SIDNEY – The State Auditor with Distinction award was presented to the Sidney City Finance Department on Monday evening at the Sidney City Council meeting.
Joe Braden, Western Regional Liaison Officer with the Ohio State Auditor’s Office, presented Chief Financial Officer Renee DuLaney with the Ohio State Auditor with Distinction Award for the Department of Finance audit for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020. The city has received the Ohio State Auditor’s Award since 2004.
“All senior managers, department heads as well as the entire city organization are to be commended for maintaining a system of good internal controls,” Braden said, noting that the city of Sidney won this award so many times that he puts it on his calendar every year to visit Sidney, while waiting for the award to be presented.
Braden pointed out that entities receiving this award meet the following criteria for a “clean” audit report under the following conditions:
• The entity must file timely financial reports with the State Auditor’s office in the form of a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR);
• The audit report does not contain findings of recovery, significant quotes, significant weaknesses, significant deficiencies, single audit findings or disputed costs;
• The letter to the entity’s management does not contain any comments regarding ethical benchmarks, disputed costs less than $ 10,000, lack of timely report submission, reconciliation, failure to obtain a one-time audit in timely, collection findings less than $ 100, public meetings or public records.
In other cases, the city council has passed an ordinance amending the city tree ordinance. The purpose of the changes to the ordinance, noted city staff, was to update it and align it with city practices.
The City is already pruning trees on private property if it causes immediate danger to the public. The changes to the ordinance clarify the city’s power to cut, prune, prune and / or remove trees / shrubs on private property without notice, in the following circumstances.
• The City Arborist, or City Tree Contract Representative, determines that the tree or shrub, or any part thereof, is dead, or otherwise so sick or damaged as to constitute a immediate danger to the safety of persons or property;
• The tree or shrub interferes with the good diffusion of light along the street from a lamppost;
• The tree or shrub obstructs the visibility of any device or traffic control panel;
• The tree or shrub obstructs the view of any street, lane or lane intersection;
• The tree or shrub does not provide a free space of eight feet above any sidewalk surface or 14 feet above the surface of a street, lane or other right-of-way. ;
• The tree or shrub harbors insects or diseases that pose a potential health threat or a safety hazard to other trees in the city.
Every year, said public works director Jon Crusey, the city hires a tree service to remove dead and / or dangerous trees from the streets. The tree service also cuts, prunes and pruns trees on private property that interfere with the visibility of traffic control devices and signs or that obstruct the view of any street, lane or street intersection. The provision in the previous Tree Ordinance allowing the city to prune or remove trees that constitute a public emergency is found in the same section that requires notification to landowners and billing for such pruning and removal. The notification provision would be highly detrimental to the city’s annual tree maintenance program, he noted.
Council members Darryl Thurber and Steve Wagner have expressed concern about the ordinance, particularly that homeowners may not be able to be notified before a tree is cut or felled . Public Works Director Jon Crusey and Legal Director Jeff Amick said the changes to the ordinance did not allow anything different from what the city already practices. Crusey previously said city staff would certainly do everything possible to contact landowners about the problem with their tree before cutting down a dead or dangerous tree.
The ordinance was adopted by 4 votes to 2, Thurber and Wagner voting no. Klinger was absent on Monday.
Chief Financial Officer Renee DuLaney, left, receives the Ohio State Auditor’s Award with Distinction from Joe Braden, Western Regional Liaison Officer with the Auditor’s Office State of Ohio, for the audit of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.
Contact the writer at 937-538-4823.