Sidney Finance Department Honored – Sidney Daily News

SIDNEY – The State Auditor with Distinction Award was presented to the City of Sidney Finance Department on Monday night at the Sidney City Council meeting.

Joe Braden, Western Regional Liaison with the Ohio State Auditor’s Office, presented Finance Officer Renee DuLaney with the Ohio State Auditor’s Award with honor for the Department of Finance Audit for the year ended December 31, 2020. The city has received the Ohio Auditor of the State Award since 2004.

“All senior managers, department heads as well as the entire city organization are to be commended for maintaining a good system of internal controls,” Braden said, noting that the city of Sidney won this award so many times that he puts it on his calendar each year to visit Sidney, expecting to present the award.

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 contains no findings regarding recovery, material citations, material weaknesses, material deficiencies, unique audit findings, or disputed costs;

• The entity’s management letter does not contain any comments related to ethics referrals, disputed costs under $10,000, failure to submit timely reports, reconciliation, inability to obtain a single audit in a timely manner, to collection findings less than $100, to public meetings or public documents.

In other matters, the city council passed an ordinance that makes changes to the city’s tree ordinance. The purpose of the changes to the ordinance, city staffers noted, was to update it and bring it into line with city practices.

The city already prunes trees on private property if it causes immediate danger to the public. The ordinance changes clarify the city’s authority to cut, trim, trim and/or remove trees/shrubs on private property without notice, in the following circumstances.

• The City Arborist, or City Tree Representative under contract, determines that the tree or shrub, or any part thereof, is dead, or otherwise so diseased or damaged as to constitute an immediate danger to the safety of persons or property;

• The tree or shrub interferes with the proper diffusion of light along the street from a lamppost;

• The tree or shrub interferes with the visibility of any traffic control device or sign;

• The tree or shrub obstructs the view of any street, lane or street-lane intersection;

• The tree or shrub does not provide a clearance of eight feet above any surface of the sidewalk 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 safety hazard to other trees in the city.

Every year, Public Works Director Jon Crusey said, the city hires a tree service to remove dead and/or dangerous street trees. The Tree Service also cuts, prunes and prunes trees on private property that interfere with the visibility of traffic devices and signs or that obstruct the view of any street, lane or street-lane intersection. The provision of the previous Tree Ordinance authorizing the city to prune or remove trees that constitute a public hazard is found in the same section that requires notification to landowners and charging for such pruning and removal. The notification provision would be very detrimental to the city’s annual tree maintenance program, he noted.

Council members Darryl Thurber and Steve Wagner expressed concern about the ordinance, particularly regarding the fact that owners may not be able to be notified before a tree is pruned or beaten down. Public Works Director Jon Crusey and Legal Director Jeff Amick said these changes to the ordinance do not allow for anything different from what the city already practices. Crusey previously said city staff would certainly do everything possible to contact homeowners about the problem with their tree before cutting down a dead or dangerous tree.

The ordinance passed with a 4-2 vote, with Thurber and Wagner voting no. Klinger was absent on Monday.

Finance Officer Renee DuLaney, left, receives the Ohio Auditor of State Award with Distinction from Joe Braden, Western Regional Liaison with the Ohio Auditor of State’s office, for the audit of the year ended December 31, 2020.

Contact the writer at 937-538-4823.

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