those included: The Daily Grind, Holtfield Station, LaRosa’s Pizzeria, Merchants National Bank, Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio and Salon, Mimi’s Kitchen, 24 Deli & Pizza and White’s Bakery. He thanked them for their participation as well.

Harsha, safety and service director Brianne Abbott and the five city council members present at Thursday’s meeting posed for a photo with Newsome and Myers, while Harsha gave each student a check and congratulated them.

• • •

In her report to the council, Abbott discussed two recent state funding awards to the city, with the potential for Community Development Block Grant funds as well.

As announced May 5 by the Ohio Governor’s Office and the Ohio Department of Transportation, the city has been selected to receive $ 336,000 for pedestrian improvements in the historic uptown district, including “the creation of” new high-visibility crosswalks with the installation of pavement markings, refuge islands and pedestrian beacons, ”Abbott said.

During the May 11 Highland County commission meeting, commissioners agreed to submit three proposals for CDBG funding – including one request from the City of Hillsboro totaling $ 86,000 – to the state. As noted by commission clerk Mary Remsing, the state has final approval, so this is not a definite yet.

“As you’ll recall, a few months ago, I had reported that we received a grant from NatureWorks for a handicap-accessible playground at Harmony Lake,” Abbott said. “We have been looking at additional grants for that project, and it looks like the commissioners have approved our application for additional funding for that project to be submitted to the state. This is for CDBG funding. If all goes as planned, that project can be a reality, which would be a nice exhibition. ”

The final and largest award, announced May 9 by State Rep. Shane Wilkin’s office, is a $ 2.3 million roadwork grant for the city’s proposed Roberts Lane / Fenner Avenue extension. The map, additional background and details on the initial hearing on that proposal can be found here.

“There’s been a lot of exciting news this past few weeks,” Abbott said. “I would like to thank all the individuals who made that possible, from the people who wrote the grants and put the projects together, and then the individuals who thought our projects were important enough to fund.”

• • •

Since, as council president Tom Eichinger said, council “barely had a quorum” Thursday, four resolutions originally on the agenda were tabled until a special meeting can be held with more council members in attendance. Four other ordinances were approved, while the council heard the first reading of one other ordinance.

Council’s review of legislation Thursday began by passing Ordinance 2021-12 – an ordinance to amend the license fee associated with amusement devices in the city of Hillsboro – after nearly a year’s worth of discussion.

As originally introduced, the ordinance would have doubled license fees for all amusement devices. Following feedback from a business owner and other council members in March, the finance committee voted to amend the ordinance by keeping a $ 25 license fee for “type B” machines and raising the fee for “type C” machines to $ 50. (For more information, see the story here.)

There was no further discussion on the ordinance Thursday, as the legislation passed by a 4-0 vote. City auditor Alex Butler said last month that the revised ordinance is “the fee structure that will be assessed when we send out letters in June” to vendors.

Introduced at the meeting for its first reading was an ordinance to amend section 51.076 of the codified ordinances of the city to increase the rates charged for water service in the City of Hillsboro.

As noted by utilities committee chair Greg Maurer in April, the ordinance proposes a three-percent increase on the overage water rate. The ordinance proposes keeping the billing for water usage at $ 15.08 for the first 133 cubic feet per month, then increasing the rate from $ 6.79 to $ 6.99 per 100 cubic feet above the minimum usage.

The rates were most recently raised in April 2019, increasing the minimum usage from $ 12.08 to $ 15.08. At that time, it was the second increase in less than a year, after voting to raise rates from $ 9.08 in May 2018.

Council member Jason Brown, a member of the utilities committee, spoke about the basis for the proposed legislation Thursday, as Maurer was absent.

“The utilities committee met [in March and April] to discuss the potential for a water rate increase for usage, not an increase on the base fee, ”Brown said. “It is needed because by law, the water fund has to be balanced, and it looks like in the near future, it will not be.

“We’re all very aware that the city’s water rates are already high, and no one wants to see an increase. After a lengthy discussion, the committee has decided on a three-percent increase, and with this, we’ve also requested that an outside independent consultant be called in to examine the department and see if something can be done to rein in the fees. “

Council also voted 4-0 to pass three ordinances making supplemental appropriations for funds not included in the original 2022 budget. Those included:

• Appropriating $ 6,500 for “professional services” in the Water Revenue Fund in order to pay for the aforementioned water rate study as requested by the utilities committee.

• Making appropriations to make a debt payment for the Springlake Avenue infrastructure project for a total increase in appropriations of $ 18,100, including authorizing the auditor to transfer $ 9,050 from the Water Revenue Fund to the Water Debt Retirement Fund.

• Appropriating $ 9,705 to the Police SM-Tools Donations line item of the General Fund in order to make available donated money and additional revenue from the sale of assets. According to Abbott, that was to account for an $ 8,500 donation to the Police Department from the Cassner Foundation and for a $ 1,205 sale of a Dodge Charger.

• • •

There was only one committee meeting report, as a joint meeting of the finance and civil service / employee relations committees was held May 3 to begin discussing the current pay ordinance. The chair of the civil service / employee relations committee, Dan Baucher, read the report prepared by the finance committee chair Mary Stanforth, who was absent.

According to the report, members of both committees received copies of the current pay ordinance – passed in December, after over six hours’ worth of debate at committee meetings – and the “benchmark data”, which will be reviewed in more detail in the near future. They also discussed the pay rates of city officials.

“I understand there will be another meeting scheduled very shortly to begin the actual work,” Eichinger said. “As soon as we know that, we’ll let everybody know.”

• • •

At the beginning of the meeting, council voted 4-0 to excuse the absences of council members Patty Day (recovering from surgery), Maurer (work commitment) and Stanforth (previous engagement).

Eichinger also welcomed the council’s new clerk, Whitney Seitz. “We appreciate you taking that on,” he said.

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